Monday, September 26, 2005

Pioneer Homestead Mt Tambourine Qld

Introduction: Their banner proclaims they make the best pies!
Ambience: A sort of pub style indoor/outdoor place in an huge old mansion fairly typical of touristy country towns with a wine tasting area attached.

Service: Don't come for the service. It is friendly and helpful but very unprofessional They were apologetic when I pointed out we had three knives and one fork for the two of us they helpfully brought two more forks. They said it was against health regulations to serve tap water, there sad lack of salt and pepper shakers

Food: Sea perch fillet in light beer batter with thick crisp chips and salad was a huge and very good dish and the beef pie with mushroom filled with chunks of meat worthy of the acclaim.

Wine: Naturally they sell their own - not to my taste but very inexpensive

Price: Less than you'd expect $40 for two

Score: 13/20


Introduction: This multiaward winning (best Chinese restaurant in Australia 2003, best in Qld and so on) is one of a bevy of restaurants at Conrads, Jupitor Casino at Broadbeach
Ambience: This clearly sophisticated venue is only a little diminished by the racket emanating from the piano bar next door

Service: Very attentive

Food: An almost fat free crispy skin duck was a little tough but beautifully spiced. Sweet and sour battered pork fillets with peppers , pineapple and onion, a classical dish, had a excellent sauce - not too thick nor too acid nor too sweet. We only had two dishes!

Wine: Expensive limited list. A modest range by the glass at about $10

Price:Range is from modest to fearsome eg Lobster $201/kgm, Coral trout $191/kgm, Abalone similar. Soups range from about $9 to $178 however a reasonable meal could run out at about $90 for two courses for two

Comments: Somewhat mystified by the odd prices. I very much enjoyed my meal here.

Score: 16/20

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The Lazy Lobster

Introduction:This Gold Coast (Labrador) sister of a Sydney restaurant of the same name claims to have the freshest of lobsters and half price lunches, not including lobsters tho, every day.
Ambience: Another typical waters edge informal eatery

Service: Efficient

Food: The entrees of scallops, Moreton Bay bugs and BBQ octopus were all very good size and very tasty dishes. Lobster Thermidor ($59) could have passed for Mornay! however the lobster itself was excellent.

The Creme Brullee with ice cream was very acceptable.
Wine: BYO at dinner only! A small list reasonably priced

Price: $60 will buy you an excellent lunch

Comments: Excellent products reasonably presented. Nothing fancy

Score: 13.5/20

Omeros Bros

Introduction: Every person I spoke tp recommended this place as rhe absolute best sea food restaurant on the Gold Coast
Ambience: Great site on the waters edge at Marina Mirage, informal feeling with well appointed and well spaced tables

Service: Keen to please tho it took a considerable time a simple request for bread to be delivered

Food: Mussels in a red wine sauce were huge, delicately prepared and could not have been better. Top marks. Whiting fillets in light beer batter were about as good as you can expect from fish and chips. The lobster Mornay ($99) served on a massive bed of somewhat dry fried rice, with a large handfull of parsley plumped on the middle of the dish was tender sweet and obviously very very fresh. That it lacked in presentation wa unfortunate but there could be no complaints about the lobster
Wine: Inexpensive modest range

Price: Modest by Melbourne standards about $80 for 2 if you avoid the lobster

Comments: Despite the heaps of awards this restaurant has won there is still room for a lot of improvement

Score: 14.5/20

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I revisited Attica yesterday in reaction to the wholesome praise being heaped upon it recently. Age food writers seem to be spell bound and Gourmet Traveller chose chef Ben Shewry as best 'new talent' of the year 'tho he doesn't seem very new to me having been at Attica for 3 or 4 years now And Ed Charles had something of a rave review on his site (
So is Attica set for a stellar rise - I don't think so.
The degustation menu is in the general style of Interlude, Fenix and Vue de Monde. The number of dishes is less but the serves are bigger
The venue is something of a noise trap with bare walls, stone floor and reasonable height ceilings but it's pleasant enough.
the service was exemplary, the wines reasonably priced - we had a 2006 Villa Wolf Pinot Gris ($38) and the presentation of the food tops
These were complicated dishes with many ingredients, often in amounts too tiny to savour, barely a mouthful of anything. There were a profusion of textures but the tastes did not titivate the taste buds. the only exception was the venison which was cooked to juicy perfection.
For me Attica has a long way to go before it justifies the recent reviews! Here are some pictures The food does really look good It's not that the Emperor has no clothes it's just that there not quite regal - yet!

