Saturday, November 29, 2008

Circa - St Kilda

Name: Circa @ The Prince hotel

Address: 2 Acland
St Kilda 3182 VIC
Phone: (03) 9536 1122

Food: European, French and Modern Australian
Average price: Entree - $25, Main - $43, Dessert - $20
Complimentary: 2 mulit-grain cheese rolls with a small dish of butter.
We ordered:
Complimentary: Choux pastry with goats cheese and walnuts.

The choux pastry was cold and the goats cheese was running out of the bottom like water. Not very nice.

Entrees: Wild rabbit raviolo, braised celery riesling foam, sel saveur - $24.
Ryan didn't like it and the serving was a little small. (It's hard to get specific information out of him other than 'I like it' and 'I don't like it'.

Summer vegetable salad - $21.
This was average, just steamed vegetables with vinegar and cream. Some of the radishes and turnips(?) were quite bitter. They also sprinkled coriander everywhere which was a little annoying as I can't eat coriander (genetic trait passed down, it tastes like a chemical in my mouth).

Mains: slow cooked lamb shoulder brik, rack and sweetbreads, pumpkin, fabales, basil sauce - $46.

Ryan hated the lamb shoulder brik, it was dry and the sweetbreads were weird. The lamb rack was nice though.

Coral trout with avocado puree - $41.

This was originally an entree that they turned into a main for me - I also ended up getting snapper, not coral trout. It would be awesome as an entree but as a main it became a little boring to eat and tasted less great with each bite. The fish was perfectly cooked, a little oily, but still great. The avocado puree was quite sweet and played up the tart sweetness of fruit in the medley of chopped vegetables. Each mouthful had a large number of flavours, with a vinegar tang in each bite. It just got a little too much after 10 mouthfuls.

Complimentary: Lemon Posset with a raspberry.
The raspberry was lovely and fresh whilst the lemon posset was a little runny and grainy.

Desserts: Circa snickers II - $21.
When I ordered this I was thinking of something that definitely contained a lot of chocolate - I was wrong.

The salty caramel layer on the top was really lovely, however I was not in the mood for something cold so the honeycomb ice cream layer didn't really appeal to me and it made the chocolate crumb base a little soggy. The zabagione (not sure what it was exactly) was a lovely accompaniment as it enveloped the flavours in a warm, airy sweetness, however the chocolate foam (?) didn't add anything. It was nice, but not what I expected.

Banana parfait, honeycomb, rum, sesame, chocolate sorbet - $19.
Ryan liked this, especially the honeycomb and rum in the chocolate sorbet.

Cost: $195 - 2 entrees, 2 mains, 2 desserts, 3 bottles of water.

Service: OK. We made our booking through Amex Centurion as Circa is a centurion restaurant which means they have to hold a table until 10am on the day. After I made the initial request Amex called me back to let me know that we would have to leave at 8:30pm as our table had a booking then. I informed them that we wanted to order the degustation (around 9 courses) so we would not be able to leave at that time. Amex told me they would call the restaurant back and let me know if this was possible, if not I would book a different restaurant.
I received an email notifying me that we had a reservation at 6:30pm, the degustation would take 3hours and as we were Centurion members they would no longer need the table back at 8:30. So I thought, great! Circa it is.

Unfortunately when we arrived 15mins late (we called to let them know we would be 15mins late due to unexpected traffic) we were told by the manager that we could not order the degustation as we had to be out by 8:30. I informed him of the email confirmation I had received which he brushed off by informing me that he himself took the reservation and did not agree to let us stay past 8:30.
Obviously I was upset as the whole reason we were there was to order degustation for my partners birthday, if I had known we would have less than 2hours to eat I would have booked somewhere else. I rang Centurion when I arrived home to find out how the mistake happened. It turns out that the second time the Amex representative called he spoke to a different person who obviously did not pass on the information to the manager which is why we were asked to leave by 8:30 rather than given a table which would allow us to order the degustation.

To top it off we were asked what we would like to drink, we responded water as usual, to which the waitress asked whether we wanted still or sparkling. In most restaurants, still means tap water which is offered at no extra charge (Melbourne has awesome drinking water so almost everyone drinks straight from their tap). They brought bottled water which we assumed would be free of charge as they did not offer tap. Right at the end of the evening the table next to us requested water which the same waitress responded 'still, sparkling or TAP'. We then realised that we would probably be charged for the bottled water (which they continued to top up without asking). The bottled water ended up costing $18, a little annoying as we wanted tap water which is free but was not offered to us.

