Sunday, March 29, 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 - $24, Dessert - $14.
The chef is listed as Raymond Capaldi, however the head chef is Terry Clark.

We ordered:

Entrees: Tasmanian smoked salmon, creme fraiche, chilled English cucumber - $16

I didn't love this as much as I loved the other salmon, cucumber dish we had last time, but it was still wonderful and bursting with flavour and textures.

Rabbit loin & leg, trompette mushroom & artichoke verrine, salted grapes, Dutch carrots, frisse & chive salad, grilled ciabatta - $16

Ryan and his dad really loved this. Ryan said it was really tasty, he wanted more of it and wished it was his main meal.

Mains: Charred 250g certified black angus scotch fillet, jap pumpkin puree, blue cheese fritter - $29

Doris loved this.

Green pea and mint risotto - $19

The flavours were fantastic however the risotto could have been cooked a little longer as they were chewy and chalky.

Baked Kingfish, capsicum & basil piperade, olive tapenades -$26

Louis liked this - it was also gluten free.

Roast saddle of lamb with pistachio & apricots, pommes boulangere, roast baby onions & peas, us gras - $30

Everyone liked it.

Sides: Mixed lettuce leaves as requested.

Desserts: Griotte cherry clafoutis, Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream $14

Full of gorgeous vanilla, and tart cherries.

Lavender meringues, summer berries, mascarpone sorbet, micro basil - $14

This was lovely, fresh berries bursting against the smooth, creamy mascarpone sorbet and the chewy floral meringues. It was in a strawberry soup I think.

Coconut chiboust, coconut snow, salad of macerated mango & pineapple, lemongrass & mint jellies - $13

This was liked.

Coffee parfait, milk chocolate cloud, bitter chocolate sorbet, coffee granita - $15

This was liked.

St Agar blue, spiced pears, toasted walnut bread - $16

Ryan didn't like the blue cheese (it was too strong for him). The pears were nice however the walnut bread was so thin that it was difficult to smear anything without them breaking apart.
Cost: $292 for 3 entrees, 6 mains, 6 desserts, a side, and a glass of wine.

Service: Fantastic. Some of our guests did not eat gluten and both the staff and chefs were accommodating. The waiters are also quite knowledgeable about the menu, we were also asked if we would like to eat our desserts outside to enjoy the sunshine.

Atmosphere: Good. 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.

Parking: Limited - a tram runs along St Kilda rd and many would use this rather than chance a parking spot. Saying that we managed to get one a block down the road.

Website: None. There is a small mention on the NGV website.
Hours: Daily 11am to 4pm.

Would I return: Yes - this is my 2nd visit and not my last.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Embrasse - Carlton

Name: Embrasse

Address: 312 Drummond St
Carlton 3053 VIC
Phone: (03) 9347 3312

Food: Modern French/Mod Oz

Average prices: Entrees - $17, Mains - $32, Desserts - $18
Complimentary: Two bread rolls with butter, salt and pepper.

Tasting spoons: One with smoked trout, the other was kohlrabi, pumpkin (?). Can't remember the exact ingredients. They were ok, but nothing really memorable.

We ordered:

Smoked ocean trout, grated cauliflower, young beetroots, peas Pimprenelle, yarrow - $17

This was rather interesting with the variety of textures and somewhat salty/sea-like flavours.

Milk poached calf liver, golden shallot, potato and fromage blanc, grenache syrup French sorrel, blooded sorrel - $17

Ryan enjoyed this dish but felt it needed more of the secondary flavours to balance the powerful taste of the liver.

Home grown meli melo of vegetables, sprouts, flowers and herbs, herbs emulsions - $29

I was really disappointed in this dish in that it was quite bland and boring. The vegetables all had that steamed partially firm texture and all seemed to meld into each other. It was quite watery and boring to eat.

Slow cooked beef cheek, pumpkin, chard - $35

Ryan did not enjoy the beef and found the texture unappetising.

Aligot – a Provincial cheesy mash potato from the South of France - $ 11

This came in a copper pot which the waitress twirled out to place on our plates. It was rubbery like a mozzarella but more so, but also with more flavour. More cheese than potato. but quite

Desserts: Fresh berries from the garden - $16 dollars

Very simple but tasty berries served with cream. Probably not worth $16 though.

