Sunday, December 27, 2009

Top 10 Dishes 2009

1: Watercress & horseradish bavarois, baby beetroot, candied walnuts, onion wafer, Puy lentils - $15 - Persimmon

2: Martini of bittersweet, chocolate, whiskey espresso granita, bourbon vanilla chantilly - Jacques Reymond

3: Glazed goats milk curd, caramel of green anise, iced sorrel - Raymond Capaldi @ Matteos

4: Battered & sauteed pear, pear & ginger sorbet, ginger cake, micro basil - persimmon

5: Tonka bean brulee, pistachio ice cream - $15 - persimmon

6: Stewed quince, pan perdu, milk jam & cinnamon stick ice cream - $14 - Persimmon

7: Valrhona chocolate custard pot hazelnut brittle & pumpkin foam with a banana souffle with Pedro Ximenez and drunken date ice cream - $16 - Coda

8: Chocolate creme brulee, fresh fig tart, Valrhona sorbet, vincotto syrup - $13 - Estivo

9: Home made Potato Dumplings (gnocchi)  with Asparagus, Truffle Oil and Cream - $22.00 - Dalmatino

10: Poached egg, sweet corn and truffle foam - Persimmon


1: Malouf’s pigeon bistayeea with Lebanese-style white cabbage salad - Momo

2: Watercress & horseradish bavarois, baby beetroot, candied walnuts, onion wafer, Puy lentils - $15 - persimmon

3: Roast Western Plains pork belly, celeriac baked in hay ash - Raymond Capaldi @ Matteos

4: Roast Tasmanian salmon, toasted cous cous, smoked tomato jam, red wine emulsion - $25

5: Grilled Baby Chicken with Sautéed Spinach, Pine nuts,  Sultanas and Grape Sauce - $21.00 - Dalmatino

6: Violet crumble - $18 - Attica

7: Veiled quail covered in leaves, house made chorizo-pine nut stuffing, feta whipped with mustard - $30 - Momo

8: Battered & sauteed pear, pear & ginger sorbet, ginger cake, micro basil - persimmon

9: Poached egg, sweet corn and truffle foam - Persimmon

10: Braised veal osso bucco, chickpeas, bone marrow & herb crust - $28 - Persimmon

Church St Enoteca - Richmond

Name:  Church St Enoteca

527 Church St
Richmond 3121 VIC

Phone: (03) 9428 7898

Food: ModOz, Italian
Average price: Entrée - $18-25, Main - $28-45, Dessert - $18-20

Complimentary: 2 slices of bread with olive oil.
Ryan loved it but it was a little oversalted for me. 

We ordered:

Entrée: Octopus slow cooked in olive oil, warm salad of chorizo and kipflers, parsley, garlic, lemon  - $24

The components were well cooked and although Ryan liked it he found it a little oily.

Battered zucchini flowers stuffed with marinated Persian feta, hazelnuts, watercress, 30 year old balsamic vinegar - $25

The crisp, crunchy zucchini was lovely but the cheese overwhelmed everything else, I couldn't even tast the balsamic. It was one dimensional due to the cheese.

sage butter, pine nuts, goat’s cheese, raisins, 30 year-old balsamic

Once again the cheese overpowered everything else. There was also too much butter, it pooled in the dish and I had to continuously wipe my mouth. The raisins added a much needed sweetness to cut through the cheese, butter and salt.

carrots, cavolo nero,spinach ball, lentils

Hubby raved at the tenderness of the duck breast and loved it as a whole. The only downside was that the skin was too salty. With three dishes a little salty for us we nicknamed it 'Salt Lake City'.

Desserts: PUDDING - $18
white chocolate and hazelnut with a liquid centre, banana mousse,
bitter chocolate sorbetto

This was pure sugar, I couldn't really taste anything apart from diabtetes-inducing sweetness.

raspberry – whiskey sauce, vanilla bean ice cream

This was gorgeous and fluffy with a great raspberry flavour. When we poured in the raspberry sauce however it was overkill and tasted synthetic.

Cost: $157 for 2 entrees, 2 mains and 2 desserts.

Service: Ok. The food came out fairly quickly except for the dessert and the bill took a while to arrive. Our waters ran out a few times.

Atmosphere: Noisy. The bar is beside the restaurant and therefore it can get quite noisy and feels more like a pub then a restaurant. The decor is lovely with vintage posters and wooden floors as has a casual, family friendly feel.

Parking: Limited.  The side streets are time limited or permit parking only and the main road fills up quickly.


