Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Maris (Malvern) 09

Right at the start of Glenferrie Rd. at the Dandenong Rd end (no.15) is a surprising little restaurant. I was disappointed 18 months ago but it continues to get good reviews so we tried it again and I'm glad we did. The decor is unchanged. A wooden rocking horse in the front window, white artificial marble topped bare tables with chicken themed straw bread baskets - quite a homely feeling about it.
Before anything house made very crunchy bread was served with an olive and anchovy paste and an lovely amuse bouche of tomato jelly with a light foam was presented. We started with two soups - the crab consomme, with abalone, celeriac and tarragon, ($17) was tasty and well seasoned, the Jerusalem artichoke soup, an unusual offering, served with lots of goodies including a soft poached egg and black pudding, ($17) really excellent full of taste.

For mains the gnocchi were unusually soft and very bland. They were mixed with duck meat and outstanding duck liver and celery salad ($24)
I would have preferred a firmer texture.
The smoked free range suckling pork belly was super. Served with a rather minimal smokey potato cream and pickled vegetables ($33)

Very tender with a light smokey taste and aroma rising from the plate it was delicious. On another occasion we tried a couple of other dishes. An entree of grilled quail with fine barely, soft duck egg and shimeji mushrooms ($17)
was hard to identify from its presentation. The quail had been completely boned making it an easy dish to enjoy but the taste was extremely mild and modified by its accompaniments. A poached quince amuse
before the main was very pleasant. We then enjoyed a slender fillet of King George whiting with braised rice, chorizo and cuttlefish with a light mussel sauce,
a very delicate dish ($33), and a good example of slow cooked beef with swiss chard, fregola, radichio and blood orange. ($32)
This was so tender one would hardly need teeth to enjoy it and tasted great too. A serve of fried organic potatoes ($8)

was also much appreciated. Another palate cleanser appeared before the cheese. We shared a plate ($25) of French and Italian cheeses. Good size and good variety, one goats milk, one sheep and two cows milk but I could have done without the peccorino which I prefer grated on pasta.
Unfortunately the dessert, panacotta, with macerated figs and apricots with almond biscuit ice cream
softened and more or less melted before we got to eating it.
Prosecco still at $9 a glass was a pleasant accompaniment.
I think the dearest item on the menu is $33 and we ended up paying about $145 before the gratuity. It defies my imagination to come up with the answer to the question How do restaurants set their prices. Why is this dish $17 and that one $18 or $32 or $33 or whatever. I would be pleased to be enlightened.
Score: 15/20


Cherry Blossom Cupcakes said...

Hi guys, I have just discovered your blog and am really enjoying it, I've always wanted to trek out to Maris. Sounds good!

Elliot said...

Hi Cherry Blossom
We have been back to Maris again and will add a bit more to the review as I didn't really do it justice. It is really very good. It's a small place and pretty popular so make sure you make a reservation.

neil said...

I ate there last Saturday and concur with your comments; we'll certainly be going back. Your panna cotta may not have melted, ours were exactly the same, not enough gelatin to set it, in fact it didn't seem to have any set at all, was it really panna cotta or just a pleasant creamy dessert?

Did you get to try their smoked beetroot? Outstanding.