Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Enoteca Vino Bar

Introduction: Something different. 14 Assagini from different regions of Italy There is also a large retail outlet with a giant selection of Italian wines and fine foods - oils, pasta, risotto rice and much more
Ambience: Bustling cafe

Service: Prompt and helpful

Food: I tried 4 mostly delicious dishes Small serves. The skewered prawn with wild bitter onions on sweet and sour apple and tomato chutney from Molise is very special (and very expensive at $17 for 2!) The eggplant with melted buffalo mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano (Puglia) very good $6. The caprese salad of fresh tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil from Campania was pretty ordinary and expensive $8.50 and 3 olives stuffed with fish and lightly fried for $6.50 tasted great but filled only a very small space

Wine: Large range of Italian wines available by the glass

Price; Extremely expensive

Comments: Very interesting food

Score: 15/20

Old Kingdom

Introduction: Long established Peking Duck specialty restaurant in Smith St Fitzroy
Ambience: Run down, crowded and battered

Service: Friendly but somewhat confused

Food: The Peking duck is carved at the table and you make your own packet with the spring onion, cucumber and plum sauce and thin pancakes. the duck is then removed and the remaining meat used to make a duck and beanshoot dish. The bones are cooked up to make a duck soup which is served last. An excellent meal.

There is also a full menu of chinese dishes which, having tried Lemon Chicken, Beef with mushroom and vegetables and Fried tofu I can confidently say they are just OK but certainly nothing special
Wine: Byo

Price: Very inexpensive

Comments: The place to go for Peking duck. Make sure you make a reservation Ph. 9417 2438 and organize that they have duck available (Closed Monday)

Score: 13.5/20

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Bok Choy Tang

Introduction: Another Federation Square restaurant.
Ambience: A pianist adds to the pleasant feeling in this restaurant distinguished by a large open kitchen at the end of a good size carpeted room with a bar at its far end
and fine views
Service: Good

Food: Regional style reminiscent of chilli spiced cantonese Fried tofu was very bland despite the light chilli flavoured sauce. Pork belly was tender and succulent tho I prefer crisper crackling. Their duck melted in the mouth but was very fat and the lobster on golden noodles was delicious

There are a couple of banquets at reasonable prices. They have an extensive menu available on the internet
Price: Soups and desserts $8 Mains mostly about $25 to $30 up to $50 for wok fried lobster and smoked salmon

Comments: I enjoyed the meal and the atmosphere and will go back again

Score: 15/20

yering station wine bar

Set in a handsome stone building separate from the cellar door at Yering Station this cafe style restaurant boasts a menu that would not be out of place in a top city restaurant
I think our waitress might have been in the job for a very short time but tried hard to please
Food:The confit leg and rolled saddle of rabbit with braised olives and carrots with vanilla and vincotta dressing looked good but tasted very ordinary and for $17.5 was a very small serve
The ocean trout cutlet and grilled scallops with caramelised angel hair pasta, beetroot pickle and saffron sauce was disappointing and my sirloin steak on a bed of celariac ( which tasted like half cooked potato) was undistiguished.
The lime and vanilla cream brulee with quince fritters was made with gelatine and tasted like it.
Wine: There is an extensive list - not only their own wines and very reasonably priced
Price: Entrees about $17 Mains $28 -$32 Desserts $12.5
Comment: There is a wonderful view of rolling hills but i'd go somewhere else for food as it is far too expensive for what you get
Score 12.5/20

Monday, December 12, 2005

Bistro Moncur - Sydney

Introduction: An ex Melbournian Damien Pignolet has a very French bistro in the heart of Woolharra.
Ambience: Unpretentious, the usual paper covered table cloths, a family style place

Service: Prompt and attentive

Food: Both the French onion souffle gratin
and the crab omelette are fabulous dishes. The minute steak w wine merchants sauce is a delight to the taste buds and was tender too. The sirloin with cafe de paris butter, one of his signature dishes was also tops though I find the butter all together too spicy- what can I say!

After a second visit I now have some reservations about the sirloin. They were really not able to serve the meat 'warm blue', merely very rare and it certainly was no longer a top dish.

Duck rillettes a sort of coarse duck pate with beetroot relish, cornichons (litte pickles) and sourdoughtoast was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed the braised honeycomb tripe in a sort of a soup with chorizo, tomato chickpeas and aioli
Honey comb tripe
Mandarin souffle light as a feather and tasty too
Berries on custard filled puff pastry no complaints here

Wine: A Hardy's pinot noir under a special label (Woodforth) 2002 was a fine accompaniment for the meal and only $25

Price: As with most Sydney restaurants it seems Entree about $17 Mains about $28 to $38 - Around $55 for two courses plus wine

Comments: They don't take bookings. No problem if you arrive soon after opening but it fills quickly

No longer on my list of must come back to My original score of 16.5 was over generous
Score: 14/20


Introduction: Like well known speakers Luke Mangans new restaurant at the refurbished Sydney Hilton probably needs no introduction
Ambience: Set in an immense room with wooden floors and a ceiling so high it's almost out of sight it has a wall of wine, which must be at least twice the size of the feature wall at the Botanic in Melbourne, and an impressively large open kitchen. It was a surprise, which seems to be a Sydney thing, that the linen table cloths were covered with paper

Service: Luke Mangan greeted us, and presumably everyone else, on entry and led us to our table. Our waiter was efficient, well informed, courteous and personable.

Food: We had an entree of Salad of Yabbies, orange jelly, feta and campari dressing which was quite tasty and delicate without being exquisite was a good starter. The crab bisque, sauteed prawns and pickled mushrooms had a very strong flavour but still needed to be boiled down to a thicker consistancy. The chicken liver parfait with pickles and toasted brioche was very rich and creamy. Best to share between two or even three people.

For main courses I had the barbequed T bone on kipfler potatoes which was on special and was tasty but tough. The roast duck breast, caramelised peach with vanilla and pomme puree suffered the same problem and two slices of breast at $37.50 seemed a little ungenerous. The chargrilled spiced prawns cucumber and fennel salad were large very fresh and good texture but they also would not satisfy a hungry patron.
We had a selection of desserts for the table of which the standout was the Creme Brulee. The summer pudding bomb Alaska with berry compot was also very good
There is a six course degustation menu for $100 or $145 with matching wines
Price: Our 3 course meal with wine came out at about $85 per head
Comment: It is odd that the menu haeadings all all in French although by and large the rest of the menu is in plain English. The outstanding feature of this restaurant is the setting and not the food
Score: 15.5/20