Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Small Quiz

Twenty two questions
Anyone who gets more than 16 right has got to have a prodigious memory.
Fourteen is an excellent effort and 12 very good

Answers in a week or two

1. Where does this man work?
2. And this one?
3. Which restaurant serves this?
4. Outside which restaurant is this?
5. And where is this?
6. Three marks if you can tell wherethis menu is from.
7. What dish is this?
8. This is the entrance to ........?
9. Where was this pic taken?
10. Who is the bloke on the right?
11. Where is this?
12. And this?
13. Who is that fellow ?
14. Where is this?
15. And what is this?
16. Three more if you guess where this is
17. In what town is this?
18. And where is this?
19. Where is this?
10. And this?
21. Where is this grand staircase and chandelier?
22. Where is this?
23. Where do these people work?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Melbourne Cricket Club Wine and Food Society

Some 20 years ago this bastion of Melbourne society formed it's wine and food society. Since it takes around 25 years to become a member of the MCC and there is now a 15 year waiting list for the wine and food society the average age of attendees was considerable. Nevertheless they certainly enoyed the wine and the food.
The meal began in the Percy Beames bar with canapes- sticky pork belly on grated appleand watermelon, tomato and basil kebab with shots of whisky sour layered with white foam or La Vie Pinot Noir Chardonnay NV bubbly.
We then moved to the Long Room.
Generally closed to the public this great room with portraits of significant members of the MCC covering all available wall space, looks over one of the most magnificent sporting venues in the world - the Melbourne Cricket Ground or MCG, sometimes referred to simply as the G.
The round tables easily accommodated 10 and were covered in white linen cloths with appropriate crockery and glasses.
The first course was a small cup of warm Vichyssoise of oysters of which I could happily have had quite a lot more.
The next two courses, baked prawns on iceberg lettuce, lemon and spiked mayonnaiseand a sea food ceviche (that is raw sea food marinated in lemon or lime), flavoured with tomato and coriander were served with a dryish 2004 Palandri Reisling (The company, from the Margaret River area is now in receivership) and a 1998 Elderton Eden Valley Reisling which had passed its' use by date. Both these dishes were pleasant enough but quite undistinguished. Nor was the salad of crispy duck tossed with picked watercress, ginger and sesame dressing notable for anything but the very crisp duck confit which had been cooked for a long, long time.
A mystery wine, a NZ temparillo took only two questions to eliminate 16 of the 17 tables!
This and the aged beef filet on celeriac remoulade, served with roast potato and prune jam, which was brilliant with this dish,
were accompanied by a 2002 Cliff Edge Shiraz Mt. Langhi Ghiran and a 1999 Mount Chalambar Reserve Cab. Sav.
Jeni Port, Age journalist, then gave a short talk on the direction wine making had been taking in particular towards higher and higher alcohol content. The reason, because they can, has led to up to 18% alcohol in some reds but the public seem to be moving away from these wines.

Perhaps the most appealing thing on the menu was the combination of crumbled Stilton, walnuts, raisins and port syrup. this was a superb cheese dish with a Vasse Felix Margaret River 1995 Cab. Sav - outstanding.
After a Morrocan mint tea palate cleanser a dessert of passion fruit brulee accompanied by doused sponge and a passionfruit sorbet
was served with what we were told is the best Australian dessert wine - the 2000 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon. This was followed with tea/coffee and more sweet stuff - black current lollies and jellies.

A great deal of thought went into the menu for this meal. It was quite ambitious to serve 170 guests and while most of the dishes were quite safe it was not possible to get the best out of the fillet which was far more cooked than I would have liked. In all the meal whilst very good was not outstanding.
It represents fantastic value for the members and I love to go to another one!

