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.


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

Would I return: Yes.

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