Monday, February 17, 2014

Montrachet (Brisbane) 02/2014

At short notice I made a quick trip to Brisbane. Anxious to find a good place to eat I googled the best 10 restaurants in Brisbane and choose Montrachet because it had a French style degustation menu and sounded good. It came as a surprise to me that three Brisbanites, including my cab driver, had never heard of the place. 
It's in Paddington, quite close to the city, in a street crowded with cafe's and restaurants. It's decor is French Bistro style with about 10 tables set with white linen tablecloths and good quality cutlery, crockery and glassware and a well stocked bar
with seating,

which is where I had my meal.
Service was pleasant and prompt. Chef Thierry Galichet, a jovial well rounded gentleman, came and introduced himself to me soon after I arrived. He is an extremely hospitable, gregarious and exuberant character. One of seven children he was drawn to cooking from an early age and has spent over 30 years, mostly in his and his wife's own restaurants. It is a tribute to his cooking that he has succeeded in this very difficult environment.
Montrachet offers a choice of either a seven course degustation meal ($95) or an la carte menu. I was happy to try the degustation.
First course was a prawn in a light herb crust served with a slice of lime. This tasty morsel was excellent. the herbs adding flavour, the crust just right and the prawn fresh and meaty.
This was followed by Manuka smoked salmon on a bed of fresh crab salad. A nice entree but nothing special.
The next course was interesting. Seared Japanese scallops on a pesto risotto with crispy bacon. This is a simple sounding dish with every element offering the possibility of problems. In fact every part of the dish was excellent, the scallops barely cooked, were sweet and moist, the risotto creamy with every grain of rice well cooked but firm, the flavour not overwhelming. A really good dish.
Glacier 51Toothfish, named after Australia's only glacier, is sustainably farmed around Heard Island, in the Australian sub Antarctic. It is not often seen in fish shops or on menus. The firm flesh of the fish is snow white, flakes easily, reminiscent of cod, and has a delicate flavour. Served here with a butter sauce on a tomato relish and topped with strips of crisp onion it was excellent.
Next came the 'Piece de Resistance'! A nice piece of fillet steak served on a bed of spinach and truffles and topped with a good size slice of foie gras de canard. This was in a very good jus which, thankfully was not too intense. Absolutely superb. The only failure was that I asked for the steak to be cooked 'black and blue' that is just seared on the outside and only warm inside. In this case it was medium rare. Otherwise it would have been welcome at any Michelin star restaurant. 

 While I was mulling over the choice of cheese, a triple cream Boursault from Normandy or a Chaumes a pale mellow full bodied cows milk cheese from Perigord I was releived of the problem as a handsome serve of both appeared before me. Both the cheeses were super and the truffle honey that came with them could not have been better.

The final course was the very French Crepes Suzette served with vanilla ice cream.
 As their web site puts it Montrachet’s creators Carol and Thierry Galichet love to share good times with others and a measure of the success of all of their restaurants must lie with their genuine attitude of hospitality. They rarely advertise, preferring as Thierry puts it .. to “advertise on the plate”, and after a quarter of a century of success he would be justified in his thinking.They invite you to taste their world through French eyes.
They serve seriously good food cooked with attention to detail, presentation and well matched flavours. Fully licensed they carry a fair selection of French wines. 
Thierry is a warm, gregarious larger than life character with a love of cooking and eating.

Score: 16.5/20

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