Friday, July 25, 2008

Grossi Florentino

The upstairs restaurant at Grossi Florentino is one of the most elegant and refined dining spaces in Melbourne. The Sepia coloured representations of Italian scenes above dark wood paneling, the wonderful ceiling with it’s two central chandeliers and the imitation ruby red gas lights around the walls all create this fine ambience.
In keeping with the carpeted room there are double white linen clothed tables and good cutlery. The uniformed waiters provide impeccable service – all this at a price of course.
The menu is quite wide ranging including goat, rabbit, tripe, as well as the usual staples of duck, fish and so on.
Once again we chose the degustation menu and, as usual it began with an offering from the chef- a clear tomato consommé topped by a cheese pastry. I would have preferred more acidity to prepare my palate for the first course
This was a rather bland zucchini and mozzarella terrine with
pickled mushroom, radish, watercress “salsa verde”, snails, singular in my case, with parsley and farro The pickled mushrooms and snail added some taste and textural variation still needing a bit more seasoning I enjoyed the octopus, Foie Gras custard baby beet, rice biscuit, cayenne praline, cabernet vinegar. The stack of octopus was very tender and was served well by the accoutrements. Next came Southern rock lobster, porcini, sweetbreads, young sorrel, goats cheese, shallot. The sweetbreads were excellent but the small piece of lobster had lost its sweetness and was dry and hard
Jamòn flavoured marrow ravioli had a small column of marrow between two small ravioli filled with shredded meat braised veal shank, ( which I thought was beef) “gremolata”. Gremolata is a typical accompaniment to Italian braised veal shank or osso bucco and usually consists of finely chopped or grated garlic, parsley and lemon zest which is sprinkled over the finished dish. In this instance a rich jus was also poured over it all at the table. An indifferent dish
Rabbit “in porchetta” was nicely presented but again rather ordinary, boned and rolled, speck, spices, “agrodolce”, fennel and orange, peas. An alternative small stuffed pigeon was too small to get a good taste of the pigeon. Served from the a la carte menu the pigeon is much bigger
Castricum lamb bread stuffing, baby artichoke, sweet pastry, salt and pepper was two very excellent lamb chops, which, after the less seasoned previous dishes was surprisingly saltyGelato a seasonal selection was lemon, balsamic, which I liked best, and valrhona chocolate was a nice change almost a palate cleanser before the main dessert Valrhona chocolate soufflé campari and orange ice cream and chocolate syrup. The meal was completed with Vittoria coffee and pastries
We drank Chandon Brut bubbly from an extensive and reasonably priced wine list
This is a sophisticated expensive restaurant. I have been critical where it has failed to achieve the levels I would expect. It's good, perhaps very good but not really excellent.
Score 15.75/20

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