Sunday, May 15, 2016

Humble House (Brighton) 05/2016

At the beach end of the impressive Church St. shopping strip this Chinese restaurant is well placed for well heeled clientele. It looks nice too with white covered tables, linen napkins and a very clean look about it. 

It has an extensive menu of the regular fare. We had the opportunity to try quite a few dishes.
Hot and sour soup.

Won Ton soup

Crab shells

looked nice but could I not taste any crab and it was over seasoned .

a big serve very nicely prepared.
Eye filet with Szechuan sauce.

The sauce was nice but the filet was very ordinary and the dish was dead dull.

A nice but totally undistinguished meal.
Prawns in a cream sauce.

Very fresh and inoffensive dish.
The food was very fresh and the service prompt BUT there was very little 'Chinese' about the taste of these dishes.
Score: 12.5/20

Monday, May 09, 2016

Ides (Collingwood) 05/2016

When it comes to new restaurants almost everyone is trying to do something to distinguish themselves from the rest, and go one better too. Ides, a tiny Smith St. restaurant is certainly following that pattern. 
Decor is simple, 

table settings are basic with faux leather table covers 
and round back chairs. 
Bread arrived promptly with creamed peanutty butter. 

This would do for dinner.
The menu is a six course degustation - four mains and two desserts at a set price $110/person.
First came Jerusalem artichoke three ways. Served on a cream cheese cooked in vinegar with onion seed, chives and parsley 

Extremely unusual and quite interesting but also quite a strong tasting first course dominated by the ginger.
This was followed by dish of smoked eel and lentils

in a sweet potato broth.

This worked remarkably well. Not that most diners would care but it demonstrated originality and technique combined to make an outstanding dish.
Blue eye cod with cabbage on a strip of turnip

was too clever by half. The cabbage taste and smell overwhelmed the fish which was far to well cooked for our liking. Others however, we were told, thought it the dish of the day.
The last main was pork belly with a corn paste served on a sweet miso fig jam.
Very chewy. After being scored, salted and allowed to dry the belly had been alternately cooked at 250 degrees and then rested for 25 minutes three times. Personally I prefer the skin to be crackling and the meat to be falling apart tender. The accompaniments were too sweet but, of course one did not have to eat them!
First dessert was a rice crackle with extras
Followed by a persimmon figoa staircase!
Chefs came out often to serve and answer questions.
They have a modest wine list and a few cocktails. I had a sake which I did not care for and a Clare Valley Nebiola which was light, smooth and ideal for the meal
The menu changes very frequently which might be a good thing but I think the principles they work by are constant. The result is dishes with a lot of ingredients, which do not always work well, in an endeavour to produce innovative and exciting cuisine. No doubt this works better for some patrons than others and on some nights than others. 
Ours was an up and down experience. Definitely a place for the adventurous and for foodies.
Score:14 /20