Monday, May 24, 2010

Belle Videre

Belle Videre.
Saturday night the choice at this Yarra Valley restaurant is have the five course set menu or go some where else. What's more you can't get the menu beforehand because they don't quite know what they are going to have!
What they do say is that there will be plenty to eat. Of course at night it could not live up to its name but it is warm and comfortable with an open fire at one end of the large L shaped room and an open kitchen.
It's a bit of a performance. Everyone has to be seated at 8.00. No staggered entries here. After an amuse bouche of a half fig on whitlof,
chef and part owner Gary Cooper, far left, brings out the staff and has them introduce themselves and their function in the restaurant.
After that it's down to work. First course a less than classical Ribollita (can you have a classical peasant dish?)
with Borlotti beans, cabbage chicken broth and pancetta. it was a satisfying country soup. A leg of lamb marinated with lime, garlic and brown sugar was roasted at the fire place and chefs came to the table and carved it on to our plates. Served with rosemary, mayonnaise, anchovy and capers.
The initial couple of slices were not much but they came around offering a second helping which virtually everyone in the restaurant accepted. A hunters purse goat capretto in tomato and garlic wrapped in sour cream pastry with broad beans was quite benign. The meat flavours modified by the pastry making a great pie. Grilled garlic rubbed sourdough with creamed tete de Moine and bitter greens was not very unusual. The normally hard yellow cheese was now a soft creamy white.
Others may have liked it. Neither of us did.
Finally a twice baked chestnut and frangelico souffle with caramel chestnuts, sabayon and double cream was very good though the souffle did not rise as high as I would have liked and was little heavy.
An interesting night for $99 plus drinks, if you are in the vicinity.
Score: 14.5/20.

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