Thursday, August 06, 2009

Pure South (Southbank) 09

I am constantly surprised, and delighted, to discover reasonably priced excellent restaurants in Melbourne. Looking at a few reviews it did not look as though Pure South at shop 2/3 Southgate, Southbank was going to fall into that category. Several complained of excess salt, slow service and expensive wines. It is a restaurant that specialises in produce from Tasmania and the islands in Bass strait and especially fish and steak. Nevertheless a $110 five course deguStation seafood dinner with 10 Tasmanian wines was to good to miss it had to be a good deal even without the food! The menu promised canapes on arrival at the table were delivered after a few minutes:

Baked Spring Bay scallops, brioche and lemon crumbs, King Island Hereford steak tartare, olive oil croutons and Petunia smoked salmon cakes, with sauce gribiche. There was a bit of interpretation here. Scallops and cakes were both plural when I went to school but that seems to be regularly ignored by menu writers. The scallop was a little overwhelmed by the dressing but still had plenty of flavour, the tartare, enough to cover a 20 cent coin, and with no sign of raw egg was quite bland as was my salmon cake. To make up for that there was plenty of 2004 Barringwood Park I J Sparkling which was very pleasant and a NV Bay of Fires Cuvee brut from Piper River. This had a finer structure and I preferred it. A carpaccio of sweet cured Kingfish, King Island crayfish and caper salsa

accompanied by two Rieslings (Moorilla and Tamar Ridge) that were surprisingly dry was an excellent dish the very fresh fish combining well with the light sweetness. A ballotine of Petunia ocean trout was a highlight.

It doesn't get any better. Beautifully prepared, perfectly poached retaining superb texture and strong colour simply excellent. the tempura Freycinet oyster would have been better with a batter from the local Japanese supermarket and the Bay of Islands sparkling jelly failed to sparkle but it hardly mattered. I did not care for the two chardonnays (Barringwood Park and Frogmore Creek). The loin of grass fed 'Wild Clover Farm' lamb Tasmanian black truffle mouse, Jerusalem artichokes, green pea puree and potato pearls

was another remarkably good dish despite the absence of any apparent contribution to taste or texture from the truffles in the mousse - I could see the little black spots so I know they were there! This was as moist, almost sweet, a tender piece of meat as any carnivore could desire. It came with two pleasant pinot noirs (Moorilla Muse and Bay of Fires). Dessert served with a Pirie Clark botrytis Riesling, which was as expected and a better than expected Frogmore Creek iced Riesling was a winter rhubarb jelly, vanilla panna cotta, mini pavlova, rhubarb compote and a King Island Dairy creme fraiche ice cream
which was also very good, particularly the panna cotta. Coffee/tea was included so the whole meal was outstanding value. There was a bunch of wine people present representing the vineyards but only Judy Robinson,

second from the left, came to speak to us about Barringwood Park, which is close to Devonport and has done well at recent wine shows. Warmed by the copious wines, the excellent dinner and the flames leaping among the stones near our table,

despite the many criticisms of other reviewers I would have given Pure South a hat without hesitation for this dinner

Score:16-5 /20

1 comment:

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