Atmosphere: The decor was lovely, although I'm not too sure about the 'stage-like' lighting that was on rails across the ceiling. The black and pink gauze gave the room a whimsical feel whilst the cane lights and pink peonies were really romantic. It is a very small room with white leather booths and large circular tables.

We went at 6:30 and it didn't start to fill up until 9pm. While we were there the noise was minimal but once everyone started arriving it started to get quite noisy. The vibe was a little 'off' - like the room is full of 'people on first dates' weird.

The restaurant is located within The Prince hotel, so do not wear jeans or dress casual as the restaurant mimics the hotels trendy but upmarket vibe.

Parking: Not good. It all depends on when you go as street parking gets taken up very quickly, and most have hour restrictions. The Prince hotel has car parking but the spaces are really tiny and hard to get out of.


Hours: Sun-Fri 7am-11am, noon-3pm
daily 6.30pm-10.30pm

Would I return: No. Food wasn't good enough to warrant a return, let alone the service.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bistro Guillaume - Southbank

Name: Bistro Guillaume

Address: 8 Whiteman St
Southbank 3006 VIC
Phone: (03) 9693 3888

Food: French
Average price: Entree - $22, Mains - $35, Desserts - $18.
Complimentary: 1 baguette slice for each person with a disk of butter for 3 people that had a sprinkling of fleur de sel (?salt).

We ordered:
Entree: Traditional Onion soup - $16.

Dad and I ordered this and both of us didn't like it. Perhaps it is because we are used to Australianised onion soups we found the dish overly sweet with a weird deepness, perhaps a gravy or sauce? I didn't much like the texture either; I only had a few spoonfuls.

Freshly shucked oysters with shallots and red wine vinegar - $3.50 each.

Anthie ordered these, and Ryan who had never had an oyster before, absolutely loved these.

Chicken & duck liver parfait with pear, ginger chutney & toasted sourdough - $25.
Doris ordered this and cleaned the plate.

Hunter Valley snails with beurre persile - $21 per 1/2 dozen.

Ryan and his dad ordered these and ate them all.

Mains: Berkshire pork cutlet with pommes croquettes and sauce charcutiere - $40.
Ryan absolutely loved the pommes croquettes, and thought the pork was good too.

Duck confit - $38.

Doris had this and liked it.

Bistro Guillaume Fish & Chips - whole whiting with Pont- Neuf and beurre maitre d'hotel - $45.

This looks quite impressive, Louis enjoyed it.

John Dory with pea puree, asparagus - $39.
The fish was seared and salted, which contrasted well to the heavy sweetness of the pea puree and crispness of the asparugus. It was quite nice but got a bit boring.

Risotto with field mushrooms & Reggiano parmesan - $25.
Anthie and dad ordered this, and although the consistency and flavours were nice, it was oversalted.

Desserts: Chocolate Marquise with pistachio ice cream - $20.
Doris and Anthie ordered this and absolutely loved it. The chocolate marquise was like velvet. It also had a raspberry reduction.

Trio of ice creams - $18.

Louis ordered this - it was a trio of chocolate, pistachio and vanilla ice creams.
Poire Belle Helene - $18.
I shared this with Ryan, which was a mistake as it is definitely not enough for two. It is a poached pear, with vanilla bean ice cream and a dark chocolate sauce - classic combination. We didn't get much of the sauce though as everyone else of the table poured it over their own desserts.

Cost: $448 - 6 entrees, 6 mains, 4 desserts - unfortunately there is a ridiculous 10% surcharge on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Service: Great. We didn' really notice the waiters (most of whom had french accents). Our water was topped, our plates cleared without interruption. They were also quite knowledgable about the menu.

Atmosphere: The restaurant is located within the Crown Complex so it feels quite luxurious and upmarket. The interior is gorgeous, large billowing fabric lights take center stage to an otherwise muted colour scheme. Unfortunately the chairs are a little uncomfortable.

