Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Bunker - Queenstown

Name: The Bunker

Address:  Cow Lane,  
Queenstown 9300,  
New Zealand 
+64 (0)3 441 8030

Food: ModOz,
Average price: Entree: $17-$26, Mains: $36-$42, Dessert: $14-16

Complimentary: Nothing

Entree: Whitebait - $26
Crispy West Coast whitebait with a cucumber, ginger and lychee salsa and lemon yoghurt dressing.

R thought this was a touch boring.

Tuna - $23
Sesame crusted yellow fin tuna tataki with shitake and spring onions and a tahini dressing.

This was a little dull also.

Mains: Pork belly - $37
 Twelve hour braised crisp pork belly, with roasted Stewart Island scampi on a carrot and ginger puree with sesame coleslaw and coriander jus.

R found the skin too chewy and fatty to eat and didn't enjoy it.

Vegetarian - $36
Roasted almond and chick pea filo on a warm salad of artichoke, olives, capers and goats cheese with a vincotta dressing.

This was pleasant - the filo was flaky and the filling tasty, the vincotta dressing's acidity helped to balance the other salty, heavy flavours.

Dessert: Brownie - $15
Chocolate brownie with strawberries, raspberry puree, white chocolate and vanilla ice cream

Classic flavours that pared beautifully although the brownie was a touch burned but hubby didn't mind it all and happily ate it up.

Cost: $137NZD - for 2 entrees, 2 mains, 1 dessert.

Service: OK.

Atmosphere: Dark and mismatched. The green library lights hung over old paintings doesn't seem to fit with the bar at one end. The restaurant attracts an older clientele despite its 4am closing time. I coulnd't tell you much about the decor as it was just too dark.

Parking: Limited.


Hours: Daily 5pm - 4am.

Would I return: No.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Movida Bar de Tapas - Melbourne

Name: Movida Bar de Tapas

1 Hosier La
Melbourne 3000 VIC

Phone: (03) 9663 3038

Food: Spanish
Average price: Mains: $3-$21, Dessert: $9-$14.50

Complimentary: Cold bread with olive oil.

We ordered (This was over a week ago so my memory is a little moth-eaten):

Entrée: Anchoa - $4.50 
Hand filleted Cantabrian artisan anchovy on crouton with smoked tomato sorbet

I found the icy sorbet unappetising and whilst the flavour was nice it was smashed to smithereens by the all-encompassing anchovy which lingered long afterwards.

Viera - $4.80 
Roasted Spring Bay scallop with jamon and potato foam

The others thought this was ok, but the potato foam was too dominant for the delicate scallop.

Tortilla - $3.50 
Traditional tortilla with confit potato and onion

Horrible - this tasted 3-days-old with hot and cold spots.

Piquillo peppers

Couldn't even eat one - much too acidic.

Egg, truffle, manchego sorbet, Potato

Cute presentation, high hopes but horrible let-down. The sorbet was grainy and overwhelming, even the truffle couldn't perform.

Mains: Carillera de buey - $18.50
Slowly braised beef cheek in Pedro Ximenez on cauliflower puree
Everyone liked this (minus the cauliflower-hater).

aballa ahumado - $18.50
Tom Cooper's smoked spanish swordfish with pine nut gazpacho sorbet

Setas asado con jerez -$11.00
Oven roasted portabello mushrooms finished with sherry vinegar

Whilst these tasted lovely I noticed most were green inside - I'm not familiar with mushrooms but out of precaution I stopped eating these - are mushrooms supposed to be fluorescent green inside??

Espinacas con garbanzos - $10.50
Sauteed spinach with chickpeas & spices

I was starving so I ate these - but they were mushy and watery.

Costilla con sobrasada - $7.50
Roast lamb cutlet encased in a Catalan pork & paprika pate

Fish with veggies


Desserts: Churros - $9.00
Rich drinking chocolate and Spanish doughnuts
This wasn't a drinking chocolate - it was chocolate custard, and not a very chocolatey one at that. The churros were stale so I didn't eat this but hubby was hungry so he ate it anyway.

Flan con pestinos - $10.00
Creme caramel served with spiced sherry pastries
The creme caramel was nice, but no better than the one you can buy from the supermarket. The biscuits were horribly dry.

Helados de la casa - $12.50
Homemade ice-creams served with cake- peach. plum and nectarine

Cost: $240+ for 8 portions each for four people.

