Thursday, July 21, 2016

More Vue (Melbourne CBD) 07/2016

Within a day or two Vue sent me a copy of the menu we enjoyed over a long lunch. Their capacity for innovation and finesse in presentation and taste never ceases to surprise and delight us.

SUNDAY 17TH July 2016

Chefs Tasting menu

Chips made of kohlrabi, seaweed and kale with oyster emulsion

Mouth watering.
Pickled leek and roasted chicken

Not as exciting as the previous dish. The chicken crumb around the leek was a little lost for flavour.
Rusty wire oysters and rhubarb

The sweet sour rhubarb was much better than a ponzu or lemon dressing.
Port Phillip scallop with wood sorrel and horseradish

The seared scallop hardly needed anything else. Delicate and delicious - again
Beer and fennel bread with cultured butter. This is a disaster. It's so moorish it's hard to stop eating it but there is so much more to come.
Black lip abalone, hen’s egg yolk and fumet blanc

Beneath the thin slice of Canberra truffle and the fumet blanc was a treasure of taste and texture. The barely cooked egg and the abalone with a few squares of potato in a rich sauce would be a signature dish in any restaurant. My dish of the day, week or month!
Marron served BBQ, raw and cured with citrus.

Somehow Vue always find a great way of serving Marron that never fails to please. The accompanying Marron snag sizzle,

which also contains prawn and chicken is the best seafood sausage you could ever want. It was served with a toasted brioche so you could have a DYO seafood hot dog.
Poached Barramundi with turnip dashi

A near perfect dish, the flavour enhanced by the dashi it would be hard to find a finer fish dish.
Davidson plum with flowers and herbs, a palate cleanser.

Roo on charcoal with beets

This is a very underrated meat but we could have done with more.
We also had aged Duck, fermented bay leaf and sour onions because Sandra does not like eating Bambi.

Braised aged pork neck, fermented bay leaf and sour onions

All this while drinking NV Charles Heidsieck ‘Brut Reserve’,Reims, Champagne, France, followed by 2014 Donnhnoff ‘Oberhauser Loistenberg’ Kabinett Riesling, Nahe, Germany from the finest imaginable Zalto glassware.

David Blackmore Striploin grilled and brussel sprouts

was the last main.
Trolley of cheese followed.

by a couple of savoury desserts
Persimmon and tea tree

Macadamia (Ice cream) and fermented apple,

and Jerusalem artichoke with pear and white chocolate

before another signature dish.
Chocolate Soufflé

and then some chocolate mouse dressed up as lamingtons.
We're really putting them to the test next week having asked for a quite different menu we're coming back again to celebrate an occasion.
Score: 18.5/20

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Belly's (Latrobe NW Tasmania) 06/2016

Latrobe is about eight km from Devonport where the Princess of Tasmania disembarks passengers from Melbourne, across Bass straight. It’s a typical small Australian town with one kilometre long main street lined, on both sides, with all sorts of shops, cafe’s and bars, food stores and supermarkets, banks and junk stores and lots more.
Belly’s, attached to the local RSL branch, sits at one end of the street. Friday night is a busy time. They have takeaway and the rather loud ‘phone rang incessantly, as the restaurant filled steadily.
Apart from a menu up on chalk boards

there is fairly straight forward menu which included a soup of the day, `starters and basic mains including pizzas, burgers, fish, steaks and a paella, spelled with one l. 
the decor is very plain and dated,

the table settings basic.
I started with a mushroom soup which was large, rich and full of mushroom flavour.
I enquired about pasta, which was not on the menu. A moment later the waitress returned offering marinara, carbonara or aioli! Nevertheless I decided on the saffron seafood and chorizo paella. I came after a short wait.
I would be better described as a risotto including flakes of parmigiana cheeses and a very good creamy rice. Not what I expected but very tasty, plenty of seafood and not overwhelmed by the chorizo which could be removed if desired. Too full for dessert I will come back for a meal another time.
There is a nice selection of reasonably inexpensive Tasmanian wines.
Score: 14/20 Score: /20