It was fairly empty, but there was little noise also. At one instance a light bulb exploded and shattered over a diners seat, who luckliy had taken a bathroom break when it happened, the waiters quickly cleaned it up and replaced her chair by the time she had returned.

Parking: Normally ample as it is within the Crown Complex which has an abundance of parking, unfortunately for us today it was full but we parked in another parking complex in Southbank.


Hours: Sat-Sun 8am-11.30am
daily noon-11pm

Would I return: No. I didn't think the food was anything special considering the great reviews.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Persimmon - Melbourne - NGV

Name: Persimmon at the National Gallery of Victoria

Address: Ground Level, NGV
180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Call NGV and follow prompts - 8620 2222

Food: ModOz
Average price: Entree - $14, Main - $24, Dessert - $12.
Complimentary: Two poppy & sesame seed rolls, small stick of butter, sea salt and black pepper.

We ordered:
Drinks: Lemon, Lime & Bitters - $3.

This came in a tall glass with a slice of lemon and plenty of ice. It was perfectly balanced.

Entrees: Veloute of butternut pumpkin, ricotta gnocchi - $11.

This was served in a glass with just the ricotta gnocchi and the soup in a separate carafe which the waitress poured into the glass. The soup was very light and almost fluffy. The pumpkin was quite sweet, I was however disappointed in the ricotta gnocchi which was cold and just like small lumps of bland ricotta.

Carpacio of aged beef, egg yolk curd, chilli, horseradish - $15.

Ryan enjoyed this apart from the horseradish, which he didn't realise as he didn't know the word for it.

Mains: Chilled olive oil salmon, cucumber, aloe vera, sour cream - $21.
The presentation of this was gorgeous. It looked like ancient Greek ruins surrounded by a wild garden - abstractly of course. The salmon had a gorgeous almost raw texture, although I couldn't taste olive oil. The cucumber squares offered bursts of saltiness against a cool firm texture whilst the sour cream gave a much needed sour creaminess (I need to expand my vocabulary, I know) that helped to stick everything together on the fork. I think the green liquid spirals were aloe vera as they were quite watery and didn't have a lot of taste. There were also these small green paste-like substances on the plate which were really sweet and added a great dimension to the plate. The leaves, spring onions and radishes (?) added crunch and a slight pepperyness. Overall the dish was interesting as all of the components were cold and slippery, but offered different textures and flavours.

350g rib eye, pont neuf, red wine grain mustard butter - $30.
Ryan enjoyed this, I however found the potato chips a little stale and dry. I also found the undressed salad (watercress?) was wilted and did not add anything to the dish.

Dessert: A bowl of black forest, chocolate, cherries - $13.

This came deconstructed with beautiful plump juicy cherries perhaps soaked in a liquor (got a burst of alcohol in one spoon but not any others), and a cherry/raspberry? sorbet which was unusual but helped to cleanse and cut through the deep chocolate cake pieces that were pure cocoa. The milk chocolate mousse in the center was luscious and velvety whilst the chocolate twills, although adding minimal flavour, enhanced the presentation of the dish. Really satisfying and delicious take on the flavours of the Black Forest cake.

Cost: $93 - 1 drink, 2 entrees, 2 mains & 1 dessert.

Service: Fantastic. We were offered a menu promptly and our orders were taken soon after. Our water was kept full and our plates were cleared quickly. The waiter was very amiable but did not loiter. Faultless service.

Atmosphere: The restaurant is near the end of a long corridor which we thought felt quite *staff only*. Took us a while to find it on the ground level. The interior is a mixture of black, red and white with a modern minimal feel. There are textures of plastic, steel and leather with a one slate wall surrounded by panoramic windows that allowed us to view landscaped Grollo Equiset gardens. There are leather and fabric booths with red leather chairs, or small black veneer tables with perspex chairs.
There were only 4 other tables being used when we were there so the noise was minimal.
Parking: We only found street parking which is limited. As we went on a Sunday we managed to get a parking on St Kilda rd about 2blocks down from the NGV.

Website: None. There is a small mention on the NGV website.

Hours: Daily 11am to 4pm.

