Friday, June 30, 2006

Les Boucheries Parisiennes

Introduction: Like a little bit of Paris at 268 Toorak Rd - close to Chapel St Sth Yarra
Ambience: Quite delighted me. Seating less than 30, small tables Subdued paper table coverings, good quality cutlery. The staff dressed in oh so French striped White and Blue uniforms covered by white, off one shoulder, aprons. As seen in an old photo of a, no doubt, Paris "Boucherie.

Service: Our waiter was an amiable fellow but a rank amateur in this business, with a minimum of schoolboy French, though, coming from Berlin, he spoke excellent German!

Food: Tasty bread rolls are kept in calico bags on a hook under the table

This is certainly a specialty meat restaurant. Not one fish dish contaminated the menu.
We skipped the intruder on the entree menu - Tapas 3, 6 or 9 but we could not choose them and went straight for the mains. Several were no longer available including the Ribeye for two and luckily (or not) I got the last rabbit. Well bit of rabbit anyway. The tenderloin, served warm blue, was slightly overcooked and the Bernaise sauce would not pass a cordon blue taste test. The rabbit, served in a La Cruesset pot, surrounded by garlic cloves and a small onion was far to dry.
The mains ($35) came without anything else but the side dishes of French fries, Turnips, and spinach ($7.5) were all really excellent. They are served in very attractive very small La Cruesset pots
The Creme brulee was about as good as it gets
Wine: A modest and slightly expensive list By the glass about $9

Price: On the expensive side at about $80 a head for a not particularly good meal

Comments: Lots of atmosphere

Score: 13.5/20

Bamboo House

Introduction: A long well established China town restaurant at 47 Little Bourke St.
Ambience: An elegant, well spaced facility

Service: Somewhat slow resulting in food being much cooler than I would have liked

Food: A vegetarian San Chow Bao was very pleasing ($7) as was an entree of 6 lightly cooked oysters and 6 delicately prepared steamed scallops ($30) Deep fried soft shell crabs ($7) are much the same everywhere and these were also very acceptable as was tea smoked duck ($33 for a half).

The crab with ginger on a bed of noodles was much to cold tho I wish it had been bigger - a tasty morsel at, I think, $60/kg.
A steamed fish in a light oyster sauce and a serve of chinese mushrooms and mixed vegetables completed a meal just short of being excellent
Wine: Whilst they have a good list you can bring your own which we did -corkage $10

Price: $75 per person gets a pretty good meal

Comments: It took about 20 minutes for steamed rice to arrive after we ordered it. This and the delay between cooking and serving detracted from a very good meal

Score: 15.5/20

BG Dumpling Restaurant

Introduction: A replacement for Tasty Cooking at 78 Kingsway Glen Waverley
Ambience: Functional. Enlivened by a substantial number of young Chinese patrons

Service: No frills. Efficient

Food: Nothing to write home about! The recommended hot and sour soup had run out. We tried a won ton dumpling dish and a couple of nameless dishes that looked interesting we saw others eating.

They are substantial (one we decided to take home and it needed two containers) but not exciting to the palate
Wine: They had none!

Price: Extremely inexpensive $8 to $12 for most dishes

Comments: A cafeteria style Chinese fast food shop. No cards Cash only of course

Score: 12/20

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Grange - Adelaide

Introduction: Reputed to be the best restaurant in Adelaide on the ground floor of the Hilton Hotel. Chef Cheong Liew is one of only two to receive an Order of Australia for his culinary efforts. (The other is Tetsuya!)
Ambience: Somewhat dated decorations. Badly affected by the noise emanating from the adjacent Brasserie and bar which are split level but have no seperation from one to the next

Service: Impeccably mannered young ladies with soft voices had to constantly repeat themselves to be heard and understood. We had no problems but some guests complained of long waiting periods between some courses

