Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Noir (Richmond) 03/2012

Recommended by a Francophile we found this small dark shop front restaurant, it suits it's name, in the middle of a busy shopping strip.We had no expectations and chose their degustation menu ($80) to take the pain out of making selections from a menu on which everything looked good. Even the clearly legible hand written menu was attractive.
We started with premium Pacific oysters, served natural but covered with a champagne granita. The oysters were excellent but ill matched with the granita which was dominated by sweetness, drowning any contribution from the champagne.
A stingray and baby tomato salad with pink grapefruit, basil and garlic croutons followed. Normally I avoid cartilaginous fish such as skate and stingray but shredded and mixed in this salad the fish was inoffensive, indeed quite bland in taste though it did add some textural variation. I would have preferred a sweeter flesh fish or perhaps crab. A salad of heirloom beetroot, with goat's cheese, apple, walnut and frozen balsamic was a pleasing surprise, the dome of frozen balsamic a cute and effective idea. A pickled beetroot salad was not special.Pumpkin is not a favourite of mine but the next dish, pumpkin and Parmesan gnocchi with peas, pine nuts and peppers was outstanding. The gnocchi soft as can be and extra flavour from the pine nuts was a bonus. Caramelized Atlantic scallops with ox tail tortellini on a cauliflower puree were three items that, despite their attractive presentation and individual quality, somehow did not seem to belong on the same plate. Crisp belly of pork with apricot and sticky wine sauce, peas and prawns was yet another odd combination but the pork was irresistible and the prawns hardly mattered.The last main course was eye fillet and braised shin of Black Angus with boulangere potatoes, apple and Roquefort which was as good as it could be. the steak was particularly good. A cheese plate was a bit on the skimpy side. It looks a little larger than life here. This was followed by a dessert, a deconstructed marquise cake.
I don't know how the cake got this name which usually refers to a cut of a gem stone, oval but cut to a point. Regardless of it's origins it is a chocolate cake, perhaps even a mousse cake. and it's rich and sweet. This one met those criteria and we loved it although I never saw the cake itself!
This was followed by a refreshing berry and fruit dessert which was a good end to a pretty satisfying meal. Although I found some of the ingredients on several dishes mismatched they were individually pleasing and we enjoyed the contemporary approach to the dinner.
Score: 14.5/20


Anonymous said...

What strange ideas about food! This restaurant is definitely not my cup of tea, thanks for sharing!

Elliot and Sandra said...

We certainly found the food combinations odd but for all that it was quite a pleasant evening.

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