Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Court House (Berwick) 09

This upper class outer south eastern suburb only about 40 km from the Melbourne CBD seems, for no good reason, to have been over looked by the restaurant reviewers. Apart from the usual pizza and pasta shops there are several good places at which to eat including The Berwick Inn, Dante's, Clover Cottage which offers all you can eat at a very respectable smorgasbord and The Court House which boasts that it is number one in Berwick and I think it probably is.
It is housed in a National trust building, adjacent to its National Trust neighbour, formerly the Post Office both built in 1884 at No. 1 Gloucester Avenue.
The main dining room is the former court room. The witness stand and dock and the area occupied by the judge

remain intact in excellent condition. The room is illuminated by three impressive chandeliers, the whole creating a quite special atmosphere. Service was pleasant and informative for the meal that I had there courtesy of St John of God hospital.
For entree, described here as preliminaries I found the Lemon & pepper calamari
($14.5) deep fried calamari strips served with mixed leaf and cherry tomato salad with home made tartare sauce, a pleasant but uninspiring entree.
Bruschetta ($9.95)

warmed bread topped with tomato, red onion, basil and parmesan cheese with a drizzle of balsamic was, as promised, a simple, unpretentious dish.
Garlic Prawns ($15) was probably the pick of the entrees.
Six prawn tails sauteed in a rich garlic, cream and white wine sauce served over turmeric rice looked excellent.
For mains, called Supreme Court here I had a Rack of lamb with herb crust ($32),

a four point rack served with mash, a warm tomato salad and beans. This might have been more interestingly seasoned and certainly a serrated edge knife would have been helpful but it was a very juicy piece of meat.
Barramundi, ($32)

A whole barramundi deep fried until crispy, served with bok choy on a a shredded Asian omelette of spring onion and Chinese sausage dressed with a fantastic zingy sauce (their description) was seriously disappointing. It looked great but had been cooked to death and was very dry and totally lacking in taste. Photo is as it was served. I would have preferred it served with the head of the fish toward me.
Not Guilty - Just Desserts were indeed just desserts. Sticky Date pudding ($13.95)

was a warm pudding served with their (not very) special caramel sauce and a scoop of English toffee ice cream was unexceptional.
Chocolate mousse mille feuille ($12-.5)
described as layers of rich chocolate mousse and chantilly cream sandwiched between layers of flaky puff pastry served with shards of almond praline far from being a light and delicate dessert was an indifferent dessert. the pastry was heavy and the praline was rock hard, tooth fracturing quality toffee- inedible.
George Dore, a part owner of the property, told me the history of the place and the problems of council restrictions and access that they have to deal with. National Trust buildings certainly have plenty of problems but the Court House is is a wonderful venue, and I expect it to continue to punish or reward its clients, depending on their menu selection.Score: 13.75/20

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