Manager and wife of Chef Paul Wilson, Rebecca expressed girlish delight andf surprise at the moment I took this picture.
At present this is the only restaurant I know of in Melbourne where Yellow Belly flounder is on the menu. Here’s a bit of odd information. Flounders are a flat fish with both eyes on one side of their bodies. They are divided into right eye and left eye depending on which side that is. The Yellow Belly flounder that I will speak of shortly is right eye, a native of shallow New Zealand waters, and conservationists will be pleased to know there are strict limits on the amount of these fish that can be commercially fished each year. This is not the only unusual thing on the menu at Half Moon. Most things are a little out of the ordinary. Take the oysters - there are six mostly artisan varieties on offer. We tried the Moonlight Flat Angasi, described as delicate and smoky and almost identical to the famous French Belon, the Moonlight en Surface, a small lightl ‘refined’ flavoured rock oyster that finishes it’s life under a unique flotation process, and the Rusty Wire another small lightly salty oyster.
Others on offer were the Claire de Lune Bouton, the Kamamoto Fingerling and Blackman Bay Tasmanian oysters. They are served on crushed ice with a variety of condiments to create flavours to your taste. The selection includes Gaspachio and Kilpatrick sauces, a Mirin soy spring onion combination, lime caviar and two Tabasco sauces as well as a wedge of lemon ($3.5 ea or $36 for 12 of the chef’s selection).
I’ve eaten this many times from the days when Wilson was at Radii and found it consistently excellent as it was last night. He must use truffle salt to get the powerful truffle taste .($24). Others include Spanner crab with smoked ocean trout, asparagus and deviled egg and a wide variety of other seafood combinations. I had warm local white asparagus with Crystal bay prawns, blood orange and citrus mousseline ($24) Nicely presented, isn’t everything these days, it worked well with pleasing contrasts in textures of the asparagus and the prawns and tastes of all the ingredients. There are a few vegetarian dishes and a couple of steaks that looked good but we wanted to try the fish. I can't comment on anything but the flounder but everything that went past our table looked very appealing. The flesh of the Yellow belly is finer and less firm and more succulent than the regular local flounder. While the fish was narrower there was more to eat because it is a little thicker. It was served braised with jamon stock and had a couple thin slivers of prosciutto topped with three good size clams and the whole lot covered in a sort of broad bean green bean salad with orzo pasta. ($34) It’s a decent size serve and I loved it. We finished with a Half Moon selection of desserts which were a delight to the eye as well as the palate. The service was exceptionally slow and rather familiar, though most patrons would probably not mind. I think my original wine order, Quartz Reef Pinot Gris ($57), was forgotten. A later inquiry instntly produced a bottle which was astringent and warm but went well with the food. The restaurant has touches that are reminiscent of the Botanical such as a wall of wine and this is reinforced by the menu. The service was exceptionally slow and rather familiar, though I think most patrons would not mind. My original wine order, Quartz Reef Pinot Gris ($57), was forgotten. A later inquiry instntly produced a bottle which was astringent and warm but went well with the food.