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.