Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Ambience: Bustling cafe
Service: Prompt and helpful
Food: I tried 4 mostly delicious dishes Small serves. The skewered prawn with wild bitter onions on sweet and sour apple and tomato chutney from Molise is very special (and very expensive at $17 for 2!) The eggplant with melted buffalo mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano (Puglia) very good $6. The caprese salad of fresh tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil from Campania was pretty ordinary and expensive $8.50 and 3 olives stuffed with fish and lightly fried for $6.50 tasted great but filled only a very small space
Wine: Large range of Italian wines available by the glass
Price; Extremely expensive
Comments: Very interesting food
Ambience: Run down, crowded and battered
Service: Friendly but somewhat confused
Food: The Peking duck is carved at the table and you make your own packet with the spring onion, cucumber and plum sauce and thin pancakes. the duck is then removed and the remaining meat used to make a duck and beanshoot dish. The bones are cooked up to make a duck soup which is served last. An excellent meal.
There is also a full menu of chinese dishes which, having tried Lemon Chicken, Beef with mushroom and vegetables and Fried tofu I can confidently say they are just OK but certainly nothing special
Price: Very inexpensive
Comments: The place to go for Peking duck. Make sure you make a reservation Ph. 9417 2438 and organize that they have duck available (Closed Monday)
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Ambience: A pianist adds to the pleasant feeling in this restaurant distinguished by a large open kitchen at the end of a good size carpeted room with a bar at its far end and fine views
Food: Regional style reminiscent of chilli spiced cantonese Fried tofu was very bland despite the light chilli flavoured sauce. Pork belly was tender and succulent tho I prefer crisper crackling. Their duck melted in the mouth but was very fat and the lobster on golden noodles was delicious
There are a couple of banquets at reasonable prices. They have an extensive menu available on the internet
Price: Soups and desserts $8 Mains mostly about $25 to $30 up to $50 for wok fried lobster and smoked salmon
Comments: I enjoyed the meal and the atmosphere and will go back again
I think our waitress might have been in the job for a very short time but tried hard to please
Food:The confit leg and rolled saddle of rabbit with braised olives and carrots with vanilla and vincotta dressing looked good but tasted very ordinary and for $17.5 was a very small serve
The ocean trout cutlet and grilled scallops with caramelised angel hair pasta, beetroot pickle and saffron sauce was disappointing and my sirloin steak on a bed of celariac ( which tasted like half cooked potato) was undistiguished.
The lime and vanilla cream brulee with quince fritters was made with gelatine and tasted like it.
Wine: There is an extensive list - not only their own wines and very reasonably priced
Price: Entrees about $17 Mains $28 -$32 Desserts $12.5
Comment: There is a wonderful view of rolling hills but i'd go somewhere else for food as it is far too expensive for what you get
Monday, December 12, 2005
Introduction: An ex Melbournian Damien Pignolet has a very French bistro in the heart of Woolharra.
Ambience: Unpretentious, the usual paper covered table cloths, a family style place
Service: Prompt and attentive
Food: Both the French onion souffle gratin
Duck rillettes a sort of coarse duck pate with beetroot relish, cornichons (litte pickles) and sourdoughtoast was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed the braised honeycomb tripe in a sort of a soup with chorizo, tomato chickpeas and aioli
Berries on custard filled puff pastry no complaints here
Wine: A Hardy's pinot noir under a special label (Woodforth) 2002 was a fine accompaniment for the meal and only $25
Price: As with most Sydney restaurants it seems Entree about $17 Mains about $28 to $38 - Around $55 for two courses plus wine
Comments: They don't take bookings. No problem if you arrive soon after opening but it fills quickly
No longer on my list of must come back to My original score of 16.5 was over generous
Ambience: Set in an immense room with wooden floors and a ceiling so high it's almost out of sight it has a wall of wine, which must be at least twice the size of the feature wall at the Botanic in Melbourne, and an impressively large open kitchen. It was a surprise, which seems to be a Sydney thing, that the linen table cloths were covered with paper
Service: Luke Mangan greeted us, and presumably everyone else, on entry and led us to our table. Our waiter was efficient, well informed, courteous and personable.
Food: We had an entree of Salad of Yabbies, orange jelly, feta and campari dressing which was quite tasty and delicate without being exquisite was a good starter. The crab bisque, sauteed prawns and pickled mushrooms had a very strong flavour but still needed to be boiled down to a thicker consistancy. The chicken liver parfait with pickles and toasted brioche was very rich and creamy. Best to share between two or even three people.
For main courses I had the barbequed T bone on kipfler potatoes which was on special and was tasty but tough. The roast duck breast, caramelised peach with vanilla and pomme puree suffered the same problem and two slices of breast at $37.50 seemed a little ungenerous. The chargrilled spiced prawns cucumber and fennel salad were large very fresh and good texture but they also would not satisfy a hungry patron.
We had a selection of desserts for the table of which the standout was the Creme Brulee. The summer pudding bomb Alaska with berry compot was also very good
There is a six course degustation menu for $100 or $145 with matching wines
Price: Our 3 course meal with wine came out at about $85 per head
Comment: It is odd that the menu haeadings all all in French although by and large the rest of the menu is in plain English. The outstanding feature of this restaurant is the setting and not the food
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Ambience: Refurbished about early 2005 there is more carpet now and a small private dining area at the front of this rather long narrow room. Dark with added lighting from small enclosed candles - quite romantic!
