Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Grossi Florentino

Introduction: Established almost 80 years ago this is one of Melbournes finest Italian restaurants at Bourke St.
Ambience: The restaurant has a sort of 'old world' atmosphere induced by the wood panelled walls with their antique style lamps.
Service: Seemed to be at two levels an experienced and attentive older group and a young overenthusiastic younger group who went about their duties with a relentless disregard for whatever was happening at the table.
Food: This is largely what I came for and I was not disappointed.
My tripe entree cooked to tender perfection could not have been better. The duck and wild mushroom filled tortellini with duck jus and caeamelised pear also excellent. Unfortunately the dry aged 250 day grain fed Angus beef was sold out and with apologies we ended up with a T bone steak which was extremely ordinary. The other main course tho was superb. The Glenloth pigeon, boned and filled with savoury pork and veal farce, roasted and served with grappa scented jus with white bean puree and scattered white lentils was so good my mouth waters at the thought of it.
Wine: They have a 19 page wine list starting at about $50 a bottle with lots to choose from about $80 a bottle. there is also a modest selection by the glass at about $15.
Comment: Apart from the a' la carte menu, which is due to change shortly, there is a tasting menu "Il Menu del Buongustaio" at $155/head or $225 with selected wines. it looks really good and I'll certainly have it next time if I can
Price: Most entrees are about $38. Mains, except Wagu and the Angus, $48 and desserts about $24. Tea or coffee is $8.
Score: 16/20

Golden Kingdom - Sydney

Introduction: At 147 Anzac Pde Kensington we found this pleasant looking restaurant almost empty at Sunday lunchtime

Ambience: Well spaced tables with white linen create a generally pleasing feel to the place

Service: Below average. I'm unsure where the breakdown in communication occurred that caused us, initially, to be served our battered prawns in sweet and sour sauce sans batter and the Peking duck to be served first when we asked for it to be last.

Food: Less than average. The pancakes with the Peking duck were about twice as thick as they should have been and the spring onion, cucumber or whatever virtually undetectable. On the second try the batter on the prawns far too thin and the sweet sour sauce far too sweet with no sour to it. The crispy shredded beef was also less crispy than it might have been. Only the chinese greens and the fried rice were up to scratch.

Wine: There is a limited wine list of inexpensive quaffing wines. $32 got us a bottle of acceptable Marlborough Sav/Sem. Blanc

Price: About $35 a head for a reasonable feed and a glass of wine

To me this restaurant is "mutton dressed as lamb" They also have a Yum Cha ordered from laminated pictures but I will not be coming back to try it.
Score: 12.5/20

Monday, June 18, 2007

Icebergs - Sydney

Introduction: Created by Mario Terzini, the man who started the very popular Cafe e Cuccina in Melbourne and was a major influence in developing the 'coffee culture', has found a magnificent venue at 1 Nott St at the end of Bondi Beach for his iconic Sydney restaurant. The views from the window tables (table93 is best) of the full length of the beach with surf crashing virtually beneath your feet is unparallaled
Ambience: An immediate feeling of quality and you know this is not going to be a cheap dinner. Lighting s almost entirely by candle power which is romantic but makes it extremely hard to read the menu. Eventually our attentive waiter offered me a small torch!!

Service: Reasonably prompt, full explanations of the specials as well as menu items where requested, faultless.

Food: Both the Frittata with black truffles and goats cheese and the pea soup with pork crackling were extremely tasty despite being slightly over salty. Fot me the pea soup, which was just thick enough for it to be posible to eat it from one half of the plate without it spreading to the other half, would also have been improved if some smoked ham had been cooked with it. The accompaning sourdough bread with olive oil, butter on request, was replaced promptly without request.

For mains we had the Wagu beef for two. Brought to the table for inspection before being cooked it was grade 6. Grades from 1 to 12 the last being almost entirely fat, 6 to 8 are regarded as the best. Grain feed for 400 days and well aged cooked medium rare and thick sliced it was a steak to die for. Remarkably tender with magnificent flavour. Dijon, English and seed mustards were offered but the horseradish went best with it. The accompanying Diacon salad was very lemony. A side dish of spinach went well.
The dessert of chocolate pudding, filled with chocolate and accompanied by a burnt vanilla icecream topped with pistachio nuts was a rich delight
Wine: We drank Henchke Pinot Gris (2005) and Mitolo Cab/Sav (2005) by the glass ($13 and $12)

Price:The Wagu at $165 made this a little more expensive than it might have been. Around $250 for three courses for two.

Comments: Apart from the views Icebergs is particularly highly regarded for its steaks, indeed they have a special, separate steak menu.

Score:16 /20