Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Illume (Boat Harbour - NW Tasmania) 02/2018

This cafe has been moved about six months ago, from beachside at Boat Harbour to the Bass Highway, where it operates next to some attractive cottages.

It's an open place 

with clean tiled floors, attractive wooden tables and comfortable chairs, some covered with skins. 

Very suited to functions.
There is also an outside dining space 
with good views.
Decoration is garage sale eclectic and inconsistent.

it has an a la carte menu with a range of pizzas, interesting entrees and fish, meat and vegetarian mains. They have a few specials on a board 
and I was happy to try there corn fritters with lettuce, cauliflower and haloumi fritters with vincotto reduction and chili jam.. 

A very pleasant start.
Striped Trumpeter is a deep sea fish that I have only eaten once before. 
Steamed and presented skin up, though not crisp, it lay on a bed of shredded salad in a curry soup with an accompanying corn rissole, an extremely strange dish.

The fish has a firm white flesh which flakes easily. It is not at all 'fishy' in taste and has an extremely mild flavour.  Too bad there was no spoon on the table.
I skipped the dessert.
 Score:13.25 /20

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Bayviews (Burnie - NW Tasmania) 02/2018

Last time I came here I thought it the best restaurant in NW Tasmania so I was happy to come back for the third time. Unfortunately the wonderful mussels from St.Helens have been struck by illness and are no longer available. They had a special - chilled spanner crab blended with sweet corn chili and fresh herbs with house baked brioche, corn veloute and parsley oil.
It sounded interesting and looked good. unfortunately the complex ingredients did nothing for the crab, the taste of which was almost entirely lost.
Following a palate cleanser 
I had a scotch fillet with a mushroom sauce.
Served with onion rings, potato and beans and almost blue it was a nice dish. 
Slow cooked rolled belly of pork layered sage and five spice with potato, chive and mustard seed croquette, pickled pear, celeriac puree, dehydrated pork crackle, Spreyton pear cider and cassia bark reduction. 
The pork was surprisingly dry.
Steamed vegetables came without dressing or sauce, in a separate small dish

Desserts looked complicated. I had an almond dacquois cake, milk chocolate, butter cream, cream fraiche, brandy macerated cherries, ice cream and hazelnut ganache.
This was quite good but I think the Tasmanian Leatherwood vanilla bean panacotta, pineapple and chili salsa, creme de menthe ganache, honeycomb crumb, tuille and pineapple cream. 
was even better.
Not as good as my previous meals here but still the best restaurant in Burnie.
I think the best way to eat here is to have either the six or the nine course degustation menu.
Score: 13.75/20

Friday, February 16, 2018

Hursey's (Stanley - North West Tasmania) 02/2018

Tasmania is full of incredible scenery and gorgeous little 'villages' or towns mostly very close to the coast and offering outstanding sea and bush views. 
 They also have lots of history and many have plaques in front of some of their more important old buildings.
Stanley is one of those places. 
Thirty years ago the Hursey family, whose fleet fished the west coast of Tasmania, chose to set up a retail fishmongers and a cafe here. After a $1.5 million refurbishment including a second floor the restaurant now seats 100 and seems to be thriving. 
The entry foyer contains large tanks for live fish and lobsters and information about the life cycle of rock lobsters and of some of the fish they serve.
and has a take away food area and fish bar called Kermie's. 

Upstairs, there is also a small lift, there's a small comfortable lounge area 

and the restaurant proper in a large light high ceilinged room 

with views over the wharf

 and water.

A very short walk brings you to the water's edge, 

an aquarium and s heap of lobster pots past their use by date.
Tables, chairs, glassware and crockery are simple and unostentatious.
Decor is also simple with menu information both in hard copy and around the walls.
Lobsters are available, natural, with garlic butter or Mornay. Sashimi too but they need 48 hours notice.

The home made Mornay sauce is excellent and more impressive than the garlic and butter.
For the rest it is a better class of fish restaurant.
 Comments Score: 13.75/20

Friday, February 09, 2018

Kobe Jones (Docklands - Melbourne) 01/2018

This riverside Japanese restaurant 

is split between a Teppanyakii room and a separate room  where there are both several degustations and an a la carte menus available. 
We had no hesitation choosing "Perfect for 2" $115, with matched wines, $155, which were very generously provided.
2013 Hand picked Moscato D'AstiVallebelbo Italy

Number one Special Crab salad stuffed with avocado, then wrapped in kingfish and baked with Kobe Jones secret sauce.
Dragon Egg Tuna tartare sushi mixed with chipotle mayonaiseon a shiso leaf, topped with avocado and finished with ponzu sauce.
Waghu Tenderloin Tataki seared and chilled served with garlic, ginger and ponzu sauce.
Lovers Sashimi scallop and tuna roses finished at the table with yuzu spray and freshly shucked oysters with wasabi granita.