Service: Very slow when asked for butter instead of oil for the bread but generally tried very hard to please Food: We indulged in an eight course degustation menu. i will give the a la carte
prices for these dishes as I describe them
japanese (ezards menu has no capital letters!) inspired swordfish shooter - a wasabi flavoured dumpling in a sweet Chinese wine with a small nori wrapped sushimi accompaniment $4.5. An interesting starter
pepper and soy cured tunaw purple asparagus, thai basil and blood orange $21.5 Another interesting combination but I would not have liked a large serve.
wild mushroom dumpling, spiced short soup just a tiny cup - disappointing very strong taste of coriander and mushroom no delicacy here
crispy fried zucchini flower with goats cheese, panzanella salad, balsamic syrup and basil oil $20.5 a totally delicious creation
steamed tiger prawn rice noodle roll, chinese wine, ginger soy dressing $23.5 was rather ordinary although the dressing was excellent
humpty doo barramundi, red nam jam, thai salad, corn cakes $39.5 a delicate succulent dish
crispy skin duck, green chilli and shallot sauce silk melon, coconut rice $39.5 another quite superb dish my favourite
banana parfait with cinnamon wafer and passion fruit sauce $18.5 an excellent finish to the meal
t2 tea $7.5 or gravity xtc coffee $6.5 is a bit of a hot price
I should add the their bread is warm and fresh, the oil aromatic and spiced and there a three additional "spices' on the table worth tasting - sweet and hot, a ground pepper and a mixture ? what flavoured with sesame seeds
Wine: We enjoyed eight wines chosen by a restauranter not generally available so I am unable to comment on the wine list
Comments: Since my last visit a couple of years ago I think ezard has become less 'fussy' and his flavours are now clearer and more to my taste. You can have a brilliant meal here if you choose well or be awfully disappointed if you choose badly
Monday, November 28, 2005
Ambience: Carpeted room w well spaced tables, linen tablecloths and servietes, plain decor. Very pleasant
Service: Prompt informed and attentive
Food: Extremely pleasing. Entree ($11.5) of Thai Chicken parcels was delicate and juicy preserving all the flavour of the chicken. Prawn dumpling also very tasty. they are also well known for their "Monsoon Oysters" lightly grilled and spiced. For mains the Crispy Thai fish a small whole snapper I think, with a tangy capsicum red sauce was excellent as was the Wafu steak cooked as requested.
Wine: Licenced or BYO wine We brought our own ($7 corkage) and I regret that I did not look at the wine list
Price:About $36 per head. There are several very good value degustation or banquet menus starting at $40
Comments: A very good meaL well worth a visit - and a revisit!
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Ambience: Pedestrian furnishings, cutlery and crockery. Good lighting A family style restaurant
Service: Can be slow specially on Saturday when they can be very busy. The menu is posted outside and they don't appreciate patrons getting their own!
Food: Known for the large size of the serves the quality was better than I expected. A large flounder (about 10 cm across) and very nicely cooked served with a mass of thin crisp chips, coleslaw and red cabbage salad ($29) was enough for two ordinary diners. Spaghetti Marinara ($22) as a main was filled with scallops mussels and prawns filled a large plate.
They are also well known for their middle eastern salads
Wine: a small inexpensive list with a House South Aust. Cabernet blend for $4 a glass or $15 a caraffe. If you want a really good wine BYO and pay a mere $1 per head corkage
Price: If you share meals very inexpensive. Mains start around $20
Comments: A good place to go and share a dish or two with friends after the cinema or for a square meal if you haven't eaten for a few days!
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Ambience: Well appointed pleasantly unhurried atmoshere with what I suspect is a background of Chinese Muzak
Food: Quite by accident we enjoyed several dishes which are not on the printed menu. Deep fried battered oysters and steamed scallops in a ginger sauce was delicious. The vegetarian san chow bau was fully up to expectation and the Bailing mushrooms with bokchoy, broccoli and snow peas is a superb vegetarian dish. The atlantic salmon with battered snow peas another unusual dish. Sweet and sour prawns were distinguished by the fine balance in the sauce and the crunchy very fresh prawns. Finally the crispy boned duck with plumb sauce was extremely tender, looked good, tasted good and had excellent texture. Generally I am not impressed with Chinese desserts. There are no pretensions about the icecream its Rickitts and its very good rich creamy and full of flavour
Wine: The 21 page wine list should satisfy most patrons. Plenty by the glass. Bottles from about $35 upwards. We enjoyed an O'Leary Cabernet Merlot @ $38 a bottle
Price: Quite expensive but you can eat cheap if you wish - there is a pre show dinner $25 Bit like a business lunch We paid $45 per person for the food and ate really well
Comments: Top quality
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Ambience: Crowded bustling and happy
Service: When the waitress asked if the Cabernet Savignon was red I suspected I might be dealing with an amateur!
Food: Quite tasty although totally lacking refinement. Good size serves. Fish and chips a nice peice of whiting in batter a small green salad and a mass of crisp thin chips was cheap at $13.50 and the Fettuccini Calabrese with chicken and mushroom in a white sauce reasonably satisfying
Wine: Licenced or BYO If you want something good
Price: About $45 for two courses for two
Comments: Open for breakfast lunch and dinner and serve 'till about 11.00pm probably best for Breakfast or supper
Friday, November 04, 2005
Ambience: Rather dark (they need a cherry picker to change a light bulb) but filled with the feel of an elegant old building. The original bars sparating the tellers from the public are still in place. Enormously high ceilings are well in proportion with the very large eating space. A very comfortable space.
