Friday, January 23, 2009

Estivo - Kew

Name: Estivo

330 High St
Kew 3101 VIC
Phone: (03) 9853 1727

Food: ModOz
Average price: appetiser - $9, entree - $18, main - $30, dessert - $13.
Complimentary: 2 slices of bread each with oil and balsamic and sea salt. The balsamic was really lovely and sweet.

We ordered:

Entrees: Citrus ceviche of Tuna, shaved fennel, dill & pomegranate - $10

This was actually an appetiser but was decently portioned. The citrus was a little too strong and overpowered the palate making the tuna and dill taste a little bitter. The pomegranate added lovely bursts of tart sweetness, I wish there had been a few more gems scattered. The fennel unfortunately didn't come through at all.

Crispy skin pork belly, quince jelly with apple, endive & raisin salad, sherry vinegar - $18

Ryan could not keep his praises in with this dish - there were oohs and ahhs galore. This was his favourite dish.

Porcini risotto - $24

There were no vegetarian options on the menu, this dish was a side with a main so they increased the portions for me. I'm not sure why they covered it with endive as it was extremely bitter and did not work with the mushrooms. The rice and texture was perfect however I did feel it was slightly bland.

Yearling with porcini risotto, parmesan wafer, truffle jus - $36

Ryan liked this also, he found the meat really tender.

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

You know it's good when Ryan, who is not a dessert person, is eating it up. The creme brulee was perfect, crisp sweet topping with a luscious creamy chocolate custard underneath. The Valrhona was also divine, rich, deep and velvety. The fig tart was lovely, although I am not a big fig eater, Ryan on the other hand was licking his fingers after shoving it into his mouth. An absolutely lovely dessert, best I have had in a while. Divine!

Cost: $112. 1 appetiser, 1 entree, 2 mains, 1 dessert and 1 beer.

Service: Ok. There was a long wait in between meals. In 1hour we only received our entrees and once we ordered dessert there was a 30min wait for that also. The staff were perfectly polite and accommodating when I asked for a vegetarian option as there were none on the menu.

Atmosphere: Good. The interior was a cool brown with neutral tones and artwork on the walls. There was a staircase but I am not sure if this lead up to more tables as there were only around 30 seats downstairs. There wasn't much noise at all considering the tables were almost full. The lighting was low but not too low.

Parking: Moderate. There is street parking along High St - there wasn't much at 7pm on a Friday night.

Website: None.

Hours: Tue-Fri noon-3.30pm, Tue-Sat 6pm-10.30pm

Would I return: Yes. The food was lovely and it is just down the road for me. I shall definitely be returning.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Vue de monde - Melbourne

Name: Vue de monde

Normanby Chambers
430 Little Collins St
Melbourne 3000 VIC
Phone: (03) 9691 3888

Food: Modern French
Average price: Degustation - $100-150 plus $15 for additional courses
Complimentary - Bread rolls offered throughout the night with french butter, salt and pepper.

We ordered the Gastronome menu (there was no menu and I forgot my pad and pen so please excuse the poor details) along with the non-alcoholic drink supplement and received the following:

Amuse bouche: Petit Clair-de-Lune oyster served with seaweed consummé, caviar and grapefruit air- I had tomato consomme with lettuce and avocado
The tomato consomme was tangy and sweet whilst the lettuce and avocado was cold and a little mushy.

Taco with crabmeat, fish roe, applesticks, nutmeg and mint jelly

I do not eat crabmeat - my partner said these were really delicious and were one of his favourite meals of the night.

Ginger martini This was delicious, smooth, sweet ginger with a large olive.

Mushroom Liquid gnocchi with mushrooms and a tarragon emulsion

This was a little bizarre. The gnocchi was almost rubbery and the burst of liquid that filled my mouth wasn't pleasant for me. The mushrooms were a little bland and I wish there had been more emulsion to cut through the heavy earthy flavours.

ChampagneFirst sip brought a huge hit of lemon - didn't like this much.