Would I return. Yes. The food was lovely as was the garden view and service. The parking is a bit of a pain in the ass though.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Della Nonna

Name: Della Nonna

Address: 844 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn
9819 6444

Food: Italian, Modern
Average Price: Starters - $7, Entree - $14, Main - $25.
Complimentary: 8 slices thick bread with fresh olive oil, salt and pepper.As a disclaimer, I forgot to take the pictures until after we had all devoured most of the dishes, or at least had a forkful, so you won't get the full picture of what the plates looked like.
I also did not jot down the orders or their prices so everything is a foggy guess. Sorry.

We ordered:
Starter: Bruschetta on pizza foccacia with grape/roma tomatoes, basil, oil and thyme(?) - $7.

There were four slices served on a bed of rocket tossed lemon. They were quite tasty, the tomatoes were full of flavour and the bread had the right amount of crispiness. Fresh, simple flavours.

Mains: Four cheese gnocchi with fig vincotto risotto - $24.50(?).

This was really yummy. I think the cheeses were gorgonzola, provolone, dolce latte and parmigiana. The rice was al dente and although the risotto was creamy, it wasn't super cheesy to my surprise. The blue cheese was the strongest taste, and the fig vincotto cut through the cheese well and offered a great sweet and tart taste contrast, otherwise it would have been a little boring after a while.

Chicken, chicory and Camembert risotto - $28(?).

Ryan enjoyed his dish, and as someone who doesn't really like risotto that's a compliment.

500g Eye fillet with roasted potatoes and peppers in a jus - $30.

The size of the steak was ENORMOUS. My dad struggled to eat it as he had been filling up on chips. It was cooked perfectly and the side potatoes and peppers were also delicious.

Sides: Shoe string fries with tomato sauce - $7(?).

These were a generous portion and typical of a shoe string fry. No complaints.

Dessert: Zabaglione with ice cream, peaches and toffee/praline.

The dish was brought out with the ice cream in the center. The waitress held the bowl of zabaglione and continued to whip it before pouring it into the bowl. The serving was enough for 3 people. The zabaglione was much lighter and airy then I have ever had before, whilst the icecream, peaches and parline really helped to add dimension to the dish.

Cost: $114 - 1 starter, 3 mains, 1 side, 1 dessert, 3 glasses of wine.

Service: Impeccable - The staff were extremely friendly and knowledgeable of the menu. We asked to change tables from indoors to the courtyard which they were extremely helpful with, and when my father misread the menu and ordered a dish in a tomato sugo (he doesn't like cooked tomatoes/tomato sauce), they readily allowed him to reorder and his meal which was on the table in less than 15mins. Our water was topped up frequently, and we were given an extra plate of bread when we asked for one. After we had finished the starter we were asked if we wanted our mains to be called, which I thought was fantastic as we don't really like wait that long between meals. The bill also came within a minute for asking for it. The service here really was fantastic.

Atmosphere: The restaurant has seating on the street, inside and also a private courtyard that has 6 two-seater tables. Inside they have red leather booth seating as well as dark wooden chairs. It was around 2/5 full when we went and the noise level was at a medium level. It is a small restaurant though so tables may fill up quick, especially the courtyard on warm sultry nights as it was when we went.

Parking: Plenty. There is street parking and carparks just off Glenferrie.

Website: None.

Hours: Wed-Sat 12pm -2.30pm; Sun-Thu, 6pm-10pm; Fri and Sat 6pm-10.30pm.

Would I return: Yes, definitely. Great local restaurant with nice food, service and not too expensive.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tender Trap

Name: Tender Trap

Shop 2/266 Blackburn Road, Doncaster East,
9842 3466

Modern, European
Average price: Entree - $17. Main - $24. Dessert - $10.50.
Complimentary: Two slices of thick white bread with olive oil, slices of garlic, and kalamata olives.

We ordered:

Entree: Mediterranean "Taster Platter" tapas style selection of dishes (serves 2) - $21.80. Picture was taken after consuming around 1/3 of the platter.
This was a much larger dish than we anticipated, and was largely meat and seafood. Not everything that was on the platter was on the entree menu so excuse my guesses. There was two portions of the following:
  • grilled ciabatta bread
  • pepper crusted rare beef with a tonnato mayonnaise, balsamic, rocket, olive oil and sea salt crostini
  • prawns served with garlic and a smoked paprika citrus butter
  • grilled octopus
  • chorizo
  • fried whitebait
  • chicken skewer
  • lamb skewer
  • vegetarian corn/vegetable parcel
  • fried fish
As I don't eat meat I only tasted the fish and vegetarian portions. The parcels were filled with corn, cheese and something else; they were delicious, perfect ratio of pastry to filling. The fried fish however was dry and full of bones so I didn't eat much of it. My partner loved everything on the platter and found it difficult to finish as it was a large serving. His favourite though was the rare beef with mayonnaise.