Score: 14.75/20

Friday, September 19, 2008

Taxi Dining Room (Federation Square)

Last time I ate here I was somewhat disappointed. Although there were several very good dishes the total experience left me feeling that something was missing. Not this time. The staff were very sensitive to our needs and provided for them as well as possible. Initially at a table next to a noisy party when we had difficulty hearing the waitress, without asking we were offered a table in a quieter area. They were generally keen to explain how items had been prepared and displayed a pleasing enthusiasm for their tasks.
This time we chose the 9 course degustation menu with matched wine for one and by the glass for one.
This is what we got:
Lightly seared Kingfish sashimi

with basil miso dressing, daikon & spring onion salad. This is a delicate fish served at many restaurants. It is so good it really only needs to be fairly thinly sliced and goes with a myriad of dressings. Couldn't, and didn't fail to please
Gosset Brut Excellence NV, Ay France
David Blackmore’s 9+ Wagyu aburi with nikiri dressing. This is another tasty dish though the thin slices of Wagyu did not show this fabulous meat at it's best
Tateyama Daijingo, a Japanese rice wine served at room temperature, a good accompaniment
Seared Atlantic Scallop with Gippsland yabbies and sauce nantwa. Mouth watering. I could have had half a dozen of these! Superb flavours and textures.Guy Bossard Domaine de la ‘Expression de Granite’ Muscade, Loire Valley, France
Szechuan soup with Morton Bay Bug wonton. a delicious soup but the bug was a bit lost for taste in it. Henriques & Henriques Malmsey 15 yr old Maderia
Mustard Baked Salmon on shiso with pea mousse. This was cooked rather than seared and replaced promptly. Another excellent dish. Curly Flat Chardonnay, Macedon Victoria
Western plains organic pork belly with spicy hoi sin. Not too hot, it had a thin crisp crackling without excessive fat. A complete change from the preceding sea oriented dishes.
Luke Lambert Nebbiolo, 2007, Heathcote Victoria
Passionfruit sorbet with Malibu liquor A palate cleanser

Vanilla pannacotta layered with espresso jelly. Rich and sweet
Seppelt Grand Tokay, Rutherglen, Victoria
Selection of hand made petit fours Wines were particularly well matched to the food though matched wines are an expensive option.
Price: Expensive I paid about $450

Comments; Nothing is perfect but this was a very very good meal and would rate with me as a three hat/star restaurant
Score: 17/20

The Point (Albert Park)

The Point is unusual in Melbourne for having a view so if the foods not to your liking you can look out the window! For most however Scott Pickett's French influenced dishes are just fine. He has an extensive range of steaks, who hasn’t these days – including 300 day grain fed and wagyu, and a small range of fish and fowl.
After Oysters in ponzu jelly and baby coriander, we settled down to a small dish of olives before an entrée of butter poached Western Australian marron, foie gras and chicken liver parfait, apple jelly and Sauterne reduction. This was an extremely pleasing entrée each part having its’ own flavour and the Sauterne reduction quite excellent even though there was so little of it. To follow we had a croustard of duck, creamed cavalo nero and golden raisins. The menu originally said pheasant but the pheasant season had ended suddenly three days ago! The flavour of the shredded flesh was somewhat diminished in the crisp pastry case but it was quite a pleasant second entrée. For main we had 300 day grain fed Wagyu sirloin (score 8) from Yambinya NSW, with a sauce Bordelaise and lightly cooked green beans. I would have been happy with a larger serve of the sirloin but the Bordelaise had been burnt which spoilt an otherwise excellent dish. A dessert of pain perdu, caramelized banana, glass biscuit, Pedro Ximenez and bitter chocolate sorbet was a rich end to the meal. This was followed by coffee and petit fours. This was close to being a really excellent meal but it just missed out at several places. Certainly worth another visit.
We drank a number of wines provided by the Chaine des Rotisseurs of which the Andre Clouet NV Rose was most popular.
Comment: I once got so lost looking for this restaurant that I went home without getting there. It can be difficult to find but it's worth looking for, and finding, it.
Score: 14-5/20