Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Commoner - Fitzroy

Name: The Commoner

Address: 122 Johnston St
Fitzroy 3065 VIC
Phone: (03) 9415 6876

Food: ModOz, Moroccan
Average price: Brunch - $16, Main - $28, Dessert - $12

Complimentary: nothing.

We ordered:

Scrambled Free-range Eggs with Winter Greens on Sourdough - $13

I was a little disappointed upon realising that 'Winter Greens' meant undressed salad leaves. I had been hoping for some sauteed kale or spinach, something like that. The eggs were a little rubbery and bland whilst the bread was a little too charcoal-y for my liking. Overall the dish was bland and boring, and I was still hungry afterwards.

Honkey Sandwich- Crispy Pancetta, Harissa, Fried Free-Range Eggs, Spinach, Aioli - $16

Ryan originally liked this as it was full of flavour, however towards the end it became a little much and began to taste 'weird' on his tongue.

Winter lemonade with mulberry, red grapefruit and mint - $6

I rather enjoyed this. The lemon gives way to the sweeter mulberry before bitter grapefruit and finally refreshing, cool mint. Just wish there had been a little more.

Cost: $35 - two breakfast dishes, 1 drink.

Service: Good - our water was topped up but we had to wait a while for the bill.

Atmosphere: Noisy - the room is tiny - about 10 tables, and fairly close together. The conversation from the table next to us dominated our own and our private conversations with each other were heard and commented on by the waiters. Not much privacy, cosy, but a little claustrophobic for me. The artwork on the walls is interesting and adds visual appeal, but otherwise I found it a little bare and rundown.

Parking: Decent - there is a large amount of street parking -Mon-Sat it is limited to around 1hour, and even on a Sunday we had to do a few laps to find one as it is an extremely busy area. Public transport would be a good option.


Hours: Wed – Fri: Dinner - 18:00 - Late
Sat - Sun: Brunch, lunch & dinner from 09:00 – 23:00

Would I return: No - nothing exciting to warrant going back over trying someplace new.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Selene - Santorini - Greece

Name: Selene

Address: Fira - Santorini
+30 2286022249

Food: Modern Greek
Average price: Entree - $16.50, Main - $29, Dessert - $15?.

Complimentary: Bread slices.

Fava soup with mastika and basil oil

This was really delicate, with a hint of mastika.

We ordered:

Entrees: Cold tomato soup with niotiko cheese ice-cream - $16.40

The tomato was ice cold and refreshing but I found the ice cream texture too grainy and the taste too bitter.

Polenta tart with tomatoes, egg and quail - ?

Ryan really loved the quail but found the tart a little boring.

Mains: Vegetables rolled in phyllo dove and xinomizithra cheese kennel - $20

The pastry was perfectly flaky and the vegetables had a lot of flavour, they were a little on the greasy side though. The cheese helped to cut through the greasiness and complimented the dish well.

Vinsanto glazed pigeon with bulghur with dried apricots and santorini pistachios - $32

Ryan really loved the pigeon and said the blughur was flavourful - great flavours and exciting dish.

Desserts: Chocolate parfait with candied white eggplants, begarmot cream - ?

This was a really interesting dish. The chocolate parfait was a gorgeous texture and velvety smooth without being too sweet. The eggplant had a hint of eggplant-taste and added another gorgeous candied texture whilst the bergamot gave a delicate floral note to the creme - absolutely lovely to eat.

Greek coffee creme, vin santo biscuits - ?

The creme was perfectly textured and tasted like Greek coffee, strong and a little bitter. The biscuits had that soft but chewy stale-like texture and I didn't feel they went well with the creme. It was nice, but a little boring.

Cost: Over $120 EURO - so a little pricey when you earn Aussie dollars.

Service: Good. Our water was always topped up and the waiters were knowledgeable on the menu.

Atmosphere: Good. We sat outside so it was a more relaxed, casual vibe. The view is nice from the tables, but the great view is upstairs where you can have drinks.

Parking: Ample street parking.


Hours: Tue-Sat noon-2.30pm, 6.30pm-9.30pm
Sun 9am-2pm

Would I return: No - it was OK, not great enough for the price.

Sunday, June 21, 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: Entree - $16, Main - $25, Dessert - $15.

Complimentary: 6 pieces of bread with butter.

Potato, leek & basil oil soup, octopus, chorizo, scallop

Ryan loved the textural differences as well as the saltiness from the seafood in contrast to the creamy potato and leek soup and the strong basil.

Battered & sauteed pear, pear & ginger sorbet, ginger cake, micro basil

This was packed full of flavour. It was heady with ginger and hints of spice whilst the pear added a crisp, freshness that complimented the ginger well. Everyone loved this.

We ordered:

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

After tasting a small portion of this last time we couldn't pass up the chance for a larger plate. The flavours, textures and visual colours are perfect. The sweet onion, walnut and beetroot with the earthy lentils and peppery bavarois is delicious.

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

Dad ordered this - it was as tasty as it was last time. The only difference was substituting rose petals with pansies.

