Friday, September 28, 2018

Origin Nepal (Canberra) 09/2018

In Canberra rather late I wandered around Northbourne Ave and precinct looking for a good place to eat. 
There were stacks of restaurants but the all seemed very mundane so I chose something a bit different. 
Origin Nepal is very much a place serving traditional Nepalese food. There's a brief menu on a black board outside the door.
The restaurant occupies along room 

which, at 9.00 pm, had only four customers left although it could seat about 50 at it's white clothed paper covered tables.
Decor is very simple.
I chose a classic lamb curry with an accompanying soupy dahl and some fresh and cooked vegetables and rice.

 Not too hot it was a substantial meal.
The lamb, in a herb sauce, was tender and tasted good

The vegetables interesting,
The dahl mild and inoffensive
and the fresh vegetables gave relief from the heat of the dish.

For dessert I had mango and ginger kulfi with jaman.
Among the worst desserts I have ever eaten. Mild mango taste, almost no ginger flavour and the kulfi hard and full of icicles.
It detracted badly from what was otherwise a pleasant meal.
Score:13.25 /20

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Montrachet (Bowen Hills - Brisbane) 09/2018

It's four years since I last visited Montrachet and things have changed a bit. It's been sold and it's moved from a slightly isolated spot in Paddington to a busy restaurant strip and now also have outside dining. In other ways it's very much the same. A seven course degustation ($110) or a four course degustation ($90) with matched wines if you wish. A very French a la carte menu, uniformed wait staff and at least one French waiter.
Table settings are simple

with half a dozen places along the bar
for those who might wish to sit there.
Time for the food.
I find a few dishes that are a good test of a chef, one of them being French onion soup.

They did it very well. Well balanced, not too sweet, enough onion and the crouton covered with just enough cheese remained crisp.
I had been seated outside looking in!
After the first course I accepted a seat at the bar. Fish? lamb? fillet? quail? duck?
Lockyer Valley Quail won the guernsey .
This quite large bird, pan roasted, was served with preserved lemon farce on a bed of baked rhubarb accompanied by a 'baby' potato, parsnip and Juniper scented pan juices was a little bland but the accompaniments made up for everything. The light lemon flavour, the extremely tasty pan juices and the rhubarb were incredible.
As good as ever
Score:16.5 /20

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Pipero (Rome) 08/2018

This is no ordinary restaurant. To start with before you can get into the place you have to ring and wait for an attendant to check you in. Secondly it is exceptionally elegant. It has high vaulted black ceilings and broad arches. There is a sort of bar at one end of the large L shaped room.

Walls are white or painted with digitised, deliberately slightly out of focus, black and white photo's of paintings of Renaissance masters 
or a restful pastel grey with beautiful floor to ceiling curtains.
Light fittings hang from the ceiling like giant sea monsters

Large tables are set with show plates
 on excellent quality linen clothes and serviettes.
We were surprised when the owner introduced himself to us at attended to the table from time to time throughout the evening.
The menu can either be a la carte or one of two tasting menus: one seven  and one 10 courses for 110 or 140 Euro. Matched wines are also available.
As soon as we sat down the owner poured us a glass of champagne. The glassware was of the highest quality.

I was happy to have just a glass of wine which we drank through the meal. 
Before the amuse bouche a small glass container was brought to the table containing two green olives and some dry biscuits. As soon as the lid was lifted smoke drifted out. The olives retained a pleasant smoky taste.
A cute container looking like a silver apple, with a spout, on a leaf 
was announced to be Sicilian olive oil, which was poured into a donut shaped clear glass plate. f

or a bread course! First a sour dough bread made in house only about half an hour ago
The second bread was a plain roll to better experience the fine olive oil
The last bread was a small Chinese steamed bun.
The amuse bouche was just a mouthful of all good things.

We then had a very gentle cheese creation on a pumpkin purée with a salty sea asparagus tagliatelle, which was a sea weed
Next came a very salty sort of clam chowder, 

the clams were in a potato foam with a sprinkle of chocolate powder.

Risotto was yet another fairly salty dish
An interesting combination of scallop on a bed of finely homogenized chick pea kept company with a salty caperberry, a half a stuffed olive and some black and green olive powder

Pigeon was superb,  could not be better prepared, tender full of taste. The pigeon breast
with carrot two ways was followed by a crusted leg

on a bed of sunflower seeds.
Foie gras covered with a red fruit was a dish which would not be out of place at any restaurant, unless it was a vegetarian one!
Beef was next., salt crusted and covered with an oyster leaf.

Cheese and nuts!

and some nibbles.

Not perfect - whatever is, but a beautifully presented meal in a fine venue.
Score:17 /20