Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Mailing Room - Canterbury

Name: The Mailing Room

206 Canterbury Rd (corner Maling Rd) Canterbury

Ph 03 9836 9889

Food: ModOz, Cafe,
Average price: 3.50 - $16

Complimentary:  Nothing.

We ordered:

Truffle eggs
18month aged cheddar, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and tomato, truffle oil - $15.50

Let's start with the good - the tomatoes were lovely as were around 60% of the eggs (the other 40% were too runny) and the few cubes of cheese. Now to the bad - the toast was so tough I struggled to get my knife through it and the mushrooms completely bland - the truffle oil was balanced but overall I left half of this on my plate.

Organic strawberry muesli, layered with fruit yoghurt, toasted muesli soaked in apple juice and seasonal fruit - $9

S was quite shocked when this came out as it was nothing like she imagined - she expected something akin to Bircher muesli, not kids cereal. The bright pink oat clumps covered some nuts and oats below and came with a saucer of milk. There was one dollop of plain yoghurt and a few slices of fruit - she ate the fruit and yoghurt and left the rest.

French toast with maple syrup and bacon - $12.40

K: When this first came out I was a tad disappointed. I like my breakfasts big when I eat out, and the bread look like thin all air pieces of nothing. I was wrong. This was the second best French toast I've ever had (this second best thing seems to be a trait for my mailing room experience). Most mouthfuls were scrumptious, some were divine. Perfect balance of thick hot oily eggy bread, salty pig and that sharp sweet of the syrup to slash it all open and let the deepest flavours come through. And yes.. there was enough food.

Decaf latte - $3.40

K: This was the second best decaf latte I've yet had. nice fern on top too, not overly impressive but presentation counts.

Cost: $41 for 3 breakfasts & 1 coffee.

Service: OK. The food came out pretty quickly, although separately, but when I ordered a sandwich to go the waitress somehow forgot to give the kitchen my order.

Atmosphere: Classic charm with a copious cacophony. The arched stained glass windows, high decorative ceilings and wooden floors are simply elegant and beautiful. The tables are well spaced and there are separate eating areas as well as some tables on the porch out the front. Unfortunately, its elegance is all forgotten one second after entering as your ears are accosted by the reverberating noise. The space was barely 50% full and yet we had to resort to yelling at each other to be heard, I'd hate to be in there at full capacity. The decor might be lovely, but the atmosphere is much too rambunctious for a leisurely breakfast.

Thanks to K for the steamy shot.
Parking: Good - there's a decent amount of street parking and two medium sized carparks just off Mailing Rd.

Website: http://www.malingroom.com.au/

Hours: Mon-Tue 7am-4pm
Wed-Fri 7am-11pm
Sat 8am-11pm
Sun 8am-4pm

Would I return: No - too noisy for a weekend breakfast.
K: I would eat there again, despite the noise levels being ridiculous for the few people inside. sexy tattooed waiters are always a welcome bonus.

Thursday, April 8, 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: 3 pieces of bread - brioche, caramelised shallot and pumpkin seed - a little tougher than usual.

Pumpkin & onions

Great flavour and textural combinations.

Entree: olive oil poached veal carpaccio, quail's eggs, sweetbreads, rocket - $18

R loved the flavour combinations but would have preferred less meat and more of everything else.

mushroom tarte fine, king oyster mushrooms, pickled celery and trompettes, parmesan cream - $16

This has changed since the last time I had it, and to be honest, I prefer the original. The pastry was quite dry and flaky and didn't really add anything to the dish. The flavours were similar except that the Swiss browns (which I love) are now king oysters, which I don't enjoy as much as I find their texture a little rubbery. If I had never eaten the previous version I would have enjoyed this, however I loved the original as it was and therefore was a little disappointed in this reincarnation.

Main: ocean trout , fennel, toasted almonds, orange, aged balsamic and argan oil vinaigrette - $28

I knew instantly that R liked this just by listening to him eat it; there were oohs and ahhs galore. He said if all fish dishes tasted this good he wouldn't eat red meat any more.

Israeli cous cous, mixed veg, aubergine puree, almonds,goats cheese - $26

Terry made this to order as I had already had the gnocchi (which was DIVINE). I wasn't sure what to expect but I thoroughly enjoyed this - and I am actually going to go out and buy some Israeli cous cous because I enjoyed it so much. The dish was full of flavour and wonderful contrasting textures, it was a joy to eat. For me, the almonds tied everything together, they were the perfect finishing touch.

Desserts: lemon chiboust, pastry crisps, raspberries, vanilla gastrique - $15

For me, the best part of a lunch at Persimmon is the dessert - they always get it right. I find that when I go to restaurants the desserts seem to be the biggest let downs for me which is why I look forward to them here. Unfortunately, this dessert, although lovely, didn't knock my socks off like desserts here usually do. The raspberries are the largest flavour here, whilst the lemon chiboust quietly plays in the background. The pastry did nothing for me. It was delicate and lacked oomph for me (whereas the apple panacotta was also delicate but outstanding).

olive oil cake, yoghurt sorbet, roasted bananas, chocolate - $15

This was also, just nice. The cake by itself is unmemorable and purely acts as a foundation for the other components. The flavours are complimentary but mellow. My favourite part of this dessert were the cubes of chocolate, I was worried they were jelly but my spoon slid into them effortlessly and they melted instantly on my tongue into a gorgeous velvet ganache consistency.

Cost: $118 for 2 entrees, 2 mains and 2 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.

Website: http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/ngvinternational/persimmon.html 

Hours: Daily 11am to 4pm (except Tuesdays).

Would I return: Yes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Pier - Port Melbourne

Name: The Pier

1 Bay St
Port Melbourne 3207 VIC
Phone: (03) 9646 3990

Food: ModOz,
Average price: $15-$35

Complimentary:  Nothing.

We ordered:

Pumpkin Gnocci - $24.90
with cream, cheese, oregano, roasted pumpkin, mushrooms, spinach, red onion & pine nuts

First off, the gnocci was well cooked and a wonderful texture. What I couldn't understand is how with all of these ingredients it wasn't extremely tasty. Overall it was a nice dish, but needed something to push it further.

Bruschetta - $13.90
wood fired ciabatta w extra virgin olive oil, garlic, roma tomatoes, red onion & marinated fetta

Ryan enjoyed this - good balance, perhaps some more fetta wouldn't have gone astray.

Bowl of fries - $8.90

HUGE serving with tomato sauce and watery aioli. For some reason they just weren't satisfying, too thin and crispy I think.

Brownie - $12.90

I freaking LOVED this. Ok, it wasn't so much a brownie as a soft but fudgy cake with a lovely chocolate ganache. Surprisingly, the ice cream was my favourite element - perfectly flecked with vanilla bean, perfect sweetness and the most perfect soft and creamy texture I have tasted in an ice cream - divine. Everything melded beautifully, although I would have loved some more strawberries to help cut through the heaviness, and I would have liked them topped as I don't eat the green hats.

Watermelon juice - $7

This was heavy on the watermelon with the other fruits (pineapple and something) barely noticeable.

Cost: $67.60 for 1 main, 2 entrees, 1 dessert and 1 juice.

Service: Great. Our food came out in no time at all.

Atmosphere: A room to suit each taste. The Pier has multiple public as well as function rooms each in a different style of decor. We were in the main room which has large windows with views of the beach and plenty of booth seating. The venue is filled with natural light and has a relaxed and inviting feel to it.

Parking: Ample - there's a decent amount of paid and free street parking.

Website: http://www.thepier.net.au/

Hours: Daily 10.30am-midnight

Would I return: Yes - great for brekky or a leisurely lunch.