Monday, May 11, 2015

German Club Tivoli (Windsor) 05/2015

There are stereotypes for almost everything in most of our heads and there certainly is for Tivoli the German Club.
I think of beer, sauerkraut, bratwurst, pork hock, smoked or roasted, schnitzel, all the classics and you find them here.
You don't have to guess what most of these dishes are. 

Very surprisingly they now have an Indian waitress, an Indian barman and an Indian chef. It's less surprising then to find Gulab Jamun on the dessert menu.
Service was astonishing. Our entree of garlic snails had not reached the table when the main courses arrived!
The bar and the kitchen seem to operate independantly so drinks and food have to be paid for separately.
You get a man size meal for your money and you can take away what you don't finish.
Score:13.5 /20

Dish (Toorak) 05/2015

Dish has been on my wish list for quite a long time. At last we ate there last week. In the  boutique Royce Hotel. It's a very pleasant space, simply furnished with bare tables, a wall,of mirrors covered by decorative plates face each other across the room.

The open kitchen is screened from the street. It is quite noisy, no doubt a variable situation.
We tried quite a lot of dishes, the bill being reduced by the Entertainment Book. 
Mushroom risotto was well prepared but over spiced

reducing the contribution of the Porchini, a particularly delicate flavour, to undetectable.
Deep fried calamari rings were reasonable but unexciting,
as was a smoked trout seafood salad.
Pasta with tiger prawns, crab and garlic was OK. We requested no chili
The promise of a 300gm pasture fed O'Connor sirloin grilled steak cooked blue was irresistible. 

Served with cipolini onions and triple cooked Russet potatoesthe side stuff was beaut but I should have looked for something else. It looked great but was medium to medium rare - not what the DR. ordered.
A snapper fillet was an honest dish.
Their gnocchi, served with lamb, could have been lighter and fluffier but were reasonable.
Asked for a suggestion for a light un acidic red our waiter said he'd have to think about that and never returned. A second waiter brought a Malbec that was very rough and awful to my taste. They changed it for a much superior wine without extra charge. 
Prices here are above average but, for us, the cooking and service were not. 
Score 13.5/20

Richmond Osters (Richmond) 05/2015

 Mother in Law's choice for Mothers Day lunch was Richmond Oysters because she really wanted that favourite of the 70's, Prawn Cocktail.
We were greeted by Caleb, the manager, who knows us well, seated and the Mums offered a glass of bubbly. The new menu offers plenty of choices. 
Mum in Law started with oysters Mornay and garlic bread
while Sandra chose a chowder which I shared.
I loved it. Full of goodies, big lightly cooked muscles, scallops, salmon and more. I liked it better than the tinned chowder we were served at Fisherman;s Wharf in San Francisco. 
Fish and Chips was what I expected. There was a choice of fish and cooking methods. I picked battered flake. Nothing to complain about. 

Rather than leaving the chef to cook the whole baby barramundi Sandra suggested  the way she thought she would like it. This turned out to be a mistake. It did not show the fish at its best.

The prawn cocktail was just right and left Mum in Law more than satisfied.

Instead of dessert she finished with a frangelico affogato which was beaut too.
This is an unpretentious restaurant, food is fresh simply prepared and fairly priced.
Score:13.75 /20

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Flower Drum (Melbourne CBD) 04/2015

The Flower Drum has managed to  resurrect it's reputation as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Australia, and possibly in the world. It is certainly one of the most expensive and offer excellent service in a tiring venue.
Table settings have not changed in decades,

and their show plates are gorgeous.

They have an extensive menu and also offer a six course degustation menu ($190) to which you can add $75 for matched wines and an extra $30 if you swap the eye fillet  for a waghu sirloin, which we did and I regretted as it did not improve the dish.
Here is the menu:

Chef’s 6 Course Signature Banquet
Crab Meat Crystal NoodlesHand picked mud crab, spring onion served on clear
mung bean noodles with sesame sauce.

 A delicate quality dish
2014 Leo Buring ‘Dry’ Riesling, Clare Valley SA
Wok Fried Fillet of Blue CodWild blue cod from Chatham Island, New Zealand,
filleted and wok fried. Served with seasoned soy and spring onion.
Pretty ordinary
2013 T Gallant ‘Tribute’ Pinot Gris, Mornington Peninsula Vic   
We swapped the next dish, a spicy quail, for another fish dish which turned out to be just a nice pieceof fish in batter.
SautĂ© Seafood w/ Ginger
Live Tasmanian crayfish coupled with king prawn, scallop and pearl meat,
stir fried in a wok with ginger and spring onion.
2011 Kooyong 'Estate' Chardonnay, Mornington Peninsula VicSome how I think I missed a course here!
Blackmore Waghu Sirloin w/ Sichuan SauceCooked medium rare or to your liking and
dressed in a spicy Sichuan sauce. Served with seasonal vegetables.
Another very nice but oh so ordinary dish
2012 Langmeil ‘Valley Floor’ Shiraz, Barossa Valley SA 
Special Fried Rice Not very special
Choice of Dessert(excludes Bird’s Nest Soup)
Fresh hand-made almond cookies
Chinese Tea or Vittoria Coffee

A very nice but very expensive uninspiring meal
 Score:14 /20

Donovan's (St.Kilda) 03/2015

Yep, Donovan's is open again and catering for diners with an attempt at seriously good food.
The place has had a facelift and looks better than it used to. The interior has been altered although the original structure is still evident.
The Greek columns outside and the brilliant views along St.Kilda beach from the window seats are unchanged.

Their menu contains lots of their former dishes, denoted by a little line drawn house on the menu, and a lot that is new. There is also a heavy promotion of their name on glasses, plates                                                                                        

and so on. 
Tables are bare

 and bread is served with both butter and a bean dip.
Their 'crudo' selection was yellow fin tuna, finely sliced over a dome of vegetables dominated by avocado and a strong lemon taste.      Rather unbalanced I thought.


My preferred starter was the twice cooked soufflé of Beaufort and Reggiano chees with vineyard snails and parsley sauce $24.00
Unfortunately the souffle was very bland. A pretty dish and the little garden of snails, cream fraiche and ?spinach puree was lovely to see and eat.
Beef cheek in a very cheesy macaroni sauce was too rich for comfort.
On the other hand BBQ'd snapper could not have been more plain. No messing around with the hero of this dish. The fish did the talking.

It did come with potato wedges and a few lettuce leaves.
A linguini marinara was undistinguished and seriously overpriced at $52 as a main course.

The best looking dish we had was a bomb Alaska to share.

Ultimately I felt that they tried very hard but did not quite succeed in producing really good food.

Score: A bare 14/20