Monday, June 28, 2010

Canvas (East Hawthorn) 06/2010

As soon as we opened the door to the staircase leading up to this first floor restaurant we were hit by a wave of noise and it was only a quarter past seven! Whilst, no doubt, this meant that everyone was having fun I considered it a very mixed sign. I need not have worried. It is quite noisy but we managed to hear and talk comfortably through the night.

They offer an a la carte menu or a $75 banquet of dishes to share. We always like to have as much variety as possible so the banquet was the way we chose to go. It began with bread, ducka, a tomato tasting powder and olive oil followed by a small cup of Moroccan soup.
Thick and creamy in texture it was very rich with a light cumin flavour. The head chef, Pierre, was born in Algeria and trained in France and the French influence was evident in this soup. After a short pause, in quick succession, the main dishes were brought to the table. It took
only a few moments for the table to be filled to overflowing as dish after dish and tagine
after tagine arrived. A crisp, light pastry pie filled with moist chicken was delicately seasoned was the first course
after which there was no order as everything was on the table. Several fish dishes were the least impressive. Baked whole snapper filleted with preserved with lemon, paprika and olives did not appeal to me but the goat tagine with quince gruyere and Cinnamon Bourek
was superb, tender and tasty, accompanied by some marrow it was the best I've ever eaten. Not far behind were the lamb tagine with ginger, peas, broad beans and mint.

Two other sea food dishes, that we both liked better were Moroccan seafood tagine
and Sardine fritters with tomato and chermoula.There were also a variety of side dishes including taboule, Algerian salad, spiced potato and mint

and several more dishes that are all gently and tastefully spiced giving balance without offense. A meal prepared by a talented chef that everyone can find plenty to please with both vegetarian and meat dishes aplenty

Finally the dessert. This was quite nice, very sweet and quite an Arabic/Nth African collection but after this huge meal I could have done without it!
Here's the menu, off their web site.

$70 per person
$75 per person includes dessert

Freshly shucked oysters served natural or hot with chermoula and chickpeas $3.50 ea
Moroccan seafood tagine GF $24
Sardine fritters with tomato and chermoula $22
Roast Quail with duck sausage and egg bourek $26
Slow cooked Pork with scallops, braised onions and saffron tagine GF $28
Smoked Ocean Trout with cracked wheat and raisin $24
Prawns with chickpeas, cuttlefish and coriander GF $28

Baked whole filleted Snapper with preserved lemon, paprika and olives $38
Lamb tagine with ginger, peas, broad beans and mint GF $34
Chicken tagine with chickpeas, cheese and herb dumplings $32
Goat with quince, gruyere and cinnamon bourek $36
John Dory and Prawn tagine with spiced sausage GF $38
Chicken Bastilla with moroccan salad and cinnamon $32
Rabbit and Seafood paella with cracked wheat and pancetta $38
Couscous Royale with lamb sauasge, chicken and braised lamb shoulder $36
Vegetable Couscous with raisin jam $28

Salad of grilled Capsicum with cumin, feta and cayenne pepper GF $10
Algerian salad with olives and anchovies GF $10
Baby Lettuce with cinnamon dressing GF $10
Roquette and cracked wheat tabouleh $10
Green Beans with tomatoes, feta and olives GF $10
Spiced potatoes and mint $10
Couscous with sultanas and ghee $10
Score: 14.5/20


Shane said...

Hi Elliot and Sandra,

the dishes look very nice, I too try and always have as much variety of dishes as possible when going to restaurants, with out over doing it. My partner and I always have different meals that way we can try out each others food and get a good feel for whether or not the restaurant is worth coming back to...

Thanks for sharing... Nice photos by the way!

Elliot & Sandra said...

We have a problem with the meals because I like to try anything and everything but Sandra is less experimental and also will not eat some things. This makes sharing difficult at times but we manage pretty well most of the time.
We had no trouble at Canvas because of the large amount and variety in their degustation menu.
Good luck with you Melbourne restaurants. Do, please, tell us your impressions

Matthew said...

I agree the dishes look delish...

certainly a great way to get a good feel for the restaurant by trying the different variety of foods on offer, can sometimes get a bit expensive though...

Thank you for sharing your photos

Elliot and Sandra said...

There is nothing very delicate about this sort of meal. Food is always well and truly cooked and vegetables are never crisp which, I think, shows in the photo's BUT the food is very tasty.