Friday, July 31, 2015

Mediterraneo (Albert Park) 07/2015

 Still looking in!
Although it's sign announces that it is a charcoal restaurant it struck us as being a pretty normal sort of all round place. Inside there are a couple of large bull fight themed modern murals. 
A small bar is surrounded by plain wooden tables. No BS about this place.
Although the glasses do carry a symbol of the restaurant. (Does this reduce theft?) 
Food is uncomplicated
The menu included a couple of soups
A grilled marinated quail on wilted spinach, portabella mushroom with a butternut pumpkin puree.
A variety of steaks and venison, cooked more or less as requested, with lots variety in sauces and mustards.
Venison Involtini Espanola
Hahndorf venison fillets stuffed with pan-fried tomato, olive and chorizo,
wrapped in prosciutto and served on potato mash. Rather dry and disappointing - no flavour of venison at all.
The also offer grilled sea food.

There is plenty to choose from but we're not likely to try it again.
 Score: 13.5/20

The Flower Drum (Melbourne CBD) July 2015

We wrote not long ago about The Flower Drum, once a shining example of the best products, well prepared and served by impeccable staff in lovely surroundings. It still has many of those attributes which made its reputation but the culinary world has changed in 25 years.
We did enjoy an eight course banquet. The products were as fresh and fine as one could ever want and the service continues to be as good as ever. despite some renovation the venue still has a tired feel about it but excellent cooking would make that irrelevant.

Steamed crab meat dumplings were pleasant, pastry was indifferent and the overall result ordinary.
Spring onion cake had butter almost dripping from the puff pastry. The filing was meagre and did not do the dish justice. It could have been much better.
Saute pearl meat was, and always is, completely bland. A little sauce doesn't quite fill the bill for flavour. Texture is unusual and I like it but others certainly do not.

An adjacent table had a whole suckling pig ($650) which serves about 12 and looked fantastic.

Baked scallops with tumeric sauce was the best dish of the night. Delicate and perfectly cooked. The tumeric added a special touch to it.

Saute crayfish with ginger and spring onion is a traditional preparation. In this dish the lobster was more cooked than I would have preferred. Flavours were bland.
but presentation of a second serve was cute and vegetables were tops.
Peking duck another traditional favourite
with some encouragement it was also served in a striking manner.
Special (but not very special) fried rice with some crustaceans added
was served with grain fed Black Angus eye fillet with black pepper sauce and seasonal vegetables.
Top ingredients, a pleasant dish but lacked anything to make it 'special'
A delicious fruit platter including sweet rock melon, golden kiwi fruit and mangosteen ended the meal.
The whole lot was lubricated with an NV Bollinger 'Special Cuvee' champagne and a 2003 Petaluma Cab/sav from Coonawarra.
Finally gorgeous almond cookies came with the hot beverages.
In all it was a very good meal but seasoning was dull and the overall effect too bland.
Score 15.5/20

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Vue de Monde (Melbourne CBD) 05/2015

I've said a lot about VdM over many years now. It continues to be marked by the highest standards in every element of a dining experience. The venue is outstanding, cutlery, crockery and glassware, which I have mentioned in previous posts, quite lovely. Riedell, Gabriel and Zalco glasses are exquisite and Christofsen cutlery extremely decorative, 

and functional of course. Service is impeccable.
Food, the freshest ingredients, is presented beautifully in unusual and unexpected combinations which delight the eye and the palate.. As usual we took the menu gourmand which is approximately a 10 course meal although it is hard to define quite what a course is at times. After  chips with salt and vinegar served with a macadamia puree and apple  three or four amuse bouche,

Smoked eel, white chocolate, caviar

Truffle marshmallow
Barramundi, a roll of apple, apple vinegar with a touch of honey, caviar

David Blackmore Waygu strip loin, roasted onion, pickled mushroom,oyster mushrooms, pine mushrooms, onions and truffle jus. Although it does not look like it the waghu was medium to medium rare and rather unexpectedly tough.
On inspection the raw loin looked impressive.

Cucumber, wood sorrel
That 'fog' is evaporating liquid nitrogen freezing the herbs before they are crushed and the quenelle of  cucumber sorbet added
Quail, cabbage, beetroot puree. This must have been the best quail I have ever had. An indescribable pleasure. Boned out it was easy to eat and had an excellent flavour, light stuffing and a well matched jus.
Duck yolk, pear, truffle jus roast fennel sourdough bread and crisp fried saltbush. Mouth watering, forget the cholesterol.
Another unbeatable dish.
Marron, brown butter emulsion, a small crab cake, lemon.
Served without cutlery it was totally delicious. Three consecutive out of this world dishes!

Ox tongue, beetroot, bone marrow, yet another fine dish escaped without a picture!
This was followed by a long series of sweet things, cheese, and coffee.
Got to have cheese before the desserts.

Unbeatable souffle

And lots of petit fours

After a slightly unusual pinot colada

we enjoyed the following wines:
2012 Paradigm Hill 'L'Ami Sage' Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

2008 Yarra Yering ‘Dry Red No.1’, Yarra Valley, Victoria

2010 Castagna ‘Genesis’ Syrah, Beechworth, Victoria
Duck yolk, pear, truffle

2006 Louis Roederer Cristal, Reims, Champagne AOC, France

2014 Levantine Hill Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Victoria

2014 Framingham Noble Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand

2010 Mas Amiel Rouge, Maury AOC, France

A selection of petit-fours

2010 Les Grands Maréchaux Côtes de Blaye, Bordeaux, France
 Score:18.5 /20