Mains: Potato and semolina gnocchi tossed with roasted pumpkin, pine nuts, spinach and goats cheese - $20.80.

This was fantastic! Absolutely HUGE portion, I left two pieces of gnocchi as I simply could not finish it. The pumpkin actually looked like bacon as it was diced really fine and then fried with sage and the pine nuts. The spinach was barely wilted and was slightly overpowered by the gnocchi and pumpkin. Overall, the flavours worked really well together. The gnocchi pieces were large and crispy with a doughy centre. The goats cheese brought a great creaminess and saltiness to the otherwise sweet flavours. As soon as I got home I wanted another plate.

Roasted Lamb cutlets set upon field mushroom tart, finished with goat cheese, rocket, Spanish onion and pomegranate glaze - $28.90. Ryan loved this, and as everything else tonight, the portion size was very generous. The lamb was pink and juicy whilst the tart on the bottom was still crisp, with slices of one large field mushroom. The pomegranate glaze was subtle and used sparingly, whilst the goats cheese was draped in what may be a salsa verde.

Dessert: Dessert Platter (serves 2) - $24.50.

Our eyes popped out of our heads when this came around, after Svago's disappointing, and tiny portioned dessert degustation for 2 we had very low expectations. The platter consisted of:
  • 'Famous' Lemon tart
  • Greek donuts (loukoumathes) drizzled with honey, cinnamon and pistachio syrup
  • Five spice pannacotta
  • Wild berry creme brulee
  • Strawberry balsamic parfait
  • Tiramisu
The lemon tart was what you would expect a lemon tart to be - soft pastry with a smooth, tangy lemon filling. It was sharp and bitey and like velvet on your tongue. This was my 2nd favourite.

The Greek donuts were DELICIOUS. They had a warm crisp exterior that was coated in luscious honey and cinnamon (didn't really taste the pistachio) with a hot gooey, doughy, sweet centre. I could h
ave eaten an entire bowl of these. Absolutely yum, my favourite of the platter.

The five spice pannacotta was alright, it wobbled like a pannacotta should but just wasn't that exciting. The five spices weren't pronounced and were lost in my mouth.

The wild berry creme brulee was a little disappointing as the berries were macerated and drenched in a lovely thick syrup which softened the brulee top (so not much of a 'crack') and then proceeded to 'curdle' the custard. It looked unappealing and didn't taste that great.

The strawberry balsamic parfait was interesting. It had that half way between an ice cream and mousse texture which was divine, very cloudlike. The strawberries were the first taste followed by the sweet balsamic. Whilst this was my 3rd favourite I'm not sure I could have eaten a lot of it.

The Tiramisu unfortunately was a bust for me. It wasn't a conventional tiramisu, it had a thin marsala saturated cake base, with a thick cream filling and another thin cake top dusted with cocoa. It was like a mouthful of whipped cream with soggy cake and a hit of liquor. Perhaps because my father makes a Tiramisu every week (he's not Italian, it's just his favourite dessert) it fell below my expectations of a Tiramisu.

Overall the platter was great value - once again we could barely eat half of it between us. The desserts didn't seem miniaturised at all, which is normally the case with most of the dessert platters we have had in the past. The drawback though is that they weren't served with their intended individual sides, so the taste experience would not be the same had you ordered them separately. Still, we were really happy with the platter and thoroughly enjoyed trying everything (we did manage to eat every single loukoumathe though).

Cost: $96 - 1 entree platter, 2 mains, 1 dessert platter.

Service: Fantastic -
The waiters were very friendly and quite accommodating when we wanted to switch tables. Most of the waiters were wearing Hawthorn jumpers (as the hawks had won the premiership) and were knowledgeable on the dishes. The wait between courses was perhaps 20mins - it did not feel like we were waiting long. Our water was always topped up and the dishes were cleared promptly. We didn't even have to wait more than a few seconds to get the waiters attention for the cheque which came immediately.

