Sunday, April 20, 2008

Speaking with chefs - Malouf

I revisited Stones of the Yarra Valley today and spoke with Greg Malouf. He's pretty pleased. His book Turquoise (written with Lucy) has just been awarded The Le Cordon Bleu Award, International Category, by the International Association of Culinary Professionals as the best cookbook focusing on a geographical region outside America - recognition of a terrific book! The new MoMo is scheduled to open in the Hyatt in August, he's off to Hong Kong soon to create the menus for a big event and then to America to promote his books, and Stones of the Yarra Valley is flying.
The problem for Greg, now, is to make his new restaurant an excellent venue that will not cost more to run than it brings in. Greatly increased costs of everything make this a problem for restaurateurs everywhere. The only clue I can give you is that the new MoMo will have a large bar with a mezza menu and the food will be along the similar lines to his former restaurant.
We enjoyed another great Arabesque Lunch, quite different from the last one there.

The Mezze began with
Hot yoghurt soup with silver beet and lamb dumpling - super. This I'm going to make at home
Quickly followed by
Little Turkish pide pies with haloumi, Melting salmon, beautifully prepared, with Turkish spoon salad Salt-cod preserved lemon fritters with green harissa mayonnaise.Something quite special.
Spicy Moroccan beef sausages with smoky Baba Ganoush and lovely little chicken bistayeea pies under a cover of pastry that retained all the flavour of the chicken and delicate spices Mains were
Rock flathead tails with dukkah crumbs on a bed of Pistachio pilau with spinach and herbs White cabbage salad with cumin and black pepper
Absolutely fabulous spiced roasted spatchcock with oregano and cardamonPotato, shallots and fennel with feta
Red oak and cos lettuce salad
Then dessert
Chocolate and Turkish delight tart with orange blossom cream and
Watermelon and berry salad with pistachio halva Followed by a sweet mint tea
We also enjoyed a couple of very palatable bottles of 2003 Hillcrest Cab.Sav ($70) but there are many less expensive wines on their list
Price: The Lunch is $75 and I still find it really good 14 months after my last visit
Comments: Xiao Xuan Liu, a young classical pianist gave a short recital at the chapel, the oldest building in the area, a few steps from the restaurant, to which we adjourned before the desserts. This was a welcome break from the one major problem here. The noise of conversation from other tables is so loud it's impossible to hear anything except from the person immediately next to you!
Score: still 16 /20

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