Thyme studded buffalo ricotta with buffalo milk skin and confit tomato, dehydrated olives, parmesan sticks

The Parmesan sticks were stale which was unfortunate. The flavours were nice, nothing spectacular.

Sparkling lemon verbena

This was delicious, refreshing, sweet, sour.

Butternut pumpkin 4 ways

There was a pumpkin risoni which was lovely, and salty. The butternut ribbons added freshness whilst the butternut balls were quite delicious. I believe the squiggly thing was butternut and yuzu (?) which was interesting whilst the sprigs of thyme complimented beautifully - this was my favourite dish of the night.


Ryan enjoyed this - not his favourite but decent.

Hummus with charcoal, peas, dill

This was my 2nd favourite dish of the night. It was actually a cold dish, the charcoal gave it a nice smoky flavour.

Pork four ways

There was pork belly, the sternum meat, apple jelly some sort of pancake. Ryan liked this.

Coral trout, apple ribbons, baby leaks, abalone

This was ok - the apple definitely helped to cut through the heavy tastes. I didn't eat much of it though.

Waygu 4 ways

Ryan's absolute favourite dish. He loved the waygu sirloin and flank steaks. He didn't mind the chequerboard polenta and waygu. There were sticky ribs and a butternut squash filled dome.

Goats curd served with sugared rose petal, rose jelly topped with goats curd ice cream

The sugared rose petal, rose jelly and dust were lovely however I felt it didn't go at all with the goats curd. The sour curd cut right through the sweet rose and completely decimated it.

Kiwi lollypops with raspberry and zabalione

These were ok - didn't care much for the frozen mint jelly coated kiwi - the zabalione was nice though.

Cheesecake aux fruits de la passion

Now this was really lovely. The cheesecake was presented in a clear tube which the waiter removed allowing it to collapse onto the plate. The crumbs were frangipane and the cheesecake was topped with fresh passion fruit. There was also a passion fruit filled with passion fruit souffle on the sidecwhich was ok but I didn't feel it needed it. The cheesecake was creamy and worked beautifully with the passion fruit and crumbs.

Vincotto royale

This was a super fizzy, sweet grape drink with a deep after taste.

Boule de caramel fourre a la mousse de coing

Quince foam set into a caramel sphere with white chocolate cage and frozen white chocolate soil and creme brulee quince
This looked stunning however it was too sweet for me, surprising the fruit didn't cut through the white chocolate enough for me.

Petit fours

Meringue with a shot of passion fruit, carrot and coriander nougat, blood orange jellies and salted caramel chocolate, pineapple lollypop in mint jelly

The meringue was nice but the passion fruit overwhelmed it with its sourness. I couldn't;t eat the nougat because of the coriander but my partner liked it. The jellies were horrible as was the lollipop. And the salted caramel chocolate was perhaps the biggest let down - the runny caramel wasn't salty or sweet, quite bitter.

Chocolates to take home

The hazelnut was nice. The cardamom was by far the best. The milkshake was average and the gingerbread barely tasted like gingerbread at all.

Cost: $560 - $250 each for the meals and $60 for one person for the drinks.

Service: Excellent.
Waiters were lovely and our water was always topped up. They even lent a hand to help me down the stairs in my platform heels.

Atmosphere: Ok. The entrance is quite grand but I found the dining floor to be a little too industrial with hanging globes and glasses suspended from the ceiling. The room is white with multicoloured striped chairs. The glasses and crockery are mismatched but lovely.
The room is quite tiny and the kitchen is open to the left allowing full view of the chefs. There was little noise, but it was noisy enough that you didn't feel people were listening in on your conversations.

We dressed up but there were people in smart casual clothes. No jeans though.

Parking: Ample. We were lucky enough to find parking on the one way street otherwise there is a nearby underground car park (you have to pay).


Hours: Tue-Fri noon-2pm, Tue-Sat 6.30pm-9pm

Would I return: Maybe - I was a little underwhelmed given all of the raves and that it once had 3 chefs hats. I much prefer the other French degustation option - Jacques Reymonds. I may go back in the future though during another season.