The restaurant is lit by down lights and has a bar that runs across the left wall. One wall is a brushed concrete whilst the other is painted a dark grey with booth seating. The back wall of the restaurant is a vibrant red that polishes off the modern interior.
Unfortunately from a lot of the tables you can see the door to the kitchen, when opened emits a lot of cutlery clings, plate clatters and kitchen chatter. We had to change our original table as my partner was distracted by the noises and smells of the kitchen. The restaurant was 1/3 full whilst we were there so the noise level was low, but not so low that you had to whisper to keep your conversations private.

The restaurant is in a string of shops in a service lane off Blackburn rd. There are quite a few car parks in that lane in front of the stores, but at 7pm on a Saturday night 90% were full (we managed to snag one). There seemed to be street parking on the side streets as well.


Lunch - 12pm to 3pm Mon to Fri. Dinner - 6pm til late Mon - Sat.

Would I return:
Yes, for a local restaurant I am quite impressed with the value and quality of the food, I will definately be back.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Name: Svago

285 High Street, Kew, Vic 3101
Phone: (03) 9855 0505

They have sharing plates, so small sharing plates are around $11, and larger plates are around $22. Desserts around $11.

We ordered (descriptions aren't detailed as I cannot recall exact ingredients and there is no website):

Four bruschette platter: smoked ocean trout with goat cheese, marinated mushrooms, mozzarella, tomato, basil & rocket pesto and roasted capsicum with a salami on top

This was smaller than we expected as the bruschette was served on those small packet toast shaped crisp breads; not a baked bread. The ocean trout was quite bland and became mush in you mouth. The marinated mushrooms were quite tangy and predominantly tasted like lemon juice. The mozzarella combo was my favourite, as the tomatoes were fresh and the traditional flavours melded well.The second smaller dish was Baccalà Mantecato (salt cod) with potato foam and Parmigiano cylinder. This was really tiny and maybe 4 tablespoons worth. The fish was only a small teaspoon-size paste on the top of a Parmesan wafer which had become soggy from being in the potato foam which was more like a puree in texture. I didn't find this appealing at all. It was quite bland and the cold temperature made it less appetising on the tastebuds.

"Mains": Porchetta (pork) rolled with herbs: Ryan found this super-fatty to the point he couldn't even swallow around 1/4 of the slice. He described it as being reminiscent of a deli purchase, straight from the counter to his plate.

Grilled scamorza cheese served with minty zucchini slices: There were 3 quinelles of melted yellow cheese with around 1/2 a minted zucchini. The cheese was gluey and tasted like fish. It was room temperature at most. The zucchini was nice, slight hint of mint, but only 3tbs worth on the plate. I didn't enjoy it, and were it not for the fact I was starving I wouldn't have eaten it.

Bread salad: This was perhaps the most substantial portion of all 3 'main' size plates. It consisted of bread, onion, artichoke, olives, tomatoes and was dressed in a vinaigrette. Most of the bread chunks were already soggy when it arrived. It was the tastiest and most pleasing dish we had ordered, but still average.

Dessert: Dessert degustation for 2: Rum Baba and Ricotta Cannoli - $18.

This was perhaps the worst dish of the lot. It was barely enough for two. The rum buba was dry and stale, I could barely find a splashing of rum on the top. The cannoli parcels were doughy, Ryan bit into one looking forward to tasting the filling, his hopes dashed upon tasting 'nothing'. The scattered walnuts and drops of what might have been sherry added nothing. Horrible value for money, we were so hungry we had to resort to buying McDonald's next door when we left at 10pm.

Cost: $77 - 2 entrees, 2 mains, salad and dessert for two.

Fair. The waiter was walking around chatting to all of the guests and at a few stages interrupted my partners and my private conversations to add his opinions etc.

Atmosphere: Fair. The interior was dark, with single tealights on each wooden table. The chairs were wooden, with the edge of the chair cutting into my legs. There was a blackboard across the wall with the booths which had chalk figures and scribblings from patrons. The bar runs along the left hand side. Our table for two was in between it and the booth tables. We constantly had waiters squeezing past and felt quite like we were in the middle of two lanes. The noise level was quite loud and consisted of both the patrons and the waiters chiming in.

Street. We went on a Friday night at 9pm and found parking across the street immediately.