Hours: Mon-Fri noon-3pm, Mon-Sat 6pm-10pm

Would I return: No.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Donovans - St Kilda

Name: Donovans

 40 Jacka Bvd
St Kilda 3182 VIC

Phone: (03) 9534 8221

Food: ModOz, Italian
Average price: Entrée - $18 - 25, Main - $35 - 91, Dessert - $14-22.

Complimentary: 2 large pieces of crusty bread with butter, fava bean & garlic puree, and basil & garlic infused olive oil.

We ordered:

Entrée: Four Tastes - $21

This was a slice of beef on a horseradish, shallot and chive cream sauce. Ryan enjoyed this the most.

Salad of tomatoes
This included different varieties of tomatoes which was a nice touch.

Pumpkin, feta and sage foccacia
The flavours were spot on and classic, if a little Autumnal, however the foccacia was a little strange with a crispy bottom and sweet, dry bread.


Mains: Roasted tomato and Persian feta tart with caramelised onion $23.00

Overall this was lovely, with  flavoursome tomatoes on a flaky crust with salty feta and sweet onions as well as a few plump sultanas.

Sicilian-style swordfish with pesto, mint and melting onions $42.00

Half of this was overcooked, the other half perfectly cooked. The flavours complimented the wish without overwhelming it. It came with side dishes of lettuce, garlic and rosemary potatoes and a salad of snow peas, green beans and broccoli.

Desserts: Upside-down banana tart 'tatin' with nutmeg ice cream and sesame tuile $19.50

Lovely presentation with caramelised bananas, flaky pastry, unctuous caramel and creamy nutmeg icecream. Whilst it was lovely without being overly sweet I felt the ice cream overpowered the other ingredients with heady nutmeg.

Hot chocolate soufflé with espresso ice cream $19.50

The soufflé was light but also beautifully moist with a soft chocolate perfume. The espresso ice cream was a little strong for me but hubby enjoyed this dish.

Cost: $125 - for one entrée, 2 mains & 2 desserts.

Service: Good. We had to wait a while for someone to come back for our order which is surprising as I don't think I have ever seen so many waiters in one restaurant, there was always at least one walking past our table every minute. The food came out quickly though and our plates were cleared almost immediately.

Atmosphere: Like dinner with extended family. The restaurant is decorated in a Cape Cod style and feels like a dining room at home. Overall it's lovely and welcoming, but some areas are over cluttered with plates, colanders, chairs etc. Green, blue and orange are the main colour accents to the neutral, beachy tones. When full I imagine it would be quite noisy and patrons tend to be less inhibited due to the casual, home-like environment (there are even picture frames with pictures of families - perhaps the owners)

Parking: There's street parking as well as paid parking at Luna Park across the road


Hours: Daily noon-4pm, 6pm-11.30pm.

Would I return: No, too pricey for what you get.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

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: Entrée - $14-16, Main - $23-32, Dessert - $14-16.

Complimentary: Thanks again to Chef Terry Clark for the following dishes:

3 pieces of bread with salted butter, and salt and pepper

Once again the bread was warm, something that I feel should be done in all restaurants as I much prefer it to cold bread. There was my favourite, sweet and salty brioche with the perfect buttery-ness. There was also caramelised shallots and a pumpkin seed, both lovely.

Pumpkin soup, pumpkin salad, pumpkin seed biscotti

I always say, if you want to get vegetables into your husband without fuss take them here - my husband practically licked his bowl despite the plenitude of pumpkin and even carrots. The soup is the most luscious, and smoothest texture I have ever had, the perfect thickness with a gorgeous sweetness from the pumpkin - perfectly seasoned also. The sliced carrots and roasted diced pumpkin add another texture and a different, deeper sweetness whilst the biscotti adds a lovely crispness and salty, crunchy pumpkin seeds.

Poached egg, sweet corn and truffle foam

If I could eat this everyday I would be a happy woman. This would be the best poached egg I have had in my life so far - not only was the egg yolk completely viscous, the egg whites were perfectly set, no clear runniness. The richness of the egg was offset by the sweet, juicy corn kernels followed by the earthy, but light, truffle foam. It delivered great flavours without being heavy on the tongue - this should definitely go onto the main menu.