Homage to Alain Passasd's egg with a W.A. Truffle from Peche his Paris restaurant

A Almond cream, shaved squid, kinkawooka mussels and clams, candied olives, red gaspachio jelly! Smoked ocean trout, cured kingfish, pickled melon and and cucumber, lemonade fruit, soy vinaigrettte

Butter poached sea bass, spring onion, oyster sauce, oyster fritters, chive flowers, prawn paper

The worst photo but the best taste! Rare seared NZ venison, caramelised pumpkin,air dried quince, black pudding crumbs and beetroot

pear in tea, carrot and sauternes (not really tho) custard, pear cider, pop rocks

My original review follows but I would now increase the mark to 14.75/20

Introduction: Set in a former bank on Glenferie Rd a few doors from Hotham. Food is strongly Thai influenced
Ambience: White linen table cloths and serviettes, unrushed comfortable atmosphere

Service: Quietly efficient

Food: Menu is divided into Appetisers about $6, Pear in tea, carrot and sauterne custard, pear
The Dessert a taste tease gone in a bite cider, pop rocks
Entrees about $12, Mains about $27, Desserts about$12 and some small sweet things to go with coffee $2.5 up to $12
The hand picked crab remoulade was a delicate and tasty appetiser. we also had the baby barramundi entree which was dominated by coriander and a sweet chilli sauce. For mains the beef cheek in alovely red wine sauce was outstanding but the side salad of smoked eggplant, rice, mushroom and a lightly boiled egg was inedible and tasted only of ?preserved lemon or lime juice and coriander. The pressed lamb shoulder was very good but a little dry. Grandma's chocolate cake also failed to inspire any special feelings and, surprisingly there was no ice cream available.
Wine: Fully licenced - no BYO. A very small selection. By the glass $7 the Long Gully Pinot noir was OK and the Sally's Hill shiraz excellent

Price: About $100 for two.

Comments: If you like Thai and you live around there give it a try

Score: 13.5/20

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Introduction: Fusion food - Japanese modern at 34 Jackson St, Toorak
Ambience: A plethora of young Japanese waiters and plain setting give Orita's a distinctly Japanese feel

Service: Confused and error prone. The manager did well acknowledging. apologising and doing a reasonable job of repairing the errors

Food: I had the Signature Omakase (Degustation) Menu ($68) upgraded from the fish to to the Lobster main course ($97). The half lobster tail came from a very small lobster and was not quite as good as I'd hoped a little dry and hard. All the other dishes were excellent. Beautifully presented and tasty. The marinated salmon, topped by a small ring of onion containing a colourful delicate edible flower was enhanced when combined with the light vinagrette lettuce. The stewed beef spare rib with a fine potato salad was very good as was the delicate sushi. Perhaps the best was the small cup of carrot soup- I have no idea how they did it but it was devine.
The crispy garlic fried rice was very acceptable and the dessert, a peanut mousse was interesting but not outstanding. Of the other dishes we tried the tempura was unsurpassable, there was a a Japanese prawn rice, a bit like a porridge, well worth trying. The pigeon, which turned out to be half a pigeon ($30) was extremely tasty but rather a small serve. Other desserts- mint chocolate mousse and the tempura icecream were not notable.
Wine: We drank some basic cocktails - G&T cheap at $6 and Mt Adam Pinot Noir (60) which I found indifferent. You can bring your own.

Price: Around $90/ head

Comments: After closing for 6 months for refurbishment there is little change to see in the main body of the restaurant. The food is as good as ever. Chef Hikaru Orita is innovative and interesting. If I gave out hats he'd get one

Score: 15.5/20

Friday, September 02, 2005


Introduction: Recently elevated to one hat by the Age Good Food Guide this South Yarra restaurant deserves to thrive

Ambience: Walls decorated with a couple of Ala Wolf-Tasker's striking works, and some pleasant still life works (for sale), provide a comfortable environment

Service: Very attentive

Food: Michael Bacash's signature entree Garfish and prawn Nori rolls ($19) stuffed with prawn salmon, King prawns and garfish, the head and tail of which decorate the dish, is outstanding with most delicate flavour imparted by the careful addition of ginger, garlic and coriander. The roast pumpkin and goat cheese Agnolotti ($15) are much stronger but also exellently flavoured with sage and a rich garlic brown butter. Mains: The grain fed Filet Mignon ($35) seved as ordered, very rare, was tender and extremely tasty with its port wine juice served with mushroom, onion and potato Dauphin (incorporating cheese). The fish of the day, founder, was surprisingly succulent A handsome bowl of fries and a garden salad completed the meal.

Wine: An adequate list by the glass or bottle but clearly not their specialty

Price: At the upper end of prices but, in my view, worth a visit

Comments: I have no hesitation in recommending Bacash for a very good dinner. A revisit did not quite live up to expectations.The two tiny stuffed Zuchini flowers were disgracefully expensive at $17. The spaghettii Marinara ordinary. The pork belly also a small serve very nice as was the sweatbread entree. The home made icecream less than ordinary but the sticky date souffle really excellent. A patchy dinner - only 15/20!

Score: 16/20