Monday - Saturday from 6pm.

Would I return:
No. Never again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Name: Barca Food & Wine

Location: 1007 High St
Armadale 3143 VIC
Phone: (03) 9822 8515


We dined on a Saturday night at 6:30pm. The street was extremely quiet and there was plenty of street parking.

Atmosphere: 4/5. The style of the restaurant was contemporary and a mixture of browns with gold furnishings. Very clean and well spaced. We sat at a table for two - I had the booth and Ryan had the chair. Both were comfortable. The room was dimly lit with a few lamps and 1 tea light per table. We were the first to arrive, but by 7/7:30 2/3 of the restaurant tables
were full - there was an additional dining space upstairs with a fireplace.

Service: 4/5. Very attentive - we were served by 4 different waiters and there was little waiting time between being seated, orders being taken and plates being cleared.

Food: 3/5. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't memorable either - no dish really stood out to me.
Bill: $127 - 2 entrees, 2 mains and 1 dessert platter.

We were given freshly bakes rolls with butter and lemon oil. They were nice.

Entree: Soupe de Jour (mushroom soup with truffle oil) - $12 (3/5)

ROQUEFORT SOUFFLÉ – Twice baked served with a waldorf salad - $16(3/5)

The soup was halfway between a smooth puree and whole mushrooms, so the texture was thick as it was also quite heavy. I could barely taste the truffle oil and have made nicer mushroom soups myself. The portion size though was quite large and I only consumed half before feeling full
Ryan somewhat enjoyed the souffle, I however only had one bite as the souffle was more like a soggy custard/bread - not much flavour either.

Main: BEEF WELLINGTON – Tender beef eye fillet pieces with chopped mushrooms, chick liver pate, wrapped in pastry and served with blackened silverbeet & a red currant jus - $31 (4/5) FISH OF THE DAY - Blue eye fillet with fennel & pea rissotto - $34 (3/5)

Once again the portion size was HUGE. Ryan really enjoyed his beef wellington -the e meat was cut up into chunks and then wrapped in the pastry. There was a tiny amount of silverbeet put on the top.
I originally ordered an eye fillet by accident which they nicely returned and then gave me the Blue eye fillet 10mins later. The waiter did not mention that the risotto had bits of bacon in it - so I was unable to eat much of it. The fish was nicely done - nicely seared on the outside, and soft on the inside. However, due to being unable to eat much of the risotto, there wasn't much flavour.

We also ordered a side of Patata Bravas with Aioli, but they did not bring it or charge for it - which was a blessing as we were too full.

Dessert: DESSERT– a selection of lemon tart, chocolate fondant, steamed rhubarb sponge pudding , mocha brulee, and a Barca bomb $34 (2.5/5)

I shall start with the Barca bomb - it came in a shot glass and consisted of a Redbull sorbet with Jagermeister in the bottom. The sorbet was refreshing and lovely, however the Jagermeister was too strong for me. Ryan downed it in one go and enjoyed it - it was both of our favourites of all the desserts - 3.5/5.

Mocha Brulee: came in a small ramekin with muscat icecream and a cherry on top. It cracked well but the brulee was very grainy. I could not taste the muscat in the icecream. I give it a 3/5.

Rhubarb Sponge Pudding: it consisted of a sponge pudding served with vanilla icecream, custard and rhubarb sauce. This was absolutely putrid to me, I actually gagged. The ice cream was nice though - 1/5.

Chocolate Fondant: served with blackberry coulis and vanilla bean icecream (same as above). This wasn't bad, very cocoa-y, but it wasn't as good as the chocolate pudding being served at McDonald's - that one is better by far - 2.5/5.

Lemon Tart: served with clotted cream. A very average lemon tart, had two small spoonfuls - 2/5.

Overall score: 3.5/5.
Whilst the atmosphere, location and service are great, the food was only average compared to its price. I will not be returning to this restaurant again.

Monday, June 2, 2008


For Dad's 47th Birthday Gift I treated him and Anthi to dinner at Ezard. Ryan and I had great food and service there the last time we went, so we hoped we would be in for the same this time round. Dad arrived 45mins late so the waiters were a little slow in returning to take our orders.