Service: Disorganised. We had booked a Dinner Menu - 10 of the best dishes (one vegetarian) and what we got was a waitress choosing 7 dishes, even though we were still left hungry. Some meals came out 3 at a time with 20+minute waits for the next one. I received a chicken dish TWICE and had to explain TWICE that I don't eat meat - chicken included.

Atmosphere: Noisy and cramped. Too small and crowded, doesn't promote lingering.

Parking: Ample paid carparks and some street parking.


Hours: Daily noon-3pm
Sun-Tue 5pm-10pm, Wed-Sat 5pm-10.30pm

Would I return: No - too un-organised and not memorable.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eleonore's @ Chateau Yering - Yering

Name: Eleonore's @ Chateau Yering

42 Melba Hwy
Yering 3770 VIC

Phone: (03) 9237 3333

Food: ModOz, European
Average price: two course - $70pp, three courses $95pp, eight course degustation - $130pp


Cold white or wholemeal rolls with butter, salt and truffle butter.

We ordered:

Entrée: Seared Red Mullet
tagliatelle of calamari and fennel, citrus, Jacqueline emulsion

S thought this was ok, but average in terms of taste.

Heirloom Tomatoes
bocconcini leaf, tomato foam, organic roquette, tomato chips, olive jam

Whilst I loved the  array of flavours, the large slab of bocconcini was a little dull and did wash away the other elements.

Twice-Cooked Free Range Pork Belly
scallops, smoked banana purée, black pudding, pineapple and truffle salad

R raved about this - Even though he was not a fan of scallops. The puree was sublime, the pineapple added a pleasing surprising element and the pork was tender, but was not the star. Overall it was a wonderful dish.

Steamed and Grilled Sea Eel
crisp sushi, avocado mayonnaise, teriyaki braised mushrooms, white asparagus, flying fish roe

A raved about this - '10/10, this is beautiful'. 

Mains: Seared Mulloway
nasturtium leaf coulis, shaved young coconut, compressed cucumber, radish, crab rémoulade, caviar

A really enjoyed this dish.

Baked Silken Tofu in a Crisp Taco Shell
fricassee of wild mushrooms and asparagus, corn custard, black bean dressing

This was heavily salty, I assume from the sauce they used. The tofu was what I expected marinated silken tofu to taste like, the taco was hard to break through as it was soft and not super crispy and crunchy. The rest was nice, if somewhat a little one-dimensional thanks to the overall saltiness of the dish which smothered everything. The portion size wsa generous but it wasn't enjoyabel to eat.

Fillet of 9+ score Wagyu
braised ox tail, shaved truffle, potato foam, salt crust roasted beetroot, périgord jus

R thought this was very nice but S thought it was average and that his truffle slice was a little cardboard-y.

Desserts: Mango Soufflé
passionfruit jelly, coconut and lemongrass ice-cream, pineapple bubbles, fresh tropical fruits

The souffle was nice and light, even if the crust was edging towards 'slightly over-chewy'. The leaves did not meld with the flavours at all; the ice cream did not taste like coconut or lemongrass although the creamy consistency was lovely. The fruits were ok, but after spotting a short, dark hair on a slice of mango, I didn't eat any more of them.

Milk Chocolate Mousse Sphere
pistachio crunch centre, chocolate aero, chocolate and mint ganache, pistachio ice-cream

This let down both R and A. R simply found himself wondering, 'Why am I still eating this, it is so boring, I would have rathered an Aero Bar.'

Cost: $355 - for 4 entrees, 4 mains and 3 desserts.

Service: Great. Attentive but unobtrusive. It would have been nice for them to explain the meals again once they arrived since they are so complex.

Atmosphere: Like a trip to the past. The room is period and very large. As there were no other diners it was dead silent until they put on a CD. The view is lovely, and we were treated to a helicopter landing right in front. If you don't like red walls with patterned green carpet then you won't want to eat here.

Parking: Ample except for when the Farmer's Market is on, then you will be driving in circles waiting for someone to leave.


Hours: Sat-Sun noon-3pm, daily 6.30pm-10.30pm

Would I return: No - too far to drive and too much to pay for a disappointing ending.

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Sunday, January 3, 2010

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 & crew for the following dishes:

5 pieces of bread with salted butter, and salt and pepper

Once again the bread was comfortingly warm,with a generous amount of butter. There was my favourite, sweet and salty brioche with its perfect buttery-ness as well as the sour dough caramelised shallot and a pumpkin seed, both lovely.

