Ondine in Deakin had a less-than-ideal beginning in 2020 as COVID-19 restrictions shut them down before they’d even opened the doors. But a few years later and they’re back on track with their refined European brasserie-style menu.
I visited for dinner with my grandparents, both fans of European food and wine. We started with a celebratory glass of Italian prosecco as we checked out the menu. Two of us decided to order from Le Petit Menu, a fixed-price 2 or 3-course option, while Grandma ordered the lemon roasted sole from the à la carte menu.
We started with three fresh South Coast oysters served with gin and tonic granita, which was absolutely refreshing and perfect for a hot summer’s evening.
The pork fillet mignon was tender and paired beautifully with polenta and caponata. My serving of orecchiette pasta with salsa verde, kale and peas was very tasty but a smidge too oily. The sole was flaky, moist and delicious (and fortunately so large that I was able to try some too). We also ordered a side of green beans with almonds, a lovely accompaniment to all three main meals.
A glass of Eden Road Sangiovese was an excellent pairing with our meals. The comprehensive wine list took in the best local and international wines, with a decent cocktail list as well.
The fit out of Ondine is fairly old school and elegant with rugs on the floor and acoustic foam cleverly hidden under the tables to dampen ambient noise. The tables are well spaced: this is a venue that could have crammed a few more seats in but has chosen to curate the space for the comfort of its guests. And the service was exceptionally good.
Dessert at Ondine is plated by passionate apprentice Deb Ridley, who won silver at the 2023 Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Competition. I ordered the Peach Melba – a seasonally appropriate retro classic – and my grandfather ordered the gingerbread Swiss roll with rum and raisin ice cream. There was to be no sharing this time as he ate it up in record time – a glowing review in and of itself! The peach melba was lovely: half a poached peach topped with vanilla ice cream and served in a lux coupe glass.
Deb was kind enough to send out a serving of the baked vanilla cheesecake for us to try, which was absolutely divine. The biscuit base was spiced with ginger and the fresh fruit cut through the richness of the cheesecake.
Ondine has kept up its lockdown-era pivot and has a menu of takeaway meals for local delivery. Boeuf Bourguignon delivered to your door? Ooh la la!
With a quiet, refined ambience and an exquisite menu of classics, Ondine makes a lovely special occasion meal.
Ondine is located at 7 Duff Place, Deakin. It is open from 5:30 pm to 9 pm Tuesday to Saturday, and for Saturday lunch from midday to 2:30 pm. Make a booking or view their takeaway menu on their website. Follow Ondine on Facebook or Instagram.