Service: Very patchy. Our waitress, apparently having just moved from breakfasts, had very little idea about looking after our wine needs but tried hard
Food: There is a good range of fish and meat dishes on the menu $25-34 supported by interesting entrees $16-21 and very good desserts about $15 Very tasty well presented, good size serves, steak cooked as requested. I thoroughly enjoyed the Raviolo entree and the prawn salad was also well received. The twice cooked duck (breast and leg) with shitake mushrooms and green vegetables with reduced master stock could hardly have been better. The filet steak on a bed of parsnip puree was tender and the grilled Barramundi praised by my guest.
Wine: Inexpensive small range by the glass and modest range by the bottle
Price: About $100 for two plus wine
Comments: It was a pleasure to have such a good meal in such fine surroundings. I'll happily recommend it to my friends
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Ambience: Large carpeted room in which everything speaks of modest uncluttered quality
Food: I had the Spring Degustation menu ($98)
Salad of asparagus with tallegio, caramelised walnuts and parsley in walnut dressing Delicate and tasty
Steamed Moreton Bay bugs with shaved apple, watercress, fennel and Meyer lemon salad Rather dominated by the lemon
Terrine of pork hock, white beans & chorizo wrapped in bacon w baby leaves and radishes
A light Cappuccino of fresh morels dusted with porcini powder
Grilled cutlets of spring lamb on artichoke & dutch carrot stir fry w risotto fritters & thyme glace Surprisingly tough lamb
Selection of cheeses with condiments "Salzburger Nockerl" Hot souffle w hazelnuts, chocolate chips served w icecream, fruit & hot chocolate sauce.
A la carte there is a good range of entr'ees ($15-23) Mains ($27-34) Desserts($13-17) and soups and side dishes.
Wine: Good range reasonably priced with the exception of Fred's Red a ridiculously cheap ($22 a bottle) cab/sav which is acceptable though neithe the connosseur or the wine buff would find it satisfactory
Price: As above
Comments: A good place for a special night out tho' a bit on the expensive side.
Score: 14.5 - 15/20
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Attica Underrated initially worth a third try 3rd time lucky fabulous now 17.5/20
BALA DA DHABA Yet again! Retains all it good things and all its faults I still like best or takeaway
Bamboo House Wonderful food in a tired setting
Bistro Moncur Not quite as good as I first thought 13.75/20
C'EST BON It sure is
DADA NOI I liked it before I LOVE it now 16.5/20
ezard at the Adelphi So very good
IMPERIAL KINGDOM 10 times at least! Retains an even, very good, standard !6/20 for Yum Cha 14/20 for A la carte Not any more Slipping 14/20 perhaps!
FLOWER DRUM Despite John Lethlean and the AGF Guide remains a really good restaurant
FRANCE- SOIR Very very good 16.5/20
FENIX Three times Up with the very best 17.75/20 and yet again! Now closed I'm waiting for Raymond Capaldi to open at the former Mercy Hospital in East Melbourne
JAQUES REYMOND Very very good 17.5/20
RIPPLES Great for Yum Cha but I wouldn't rush there for a la carte
Ru Inn maintains a good standard
SAUCIER 3 times Service remains too slow 15/20 for food 12/20 for service
SILKY APPLE 13/20
STONES OF THE YARRA VALLEY Excellent
SUNGS KITCHEN RESTAURANT (YUM CHA) 16/20
SUPPER INN Little change in 20+ years not quite as good as ever Still need to queue at 10.30 pm They now take credit cards
VUE DE MONDE 7 times and counting! and as good if not better than ever 18/20
Ambience: Linen serviettes and table cloths, good quality cutlery and crockery, attractive original paintings interestingly framed by the wood surrounds make for a pleasing atmosphere
Food: We started with the Liquid Nitrogen palate cleanser, a parfait of green tea, lime, vodka and egg white poached at the table in a bowl of liquid nitrogen which was both fun and effective ($12) The entrees were quite magnificent the caramelised pork belly with Thai style coconut spaghetti is delectable and the 6 large scallops grilled on the shell topped with cheese mornay style and grated parmigano equally excellent. The troncon of greenback flounder was very well prepared but not as exciting as the rabbit leg stuffed with black bean and bacon served on a bed of rich creamed potato and surrounded by wild mushrooms. The dishes are not skimpy and even their bread is hard to resist so by the time it got to desserts there was no room to enjoy their 'best dessert of 2005' a Tuille of turbinado sugar, bell pepper jam and cucumber white chocolate. Next time!
Our waiter was happy to explain the way dishes were prepared and translate the French terms on the menu but there is also a glossary at the foot of each section of the menu
Wine: Modest range available by the glass $8-12 Reasonable range by the bottle.
Price: About $140 for a really good dinner for two
Comments: This is another excellent restaurant in the same league as Circa and not far behind Vue de Monde
Well things have changed at Fenix. A $1.2 mil uptade has left the decor more like a bistro than a top restaurant (no table cloths now!) BUT, fortunately, the food is as good as ever and the waiters are as attentive as it isposible to be with out being in your face.They now have an eight course tasting menu $125 or $165 with matched wines as well as their a' la carte menu.Of course we had to go for the fancy stuff and how very good it is. Served on specilly designed plates with somewhat unusual cutlery these were superb small dishes
The follwing photo's show most of the courses.
These Yabby tails in sago and loganberry were extraordinary
Desserts - Above Pear with deconstructed apple crumble and olive ice cream and on left Frozen marshmellow and Tea ice cream
All this followed by Petit fours and coffee.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Service: Efficient, bordering on obsequious
Food: Varied from less than ordinary to very nice. The sweet and sour battered pork fellinto the former category the fried rice very ordinary whilst chicken and vegetables was quite acceptable and the beef in oyster sauce was very tasty and delicate. Desserts are extremely simple e.g. fruit salad and icecream or bannana fritter and icecream.
