Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Hotel Windsor (Melbourne) 04/2011

This magnificent old style hotel has been the watering place innumerable foreign and local dignitaries.Sir Robert Menzies, one of Australia most famous Prime Ministers, has a suite named after him in which he resided for some years. It has style and refinement and you feel it as soon as you enter the foyer. The dining room is an elegant space with well spaced tables, white linen and comfortable seating.
It offers both an al la carte menu and a pre theatre dinner, which we indulged in last night. It's a main course and an entree ($57), but we but we broke the mold having an entree from the a la carte menu (about $22) and I'm glad we did.
The meal began with an amuse bouche, a pea sorbet on bacon foam with tomato skin.

I love this idea, always a surprise, it gives chef's free range for their imaginations and often puts me in a great mood for the rest of the meal. This was a good combination of flavours but, though the chef defended their presence, the prominent ice chips in the sorbet detracted from it for us.
Sandra's entree, Mille feuille of wild mushroom with artichoke and parsley gnocchi and Reggiano foam was superb capturing the various flavours magnificently, especially of
the mushrooms, which seem to have been layered with pasta rather than pastry.
I had 17 hour smoked pork belly with confit of desiree potato, capers and a caperberry and gribiche inspired chicken broth. The piquant berry cut through the belly fat making both very appealing. Griviche refers to a cold French sauce made from hard boiled egg yolks emulsified with mustard and a neutral oil. This was a very mild and inoffensive version making a negligible contribution to the dish. It may have been more successful served in a broad bowl. Still, it was an attractive dish although the pork belly could have been more tender.
I chose the 350 gm rib eye for my main (about $40) served on a bed of creamy mash it was a very good piece of meat prepared as requested in a particularly good jus.

Fish and chips, trevally, was the only really disappointing dish. In crumbs, rather than batter, the fish was dry, stringy and tough. When Sandra pointed this out to our waitress she consulted the chef and Sandra accepted a replacement of rib eye.
Desserts were first class. A creme brullee was very light and smooth but,
good as it was it could not match the deconstructed avocado and banana vacherin on bitter chocolate sauce.
Vacherin is named after the cheese but its current relationship is only in its shape. It is a meringue dessert, usually presented as a tower of meringue filled with cream or ice cream. Modern versions may have slices or pieces of meringue in a variety of concoctions molded into a tian.
Served by attractive and helpful waitresses in beautiful surroundings this is a very nice place for a meal where quiet conversation is the norm.
Wines by the glass mostly range from $10 to $15. As the bottles may have been opened for some time it's best to taste before you buy.
Score: 15/20

7 comments:

neil said...

That rib eye looks suspiciously like a t-bone.

Elliot and Sandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi Neil,
Of course you are right. It even designated it as T Bone on the menu.
My apologies

KitchenSink said...

Pork belly is my favorite food in the world.

The items you ordered all sounded elegant and looked thoughtfully arranged, and oddly the fish & chips look like they picked it up from a take-out joint down the road!

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi Kevi
They looked like that but they didn't taste as good!

restaurant in melbourne said...

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Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi
Great to have your support!