Food : I had the 8 course extravaganza titled 'Migration of Ideas, sensory experience'
The menu consited of the following
The four dances of the sea
Soused snok, raw calamari, squid ink noodles,octopus aoli, spiced prawn sushi
Pink snapper fillet, basil dressed pencil squid, black mussel salad.
Snapper head couscous
Sharkfin soup dumplingin venison consomme, poached quail egg
Mamak style marron, coconutfish peppers, fried spatzle
Moscovy hen breast, Cherry vinegar sauce, duck leg in turnip, almond saffron duck liver in pastry
Spiced Wagyu loin, stir fried shitake sugar snap pulse with rocket potato tortellini
Saffron grenadine orange salad with blood orange granite, white mulberry
Grange Dessert Dance
Black rice palm sugar pudding, praline torte, chocolate figs, watermelon fume'

None of these are small serves and after the complimentary lightly cooked oyster with herbs in light soy my ability to appreciate good food began to diminish well before the end of the meal
Everything was quite excellent without picking out any specific item however I rather wonder why so many of the items were there at all. Apart from the shear volume of food there was some lack of balance in the dishes and, of course, between them too.
Wine: There is a good selection by glass or bottle. For $89 they will match each dish with an appropriate wine

Price: $159 for eight courses, $104 for 3 courses or a la carte

Comments: Certainly a culinary experience

Score:16 /20

Urban Bistro - Adelaide

Introduction: Set on the ground floor of a former Maternity hospital now converted to upmarket apartments on Fullarton Rd Rose Park
Ambience: No frills cafe style

Service: No frills but helpful.

Food: After a very tasty plate of crisp bintji potato with rosemary salt ($6.5) I had the roast pheasant with endive and pheasant meat salad. Taste was good but this would not fill a hungry client. The toasted cocunut rice with candlenut prawn ($16.9) was also tasty but rather small. The five spice duck pie with chilli, onion jam and chard ($24.9) was probably the pick of the menu. The Side dishes - truffle mash ($6.9) grilled asparagus with soft egg and truffle parmesan were interesting unlike the dull rocket salad

The praline souffle with toffee almond gelati ($13.5) was very good which I would not say for the Passionfruit curd tart with Italian meringue which was fairly ordinary 'tho prettily presented
Wine: BYO corkage $15/ bottle is pretty hot for a fancy cafe
Price: $55/head gets you quite a tasty meal but will probably leave you hungry
Comment: Needs a much nicer venue, better appointments and more comfort and better size serves but the food was very good.
Score 14/20

Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone

Introduction: Formerly the Bluestone Cafe at 557 St. Kilda Rd, immediately adjacent to Wesley College
Ambience: In a wonderful old building, formerly the dining hall and kitchen for the school for the blind this space is even better than it's namesake restaurant in Adelaide. Reeks with atmosphere.
Evidently there are about 30 of these franchised restaurants around the world.
Service: Extremely helpful and informative
Food: An entree of deep fried battered mussels with a herb sauce was excellent Mains are similar to those in Adelaide with some variations - I enjoyed a pot of mussels cooked with pumpkin, pine nuts and ricotta. For the less adventurous the Mussel Mariniere were superb.
Wine: A different range of slightly more expensive wines by the glass ($8) and a good range of beers.
Price: 10 - 15% dearer than Adelaide, as most things seem to be.
Comment Good food and good value - good for a fun night
Score: 15/20 Do remember this is marked as a Bistro

Belgian Beer Cafe - Adelaide

Introduction: Set in a large, drafty, dark wood panelled room at 27 Ebenezer Place in the heart of Adelaide
Ambience: Plain, old style with lot's of atmosphere
Service: Pleasant
Food: They specialise in mussels prepared with a variety of 'soups' or sauces that they are cooked in. Served in the traditional Belgain pots a kilogram of mussels and a large serve of Belgian style potato chips make a substantial and tasty meal. Generally cream sauce, red sauces, curry and chilli styles are available. They also had a very good fish stew. For the non shellfish eaters Ordinary fish and chips, steak or poultry are also available. They also served an excellent chocolate mousse ($10)
Wine: Well of course they specialise in beer, particularly Belgian, of which Stella Artois is the most popular but there is a good variety for the more adventurous. Wine is also available at very reasonable prices (=$6.5) by the glass or bottle
Price: Mains about $21.5
Comment: an excellent place for a Bistro meal specially for lovers of mussels
Score: As a Bistro 15/20