Wine: BYO or small inexpensive range by glass or bottle
Price: Cheap. A small banquet for 2 - soup 3 mains fried rice dessert and tea/coffee $23 or a slightly smaller banquet for $16/head. A la carte also very cheap
Comments: Handy for an inexpensive meal if you are in the area
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Ambience: There is a quiet private room upstairs and a large open space downstairs dining area Generally pleasant
Service: We were well looked after by Eric, the"Major Domo" and a team of attractive young waitresses
Food: The Gatronomic tour of China would need special arrangements as some of the dishes need 24 hrs notice to prepare. This is what we had: Shanghai specialties: Juicy Pork Dumpling succulent somehow retaining chiken soup in a pastry pocket, Beggars chicken stuffed with mushroom and herbs wrapped in a lotus leaf and foil and cooked for 8 hours in a clay pot (at some restaurants you are invited to smash this open with a hammer) de-licious! From Sichuan Hot and sour soup as good as any being at the same time hot sour sweet salty and piquant, Spicy prawns slightly glazed almost as crunchy as an apple and Sichuan string beans prepared with pickled turnip dried prawns and pork and cooked in a very hot wok 'explosive cooking!' From Xian: Shrimp roe tofu - evidently there are hundreds of ways of making tofu, crunchy shredded beef with leek and shallots. From Beijing Lamb roast (pre slow boiled for 6 hrs to reduce the fat before roasting, served with sauteed Tianjin cabbage and from Hong Kong Egg Fu noodles and a sweet dessert soup with sesame paste balls.
Served with Lichee tea and steam rice.
Wine: It did not really go with his meal but we had a bubbly Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier Chardonnay followed by a Pinot Grigio 2004 a Patrice Chardonnay 2002, a Tampranillo 2003 and a Patrice Shiraz 2002 all from Brown Bros. The bubbly and the Tampranillo were most suited to the meal. No I did not drink all of them and drive home
Price: The General menu is extremely inexpensive with most mains about $13 to 18 with some above and below that.
Comments: Sung is a master Chef This is a must go to restaurant for any lover of Chinese food who wants to get something more than well prepared Cantonese style food
This North Chinese Yum Cha is quite different from the Cantonese style served at almost every other restaurant. Choose from some 30 dishes on their menu - they are prepared on the spot.
Accompanied by an aromatic rose tea I particularly enjoyed the Szechuan spicy dried beef, the mustard cress w dried bean curd, the fresh crab meat dumpling, the Peking souffle prawns and the emporer meat dumpling.
Nothing changed my view that this is one of the most underrated Chinese restaurants in Melbourne
Friday, October 14, 2005
Ambience: A very clean almost sterile but friendly atmosphere in this large wooden floored room
Food: Plain well prepared dishes Nothing fancy We had a mixed dip and fried eggplant both very tasty entrees accompanied by a loaf of oven heated bread followed by lamb souvlaki and a whole barbecued baby snapper both served with roast potato and a large salad. Portions are good size a liitle overcooked for my taste but I should have said how I wanted the lamb cooked
Wine: We brought our own (which happened to be excellent) and there was no charge for corkage - probably an oversight
Price: Entrees $6-7 Mains $17 to 25 except crab
Comments: A no nonsense very good suburban Greek restaurant
Monday, September 26, 2005
Ambience: A sort of pub style indoor/outdoor place in an huge old mansion fairly typical of touristy country towns with a wine tasting area attached.
Service: Don't come for the service. It is friendly and helpful but very unprofessional They were apologetic when I pointed out we had three knives and one fork for the two of us they helpfully brought two more forks. They said it was against health regulations to serve tap water, there sad lack of salt and pepper shakers
Food: Sea perch fillet in light beer batter with thick crisp chips and salad was a huge and very good dish and the beef pie with mushroom filled with chunks of meat worthy of the acclaim.
Wine: Naturally they sell their own - not to my taste but very inexpensive
Price: Less than you'd expect $40 for two
Ambience: This clearly sophisticated venue is only a little diminished by the racket emanating from the piano bar next door
Service: Very attentive
Food: An almost fat free crispy skin duck was a little tough but beautifully spiced. Sweet and sour battered pork fillets with peppers , pineapple and onion, a classical dish, had a excellent sauce - not too thick nor too acid nor too sweet. We only had two dishes!
Wine: Expensive limited list. A modest range by the glass at about $10
Price:Range is from modest to fearsome eg Lobster $201/kgm, Coral trout $191/kgm, Abalone similar. Soups range from about $9 to $178 however a reasonable meal could run out at about $90 for two courses for two
Comments: Somewhat mystified by the odd prices. I very much enjoyed my meal here.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Ambience: Another typical waters edge informal eatery
Food: The entrees of scallops, Moreton Bay bugs and BBQ octopus were all very good size and very tasty dishes. Lobster Thermidor ($59) could have passed for Mornay! however the lobster itself was excellent.
The Creme Brullee with ice cream was very acceptable.
Wine: BYO at dinner only! A small list reasonably priced
Price: $60 will buy you an excellent lunch
Comments: Excellent products reasonably presented. Nothing fancy
Ambience: Great site on the waters edge at Marina Mirage, informal feeling with well appointed and well spaced tables
Service: Keen to please tho it took a considerable time a simple request for bread to be delivered
Food: Mussels in a red wine sauce were huge, delicately prepared and could not have been better. Top marks. Whiting fillets in light beer batter were about as good as you can expect from fish and chips. The lobster Mornay ($99) served on a massive bed of somewhat dry fried rice, with a large handfull of parsley plumped on the middle of the dish was tender sweet and obviously very very fresh. That it lacked in presentation wa unfortunate but there could be no complaints about the lobster
Wine: Inexpensive modest range
Price: Modest by Melbourne standards about $80 for 2 if you avoid the lobster
Comments: Despite the heaps of awards this restaurant has won there is still room for a lot of improvement
Thursday, September 22, 2005
So is Attica set for a stellar rise - I don't think so.
