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.


  1. That peanut butter parfait, wow! Amazing. As always, gorgeous photos. Thanks for your wonderful reviews.

  2. hi there, I didnt realise how great Persimmon was! your pictures are amazing, really elegant. I am looking for a new camera, I hpoe you dont mind me asking what sort and type of camera you use? you can email me direct.

  3. Hi Barbarella,

    I have a Canon EOS 5D MarkII (it's my surrogate child :)) - and when I go to restaurants I use a 50mm 1.2 lens


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