Salmon Moyashi Hand Roll glazed salmon moyashi, hand rolled in nori, topped with crispy salmon skin and fume sauce.
2016 Kirnhill Reisling, Clare Valley. SA.

Alaskan crab salad poached Alaskan crab meat mixed through a daicon and radish salad, dressed with sesame dressing.
Wafu Pork Pillow Japanese braised pork steamed in a light bun with cucumber and kewpie salad and a togorashi sprinkle.
2015 Fishbone Rose, Margaret River WA
Miso Citrus Lobster giant lobster tail (approx 350 gm), lightly cooked in a wafu thermidor sauce, drizzled with miso citrus and served with steamed vegetables.
Dessert was an odd collection of cheese cakes, a chocolate chop stick and a brulee with the top burnt at the table, which was a bit of fun.

Potentially an excellent Japanese restaurant KJ doesn't quite hit the mark. Service is rather quick and impersonal, whilst the setting is brilliant the place looks tired. Crockery and glassware are mundane and the dishes we ate, despite their fancy descriptions, and their attractive appearance, were not exciting. Except for the lobster, which was tough and stringy, the nori, which was hard and dry, and the dessert, which looked good but wasn't, everything else was quite good but not star quality.
It was also dissapointing that there was not one Japanese wine or saki included with the matched wines!
Score: 13.75/20

Hanging plants adorn the ceiling.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Doot Doot Doot (Merricks North - Mornington Peninsula) 01/2018

 This contemporary Australian restaurant is part of the Jackalope hotel, described in it's blurb as a "delicate interplay between the ideal and the surreal, delivered through boldly curated installations and collaborations with some of the world's principal designers." It is something quite special which is why they can charge $650 + per night. That does include breakfast!
They have two restaurants, The Rare Hare, a wine bar shared plate venue and Doot Doot Doot which is upmarket dining. 
This continues the designer theme with a 10,000 globe chandelier which represents fermenting fluid,  you can almost feel the bubbles,
only upside down. 
It took a week to put the globes in and only a small proportion of them are alight at any one time. They brighten and dim to add to that bubbllng atmosphere. It's hard to capture this with a small camera but a look at their web site will show something of its magnificence
 It is a dark space otherwise with contemporary black furniture and some tables barely large enough for two plates.
The menu here changes so often, every few days they tell us, that it's not worth expanding too much on particular dishes. It's a six course set menu with extras, oysters, cheese plate, if you like. You can have matched wines, or juices.
We started with Port Douglas oysters ($5) which were as good as they get, exceptionally tasty.
Vegetables 3.0
Not much to see but they tasted good
They go in for unintelligible , or at least incomprehendible, descriptions of the wines with these dishes
A Tasmanian treasure blending three unlikely grapes.
Spanner  Crab, Potato, Furikake, 
I got no instructions about eating the rather hardy leaf so I didn't try but the rest of it was a go to dish.
Bottatarga - Japanese grapes? A treat from high up in the mountains.
Evidently they have been growing grapes in Japan for centuries, and making wine. Duck, Strawberry, Rye
Cloudy rose wine from the border of Hungary and Austria
The last wine this legend made, his son is carrying on the family business.
The menu gave us a choice.
Beef XO
Barramundi, Pickles, Vermouthor
Sandra chose the fish - I should have too.
A serve of cheese.
Followed by a surprise, sweet as sugar black plum with an almond  (amoretto) filling.
And then dessert. 
Chocolate Cherries
And a classic Mclaren Vale Aussie blend.
A 10 year old Madeira which I enjoyed, but Sandra did not so they kindly gave her a Vouvray.
They do have an extremely interesting wine menu, prettily presented,
and it is not excessively marked up compared to some of their neighbours. They are also generous with the matched wines giving about 120 ml for each serve.
Comments A very sophisticated meal in a very sophisticated setting. Zalto glassware, the best you can get, and Leon cutlery all add to the total experience.