The degustation menu is in the general style of Interlude, Fenix and Vue de Monde. The number of dishes is less but the serves are bigger
The venue is something of a noise trap with bare walls, stone floor and reasonable height ceilings but it's pleasant enough.
the service was exemplary, the wines reasonably priced - we had a 2006 Villa Wolf Pinot Gris ($38) and the presentation of the food tops
These were complicated dishes with many ingredients, often in amounts too tiny to savour, barely a mouthful of anything. There were a profusion of textures but the tastes did not titivate the taste buds. the only exception was the venison which was cooked to juicy perfection.
For me Attica has a long way to go before it justifies the recent reviews! Here are some pictures The food does really look good It's not that the Emperor has no clothes it's just that there not quite regal - yet!
Homage to Alain Passasd's egg with a W.A. Truffle from Peche his Paris restaurant
Butter poached sea bass, spring onion, oyster sauce, oyster fritters, chive flowers, prawn paper
My original review follows but I would now increase the mark to 14.75/20
Introduction: Set in a former bank on Glenferie Rd a few doors from Hotham. Food is strongly Thai influenced
Ambience: White linen table cloths and serviettes, unrushed comfortable atmosphere
Service: Quietly efficient
Food: Menu is divided into Appetisers about $6, Pear in tea, carrot and sauterne custard, pear
The hand picked crab remoulade was a delicate and tasty appetiser. we also had the baby barramundi entree which was dominated by coriander and a sweet chilli sauce. For mains the beef cheek in alovely red wine sauce was outstanding but the side salad of smoked eggplant, rice, mushroom and a lightly boiled egg was inedible and tasted only of ?preserved lemon or lime juice and coriander. The pressed lamb shoulder was very good but a little dry. Grandma's chocolate cake also failed to inspire any special feelings and, surprisingly there was no ice cream available.
Wine: Fully licenced - no BYO. A very small selection. By the glass $7 the Long Gully Pinot noir was OK and the Sally's Hill shiraz excellent
Price: About $100 for two.
Comments: If you like Thai and you live around there give it a try
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Ambience: A plethora of young Japanese waiters and plain setting give Orita's a distinctly Japanese feel
Service: Confused and error prone. The manager did well acknowledging. apologising and doing a reasonable job of repairing the errors
Food: I had the Signature Omakase (Degustation) Menu ($68) upgraded from the fish to to the Lobster main course ($97). The half lobster tail came from a very small lobster and was not quite as good as I'd hoped a little dry and hard. All the other dishes were excellent. Beautifully presented and tasty. The marinated salmon, topped by a small ring of onion containing a colourful delicate edible flower was enhanced when combined with the light vinagrette lettuce. The stewed beef spare rib with a fine potato salad was very good as was the delicate sushi. Perhaps the best was the small cup of carrot soup- I have no idea how they did it but it was devine.
The crispy garlic fried rice was very acceptable and the dessert, a peanut mousse was interesting but not outstanding. Of the other dishes we tried the tempura was unsurpassable, there was a a Japanese prawn rice, a bit like a porridge, well worth trying. The pigeon, which turned out to be half a pigeon ($30) was extremely tasty but rather a small serve. Other desserts- mint chocolate mousse and the tempura icecream were not notable.
Wine: We drank some basic cocktails - G&T cheap at $6 and Mt Adam Pinot Noir (60) which I found indifferent. You can bring your own.
Price: Around $90/ head
Comments: After closing for 6 months for refurbishment there is little change to see in the main body of the restaurant. The food is as good as ever. Chef Hikaru Orita is innovative and interesting. If I gave out hats he'd get one
Friday, September 02, 2005
Introduction: Recently elevated to one hat by the Age Good Food Guide this South Yarra restaurant deserves to thrive
Ambience: Walls decorated with a couple of Ala Wolf-Tasker's striking works, and some pleasant still life works (for sale), provide a comfortable environment
Service: Very attentive
Food: Michael Bacash's signature entree Garfish and prawn Nori rolls ($19) stuffed with prawn salmon, King prawns and garfish, the head and tail of which decorate the dish, is outstanding with most delicate flavour imparted by the careful addition of ginger, garlic and coriander. The roast pumpkin and goat cheese Agnolotti ($15) are much stronger but also exellently flavoured with sage and a rich garlic brown butter. Mains: The grain fed Filet Mignon ($35) seved as ordered, very rare, was tender and extremely tasty with its port wine juice served with mushroom, onion and potato Dauphin (incorporating cheese). The fish of the day, founder, was surprisingly succulent A handsome bowl of fries and a garden salad completed the meal.
Wine: An adequate list by the glass or bottle but clearly not their specialty
Price: At the upper end of prices but, in my view, worth a visit
Comments: I have no hesitation in recommending Bacash for a very good dinner. A revisit did not quite live up to expectations.The two tiny stuffed Zuchini flowers were disgracefully expensive at $17. The spaghettii Marinara ordinary. The pork belly also a small serve very nice as was the sweatbread entree. The home made icecream less than ordinary but the sticky date souffle really excellent. A patchy dinner - only 15/20!
Monday, August 29, 2005
Ambience: The feeling is of old and refined. The odd conglomeration of prints, autographed photograhs, paintings and pictures on the walls reminded me of a teenagers bedroom!
