Friday, May 04, 2012

Heirloom (Melbourne CBD) 05/2012

Last time we visited this restaurant it had a sort of mixed Japanese/European style cuisine. It has now moved to become more a Japanese restaurant. The venue, a rather draughty great barn of a place, has not changed. They seem to think if the font door is closed potential customers will think they are closed. Decor is interesting with a number of paintings on the walls for sale.There are both a la carte and six ($85) or nine ($125) course degustation menus on offer and they do not insist that the whole table have the degustation menu if they do not wish to. An udon soup with tempuravegetables andprawns was a pleasing standard dish.The signature degustation meal begins with Heirloom petit sashimi, a standard dish, fresh and delicate.Konbu cured ocean trout confit with sea weed meringue, orange, shaved fennel and soy coddled egg yolk was a stunning, quite fabulous entree. It looked beautiful and the tastes in it make my mouth water as I recall it. Miso duck and foie gras parfait with red wine apple and cardamon did not grab me but Sandra loved it. Thin sliced warm duck breast lay beneath a very cold sort of foie gras snow with the other accompaniments. It is a dish that displays highly complex cooking techniques with interesting textural and taste variations which did not blend well for me. Potato dango, Japanese gnochi, Roquefort cheese and saikyo miso cream were out of this world. Their light smooth texture and gentle, characteristic Roquefort flavour made another delicious dish. Quinoa crusted salmon "IMUSHI" style with konbu and salmon broth, steamed sticky rice and Chinese cabbage is a bout the only time I have ever enjoyed Quinoa. Also I do not hve a clue what Imushi style means but what ever it is this is another great dish. For me the salmon could have been cooked for 30 seconds less but again Sandra's was just right.Angus beef sirloin, with miso Hollandaise sauce, radish and silken sea weed salad was a big serve of exceptionally tasty sirloin. Grilled eel rice ball had a gentle flavour of eel permeating the rice which is great if you like eel and we certainly do. Two desserts completed the meal. White sesame blanc mange with strawberry and shizo granita, green lentil, star anise, chocolate pop and machi. After this a Yuzu souffle with passion fruit and mango coulis, white chocolate and yuzu ice cream. A picturesque and sweet end to a very excellent meal. Distinctly better than last year, we have no hesitation in recommending Heirloom for an excellent modern Japanese meal. Saki is more expensive than at most places and wine is slightly above average prices.

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