Friday, April 01, 2022

Potsticker Revisited

There have been at least five restaurants on this busy corner diagonally opposite Caulfield Park that have failed to before Potsticker showed the way. It has changed hands since Eric Wong refurbished the place with a central pool featuring an ever flowering Cherry blossom in lights. 
It's got a lot of style for a suburban restaurant.
Looking back I see that we've reviewed Potsicker in 2011 and 2013 and eaten here on at least 15 other occasions.
The simple reason is that it's consistently good. Good atmosphere, good service and good food. Modest wine list and modest prices. 
Back in 2015 the AGF gave them 13.5/20 but by 2019, when a restaurant needed 14/20 to get a mention they didn't get a mention. 
They should have.
Last week we had their Lobster Banquet. ($93)


A dish of prawn crackers before we looked at the menu was nice.
The banquet started with a good size chicken and corn soup 


followed by a crab claw with a stick of sugar cane replacing the usual decorative  crab claw,
 and then a seafood san chao bao. 

All pleasant well prepared dishes.
Two pieces of Peking duck were served separately.
before the lobster in a ginger and shallot sauce accompanied by special fried rice.
Wok sauteed tenderloin beef with black truffle was the last main served with their special fried rice.
Finally a dessert.
Mango pudding.
Tea was served, the pot over a burning candle, towards the end of the meal
This is not haute cuisine but every dish was pleasing. Good sized serves left us very content.
We'll be back again and again.

 
Score:14 /20

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

Golda



Why would anyone review a restaurant just one week before it closes?
Well, lots of reasons. It may have been an iconic restaurant worth remembering, a memorial, or perhaps as an opportunity to comment on the food scene as illustrated by the place.
To some extent that applies to this review. It makes me wonder.
How can a restaurant survive six lengthy lockdowns, with government support of course. but then fail when they're free to open? How can a restaurant do a $14.5 million restoration and make money? Is it a lousy business plan or just Melbourne's fickle patrons?
Golda is a special case. It has excellent reviews, its easily accessible in a busy part of Prahran, attached to the Cullen hotel.

The food is modern Israeli boasting flavours of the Middle East.
They offer an a la carte or a six or eight course tasting menu. We, as usual went for the lot. $90/person. 
We started with Grandma Rosa's Pickles, a small bowl of pickled vegetables, mostly cabbage and florets of cauliflower.

 Green falafel,  roasted beetroot humus fermented red zhug, (a spicy hot sauce), red cabbage followed. 

Two colourful salads of no great distinction. 
A third salad Spicy Mizrachi zucchini, broad beans, Tzfat cheese, heart of palm, was very gently spiced. A pleasant dish.

And then one more salad

Marinated labna, cherry tomato confit, cellery, pine nuts, lavender was indeed a very nice salad.
Two mezzes; 
Cured salmon pastrami dill cream cheese, chain, pickled shallots was a great and unusual dish 

but the Spiced duck shashlik, eggplant caviar, mango amber sauce, fenugreek, despite the flowery description and attractive appearance, was very ordinary. 


They did serve an extremely good house bakes Iraqui flatbread.




For main courses we had slow cooked lamb shoulder with chickpeas, silverbeet, turmeric yoghurt, date and rosemary reduction  sounded very exciting but it wasn't. 

There was only a tiny amount of lamb cut into very small pieces and a large amount of chickpeas. Turmeric and date unrecognisable and rosemary handled with a light touch did not make a good dish. For some reason they failed to mention the mint!

Spicy Georgian quail, freekah and walnuts, plum and tamarind sauce, crispy vine leaves was  furnished with only a small dry leg and thigh for each of us. Where was the breast?? Take away the quail and it was still, despite all the ingredients, unimpressive.

After this we had two vegetable dishes chosen by the chef to match the previous dishes.  They both were very suitable to finish the main meal.
Lebanese fattoush; grilled tomato, cucumber, pickled garlic, sumac, croutons

Lydya's eggplant roulade, burghul, golden raisins, walnuts, burnt tomato and pomegranite molasses
was the most interesting of the dishes for me. 

A dessert, cream covered chocolate on fruit was nice and quite simple.


 
There is a modest wine list, moderately priced. 
Service was enthusiastic, competent and considerate.
There are lots of rave reviews of Golda. I think they mostly come from people who are not very familiar with Middle Eastern flavours. As such they may have been exciting but perhaps not enough to get them to become frequent return customers. Certainly I wouldn't be back BUT I'm glad I ate that meal even though I give the food not much more than a bare pass.
Firstly I like to encourage initiative.
Not something you could easily rustle up at home the whole meal was complex with lots of ingredients in every dish, which seems to be the way chef's try to make their mark. In this case i felt that chef Rotem Papa tried perhaps too hard but you never fly high if you don't set a high mark. Although several of the dishes failed it was worth the experience
Now Chef Papo will go somewhere else, i think in Australia, where ever it is I would like to go there to see what sort of new experience it would provide.

Your table is ready!
Score: 13/20                                                                                                                                                                  

Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Centonove

Centonove translates as 109 which is the address in Cotham Rd. Kew of this long standing Italian restaurant.
It has a goodly number of regulars and is generally quite busy.
It is in the upper price bracket for a suburban restaurant. They offer a two course menu for $69 and a three course menu for $90. There is a modest wine list by the glass, and a more extensive reasonably priced half or full bottle list.
Linen table cloths and napkins and reasonable cutlery, crockery and glass adorn their tables which are little too close to each other.


So what about the food.
We tasted several dishes with mixed feelings. Vittello tonnato was disappointing. The tuna mayo was bland and I felt that the veal could have been younger.


Vittello tonnato 

Strachiattela, ox heart tomatoes, Nadine anchovies and Liguran olives was superb. The tomatoes actually tasted like tomatoes and everything melded to produce a palate pleasing start to the meal.

Strachiattela 

Flounder, on special, was quite small. Pleasant enough it had some mild herbs which detracted 
from my enjoyment of the fish.
Sad looking flounder

The paparadelle with rabbit stew and Ligurian olives was very much to my taste.

Paparadelle

Finally a 12 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder with salsa verde and saffron onto could not have been better.

Saffron orzo

Crisp roasted Dobson potatoes ($9) were a good side dish.

Roast potatoes.

A bit of a mixed bag. Good quality Italian fare that not always hit the mark.

Score:13.75 /20
Name: Date: Suburb: Melway: Introduction Ambience Service Food Wine Price Comments Score: /20

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Monday, August 26, 2019

Dinner by Heston revisited (Crown, Melbourne) 08/2019

Where to begin. It's about four years since we visited Heston's restaurant. Last time it was and we sat at the chefs table which, in fact, is rather isolated from the rest of the restaurant yesterday we went for lunch. We sat in the main dining room which will spacious with well separated tables and not noisy. From the start to the end service was impressive wait staff knew a lot about the food they were serving and the young lady talking to us about the wines was impressive. The degustation menu was preceded buy some small bites offered by the chef.
A roast marrow with anchovies 

served on the Christmas small biscuit was a lovely start.






































Score: /20