Service: Attentative, informed and faultless
Food: This was outstanding. We had a crab tortollino with prawns and a mushroom rissotto wrapped in spinach for entrees both - two excellent tasty dishes. The cornbeef and mashed potato was made into a fabulous meal by the accompanying light, creamy mustard sauce. the roast duck was cooked to perfection. The soufle dessert was also as good as it gets!
Wine: By the glass our waiter advised us to prefer the Seville Pinot Noir which was a good choice. Surprisingly he later offered us a good size taste of the Geelong Pinot that he had guided us away from and another sample of a most excellent shiraz. Both confirmed his judgemen.
Price: Expensive. Our bill with coffee was over $200
Comments: A worthy winner of the Michelin award for overall excellence in 2003
Regretably the high standard was not maintained at a second visit 9 months later
The atmosphere of the place is unchanged and it was really nice to enjoy a quiet meal in their upstairs room.
Unfortunately the service was exceptionally slow and our young waitress seemed somewhat distressed.
Oysters Kilpatrick ($48) were small, the bacon overcooked and all together unimpressve. This was an unfortunate start to an otherwise impressive meal
the entree of Goat cheese souffle on a bed of grilled eggplant was excellent as was was the Chef's special roast pheasant in a wonderful jus. The potato that came with it was barely cooked and woody in the middle. The King George whiting fish and chips had a fine batter and the chips were crisp. A side dish of Caesar salad was also very good The raspberry Souffle dessert had excellent texture tho it might have been a little too sweet for some
Wine by the glass is very reasonable Scotchman Hill Pinot Grigio and Scotchman Hill sav blanc were both acceptable at about $8/glass
Score: 7 /20 second visit 15/20
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Ambience: Feels like an Italian wine bar
Service: Amiable and unhurried
Food: The chicken liver parfait ($7.50) is exquisite and would not be out of place across the road at Vue de Monde. The small antipasto ($16.50), quite a good size, with eggplant, tomato cheese, calamari, sausage peppers and meat was an honest dish of consistant good quality. The duck sausage on a bed of mash is a strange main course ($25.00) and not much to my taste. The pot roast rabbit was tender succulent and very tasty ($25.00), The veal saltimbucca was also excellently prepared ($25.00) The marinara made from fresh ingredients was another good dish. The desserts, of which there were only two choices by the time we got to them, were unusually good. The two flavours of semi-frodo, pear and passoinfruit were exceptional and the chocolate parfait really nice ($6.50) eac.
Wine: We had a 2004 Mornington Peninsula pinot noir - Massala by Kooyong ($35.00) I'd try something else if we return. There is a modest range of Italian and local wines at reasonable prices
Price: Good value
Comments: There is a fairly limited dinner menu which means it will be quite a while before I return. I have no complaints about the food some of which was quite excellent and well worth the visit.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Ambience: Gave me a feeling of an unpretentious 'good restaurant'
Service: Efficient, informed uniformed young staff
Food: The Oysters Alaska - stuffed with smoked salmon and crab meat with grilled Mornay sauce ($19.50 for 6) were fabulous. The oxtail and beef cheek ragu with baby turnips, shallots on a bed of crushed chats was filling and tasty, the meat cooked beautifully 'till it was falling off the bone. Crispy skin roast duck with prunes, blood oranges and armangac served with lightly cooked peas in the pod, young carrots and broccoli was also a handsome well prepared serve but sounded a lot fancier than it was
Wine: Licenced or what I rarely resist - BYO corkage $5
Price: Entrees about $12 Mains $21 to about $27 Desserts $10.50
Comments: Cuisine bourgeoise no doubt tasty substantial and sustaining
Sunday, August 07, 2005
Ambience: Sophisticated breathes quality
Service: Unobtrusive suits the venu
Food: The starters are excellent. we had Chilli flour dusted cuttlefis, Wood roasted herb bread and Prosciuto, olives and reggianno parmesan - all excellent
The Shellfish soup with blue swimmer crab fritte and rouille was very tasty but for those who can afford the cholesterol the Chicken liver parfait with Pedro Ximenez jelly was to drool over
Unfortunately the main courses were not that fantastic. I felt the slow cooked pork scotch filllet needed a few more hours although the crackling and the quince paste that accompanied it were excellent. The ocean trout was not distiguished.
Desserts looked good but again were not really special The liquorice sorbet most interesting and the panacotta laced with cognac (I think) was also quite good
Wine: A very pleasant Punt Road Pinot Noir at $50 went well with our meal
Price: On the expensive side Around $75 plus wine
Comments: I found the quality of the meal somewhat uneven but this is a fine venu and a good place to take a visitor
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Ambience: Hanging bits of supposedly sail cloth off the ceiling creates little effect on the generally quiet agreeable and comfortabe atmosphere
Food: the Ravioli stuffed with prawns and scallops in a Champgne and chive sauce is an outstanding taste however the sauce was a little on the gluggy side of perfect. The deep sea blue eye in a puff pastry shell was also excellent but again the cream sauce was too heavy. The roast duck and the duck Italian style differed only in what they were served with. The polenta with sage rosemary and onion stuffing accompanied by roast garlic and buttered brocholini in a light jus was very good and the vahronna icecream not to be missed.