Braised veal osso bucco, chick peas, bone marrow & herb crust - 28

Ryan ordered this again - loved it, this time it had more vegetables.

Jap pumpkin risotto, toasted pine nuts, Roquefort, baby basil - $22

This was ok - the rice was a little chewy and I found the pumpkin was watery, it dissipated as soon as it hit my tongue and I couldn't really taste the pumpkin. The cheese was quite strong and overcame the water pumpkin immediately followed by a faint toastiness of the pine nuts.

Chocolate brownie, croissant ice cream, hazelnut cream, griotte cherry gel, coffee chocolate dust - $15

Dad ordered this - the serving was a little larger this time with the addition of a pansy. It was yummy and decadent.

Tonka bean brulee, pistachio ice cream - $15

Ryan ordered it this time - I found it wasn't as thick and firm as it was last time, which was a pity. It was more like a custard today and not as perfumed with tonka bean. The sugar crust was perfect again.

Glazed lemon tart, orange marmalade ice cream, mandarin segments - $ 14

This looked fantastic. The tart had a caramelised sugar top with was delicious as was the luscious, lemon curd beneath. The pastry was a little on the thick side and so tended to compete with the lemon a little. The marmalade ice cream was subtle at first before bold, bitter marmalade comes through and then gives way to the juicy, citrus segments.

Drinks: Mocha - $4

Dad said this was nice, more chocolate-y and sweet then he is used to.

Chai Latte - $4.

These were quite subtly spiced and very milky.

Cost: $176 for 3 entrees, 3 mains, 3 desserts, 2 chai's and 1 mocha.

Service: Fantastic. The service is always flawless.

Atmosphere: Great. 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. 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.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jacques Reymond - Prahran

Name: Jacques Reymond

Address: 78 Williams Rd
Prahran 3181 VIC
Phone: (03) 9525 2178

Food: ModOz, Modern
Average price: Degustation menu: 8 courses, $165, vegetarian $130
Set menu: 3 courses, $98 , four courses $125, 5 courses $150

Complimentary: 3 gougeres, and bread throughout the first few dishes.

We ordered the Taste of Winter degustation - 2 meat and 1 vegetarian (I snuck photos here and there - so my memory isn't the best, especially for the meat versions):

Celeriac & Jerusalem artichoke soup with lobster (tofu/ricotta for veg)

This was a little gritty and under seasoned. The tofu was bland and unpleasantly cold, but the celeriac added a nice nuttiness to the soup. The others liked their lobster version.

Spiced watermelon, cucumber, daikon, peanuts

This was light and refreshing. The others had fish.

Snapper with sencha lime emulsion, white honey foam

The others liked this - my dish had pineapple, fennel, nougatine and onions - I couldn't eat it as it was sweet and not balanced.

Battered cauliflower, jicama (others had quail), natural black rice, tajine flavours, whipped Persian feta

This was my favourite savoury dish of the night as it had the most flavour. Along with the above flavours there was also fresh mint with cut through the richness of the tempura vegetables and feta. I didn't care much for the rice as it was quite chewy and tasteless.

Wallaby with lemon Myrtle and apple jelly, cider vinaigrette, combu celeriac cooked in salt crust (veg sub for meat was witlof a l'orange)

This was really boring for me. I didn't like the witlof and the vegetable was bland whilst I didn't want to eat the jelly as it probably had gelatin in it. The others liked the wallaby, no overly so though.

Souffle of Gruyere in a herb sauce

This was lovely. Each spoon had gooey strings of cheese - the sauce was mildy sweet which cut through the richness of the cheese. Quite nice. The others had a waygu steak with mustard ice cream - the ice cream was not liked at all. It did not compliment the steak. They enjoyed the rest of it, but didn't feel it was very interesting.

Martini of bittersweet, chocolate, whiskey espresso granita, bourbon vanilla chantilly

This was divine. The texture of the chocolate was silky smooth, whilst the cold granita gave a nice hint of flavour and a contrasting texture. I didn't find it bittersweet at all. I could easily have eaten 7 of these - yum.

Pear and caramel, earl grey and orange tea ice cream, pedro ximenez jelly

The pear was a little overpowered by the silky caramel. The ice cream was perfumed and strong, but pleasant and complimented the caramel and pear. I did not eat the jelly, but the others informed me it wasn't very flavourful. A nice dish.

Petit fours - pistachio macaron, lemon slice, brownie, truffle, coconut jelly, pastry puff

The macarons were quite sweet. The lemon slice was tart but nice. I did not try the others.

Cost: $460 for 1 vegetarian and two meat degustations - 8 course.

Service: Perfect. Our water was always topped up and the waiters were great, the maitre d was a little hard to understand though (he was Australian).

Atmosphere: Great. Lovely warm and neutral decor. Quite classic with dim lighting. The noise is quite minimal.

Parking: Decent. There are a few car spots through the restaurant gates otherwise you will have to find some down side streets.


Hours: Thu-Fri noon-2pm, Tue-Sat 6.30pm-10pm

Would I return: No - my savoury dishes were boring and it is too highly priced for dishes to be bland.