Friday, March 27, 2009

Brown & Do (Albert Park) 09

This little restaurant seating about 40 in its front room

and 10 at the rear, at the former home of L'Oustal on Bridport St., has been getting a lot of publicity lately. Talented chef Greg Brown, who trained at Trois Grois has
redesigned the menu to the extent that there is no longer any Vietnamese element in the eight course degustation menu that we ate. What matters most, though, is the food rather than its ethnicity and that is really good. First came a Prawn "Magic Mushroom" with apple and sherry mousseline. This is a beaut combination of sweet apple with its own texture contrasting with the mousseline, which could have been a little lighter, set off by the mushroom in its centre. A great starter. It was served with brioches,

formerly one of Greg's signature products. Tomato tea with olive tomato pearls and field mushroom crisp was worthy of any restaurant. As with all the dishes served it was colourful, nicely presented, very tasty (the tomato tea a clear consomme absolutely first class), and offered a range of textures that combined well. Diablo of lobster and scallop with fried leek, lobster oil and mustard had a very delicate flavour.

It needed a lighter surround to get the very best out of it. I would have liked bread to sop up the oil after the rest was eaten. Luscious. Oyster on spaghetti with champagne sauce is a rather meager serve as a course.

Regardless it could not have been better for taste. The pasta is under the oyster. The champagne sauce unbeatable. Braised belly of pork on lentils had been slowly cooked for 4 to 6 hours resulting in a moist and tender meat with what might once have been tough skin and fat melting in the mouth.

The Pui lentils were a perfect accompaniment. Daube of ox cheek was served with a heavily reduced very rich red wine sauce. Quite salty, served with an onion and a rolled sheet of pasta, I would have preferred something like mashed potatoes to lighten up this dish. Recalling Brillat-Saverins' dictum that a meal without cheese before the dessert was like a beautiful woman with only one eye we added a cheese dish. Two French ash and vine wrapped goats cheeses one two and one four weeks old. The older slightly stronger, both typical of that style of cheese. Dessert selection included a quite strong lemon souffle, a caramelised apple a scoop of ice cream and a small dish with cherries and a few squares of mango (I think) allowed modification of tastes according to the order in which things were eaten. Quite nice but so many calories.
Degustation is $85 Wines by the glass $8 to $12 Mains $36 but you would want side dishes
Comments: We enjoyed a good meal which was close to excellent. By the time we left the place was full but the noise level remained acceptable. Their lunch menu Friday and Saturday, is more Vietnamese influenced.
Score: 15/20
If you're lucky you might also get to see Greg's dog!


Ed said...

You chose better than us. And that proves the food is inconsistent. I'd probably give it 13.5.

Elliot said...

Sandra is more inclined to your view Ed. I really liked the tastes but the sauces were all a bit heavy. Still a better meal than most places.

Ed said...

Greg's classics were great but it was the Asian stuff all topped with that deep fried julienne of whatever. I sort of felt he was being exploited too. But i had a nice time playing with the dog in the back yard.

Elliot said...

Actually it is a bitch and she's very pregnant - want a Bassett hound? I'll post a pic later tonight for the dog (bitch) lovers!

Ed said...

I was just referring to her generically as a dog and sadly I don't think I'll be allowed a third.

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Elliot & Sandra said...

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