Details: Ezard
Starters: Anthi had: rice crusted kurobuta pork cheek with spiced apples, yellow bean soy, tamarind and peanuts for $23.50. Dad was extremely hesitant to try it ('Ew, pigs cheek, yuk') but after he tasted it he did a complete 180 and raved about it ('it's like a dessert'). Both Ryan and Anthi also thought it was really lovely.

Dad and I both had: gratinated potato gnocchi, caramelised shallots, pear, walnuts and parmesan cheese crumble for $21.50. Whilst I thought it was decent, dad found it quite bitter, which I thought may have been because the gnocci was gratinated, which also made it quite heavy and bland. There wasn't enough pear for there to be a flavour to cut through the heavy potato and cheese.

Ryan had: open wagyu beef burger with quail egg, onion jam, cresses, smoked tomato and truffle oil mayonnaise for $25.50. In Ryan's words: It was pretty good.Mains: Dad had: The daily special which was a mulloway in a plum sauce (don't remember the details). The fish was really tender as it was steamed and dad enjoyed it.

Anthi had: seven + score wagyu beef two ways, truffle creamed potato, celeriac remoulade and pea puree for $64. The meat was really tender and both Dad and Anthi enjoyed it.

Ryan had: sichuan peppered duck with coconut rice, stir fried witlof, blood plum and ginger dressing for $45.50. As I tried the coconut rice, I can comment and say that it was the most creamy coconut rice I have ever had, almost like rizogalo. Ryan's comments on the duck: It was really nice.

I had: red roasted barossa chicken, pea and mint frtiters, chiang kiang and shallot caramel, roasted garlic foam for $43. I had the largest serving out of all the mains. I was disappointed in my main as it had coriander leaves in it, which I can't stand as I inherited Dad's genetic trait where I have an enzyme that changes the taste of the leaves into a metallic, almost chemical taste on my tongue. So I couldn't really eat enough to comment on it.

Sides: fried potatoes with dukkah salt and lemon yoghurt for $11.50. These were yum, there weren't heavily coated with the dukkah salt, but the lemon yoghurt complemented the potatoes well.

Desserts: Dad and Anthi had: roasted bananas with chocolate cheese and caramel ice cream for $22. They weren't too impressed with this dish. The serving was quite small and compared to the tasting platter we had it didn't compare value wise.

Ryan and I had the dessert tasting plate which had the following: warm quince meringue pie with five spice custard and pistachio icecream, honeycrunch icecream with toasted gingerbread and sugar swirls, tea parfait with beurre bosc pears and pomegranate molasses, bitter sweet dark chocolate torte with macaroon and mandarin sorbet, Jerusalem artichoke and truffle creme brulee, roasted bananas with chocolate cheese and caramel ice cream, and a granny smith apple rice dish for $45.50.
Ok, firstly, the quince pie was decent, the meringue was fairly runny and I couldn't taste the five spice custard.
  • The honeycrunch ice cream was yum, but the gingerbread was soggy and not strong in flavour - the sugar swirl was delicious though.
  • The tea parfait was my 2nd favourites - the parfait was very refreshing and pleasing, whilst the pear with the pomegranate added a sweet and sour dimension to the dessert.
  • The bitter sweet chocolate tart was mine and dad's favourite - the mandarin sorbet was amazing, like eating 10 fresh mandarins, lovely burst of flavour that helped to cut through the rich chocolate macaroon torte.
  • The creme brulee was disgusting - couldn't get past the truffle, artichoke flavour in the creme brulee.
  • The banana dish wasn't really enjoyed by anyone.
  • The granny smith rice dish was also a little lackluster.
By this stage we were absolutely stuffed, and couldn't fit all of the desserts in, but we made a fair go of it.
Whilst the food was great, the service was lacking. We had multiple waiters throughout the night, and had dirty dishes left on our tables for much too long. Trying to order dessert, after we received the menus, took around 20mins which was much too long. The menu features much more Asian options, which is a little disappointing as I prefer their mod oz dishes much more.

Food: 4.5/5. The chicken brought the score down for the coriander leaf.

Service: 2.5/5.
Really disappointed in the amount of time spent waiting for plates to be cleared and orders to be taken.

Atmosphere: 3/5.
The tables are situated a little to closely together, the table hook to hang bags on was a nice touch though. The booths are much nicer and more intimate.