Saturday, November 25, 2017

Leoardoz (Wivenhoe - NW Tasmania) 11/2017

This is an unusually elegant looking cafe/wine bar in a 'village' that might reasonably be called a suburb of  Burnie being only a few kilometres from that town. It's on a side road separated by a little grass from the Bass Highway and The Bass Strait.

The clean modern lines of the exterior are mimicked in the L shaped restaurant.
There is a small open lounge area.

The remainder of the restaurant has good sized bare tables with paper serviettes and basic settings.
It was oddly discordant to have a 'Caution Wet Floor' sign in the middle of the restaurant, especially as the floor was not wet at all!
I started with a selection of deep fried dumplings which came with a sweet chili sauce and a sweet sour sauce and a small salad.

While the Soy sauce was very good with enough but not too much chilli the sweet sour sauce was only sweet. The salad had a pleasant sweet dressing. The spring roll and dumplings belonged in a fast food take away cafe.
Scotch fillet, 300 gm, 
was accompanied by an excellent mushroom sauce, I could have chosen a pepper, pan or smoky 
BBQ sauce. The potato chips were outstanding, hand cut they were hot and crisp. The steak was thiner than I would have liked but the chef managed to cook it very rare and much to my taste.
There is a cabinet with a good selection of cakes and biscuits.
A glass of Ghost Rock Pinot Noir added to the pleasure of the meal. The menu, and the wine list are small but quite adequate and from what I experienced, and saw they serve good size generally good looking food.
An oddity is a cabinet with small handbags and women's accessories. Evidently people do buy them.
I would be happy to come here again to try some of their other dishes. 
Score: 13.75/20

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Hobba (Prahran, Melbourne) 11/2017

To the best of my knowledge there are lots of hoggas but only one Hobba, named apparently after the owners father.
Names aside this is a hugely popular no nonsense cafe. 

Formerly a tile factory it is simply outfitted, practical, largely unadorned space  in a large high ceilinged area,
.with a bit of 'philosophy' on one wall.
Service was slow perhaps because they were so busy.
One of their specialties, sous vide eggs Benedic on a bed of pulled pork was almost cold by the time it got to the table. 

Sixty two degrees is a bit too low a temperature for many people and I much prefer one hour at 68 degrees. The whites of these were just too soft. Pulled pork gets stucki n ones teeth too and I didn't like that either.
Bircher muesli on a bed of yoghurt was a dull dish although it looked quite nice.
There is a buzz about the place, most of their customers seemed to be in their early 20's, but it has little to offer older patrons who may not wish to be surrounded by noise.

Score: 13.25/20

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Indian Corner on Wilson (Burnie - NW Tasmania) 11/2017

Eating alone at restaurants has some advantages. You don't have to cook and do the dishes and it makes for efficiency but on the downside there's nothing to share, no one with whom to enjoy conversation and, except for degustation menus, a greatly reduced variety of food to taste.
Anyway I felt like a change, an Indian meal.
The name says a bit of it - It's on the corner of Wiilson St and it's Indian. There's a lot more to it than that.
The restaurant is in a large well lit simply decorated room with a very clean appearance. Good sized tables have table cloths covered by paper 

are set with  neat folded paper serviettes, 

wine glasses and reasonable cutlery. Padded seats on wood chairs are quite comfortable.
I opted for a simple meal. 
Before I ordered a couple of papadams, made from lentils were presented.
I decided on garlic Naan, 

which was very good
and  Lamb Korma 
 which was excellent. It came with a well prepared plate of rice, every long grain distinct and separate.
They have a small inexpensive wine list with a tiny $2.50 corkage for BYO. 
Whilst it is possible to quickly establish how bad a restaurant is one cannot, on the basis of a single small meal, determine how good a restaurant is. So I don't know just yet how good Indian Corner is, but I loved the meal.
In a simple way it ticked all the boxes. Clean, comfortable, friendly service, keen to please but not obtrusive, reasonable sized serves of very good food. What more can you want from a small town Indian Restaurant.
If I can I'll be back to try some more of their dishes.
Score 14.25/20

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Vue de Monde Another View (Melbourne CBD) 11/2017

Of course I'm biased but so is everyone else. That gastronomic bible of culinary standards, The Age Good Food Guide, demoted VdM from three to two hats in their latest (2018) edition. How the mighty have fallen, or have they. 
As readers would know, in the past, I have had almost endless admiration for what Shannon has done for restaurant cooking in Australia. See and and many reviews between all these.
Through his restaurants, but particularly VdM he has been at the forefront of modern trends in cooking. Furthermore he has done it with style. He has trained chefs who, working with and for him, have continued to innovate in the tradition of local, fresh, organic foods. He is environmentally conscious - the water bottles 

and glasses

are made from used wine, and other bottles.