Apricots stuffed with our cheesecake; almond gateau and tuille - $18 dollars

I didn't enjoy this. The apricots were pretty much raw and a little tough to slice through with a spoon. The almond cake crumbs were really sweet just seemed to smother the other textures and flavours, I didn't like eating them. The cheese cake tuille was nice and provided much needed smoothness and a liquid component along with the foam(?). I felt the tuilles served no purpose.

Cost: $151 - 2 entrees, 2 mains, 1 side, 2 desserts, 2 bottle of water. Once again when we asked for water we were given the option of still or sparkling. We were hoping to receive tap water but instead were given a 500ml $12 bottle of water. If still means expensive bottled water then we should also be given the 3rd option of tap water.

Service: Excellent. The staff were friendly and accommodating. The chef came out at one stage to ask each patron if their meals were satisfactory.

Atmosphere: Dull. The restaurant only seats around 30 people, when we arrived at 8:15pm there were 13 other diners. There was very little noise, and very little atmosphere. We could see both the street and the kitchen from our table.

Parking: Limited. There is street parking which was full during our 20mins drive around. The nearest paid parking was full until eventually they allowed people to park in reserved parks. It was $8.50 and about 1-2blocks walk. Arrive early as you may be looking for a car park for a while, probably due to its proximity to Lygon street.


Wed-Sun 6.30pm-9.30pm
Fri noon-9.30pm
Sat-Sun 9.30am-2.30pm

Would I return: No. Food was OK but not spectacular, the ambiance was also lacking. The parking situation was also frustrating.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mamma's Boys - Kew East

Name: Mamma's Boys

Address: 647 High St
Kew East 3102 VIC
Phone: (03) 9859 0583

Food: Italian.
Average prices: Starters - $12, Entrees - $16, Mains - $25, Desserts - $12
Complimentary: Nothing.

We ordered:

Starters: Bruschetta 'Due- Due' pomodoro and ai funghi - $12

The serving size for a starter was extremely generous, so large in fact we only ate half so as to save room for the rest of the meals. The bruschetta was lovely, th bread was fresh and perfectly chargrilled. I loved the mushroom with lovely hints of garlic and pesto. The tomato was as you would expect a tomato bruschetta to be.

Crochetti di rosa - $12

Assorted crochetti of eggplant, rice and potato accompanied with a Romana sauce. I absolutely loved these. The potato was soft, smooth and perfectly cheesy with the right amount of outer crunch. The eggplant was also perfect and tasty. I didn't like the rice as much probably because I preferred the smooth texture of the other two. They were served with a creamy semi dried tomato (?) sauce which added a great flavour and complimented them well.

Mains: Marco pollo - $26

Pan fried chicken medallions, sauteed in a cream sauce with mushrooms, semi dried tomatoes, pine nuts and spinach, served on seasonal vegetables. Ryan loved this dish - he said it had the perfect amount of flavours and textures to make it interesting and enjoyable.

Spinach & ricotta cannelloni (entree serve) - $16

I downsized my order on the suggestion of the chef, which I think was a smart idea as this is also a huge serving. I was a little disappointed I must say as it was very watery which washed out the flavour - it also tasted like it was frozen and reheated. It was alright, but nothing special.

Desserts: Panetonne Trifle - $12

Panetonne soaked in sugar Whiskey, layered with marinated figs and pastry cream. The range of desserts was a little boring and this seemed the most interesting. But I was also disappointed with this dish. First of all it didn't taste freshly made (my partner asked and it had been made the night before). The pastry cream had a rubbery skin and the texture of a thick mascarpone. The bread tasted stale and it just didn't meld well in your mouth as it was quite dry. We hardly ate it. The waitress asked us for feedback as their menu was newly redesigned.

Cost: $ 78 - 2 starters, 2 mains, 1 dessert.

Service: Fantastic. The waiters were super friendly and accommodating. We wanted our courses to come out consecutively but after watching us eat our starter they suggested we perhaps wait a little longer so we weren't as full, which was wise. Really great service.

Atmosphere: Good. We went at 6:30pm on a Friday so there were only two other tables full. The downstairs area is quite small but there is enough space between tables that you don't feel the need to whisper.

Parking: Ample - there is street parking, but it may get difficult to find a close-by parking later in the evening.

Hours: Mon-Sat 5pm-11pm

Would I return: Yes.