Saturday, October 29, 2005

Le Gourmet

Introduction: At 366 Albert St opposite the park this quiet restaurant belongs in the fine dining class
Ambience: Large carpeted room in which everything speaks of modest uncluttered quality

Service: Professional

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

Recenly revisited restaurants

THE ANGLIS Looks much better than it is. Special Chef's dinner was very poor value expensive and little better than ordinary food. left hungry! 13.5

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




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


Introduction: Close to Victoria Gardens on Victoria Street Richmond This is one of the "new wave" restaurants serving adventurous dishes - French international but out of the usual mould.
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
Service: Faultless
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

Score: 17.5/20

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.

Above Is a smoked Tuna broth with field and dried mushrooms
These Yabby tails in sago and loganberry were extraordinary

Lightly cooked Barramundi with a delightful Turnip mash and vegies
Above the right pic of medium rare rump of lamb on an eggplant mash with baby honeyed leeks

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.
The asymmetric plates are not the result of my indifferent photography!!
Worth every bit of 17.75/20

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Wong's Cafe

On Glenhuntly Rd a few doors toward the beach from Orrong Rd This is a fairly typical suburban Chinese restaurant.
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
Score: 13/20

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sung's Kitchen Restaurant

Introduction: Close to Victoria Market at 118 Franklin St. patrons can enjoy a surprisingly inexpensive meal of very good quality.
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
Score: 16/20

Friday, October 14, 2005

George's Greek Tavern

Introduction: As you enter Malvern restaurant you pass a large refrigerated cabinet displaying prawns, snapper, crabs, octopus, flounder, sea perch, garfish and a variety of other fresh and attractive seafood. An encouraging start.
Ambience: A very clean almost sterile but friendly atmosphere in this large wooden floored room
Service: Casual!

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

Score: 14/20