Sunday, November 17, 2013
David's (Prahran) 11/2013
We had the pleasure of another of the Melbourne food festivals fine dining experiences at Davids restaurant last week. David's is certainly moving with the times. They have remodeled the restaurant, opening up the entry to the rear section, which is still separated by a piece of furniture used as a storage place for condiments, serviettes and so forth.
They now also offer home delivery over quite a wide area and advertise that on the bottles they use for water at the table.
Titled World Dinner – Beyond the Bund it was a five course meal featuring dishes from five different regions of China. The bund is in the wharf area of Shanghai filled with shops and restaurants of every kind and every quality. It has been a highlight for tourist visits for decades.
The menu included several very unusual dishes and appropriate beverages.
The following dishes were served:
Lion head – pork and chestnut meatball in chicken broth (Jiang Su) accompanied by a Blue Pyrenees sparkling, a very pleasant white. The meatball was fabulous, not dominated by either the pork or the chestnut, it was beautifully combined with the clear chicken broth.
Crunchy prawn clusters with a melted butter centre (Shanghai) came with a Tsingtao beer. This was another excellent dish one could see the melted butter, on biting into the centre of the prawn meat and it tasted delicious. The light beer was very appropriate.
Hard to see the little pool of butter in the centre of the prawn cluster.
Many guests thought that the next dish, crispy flash fried whiting smoked on caramelized leak (Zhejiang) was the dish of the night. It came with a slightly sweet seasoning. I found the fish very dry and thoroughly overcooked.
The Plantagenet Reisling from Mount Barker Western Australia was a good match for the slightly sweet fish.
The following dish, crispy beef with orange peel (Hunan) was the best of the night. It was quite spicy though the chilly was not overwhelming. I was pleased that it came towards the end of the meal as I find chilly spoils my palate for fine tastes. Here the meat was tender and exceptionally tasty and the strips of orange peel, which lacked any bitterness, help to balance the saurce. This was served with a Mitchell GSM Granache Sangiovese Mouvedre from the Clare Valley.
The last course Sichuan wok fried Chinese cabbage with dried chilies (Sichuan) was a spicy crunchy end to the meal. It left one with a good feeling of having had a very satisfying meal, almost fat-free, and with no feeling of discomfort that sometimes accompanies the end of a large meal.
This was served with Iron Buddha tea.
Apart from a deep knowledge of Chinese cuisine David is renowned for his knowledge of the curative properties of Chinese teas. There were no tasting notes however so I am unsure of what I have cured. One thing is for sure it has not cured my love of Chinese cuisine.
It was a rather strange meal, a conglomeration of dishes, which I quite enjoyed. The first two courses were quite small, the fish was plentiful but needed something more with it. The beef was also plentiful but the cabbage was really what one might expect as a side dish rather than the last course of a five course meal.
It was a unique event but not one that I would recommend.