Saturday, June 26, 2010

Persimmon - Melbourne - NGV

Name: Persimmon at the National Gallery of Victoria

Address: Ground Level, NGV
180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
8620 2434

Food: ModOz
Average price: Entrée - $14-16, Main - $23-32, Dessert - $14-16.

Complimentary: 4 pieces of bread - brioche, sour dough and pumpkin seed - served warm with lovely salted butter.

We ordered the degustation menu (one vegetarian):

(Unfortunately it seems the draft I wrote the day of the meal no longer exists and therefore I shall have to write from memory, so there may be some meals with no description, apologies).

Beetroot, sour cream, apple (veg)

Basil cured kingfish, smoked tomato sorbet, pigs cheek, bacon

Parsnip soup, shallots, almonds, dried grapes, parsley

I enjoyed this dish. Although the menu said white onion soup the waitress told us that it was a parsnip puree - either way the puree was luxuriously smooth and silken.

Jap pumpkin salad, scallops, coriander, yabbie foam

Braised lambs neck, celeriac, candied hazelnuts, artichokes barigoule

This was the savoury dish that R enjoyed most, the others he cannot remember. The meat was soft and the accompaniments went well.

Goats cheese fondant, aubergine, potato, roma tomato vinaigrette basil

I definitely remember this dish - classic flavour combinations done beautifully. The goat's cheese was strong but paired well with the acidic tomatoes and 'meaty' eggplant.

Lemon thyme risotto, pickled mushrooms, truffle oil, black cabbage

I vaguely remember this dish having another element tossed through - perhaps a nettle leaf. The strongest flavour was the bitter lemon. The texture was nice but the flavours were a little soft and bitter for me.

Toast and jam

Bitter chocolate fondant, mint ice cream, pop rocks

R loved this as usual but I found the fondant wasn't rich and chocolaty enough for me.
What surprised me though was the mint ice cream - I hate creamy mint ice creams but this literally tasted like mint leaves freshly picked - twas more of a sorbet than ice cream.

Cost: $240 for 4 degustation menus.

Service: Perfect. The service is always flawless - that perfect amount of attentiveness. 

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.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

MoMo - Grand Hyatt - Melbourne

Name: MoMo
Lower Plaza Level (Grand Hyatt Hotel)
123 Collins St
Melbourne 3000 VIC

Phone: (03) 9650 0660

Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Average price: They have $100 and $140 degustation menus. Entree: $17-$26, Mains: $30-$40, Dessert: $16-$20

Complimentary: 4 pieces of bread with crudites and a pomegranate molasses oil.

The bread was fluffy and warm, perfect for tearing and dipping. The vegetables were carrots, cucumber, capsicum and radicchio. The pomegranate molasses gave the oil a lovely tart sweetness.

Tomatoes with sumac and cheese

Nice, refreshing, and simple, clean flavours.

We ordered the $100pp Arabesque menu for four, one vegetarian:

Entrees: prawns in olive brioche crumbs with Turkish style shredded celeriac salad with feta

I could tell by my husband's expression that this dish was a winner. In R's words - they were awesome.

Golden lentil stew with scallops, mussels and Syrian pepper noodles 

Although it was spicy everyone enjoyed this dish.

Silky hummus asparagus, feta and softer herbs with green olive toast

The hummus was smooth and the flavours melded well although I wasn't sold on the thin, crisp bread toasts. I think I would have preferred a fluffy bread.

Hazelnut falafel, mint cucumber salad and sesame yoghurt sauce

Traditional flavour and exactly what I was expecting.

Mains: Veiled quail covered in leaves with chorizo pine nut stuffing and mustard whipped feta

R was a little disappointed in this variation (it wasn't as crispy) as he enjoyed this immensely on his previous visit. That being said, S, who had an extreme 'quail aversion' thought it was good.

Venison roasted rare with cinnamon, ginger and black pepper, warm baba ganoush with scarmoza cheese

There was an issue with this dish. The venison came out cold and medium well so it was sent back to be served hot - but after reheating it came back well done and devoid of juice. Despite the disappointing texture, everyone remarked that the flavours were good.
I adored the smoky baba ganoush - such a taste sensation.

Spiced eggplant tagine, cous cous and herbed labneh

This was full of flavour, spice and everything nice. The herbed labneh helped to cool the warm elements. The chickpeas and cous cous added textural intrigue and overall it was a homey but satisfying dish.

White cabbage with sticky rice fig stuffing, shankleesh cheese egg and pine nut sauce

I enjoyed this dish but I didn't taste sticky fig in it? Overall it was quite a savoury, salty dish with some softer, sweeter elements.

Sides: Button mushrooms with shankleish and spring onions

These were yummy and the accompanying spring onions and cheese suited the mushrooms well, however the mushrooms were a little rubbery in texture.

Leek, currant and aged feta spanakopita with pear herb salad

I adored this on our previous visit but this time the pastry was a little too overdone and tasted powdery and a touch burnt whilst the filling had dehydrated somewhat making the cheese a little dry - other than that it was nice.

Malouf's tabbouleh with hazelnuts

R liked this.

Dessert: pears, orange, persimmon, pomegranate, passionfruit with pineapple anise sorbet


As soon as S saw this arrive she could barely refrain from tucking in. Refreshing, light and with a lovely fresh sorbet. Presentation was gorgeous. Couldn't pick up on the anise flavour though...

Vanilla bean-rose mousse, strawberry marshmallow and poppyseed crisp

I found the mousse was a little heavy and overpowered the soft marshmallow and crisp with its heaviness. The marshmallow itself was very delicate.

