Monday, April 02, 2007

Mirka at Tolarno

Beware, self indulgent rant follows - but you *may* be interested to read Niels' self indulgent Mirka review: It's quite simple, just go.

Like Vines at Red Hill I simply couldn't fault the nosh, the quality of the food was such that I think you'd be hard pressed to find it at the best of the best of the overpriced boutique farmers markets. The entree's particularly were a really interesting combination of flavours; where everyone has jumped on the bandwagon of combining seared scallops with acauliflower and buttermilk puree, Mirka has decided that scallops can also go very well with black pudding and a bed of pea puree, and they're definitely onto something. The other entree we had was the stuffed zucchini flowers which are good even when cooked badly in my eyes, but again they've opted away from the typical tempura batter and lemon juice and gone for a more hearty and complex flavour.
The mains weren't as daring, rather relied wholly on great quality food prepared simply and cooked well. I had a fillet of Ox which was perfectly seasoned and cooked rare with a nice stack of very tasty thick cut chips, Stac went for the crumbed veal with cannellini bean and roquette salad. Both were delicious to put it mildly.
The wine list was very toffy with a bl--dy index at the front directing you to the various countries and as any wine list with an index containing half the world would infer - they're not shy with the markup on the bottles, but that's expected. We shared a bottle of De Bortolli 2003 Cab Sav' which was $60 for the pleasure, and it was a pleasure, though it was one of the cheaper options.
The restaurant itself was very cute and quite small. The main walls covered from floor to ceiling with Mirka's unique design really gave the place a positive glow - this was also greatly assisted by very friendly and non-poncy serving staff, though I think they did size us up as the plebs we are and treated us accordingly as I did overhear a lot of "certainly sir" and "excellent choice madame"'s from the adjacent tables.
Considering the menu is about the same price wise as Grossi Florentino's it's obvious they've cut some corners such as a lack of white linen but it really doesn't make a difference, especially if you're like us and are really only there for the food, perhaps the wine too....Prices aside I suppose my only other negative would've been the simplicity of the mains, by this I don't mean the ox should've come with some vastly complex sauce but rather one more sides to tie the dish together (rather than just effectively being steak & chips) and opposed to being steered towards paying even more for a salad or vegetable side, which would then have been too big to justify the cost of it and then mostly going to waste.
This is probably only a small bone of contention simply because at Vines last weekend, where although the mains were in the $35 range they didn't skimp on anything; offering a delicious amuse bouche to start with, coming back over 4 times to offer more bread despite us declining after the third serve(!) - primarily because we'd already greedily sopped up all the butter, oil and olive tapenade!! But also the mains came with a generous serve of vegetables as well as bringing out a large bowl of salad at no extra expense.
We had a peek at their lunch menu which is $30 for two courses, a glass of wine and a coffee and I reckon that'd be more than worth it's weight in gold - surprisingly not a stodgy pasta dish to be seen either!
All in all I couldn't have thought of a better way to have one final flutter of faux opulence before our lifestyles and our wallets decline into mortgaged poverty and our 30 year membership to the bbq club is issued. ----- Forwarded by Niels Marston


Elliot and Sandra said...

Great review tx Niels You havent given a mark but it sounds like about 16/20 and you've certainly encouraged a visit to The Vines at Red Hill!

Elliot and Sandra said...

Having now been to Mirka and enjoyed a very good dinner I would rate it as short of excellent because of several modest deficiencies. I don't want to pan it as some of the dishes were excellent but dry bread, part andcooked potatoes were unexpected.
Service was very good and I recommend the souffle - worth waiting for 15/20 for me.