Monday, December 31, 2018

Amaru (Armadale) 12/2018

We ate here almost two years ago (see )and we were massively impressed. I described the place and discussed the meaning of the name at length at that time. After a term as sous chef at Vue de Monde Chef McIvor made the astonishing move to run the kitchen at a suburban golf club before taking the reins at Amaru. The eight course degustation menu is served on a variety of fairly plain
ceramic crockery. The meal began with some amuse bouche including an old favourite Onion/garlic/sheeps milk yoghurt. 

Another presentation of lightly smoked duck ham with fermented carrot, 

Smoked eel/Kohlrabi/apple, 

Dim sim/black garlic/natural yeast. 
Before the main courses began we were offered a white truffle (from Alba) supplement for an extra $25.
I like the flavour of truffles and use some truffle oil and truffle salt at times but I don't care for the texture so I had no problem resisting the supplement to have them added to one of the dishes.
Port Arlington mussels/charred broccoli/nasturtium.

This was paired witha 2015Marcel Deiss d'Alsace pinot noirBlanc
Mud crab/rock oyster/iced apple with a 
2015 Okonemeirat Rebholz Reisling Trocken from Pfalz, Germany.
We were then offered crunchy crusted home baked sourdough bread with a choice of butter or oil and balsamic vinegar.

Meantime line caught bass Grouper/fermented honey/yeast arrived 

matched with a 2017 Rodda 'Smiths vineyard' chardonnay 
from Beechworth, getting quite close to home.
Another Beechworth wine,a 2016 Fighting Gully Road Sangiovese 

accompanied Kipfler potato//sweetcorn custard/Victorian eel.
for Sandra while we enjoyed lamb sweetbreads/sweetcorn custard/Victorian eel. They looked very similar unless the truffle was added!
A very tiny piece of Seven Creek wagyu/ fermented turnip/ grilled lettuce 

came with a Crawford River 2010 cabernet savignon also from Victoria.
 Red Kangaroo/Hazelnut/apple/raw liquorice was the last dish before the dessert.

Mango/citrus curd/macadamia/elderflower which was served
 with a German 2016 Georg Breuer Reisling Auslese from Rheingau.

Not over yet the meal finished with Otway Shitake/shizo.cacao 
with a Henriques and Henriques 5 year Finest Medium Dry Madeira 

and after a palate cleanser,
 Meredith cheesescake 

with a Japanese Itano Shuzo Bellini from Okayama. This hybrid was not a patch on the original at Harry's Bar.
Although we skipped coffee we were still offered olive oil and pumpkin

caramel pastilles.
All that wine had some effect on me - it did not improve the dinner particularly but I found it difficult to use the strangely weighted fork which kept turning over in my hand, almost of it's own volition.

At half the price per person of very poor tickets for Hamilton this was still expensive in dollars but more than reasonable for what we got. This was another unique meal. Not quite as illusionary, if one can use such a word, as Lume nor as emphatically Australian as Attica and Vue de Monde are but very much in the same pattern. Every dish was excellent, nicely presented and unusual, not a meal to cook at home. Definitely a place for foodies.
Score 17:20

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Kakizeki Sushi Bar (South Yarra) 12/2018

This quite simple Japanese sushi bar, formerly the home of Hibari, a similar establishment without the finesse, is marked by delicacy, with a Japanese emphasis in every aspect.  
Even the draped front door. The restaurant is very plain and functional. Setting are simple 

and minimal. 

There are about 12 seats around the preparation area 
and a couple of tables. 
There is the days menu,, this is a sample, which varies a little according to what was available that day. It's largely sushi, sushi and sushi. The choice is take it or leave it, the chef organises what he will serve and in what order. That's really the definition of an omikase Japanese meal.
There were a couple of small dishes before the sushi

Chef Yuji Matsuzaki came out 

and immediately started slicing fish, 
and butterflying prawns

laying it out on his work table 

and rolling balls of rice 

to construct the sushi. 
King Prawns, 

Ocean Trout


delicately decorated
followed by soup with silken tofu. 
Calamari were scored 

and seared, 
as were several other sushi to bring out their flavour. Some are wrapped in nori. 

The last piece was O-Toro. 
this is the fattest part of the tuna belly, the most delicate part it almost melts in the mouth and also, of course, is the most expensive pat of the fish. It was a beaut end to 12 very different sushi's. There was a green tea ice cream dessert 
to end the meal. An extremely fine dinner for which booking is essential. Best by far is to sit at the chef's table on bar stools. If you like sushi Kakizaki compares well with the best you can get. 
Score: 17/20