Sunday, February 27, 2011

Embrasse (Carlton) 02/2011

We first came here shortly after it opened, two years ago. The chef, Nicolas Poelart, was in the kitchen and his wife was holding the fort in front of house. Chef Poelart is still in the kitchen but now he has at least four, black attired, well informed, wait staff serving at the dozen downstairs tables.
They offer an a la carte menu or a five ($90) or eight ($125) course summer degustation menu for the table. Of course we want to try everything so it was the eight courses for us. They do offer up to $45
off the a la carte menu for Entertainment Book subscribers.
Beginning with a small offering of an amuse bouche, two very delicately flavoured morsels.
The spoon on the right has a Brazil nut in a mild garlic and herb infusion while the one on the left had and very lightly flavoured herb which I enjoyed but about which I cannot illuminate you further, never having heard of it and not quite getting it's name.
The first course was Meli Melo of vegetables, emulsions and purees, home grown and foraged herbs and flowers. Served warm this marked the major element in the character of the rest of the meal.

The whole meal was a triumph of artistic presentation and of mild but distinct though delicate tastes. No single part of each dish was a dominant taste, except the meat dishes, and all blended beautifully. Some emulsions are hidden here but they included garlic, black and green olive, pumpkin. Edible flowers and thin sliced vegetables, a floret of cauliflower and broccoli, green leaves with no hint of bitterness and more. $22 on the menu it was SUPERB.
Slow cooked king prawn and avocado, sea water cream, cos, crispy rice, barbecued zucchini, flakes of soured milk, ($20) had fabulous tastes of the sea. It was also remarkable for the variety of textures combined on the plate. This dish also came with a mixed very gently dressed salad.
On the menu John Dory semi fried semi steamed in capsicum, spinach, cauliflower, had different emulsions
including a surprising burnt carrot which did not offend at all with it's slightly burnt flavour. Stained by the peppers,the fish was white inside and very delicate.
They served three breads, an olive a sourdough and a smoky bread which I found particularly interesting, unusual and appropriate to the meal.

It's the round one.
Pork fillet glazed with fennel syrup, garden peas, apple/olive puree, wild flower pollen and red onion plum ($42 on the menu)

was a mouth watering tender succulent piece of meat with lovely accompanying flavours which would not be out of place in a 3 star restaurant.
A Warnambool lamb loin with beetroot, bergamon and soy milk

was supported by a serve of the famous Aligot, a cheesy mash potato.
This is a side dish not to be missed.
A cheese platter

was followed by a dessert of local berries, organic honey custard, 'broken glass', not the real thing, and coriander. These few sprigs were a pleasant contrast to the sweet berries,

even for someone who, generally, does not care for coriander.
Finally a chocolate and hazelnut parfait, forest floor, sorrel and mint granita

provided any extra calories for the trip home in the most palatable way. For a better viewThe reasonably priced wine list has been upgraded since their new maitre de, Cam, formerly at Attica, took over. Matched wines are available for the degustation menus - $65 or $95 and Cam's expertise is always available. We enjoyed a Lillee and a 2009 Best's cab/sav which was much better than the 2006 version of the same wine I had a few nights ago.
I'm not yet used to my new camera and these pic's no way do justice to the presentation of the dishes. If Embrasse was good two years ago it's even better now. The AGF has seriously under rated it with only one hat. It's knocking on the door for three.
Score: 17.5/20


thanh7580 said...

Embrasse looks amazing and I'm still eager to visit. I think the AGFG will probably increase their rating soon but they are still a very new restaurant and to get one hat so soon is good already.

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi Thanh
The 2011 AGFG came out a few days ago but I haven't seen it yet. Perhaps they've given Embrasse an extra hat. Regardless I'm confident you'll love it.

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