Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Blu Ginger (Canberra) 11/2015

Two people, Canberrans, independently recommended this modern Indian restaurant to me. The right up in my suggested this must be a pretty impressive place. 
In Genge St, 

surrounded by competitors, it is a fairly basically furnished space with a glass enclosed kitchen at one end, a bar along one wall 

and small bare tables and rather uncomfortable chairs.
Unfortunately they would not serve me a banquet for one so it turned into a three course dinner. I was served by a delightful Bhutanese waitress, Namgay, who helped me choose a reasonable menu.

Starting with Tandoor prawns served with an excellent lime, lemon yoghurt sweetened sauce, a very good entree.

This was followed by a beef korma with rice and a fatty cheese and spinach stuffed nairn which could not have been much better.

And a mango kulfi, which was a little disappointing.
Concierge, a Canberra guide rather exagerates the quality of this place. To me this is a slightly better than average mum and dad ethnic diner with an not especially refined take on Indian cuisine.
Score: 13.5/20

ESP (Northcote) 11/2015

Scott Pickett has transformed his former restaurant into a Bistro and created a very sophisticated modern eating area next door which, among other things, offers a 7 course degustation menu.The dining area is comfortably arranged around the open kitchen where Scott is very visible inspecting and helping with plating and insuring dishes go out at a reasonable rate.

Table settings are simple, unusual with high quality crockery 

and cutlery

IMenus vary but this is what we had
Cured kangaroo, black rice

Cod Roe, Potato Souffle

Lemon Myrtle, Parmeson

Tomato Burrata, Green Strawberry

Yellowfin Tuna, Baby Peas, Foie Gras
King Salmon Asparagus, Seaweed

Diuck, Mandarin, Turnip, Kombu

And bread of course

Fresh Watermelon Juice,
Waghu, an extra, not on the regular menu

Cheese, another extra,

Rosella Sorel, Macadamia

Mango, Passionfruit, Kaffir

Lemon Aspen, Sherbert, Bombe

Matched wines were generous and fitted the food well

Score: 17/20

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Dinner by Heston Melbourne (Crown Entertainment Centre) 23/10/2015

We are exceptionally lucky in Melbourne to be able to enjoy a sort of culinary tourism without leaving town. This, of course, is mostly because of the vast variety of ethnic restaurants many serving extremely authentic regional food. Dinner by Heston (DbH) provides a different sort of eating experience. Using the best of local ingredients and modern kitchen equipment DbH takes on a stroll through English cuisine from the 1300's to the 18th century. Of course you don't have to eat off a trencher, a flat round of bread which could be eaten with sauce at the end of the meal or given to the poor. Indeed although the tables are bare

and starters are served on wooden platters, the cutlery is very modern, delicate Scandinavian style 

and the crockery quite fine plain white.
There are a few gimmicks to get you started on this journey through history. The first is the entrance through a dark tunnel to a black glass door which opens to let you into this new world. Housed in  a large high ceilinged room, seating 120, with an open kitchen at one end.

The menu also adds part of the atmosphere with historical notes on where the recipes come from and the period when the dishes first appeared.  
Unfortunately on this occasion the tasting menu was not available so we tried what we could manage off the a la carte menu. Interesting little dish.