Summer berries, shortbread, capsicums, clotted cream

This was a bizarre dessert, nothing like I have ever had. The capsicum was a smear on the side of the bowl, so the less adventurous or those who do not like capsicum (like my husband) could get just the faint pepperiness of it without it overwhelming the rest by placing it on your spoon. I did find it a little overpowering but if you just put a smidgeon on your spoon it adds an interesting, spicy-ish note. The berries (strawberries and blueberries) were fresh and tart, whilst the cream was thick and luscious. The shortbread was crumbled and added a soft, sweet note whilst all of this sat in a type of berry-like fizzy liquid poured by the waitress. It was nice, but odd.

We ordered:

Entrée: Ham hock, crispy pig's ears, sauce gribiche, ginger bread - $16

Ryan wasn't expecting a terrine so he was a little dismayed when these came out as one - he had sort of been hoping to see an actual cooked pig's ear on the plate. This was a very generous serving of meat for an entrée. Ryan really liked the apple puree which helped to cut through the meat for him, as well as the crispy gingerbread wafers. He struggled to finish this, too much meat for him so early on.

Salad of baby summer vegetables 'a la Grecque' goat's cheese bavarois - $14

The vegetables were on on half of a bowl/plate which I thought was a little strange, but the colours and vibrancy of the dish made up for the weird plating. This is what I was hoping for when I had the meli melo of vegetables from Embrasse - unlike that dish, this wasn't boring in the slightest. The vegetables had bite yet were tender and included veggies such as carrots, zucchini, beetroot, snow peas etc. They were lightly dressed and were great to dip into the creamy, sweet beetroot bavarois and the tangy goat's cheese bavarois. For extra creaminess there were also small mounds of avocado puree. This is a great healthy and light entrée.

Mains: Mushroom tart, king browns, parsley, celery, parmesan - $24

I was a little worried, that like most of the mushroom dishes I have had before, that it would be too strong in mushroom with nothing to balance it (I find mushrooms quite rich in their fungi-ness). I was pleasantly surprised that although the mushrooms were the star, they were not the whole show. The salty parmesan and fresh celery leaves added great flavour as well as the baby leeks and mushroom foam. The puff pastry was puffed, flaky and not dry whatsoever. It had a lovely golden sheen and gave way to the tastiest minced mushroom(?) spread below the tender, juicy mushrooms. I enjoyed every bite.

Roast turkey breast, fondant potato, bacon, baby carrots, bread sauce, cranberry gel - $26

I can't remember all of the components in this dish but it also had turkey mousse and these tiny pork batons that my husband absolutely loved. This was also a huge portion that my hubby had trouble finishing. The turkey was tender and the cranberry gel was it extremely well matched companion as it always is.

Desserts: Peanut butter parfait, caramelised banana, bitter chocolate - $14

I clapped my hands together when I saw my dessert wrapped like a gorgeous Christmas present - as always I am a huge fan of Chef Terry's plate presentation.
Despite the fact that the parfait was peanut butter, and the sorbet was peanut butter, the salty peanuts were not overwhelming, they cordially invited the banana to play its part as well as the soft (and I personally found it NOT bitter) chocolate. Had I not already moved my belt notch as low as it could go I would have eaten it all (in fact I'm wishing I had it in front of me right now that my stomach has some room). The only complaint was that it was a touch hard and therefore I had to use some spoon force to cut a large chunk out of it (if I had waited a few minutes I am sure it would have softened up nicely, but I simply could not wait to dive in).

Chocolate fondant, bourbon ice cream - $16

My husband had a huge grin on his face when he bit into this - 'what I have been waiting for - perfect'.
This was a superbly executed chocolate fondant - the outside cake crust was firm but still beautifully soft, and when pierced, it released a thick, chocolate lava that oozed onto your spoon. It was not super rich or sugary, just wonderful chocolate. The bourbon ice cream gave it a coolness as well a a nice heat from the alcohol. There were also tiny chocolate space rocks that would pop in your mouth as you chewed away happily. I have a feeling hubby will be ordering this again the next time we go.

Cost: $110 - for two entrees, two mains and two desserts - fantastic value for money.

Service: Perfect. The service is always flawless.

Atmosphere: Lively but very relaxed. 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. The window seats are lovely as the booth seating is very comfy and the view of the gardens is really calming. It can get a little noisy when full but the tables are well spaced so you never feel cramped or listened in on. The dark interior helps to frame the gorgeous outside surroundings.

Parking: Limited as car spots are generally taken - although a tram runs along St Kilda rd, and Flinders station is not far down the road. We managed to get a car park a block down the road and there are side streets you might get lucky with. There is also underground gallery parking which is $12 for non-members.


Hours: Daily 11am to 4pm (except Tuesdays).

Would I return: Yes. Still our favourite place to eat.