Halva macaroon, toffeed sesame seeds with honey, citrus and saffron jelly

I loved the chewy halva macaroon (great shell and feet), and I'm not a fan of macaroons which I find are generally too sweet. The sesame seed was yum. What perplexed me was the jelly, whilst I liked it and could taste the citrus but I wouldn't pick that it had honey or saffron from taste alone, that said I enjoyed it but D didn't.

Milk chocolate orange blossom ice cream, mandarin granita, pistachio wafer

I could have sworn the ice cream was jasmine - I'm a little shocked it was orange blossom unless it was changed and the menu wasn't amended with it as I could not taste milk chocolate either...
I found it a little too heavily perfumed for me (and I adore florals) and could not eat more than 2 or 3 spoonfuls. The wafer was crisp and delicious though and the texture of the ice cream was spot on.

Cost: $422 for four Arabesque menus and one glass of wine.

Service: OK - our water was never more than half empty, and the waiters were proficient and courteous, however our venison dish came out cold and D's wine took a while to arrive.

Atmosphere: Calm luxury. The decor is really gorgeous; From the dazzling Swarovski crystals hanging like stalactites from the ceiling to the lattice work windows and etched glass and velour walls - even the floral arrangements are lovely. The lighting was a little low but not enough to put you to sleep. The temperature became a little chilly towards the end of the evening. The seats are spaced well but the noise level is increased slightly by the nearby Spice Market Bar. Do check out the bathrooms ladies - they are a great place to have a chat whilst you powder your nose - nice lighting too :)

Parking: Hotel carpark - the hotel has a large underground carpark at a flat rate of $10 or $5per hour on weekends - otherwise you can chance a limited street park.


Hours: Tue-Sat 6pm-10.30pm

Would I return: Yes - the servings are generous and you never leave hungry.

MoMo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Churchill Cafe & Larder - Surrey Hills

Name: Churchill Cafe & Larder
13 Hamilton St
Surrey Hills, 3127

(03) 9890 3444

Food: ModOz, Cafe,
Average price: $3.50 - $20

Complimentary:  Nothing.

We ordered:

Feta, zucchini, corn fritters with avocado salsa, bloody Mary dressing, and a fried egg - $16.50

This has become the corn fritter that finally broke the camel's back - whilst not the worst of the bunch it still wasn't great. The fritters were partially undercooked and doughy. They did not have much flavour at all and I could not taste the feta whatsoever. The avocado was blended with raw onion which I found too overpowering, I could also taste some coriander leaves... The egg was done nicely but there was a distinct lack of seasoning and I wasn't given any salt and pepper with which to season myself. The splashes of tomato sauce and pesto oil got swallowed up by the fritters doughiness and despite being hungry, I left half on my plate.

Bircher muesli with grated apple, toasted almonds, yoghurt - $12.50

 K loved this - it also contained pear, berries, papaya, sunflower kernals, pumpkin seeds and hazelnuts.

Toast with fried eggs

K thought this was done well.

Hot chocolate -

The two K's thought this was a nice, not very sweet hot chocolate - came with a marshmallow.

Cobb Salad - $20

S was severely disappointed in both the size and flavour of this dish.

Cost: $unavailable (I left before the bill came and the ladies don't remember what they paid).

Service: OK. The food came out pretty quickly, but water is self serve.

Atmosphere: Cosy kitchen. There are small tables as well as a communal dining table with a mosaic table top and tartan booth seating. The ceilings are high and there's plenty of outdoor seating. The sound level was loud despite being half full.

Parking: Good - there's a decent amount of street parking and a carpark for Mont Albert station that runs alongside the road.

Website: None.

Hours: Mon-Sun from brekky to lunch.

Would I return: No.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sosta Cucina - North Melbourne

Name: Sosta Cucina

12 Errol St
North Melbourne 3051 VIC

Phone: (03) 9329 2882
Food: Italian
Average price: Entree: $3-$18,  Mains: $16-$29,  Dessert: $12-$18

Complimentary:  Nothing.

We ordered:

Crostata di Fichi - $14
Fresh fig tart with vanilla marscapone and our fig and white chocolate gelato

R found this a touch boring. I find with cream tarts you need a tangy or tart fruit to balance the dish, the sugary sweet fig just didn't work with the vanilla cream and chocolate gelato, it was unmemorable and not exciting to eat.

Panforte e cioccolato 'sandwich'  - $14
Dark chocolate and panforte sandwich with a white chocolate and orange mousse

S really enjoyed this whilst A tasted something, perhaps a spice, that she doesn't like so she didn't eat it.

Bombolini ripieni - $14
Three hot cinnamon sugared donuts filled with vanilla pastry cream and accompanied with melted milk Lindt chocolate

This was the winner of the night - simple but delectable. The doughnuts were warm with a crisp sugary coating, soft spongy dough and a subtle but wonderful pastry cream; dipped in milk lindt chocolate it's a mouthful of sinful deliciousness. It was the perfect size for one, but don't expect to be able to keep them all to yourself...

Affogato o con liquore frangelico, strega o amaretto - $11
Vanilla bean gelato with espresso coffee, or with your choice of liqueur vini dolci al bicchiere

Classic affogato, a touch pricey but I guess the martini glass serving was supposed to make it a little swankier than the traditional small glass. No faults taste wise.

Cost: $64 for 3 desserts and two coffees.

Service: Good. The food came out quickly and our water was topped up. The service was also friendly.

Atmosphere: Softly elegant. Muted neutral tones punctuated with luxurious chandeliers and patterned booths. We were seated at a large dining table right at the front which wasn't the best as each time the door opened we received a chilly draught. The rest of the decor however was lovely with an understated chic.

Parking: Good - there's a decent amount of street parking.

Hours: Tue-Sun noon-10pm

Would I return: Yes - if I find myself in the area.