Saturday, September 16, 2006

Three, One, Two

Introduction: Andrew McConnel's restaurant 312 Drummond St Carlton is in fashion just now (Sept 06)
Ambience: The stone floor, black wood half way up the wall and uninspiring stormy long, narrow landscape and old style kitchen chairs did nothing for me tho I did like the lamp fittings
Service: All the four waiters who served us were well presented and informative

Food: We had the degustation menu $90.

First course Cigar - a tube of thin deep fried pastry stuffed with a tomato jelly at one end and eggplant at the other - tiny but very tasty. After a long wait three very small pieces of fish - Kingfish with ? lentils, Mackerel on a semolina biscuit and sour cream and Eel on a beetroot mash. we had been here for well over an hour by now and the dishes began to arrive more quickly
The delicate flavour of crab in the crab broth with cuttlefish, crispy chicken and "aromatics" (coriander) lost out to the powerful flavour of the broth
The roast scampi wrapped in cured pork with almond sauce was delicious but also a very tiny serve
The duck petit sale was perhaps too long in the oven and beginning to get dry and stringy. the half mouthful of foie gras parfait was wonderful but hardly went well with the couple of lightly cooked green beans.
The 6th course grilled veal with soft white polenta and fresh Tasmanian truffles was as tasty as you could ever want but the powerful jus detracted from the dish
The Irish Cashel blue cheese with celery leaves an miniscule amount of cooked apple and two drops of a sweet sauce was lovely as was the last course Chocolate granache, milk sorbet, hazelnut meringue and mandarin sauce.
A la carte entrees are $17 to $20 and include the crab broth, a rabbit terrine, ocean trout or a vegetarian smoked tomato, zucchini flower asparagus, cheese and radish sprout salad
Mains include the duck and the veal that we had and baby snapper vegetarian fricassee ($28 - $34)
Wine: Fully licenced Quite a good wine list. Expensive by the glass. The Domaine Senecheaux Chateauneuf du pape $18 was particularly pleasant

Price: A bit on the expensive side

Comments: We changed tables to try to get away from the noise with little success. Melbourne diners seem to have little consideration for others and this detracts from the enjoyment of the occassion. Overall the meal fell short in too many areas to be really good 'tho there are some excellent tastes

Score: 15 /20

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Shark Fin Inn City

Introduction; One of Melbournes long time favourite places for Yum Cha at 50-52 Little Bourke St.
Ambience: Typical of all popular Yum Cha restaurants. Good humoured boistrous noisy and crowded

Service: Trolley service with attractive uni student parttime waitrsses adding to the atmosphere. Very good variety. Experienced diners will wait for the dishes they particularly like but you can also, usually, order something 'a la carte'

Food: I did not expect anything special so I was exceptionally pleased with the excellent tastes and combinations. Steamed dim sims with pork and peanuts was outstanding as were the stuffed eggplant and the sessame prawns on toast. There's plenty to please everyone

Wine: They have some reasonabe and inexpensive 'wines of the month' but i settled for

Chinese tea!
Price: We ate like pigs for less than $30 / head

Comments: Not only as good as my previous favourite Yum Cha restaurant but even better!

Score: 16/20