Ghost Rock (Port Sorell NW Tasmania) 06/2016

On the outskirts of Port Sorell few people would come across this place by accident and most would pass by at 80 km/hr unaware of what they were missing. Signage is sadly lacking on the approach roads to a place that really is of interest to tourists.
Perhaps this is Ghost Rock!
Set on a hill above the vines the 

Cellar Door tasting area is at the side of a simple cafe style dining space. The area is run by Scott Wolfson, an enthusiastic young man. The place has a very clean look about it.  When I arrived every table that was occupied had on it a huge antipasti plate, The Ghost Rock Platter, a serve for two or three people.
Other dishes on the menu include foccacia and pork belly and apple pie. basically they do not cook in the kitchen.

Decor is plain and simple,

but the views are attractive.

I had to have the platter and requested a small one. It’s an advertisement for Tasmanian produce. 

Marinated mussels, three different presentations of salmon, smoked salmon 41degree salmon rillette, hot smoked salmon, pesto, black garlic marinated in balsamic vinegar, olives, a slice of beef sausage sun dried tomatoes, stuffed bell pepper, red capsicum, eggplant, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, pickled onion, smoked chicken breast, chicken liver pate on a bed of leaves and four different cheeses with toasted bread and biscuits plus a bread roll and butter. Every element of this platter was excellent, very fresh and full of flavour. The black garlic exceptional
I enjoyed this with a sparkling non alcoholic Elderflower drink, a delicate Tasmanian specialty.

I finished with a raspberry parfait, ice-cream and a double espresso. 

The only tiny negative was the ice-cream  which had become too soft and been refrozen leaving little ice crystals in it. A truly surprisingly satisfying lunch.
A small area is set aside for Tasmanian handicrafts and souvenirs. 
A beaut place to visit and taste their many prize winning wines at reasonable prices and enjoy a great taste of Tasmania.
Score: 14/20

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Touchwood Cottages (Stanley, Tasmania) 06/2016

Stanley is a touristy little town on a peninsula in the far NW of Tasmania. It's a rugged

attractive place with steep hills great views

and a massive rock called the Nut.
Image result for stanley the nut
I dropped into the small restaurant and souvenir shop attached to Touchwood Cottages

for a cup of coffee and a muffin for morning tea.

It was first class. Their scones looked just as good too.

Mecca (Burnie) 06/2016

Another day another dinner. 
This large dining room, originally a hotel, with well spaced bare tables was full of solid citizens eating substantial sized meals.

The room had some character with pressed metal ceiling 

and little nooks.

 The laminated menu had a fair range of dishes and I chose a seafood platter.

It was very large for one person and I took away almost a half of it when I could eat no more. It was what might be called rustic. A big meal, simply presented with two sauces and a wedge of lemon. Plenty of taste.
Unfamiliar with the white wines I asked for a taste of the Ghost Rock, a local vineyard, pinot gris. I got half a glass and was not surprised that the glass I eventually ordered was well above the standard glass.

Prices were reasonable.

Score: 13.75/20

Monday, June 13, 2016

Rialto (Burnie) 06/2016

Very simply decorated it had lead glass windows depicting the famous bridge on the door

and the window to the street.

There is an ancient cash register on the counter as you come through the door.

My waitress had no idea of the owners of this Italian restaurant were from Venice, in fact I doubt that she knew where the Rialto Bridge was. This was hardly of any importance, of course. She was there to convey orders and deliver food to the table. 
I started with a minestrone soup which looked and tasted like a thousand others. A request for bread was met with "We only serve garlic bread" Which I thought a little limiting. Parmesan was available but I had to ask for it and I also had to ask for water. For a main I chose a scaloppini marinara. 

The veal was totally covered in a thick layer of seafood including plenty of scallops and prawns. They were in quite a light sauce and tasted good but, when I found the veal it was in small tasteless slices.
That was about enough for one night.
Score:13.75 /20