Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Lume (South Melbourne) 08/2015

Lume is unusual, very unusual. 

Set in an old home in Coventry St. it stretches the length of the house
with a roofed atrium that can be opened if conditions are appropriate.

Faux marble tables 

are a good size, well spaced  and comfortable. Somehow it reminded me of a Roman villa

with herbs and plants hanging on one wall.

Decor was generally pleasant, uncluttered and uncrowded.

 Food was brought from the kitchen on mini palettes to a serving table

Cutlery was also unusual, imported from Portugal

The meal began with a 2013 Blanc Pinot Blanc from Alsace and a warm buttered dough (steamed) with duck fat and truffle

The truffle was lost in this otherwise pleasing amuse bouche.
A very unusual, but also pleasing textural tour, oat congee made with entrails of calamari followed served with a 2009 Baumard 'Carte d'Or' Coteaux du Layon from the Loire.

rare roasted quince with notes of chamomile and honey, duck liver and nasturtiums had me tricked. Until I tasted it I thought the quince was meat! The duck liver was a soft mousse rich but not excessive.

native bird dressed with white soy and hibiscus came with a Maideni 'classic' vermouth. quite a good choice after the duck.

Sandra did not want to eat a native bird and instead was served a dried diakon chip, which she loved

pearl on the sea floor, another cute dish full of simple symbolism. The pearl was a an icecream filled sphere of chocolate. The nextwines were Sake - Usnigori, shaken to serve, made by Uehara Schuzo, and a 2008 Nakka Schuzo Asahi Wakamats. Interesting but hard to evaluate.

scallop dressed with Jamon dashi, honeydew and roe

saltbush lamb perfumed with cherry wood ash, macadamia cream and rhubarb. This came with a more traditional 2012 Narello Mascolese from the slopes of Mt. Etna
jerusalem artichoke La Serene Praline and quince peelings was over salty for me. The
Maideni 'dry' was appropriate

sea corn and dairy cow was yet another tricky dish the corn being made of egg! The accompanying 2014 Sentio chardonnay from Beechworth was OK.

meat hen cooked in chamomile, acidulated wild violets and salted yolk was delicious with another Sake a 1999 Nokano 'BC Chokyu' was a bit of fun.

cauliflower cheese with pastry smoked over pear wood Looked like cheese. We did not have the menu until the end of the meal so we dishes arrived looking like one thing and actually being entirely different we were constantly surprised. This came with a 2013 'Trenzano' from the Canary Islands. By now I was very glad I was not driving!!

lambs blood ganache rolled in maple oats, native apple jam and riberry pepper

Coventry truffle. 

There were two more alcoholic beverages - a Donnybrook apple cider liqueur and a stout topped up with a splash of Ramate Iberia cream sherry, from Jerez of course.

and a dessert

followed by one more.
caxao pod from Maralumi with notes of tobacco, green banana and currants

Very cute indeed
Served with a very young Rutherglen port made by Simon at Simhoo & Co. There was some dissention as to how to rate this extremely unusual meal full of little tricks surprises and deceptions. It was very high on imagination, on variation in every way. Pleasing to the eye in a very pleasing venue. Our waiter, Dan, could not have been more attentive and was extremely well informed. 
On the down side some of the dishes were under or over seasoned but in all they were extremely good and full of magic.
The table scored them from 15.5 to 19. My score was in the middle.Score:17.5 /20

Friday, August 07, 2015

Minamashima (Richmond) 08/2015

This is the photograph of a wanted man. Don't let him leave the city, we need him here!

It took quite a while for us to get here after it was recommended to us by Brian Lloyd, MD at Brooks. As often happens suggestions by people in the industry turn out to be worth following and this one certainly was. The buzz about Minamashima is extremely positive.
Entry is via an unobtrusive glass door.

The restaurant is simply set out with an understated sophisticated decor. Tables along one side of the room are separated  from a long bar behind which chef Minimashima, pictured above, displays his skills. They have an attractive and informative web site.
We had the degustation menu with matched Sake. You could have it with traditional wines if you wished.
Many dishes were served on black plates/platters and were hard to photograph at the table.
This was the menu.
Grilled Otway shiitake mushroom,  Kombu butter, dried fish and nori seasoning 
Served with a cloudy sparkling sake - Dassai sparkling nigori
Chawanmushi  spanner crab kombu flake
A delicate combination of flavours and textures. Truly fine food.
Kaishun junmai iwami karakuchi I couldn't believe the alcohol content, over 16%
NZ storm clam sake steamed
Another masterpiece.
Tamazakura Junmai Ginjo
Charcoal grilled wagyu rib umeshu soy.
I was so wrapped in the food that I overlooked a pic. here. It was a small very tasty dish served in a sort of urn so there was little to see
Chiyo Moromi Nigori
Strawberry shiso sorbet
Gunard kombu cured
Sea perch Ponzu dressing
Hokkiado Hotate/ Scallop
Engawa/flounder fin
Otoro/tuna belly
Otoro aburi
Uni Murasaki
Anago box sushi
These were as a good an example of sushi I have ever experienced. Of course everything was light and fresh, the proportions of fish to rice were just right, the variety great. Each came with a lightly pickled pile of ginger and instructions as to the need for added seasoning to taste.
Asahi Wakamatsu Junmai Muroka Nama Genshu
This was one of the low alcohol offerings!
Hokkiado snow crab broth, Yuba, winter melon 
Taketsuru Ozasaya Junmai Kimoto Genshu
Warabi mocha, Okinawa black sugar syrup, calamarised walnut
And dessert
With a great dessert wine 
Umetsu Junmai Umeshu Nokyo This is the sort of meal we might have expected at a high end Tokyo restaurant. It compares to Tempura Hajime, which is still surviving with room for only 12 diners, but we thought it considerably better. The major downside is that it was expensive, about $250 per person with one matched wine and they were generous with the wines which were dangerously intoxicating. 
Score 17/20