The glassware for wine is superb and enhances the pleasure of its contents. Has it all slipped down hill while competitors have improved so much that he has been left behind? We had to come back to see for ourselves.
The venue is superb. Wait staff are abundant, and unfailingly courteous and helpful and service is well paced. We were fortunate to have the Chef's table, with a clear view of the team plating dishes, 
and as usual, chose the Chef's Tasting Menu.
It began with an eggplant with eucalyptus, wattle seed pollen dip 

and emu jerky. 
The girls preferred not to eat emu and were offered salt and vinegar chips.
The presentation was attractive for this gentle start to the meal.
Raw Flinders Island lamb with spring peas, finger lime and lemon myrtle came next.
For whatever reason one doesn't think of serving up raw lamb. This was totally delicious.
Paperback smoked green asparagus from Jonella farm with seaweed and

Rusty wire oyster and salted riberries 
was a great way to enjoy oysters.
Port Philip Bay scallops with blue lip mussels, spring shoots and flowers showed these mussels at their very best.

Full of taste with none of the toughness I normally associate with them, in  a taste of the sea soupy sauce, and who doesn't love scallops.
Schultz dairy milk curd with broad beans, rosella flowers and lilly (sic) pilies.

This was a rather plain vegetarian dish, beautifully presented but, for me, without much character.
Mudcrab with pickled kohlrabi, marigold and squid ink and tarragon emulsion.

This comes in the form of a sea food sausage on a BBQ so you can make your own sea food hot dog. Back on track. I'm impressed with what Chef Justin James has done with kohlrabi, including his kohlrabi fettucini.
Damper but not damper.

Bread is dangerous. It's so moorish that I have to be careful not to eat too much of it so as to be able to enjoy the meal. This flat bread and a slightly sweet bread wrapped around a stick, presented on a bed of coals, reminiscent of a boy scout campfire,  was an innovative change and not too filling.
Kingfish with smoked koji, sea herbs and dessert lime.
One of my favourite fish, raw or cooked it did not disappoint.
One of VdM's signature palate rejuvenators followed. Davidson plum sorbet with celery and apple which was frozen with liquid nitrogen at the table and crushed with a wooden pestle before the sorbet was added.
 Leatherwood honey aged duck with cabbage and muntari beans
was absolutely superb.
David Blackmore's grade nine ribeye with buttermilk, horseradish and fermented truffles

was another superlative dish although I didn't feel the truffles added much to it.
As always they have a great trolley of cheese.

before the sweet dishes.
Two flavours of marshmellows roasted at the table was a bit of fun 

before their invariably perfect chocolate souffle.
Mango with ginger sorbet and finger lime.
looked good but was disappointing because the mango was not quite ripe.
I was offered a replacement but had really had enough to eat by now.
The final offering was Lamingtons/Gumnuts/Watermelon and Four Pillars Gin.

This was far from an alcohol free meal.
Someone mentioned that it was our anniversary 
and we were given a very nice bottle of champagne at the start of the meal.

After that we enjoyed a 2015 Bindi VdM (Pinot Noir) Macedon Ranges,
a 2012 Ngeringa Atlas (Voignier), Adelaide Hills,
a 2016 Massolino (Moscato), Moscto d'Asti and a 
1999 Chateau Suduirant 1er Cru (Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc) Sauterne.
My nephew 

and his wife 
took us to this meal and they thoroughly enjoyed it too.
This was not the best meal I have eaten, even some of our meals here have been distinctly superior, as some of the references above to reviews going back to 2009 show, soon after we started this blog, but it was an extremely good meal in a great venue with excellent service, certainly in the top rank of Melbourne restaurants. Does it deserve to be demoted by The Age Good Food Guide?  I don't think so.
Sometimes you can be too successful.
Score: 17.25/20