Wine: Moderately priced with a reasonable range by the glass. I am not impressed when wine by the glass is poured without the bottle being sighted. In this instance the pinot we were first served had passed its use by date by some time. It was promptly repalced with a frsh glass
Price: Around $50 per head
Comments: Close to being very good
Friday, July 29, 2005
Ambience: With few tables occupied being being back to back with an irritable baby dulled any joy I might have felt about the surroundings. I also found the jaundiced cutlery unattractive
Food: Mains were just OK. A lobster san chao bau entree was tasty. A deep fried baby snapper was also good, however the fillet steak with vegetables was ordinary and a very small serve at that, the pork ribs in mandarin sauce was in a heavy batter and the pork had been stripped off the bone which did not leave the kitchen, and the beef hot pot was uninspiring.
We tried 3 desserts - a lemon tart, a triple chocolate creation and a passion fruit custard none of which I would ever order again
Wine: BYO and licensed - we brought our own
Price: At about $50 per person all in all I think it's expensive
Comments: Not my cup of Thai !
Score: Maybe 13/20
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Chandon to accompany the Scallop Prawn and unagi (Grilled eel) sushi entree
Ambience: The brilliant views of almost 360 degrees across the city and the Yarra lend an atmosphere unique to Melbourne
Service: Attentive unobtrusive
Food: Strongly Japanese influenced with Chef Ikuchi Arakone adding flavours which modify all Michael Lambe's dishes. They have a Sushi tasting plate with about a dozen to choose from including salmon prawn tuna and eel among others ($12 for 3 or$18 for 5). The raw scallop was a delicacy There is also a Sushi and Sashimi entree for $19.50 or as a main for $35.
We enjoyed Smokey Bay oysters, crab salad with a Thai style (Red nam jim) dresing, followed by a Spanner crab and truffle salad, tempura oysters and rhubarb compote - yes it is an odd conglomeration and then a main course of Yuba wrapped lamb noisettes - a nice dish made more interesting with a miso jus, some pea puree and a tiny apple and spinach salad with blue cheese. A dessert of rhubarb and apple crumble with custard and vanilla icecream was a pleasant though not special end to the meal greatly enhanced by the BrownBros 'Patricia' Botrytis Reisling (1999) Absolutely luscious. Get some from your local bottle shop if you can!
Wine: As the Chaine included wine I did not look at Taxi's offerings
Price: Not cheap but if you like modern Japanese style food you could not find a more outstanding venue to enjoy it.
Comments : An impressive addition to Federation Square however I did expect something more exquisite
Score: It's even harder than usual to to judge because of our special menu Say 14.5 /20
Ambience: Warm and friendly.
Service: efficient without being hurried
Food: Nothing to write home about. Everything is OK even quite good but nothing is special. The fishn beer batter is frozen (Hake) The pork belly, the rissotto and the pasta pretty ordinary despite the somewhat fancy descriptions on the menu. Their Burger is substantial, as it should be for $17. Mains run from $17 to $26 with desserts around $10.
Wine: The 2003 wine I ordered turned out to be 2004 which the waitress failed to note. The 2003 being not available we tried a Red Hill Pinot Noir which was corked. The replacement from Tamar (Devils Ridge was just passable but not cheap at $36 and that was about the cheapest wine on the menu!
Price: There is a lot better value around for about that price
Comments: Regretably the name may be there but Jaques Reymond's magic is not
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Ambience: The entrance to the building is not quite finished which sets a slightly unsophisticated tone. The dining areas are comfortable, the decor simple, the tables well spaced and initially set with rustic style crockery.
Service: Initially very slow. I was peeved at being asked to come at 7.30 rather than at my preferred time of 8.00 pm and then to find myself waiting almost half an hour before a waiter arrived to discuss the menu and a little more irritated when the ice water, poured from an elegant jug was slightly warm and had no ice
Food: The main task was to choose how many courses to have (We chose 7) and ensure that any food fads or restrictions were not breached. After that the menu was a series of surprises - I should say delightful surprises
An initial offering a cup of truffle jelly covered with potato mousse with truffle oil was rich in flavour and an excellent start. Our first course was a cervisce of scallop on shredded celeriac on a remoulade sauce decorated with dots of squid ink around the margin. This was a delicacy most beautifully prepared and presented. This was followed by a mushroom rissotto using reconstituted cep mushrooms, you may know them as porcini mushrooms, which had a rich very strong flavour and was a little oversalted to my taste.
The next course was a cherry tomato creation including tomato on milk fed buffalo cheese, a Sorbet, a tomato torte.
The next course was a terrine of foie gras. Sandwiched between a leaf of Savoy cabbage and layers of Spanish pork proscutto the foie gras was served with Pui lentils and the most delicate small leaf cress salad
The next course, even more outstanding than its predecessors was a tain of linguini flavoured with truffles, beneath a delicate barely cooked quail egg, and surrounded by a delicate crustacean meat which I presumed to be crab
We then had a superb palate cleanser a clear tomato consomme with small cubes of jellied tomato
The next course was a duck cassoulet with Spanish style ham sausage and white beans
Another chef's offering a miniature bomb alaska with a raspberry sauce got us ready for the dessert
The mystery dessert was a trilogy including a rich chocolate tart chocolate pudding.