Pearl barley & sweetcorn risotto in a corn soup with prawns and scallops

One of our diners proclaimed his dislike of corn, whilst we urged him to try it, explaining our previous enjoyment of food we had previously disliked, thanks to Chef Terry's deft touch. One slurp later and his previous despising of corn had vanished with a 'This is really nice'. I didn't have the prawn or scallop (the others said they were lovely) but I truly enjoyed the silken corn soup, straddling that line between savoury and sweet perfectly. The chewy, sticky corn and pearl barley added great textural element and turned it into something different and exciting.

Tomatoes with basil dust and pickled onions

Lovely, light unobtrusive flavours.

Green beans with almonds and cheese

I can't remember what this cheese was, perhaps goat? Whatever it was it went beautifully with the simply cooked beans with salty cooked almonds. Yum.

Peanut butter parfait, caramelised banana, bitter chocolate

This was a mini version with a slice of peanut butter parfait - creamy and full of peanut goodness as well as a quinelle of chocolate ice cream to which my husband proclaimed, 'OMG. That is the best chocolate ice cream I have had and I hate chocolate ice cream.' A slice of caramelise banana added a lovely, creamy fruit note whilst the space rocks had the boys laughing from their childhood memories - plotting to ask the chef for a whole bag of them to take home for later

We also got these beautiful Honey Madeleines - absolutely divine - still hot from the oven and the softest cake imaginable.

We ordered:

Entrée: Cured Tasmanian Salmon, basil, fennel, grapefruit, caviar - $15

To be honest I am not sure why I ordered this as I am cutting fish from my diet and I have never eaten caviar. I asked the waiter if the caviar was a main component and he informed me that it was merely to the side, separately. Unfortunately that was not the case as the caviar and salmon roe was obviously a large component of the dish, so that aside I didn't have much I could eat. The salmon was nice enough, as was the bread and fennel (wish there had been more), but the grapefruit and lettuce gave it an overall bitterness, a taste I like least, so this wasn't the dish for me - hubby enjoyed eating all of my remnants though.

Smoked eel & potato terrine, quail egg, asparagus & truffle mayonnaise - $16

Hubby tried to get me to try some so that I could taste the 'unusual flavour combination' for myself. He enjoyed this.

Battered prawns with garlic aioli - $15

Simple prawns with dipping sauce - nice presentation.

Salad of baby summer vegetables 'a la Grecque' goat's cheese bavarois - $14

S liked this. I thought the newer presentation was quite lovely (apologies for the blurry pic).

Mains: Mushroom tart, king browns, parsley, celery, parmesan - $24

This seemed a whole lot bigger than last time to me - puffier pastry, meatier mushrooms and leafier lettuce. Once again the flavours were beautiful, and I was told the minced mushrooms at the base were cep mushrooms with King Browns lounging on top. The amount of Parmesan was perfect and the hint of thyme was lovely. The waiter informed me of a whole lotta other ingredients but once again my full-tummy-amnesia has erased them.

Fillet of beef, broad beans, tomato marmalade, potato crisps, garlic - $32

Perfectly cooked. Ryan was worried about the broad beans but they were merely tiny swirls of puree. The potato crisps were wonderful and overall the flavours complimented each other.

Yellowfin tuna, olives, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, anchovies, lettuce - $26

S enjoyed this.

Lamb loin, lamb fillet, sweetbreads, vegetables Provencale - - $30?

G liked this.

Desserts: Carrot cake, carrot sorbet, candied violets- $14

I heard this before it arrived - it was popping like wood logs over a fire. Whilst the space rocks are fun, this had a little too many and I had trouble hearing my dining companions while we ate. Other than that my favourite part of this dish were the gorgeous, candied violets which added a beautiful floral note. The carrot, despite being in both the cake and the sorbet, was quite muted for me. The cake itself is unlike any other carrot cake I have had - it was crunchy, cakey, sweet. moist, with many textures and only a soft carrot undertone. I can't remember what the dusting was, or the yellow drizzle - I must remember to write these things down.

Macerated pineapple, vanilla, yoghurt, passionfruit, pickled ginger sorbet - $14

S claimed the soft, airy yoghurt was quite bizarre but nice. S liked this but found it a little sweet for her as she seldom has sugar and sweets.

Chocolate fondant, bourbon ice cream - $16

As predicted, R ordered this one again as he loved it so much the first time. I could hear G shrieking with glee at the sight of molten chocolate pouring down his spoon filling his plate with a sweet lava. No complaints at all - both men/boys were very happy.

Cost: $237.50 - for four entrees, four mains, 1 drink and four desserts.

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 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. If you haven't gone yet - hurry up!