Sunday, August 2, 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 - $27, Dessert - $15.

Complimentary: 4 pieces of bread with butter.

I absolutely loved the chewy, salty bread with a little brioche-like sweetness. The seeded one was there again as well as a new salty one, not sure what was in it but Ryan loved it.

Apple & quince mousse layered pastry with cinnamon ice cream, caramel & honey foam

Beautifully presented in golden hues with soft pink quince mousse. The pastry was flaky yet sweetly crisp whilst the mousse was feather light and gave way to the sticky caramel and cinnamon ice cream which dissolved to the crisp tart apple. The foam fills your mouth with the faint sweetness of honey. It was light, sweet with tart overtones and a mixture of textures.

We ordered:

Entree: Salt cod, smoked salmon, apple, radish, lemon & dates - $16

Ryan ordered this and was drooling at the sight of it. The salt cod was accompanied with shave salmon, sliced, crisp apple and radish, plump salmon roe, lemon and date puree and basil oil.

Salad of pumpkin ribbons, blue cheese, compressed pear, hazelnut dressing - $15

Soft pumpkin ribbons and cubes with hazelnut emulsion underneath roasted hazelnuts, with punchy blue cheese and pear. Sebastian enjoyed this but found that the blue cheese overwhelmed the other flavours for him.

Tart tatin of Jerusalem artichokes, beetroot bavarois, lentils, sherry vinegar caramel - $16

Once again chef Terry has knocked me off my feet with amazing visual presentation - the colours alone are gorgeous, that fuchsia just sings to my girlish heart. The beetroot bavarois was lusciously airy with soft earthy sweetness filled by the the nutty caramelised artichokes and pastry. The earthy salty lentils with carrots then kick in followed by the sweet beetroot slices (the waiter said there was a grape chutney but I don't think I tasted grape) and finished with a hint of bitter, tangy sherry caramel. The violet flower also contributed a grassy note. Fan-bloody-tastic dish, not sure whether I love this or his previous watercress bavarois dish more, tough choice.

Mains: Potato & herb gnocchi, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and pecorino crumble - $23

Gnocchi is always hard to get right - this nailed it on the head. The gnocchi was soft yet had a crunchy outer coating, the soft potato with a hint of herbs gave way to the smooth, sweet brussel sprout puree and gently wilted leaves followed by the strong and crunchy pecorino cauliflower crumble. My husband who is/was an adamant brussel sporuts hater asked for two mouthfuls, after which I told him he had just eaten brussel sprouts - I don't think this will be the last time he eats brussel sprouts now.

18 hour braised lambs neck, smoked hay, celeriac chips, broccolini, tarragon
emulsion - $27

Sebastian ordered this expecting tough meat which he is sued to, imagine his surprise to find the lamb's neck flaking away at mere prods of his fork. The meat was tender and rich which was lightened by the airy tarragon emulsion. It had a broccolini/onion(?) gremolata sprinkled on top with fat celeriac chips underneath. The well-informed waiter told us that the lamb had been cooked for 20hours at 90C and that the hay was organic and pesticide free.

Pigeon & Manchego Empanada, pickled carot puree, quince and almond - $28

Ryan raved about this. It had dutch carrot puree, the empanada was also stuffed with the quince and almond and well as an almond dust and quince puree(?) on the plate. The filling was plentiful and full of flavour.

Desserts: Chestnut ginger cake, millet porridge, roast pear, ginger sorbet - $15

I wish I hadn't eaten so much as by this stage my belt was on it's last loop and I was moaning away. However, when presented which such a sweet looking dessert I let out a few burps to make room and tasted away. This to me was Winter personified in a dessert - heavy, rich, warm, filling. The cake was moist but dense and tended to monopolise the other gentler flavours. The millet porridge was silky and chewy, with a soft milky sweetness and a touch of saltiness. After that the juicy, crunchy pear came through followed by a mere hint of ginger from the incredibly soft, almost like a snowball ginger sorbet. There was also two cloyingly thick purees, perhaps pear and chestnut that reminded me of baby food (I must admit that I continued to buy the custard and purees long into my teenage years) they were nice but not needed amongst the other flavours. The flowers were too overpowering so I left one aside. Overall it was lovely but much too much for me after eating so many meals, definitely not a 'light' dessert.

Chocolate brownie, pistachio cream, griotte cherry gel - $15

Adapted from last season's brownie this is not as fudgy with a light pistachio cream and tiny splodges of cherry gel, I cannot remember what the crushed dust was. Sebastian enjoyed this and as someone who doesn't like overly chocolaty desserts he ate it all.

Caramelised orange brulee, burnt orange ice cream, marmalade - $15

Ryan really enjoyed this, even though he doesn't like custard type dishes. The custard was light but perfectly smooth with a soft orange flavour and the ice cream was also softly bitter, which I liked but Ryan was hoping for more bitter marmalade like the lemon tart I had previously. Ryan really felt this dish came into its own when eaten with the fresh citrus segments which spurted fresh juice when eaten and cut through and livened up the orange flavours in the custard and ice cream.

Cost: $150 for 3 entrees, 3 mains, 3 desserts and 1 complimentary dish. There was a special that had two courses for $35, which we did plus the full cost of each dessert.

Service: Perfect. The service is always flawless aside from one waitress, the staff knew every detail about the dishes.

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. Our 6th trip and still counting.


  1. sebastian aka Grim NimAugust 2, 2009 at 11:48 PM

    the dish with the blue cheese was really nice even though the blue cheese overpowered the over flavours abit. being an amateur to cultured dining, i didnt realise i was supposed to mix all the flavours of the dish into a single bite and after my good veterans informed me, i enjoyed the dish much more. i think the compressed pear pieces really brought that dish together.

    the desert was divine, i really enjoyed the texture and the flavour even though im not accustomed to have a sweet tooth i think the cherry gel really helped. i cant help but wish there was a little more of it because i could see myself shovelling that delicious substance into my mouth and licking whatever flicks onto my face in the process. it was one of the best experiences i have had eating out and hopefully it wont be the last.

    it was great that we all had something different off the menu. that was my first full glass of merlot (im not a big wine connaisseur - i prefer the bitter touch of whiskey myself) but especially with the braised lamb, it followed delightfully.

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  3. all I can say is WOW! Everything looks so perfect and your descriptions are so fantastic! I want to try everything! And the photography...just beautiful...great job!


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