Finally we were offered a selection of petit fours served on a cute silver multi level candle stick like device (for want of a better word)
For the record here is the menu
Thursday 21st July 2005
Ceviche of scallops over a celeriac and apple remoulade,
bound in truffle mayonnaise, completed with Yarra Valley salmon roe
Risotto aux ceps
Ferron Arborio risotto infused with ceps
Tarte Á la tomate confie et au fromage
Confit tomato and mozzarella filo pastry tart with marinated anchovy,
crispy sage and Ligurian olives
Terrine de foie gras
Terrine of Strasbourg foie gras, layered with braised cabbage,
confit rabbit, wagyu salami and a duxelle of wild mushrooms,
served with sautéed Du Puy lentils and sherry vinegar
Linguini 'a la carbonara'
House made linguini wrapped with Spanish Cardoso ham,
accompanied by a soft quails egg and spanner crab
Consomme froid a la tomate
Delicate tomato consommé with gazpacho jelly
Cassoulet de canard
Duck cassoulet set into a puff pastry vol au vent with white beans,
roast breast and duck sausage
Fondant au chocolat
Manjari chocolate fondant, blood orange granita
encased in chocolate bread, served with milk ice cream
Notre sélection de cafés, thés, infusions et petits-fours
A selection of coffee, teas, infusions and miniature teacakes
Wine: Extensive range of Australian French and Italian from about $50 upwards. We had an excellent 2003 Calledonia Pinot Noir from Gippsland.
Price:We paid $110 a head for the food
Coments: It was odd that the expensive heavy cutlery did not rest on the raised edge of the plate and kept sliding onto the plate. Minor irritations aside this is a culinary experience worthy of the best restaurants in the world. Shannon Bennett is a most imaginative and creative Chef a master in his field For more information and reviews see their web page at www.vuedemonde.com.au
For those really interested we sat at the Kitchen Table, see comment and here is the menu
friday 16th september 2005
Mousse de saumon fumÉ et d’estragon façon
‘tom cooper’ au caviar
‘Tom Cooper’ smoked salmon and tarragon mousse,
salmon crisp and Beluga caviar
~Risotto aux truffes
Classically inspired Italian summer truffle risotto
~Ballantine de faison au foie gras et À la mousse de pistache
Ballantine of pheasant with foie gras and pistachio mousse,
served with quince jelly
~FRICASSÉ DE COQUILLAGES
Braised prawns and crayfish sitting in a crispy puff pastry case,
the juices emulsified with butter and tarragon
~CONSOMMÉ FROID À LA TOMATE
Delicate tomato consommé with gazpacho jelly
~SuprÊmes de volaille strasbourgeoise
Poached Kangaroo Island chicken breast, leg meat tortollini,
served with albaforino sauce and white asparagus
~Echine d’Agneau pochée au cous cous de safran
Roasted loin of lamb with saffron cous cous, espice sauce,
babaganoush and aubergine crisps
~Soufflé aux fruits de la passion
Passionfruit soufflé with raspberry sorbet, dusted with strawberry sugar
~Coupe de chocolat, trois parfums
Chocolate espresso cup filled with caramel mousse, orange syrup,
Grand Marnier and milk cappucino
~Notre sélection de cafés, thés, infusions et petits-foursA selection of coffee, teas, infusions and miniature teacakes
For my 4th visit we had several previously untried dishes including a crabclaw and shredded crabmeat in a light creamy tomato sauce and a "deconstructed" cassoulet both most excellent I highly recommend them.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Bayswater Brasserie is located at 32 Bayswater Road,in the infamous Kings Cross, Sydney, and offers Modern Australian cuisine to Sydney’s trendy and well-heeled yuppie set. Its dishes are inoffensive, based on simple, fresh ingredients that continue to impress regulars and visitors alike.
Bayswater Brasserie strives to provide the diner with the ambience of a Parisian bistro. Whether it achieves this or not is entirely subjective, but what the restaurant does achieve is an environment that is entirely comfortable; the design and layout of the restaurant offers a level of privacy to each table, but the energetic vibe of the restaurant creates a warm and exciting place to dine.
The menu offers a good selection of appealing dishes. So much so, that it is one of the few restaurants where I have found it extremely difficult to choose between dishes. My table of ravenous twenty-something girlfriends, all of whom have very healthy appetites, decided to start on a selection of oysters, which were freshly shucked and served with eschallot vinegar before our eyes.
My partner often criticizes me for not being particularly adventurous when it comes to ordering out. So, I decided to go against my usual habits, and ordered Crisp Pork Belly with Celeriac Remoulade, something that I have never eaten. I was thoroughly disappointed with the dish, not so much because of its execution, which was clearly outstanding. What I found so thoroughly wrong with this dish was the pork belly itself. I should have ordered the Barramundi with Flageolet Bean Cassoulet or even the Prosciutto wrapped Chicken with Pea Puree, but perhaps I am too set in my ways. Two of my girlfriends ordered sirloin steak with porcini butter and chips, which is a favourite when girls dine out alone, and they were not disappointed. My last girlfriend ordered Blue Swimmer Crab Lasagne with Tomato Beurre Blanc, which was positively delicious!
We were all on the verge of tears when we were politely informed that the Raspberry Bombe Alaska had sold out, which we had been eying of at the table next to us, but were able to choose two other indulgent desserts. Conscious that we had already consumed a huge amount of rich food, we chose to share two desserts between the four of us, which was a perfect end to the meal. We chose a Passionfruit Soufflé with Mascarpone Cream and Chocolate Marquis with Frangelico Ice-cream. I still don’t know what the fuss is about soufflé which has failed to impress me throughout my whole life, despite being treated to the famous Chocolate Soufflé at Maxims, Melbourne by my parents many times throughout my twenty-five years. However, the Chocolate Marquis with Frangelico Ice-cream was everything I expected and more. In fact, it was almost as good as a bag of Haighs Peppermint Frogs.
The girls shared a bottle of champagne and a bottle of white wine. I chose to refrain given that I was designated driver and don’t often indulge in wine in preference for a real drink!
Prices were competitive for a Sydney restaurant. Starters are priced at approximately $15. Mains cost between $22 for the vegetarian option up to $40. Desserts were $12.50.
A fabulous find that is well worth visiting on your next trip to Sydney.
Contributed by TB