Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nobu - Southbank - review

Name: Nobu

Address: 6 Whiteman St
Southbank VIC 3006
(03) 9292 7879

Food: Japanese

Average price: $7.50-$30, desserts $8.50-$15.

Complimentary: Nothing.

We ordered:

Edamame - $6.50

Nice, some beans were a little soft and wrinkled but otherwise a decent standard dish.

Yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno - $9

R loved this and had didn't want to share it.

Beef fillet tataki, with onion ponzu and garlic chips -$23

Fresh, clean flavours - R liked it


I thought it tasted a little hammy, I asked and it was made with fish broth.

Bento Box - $45
Good serving size. In it there was.

Sashimi salad with matsuhisa dressing

Baby tiger prawn tempura with ponzu
R exlamimed upon first bite, 'oh man, these are awesome'.

Black cod with miso

R said it didn't taste fishy at all, just really awesome and packed full of flavour.

vegegtable spicy garlic with rice
assorted sushi
miso soup

Seasonal vegetables with spicy garlic sauce - $15

Surprisingly not very spicy or garlicy - it lacked flavour and some veggies were undercooked and the rice was gluggy.

Zucchini tempura - $2

Nice but pretty standard.

Caramel parfait with candied peanuts, chocolate sponge and miso mousse - $17

Nice salty caramel taste, with a green tea shortbread? The chocolate sponge was a little too spongy (almost like those foam squares in gymnast pits) but it had good cocoa flavour.
I didn't like the acidic fruity sorbet on the top, for it it just didn't match up with the creamy, salty and sweet flavours. Overall I thought it was nice but could be improved.

Tofu cheesecake with green tea crumble, berry compote and tuile - $17

warm chocolate satandagi filled with pistachio and chocolate ganache in a Japanese bun and served with caramelised pistachios, berry coulis and almond ice cream - $18.50

This was OK. The chocolate centre was sweet with a nice pistachio tone but the buns were a little too bready and bland. The coulis was nice. Wouldn't order this again though.

Cost: $260 for four people for lunch.

Service: OK.

Atmosphere: Close quarters and some hustle and bustle. The restaurant is located within the glitzy Crown complex. Once inside the restaurant you are given a tradition Japanese welcome (Irasshaimase!) before being shown to your table. The restaurant was fairly empty when we went for lunch, so we asked to be moved to another table away from the windows where the sun was shining rather harshly on us. We were moved to a table that was around a pillar with a padded bench that went along all four sides which was nice when there were no other people beside you. Later on though I found the lack of space and proximity to the other patrons rather intrusive, at one stage the lady on my left went to grab her bag and accidentally grabbed mine. This also made the noise factor quite loud once it begins to fill up.
Decor wise the restaurant is a mix of dark browns with gold and deep red accents.

Parking: Ample - there's underground paid parking in the Crown complex, street parking or other paid parking lots.


Hours: Mon-Fri noon-3pm, Mon-Sat 6pm-10.30pm

Would I return: Maybe.

Monday, November 22, 2010

No. 35 - Sofitel - Melbourne - review

Name: No. 35

35/25 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

(03) 9653 7744

Food: ModOz

Average price: Entrée: $19-$25, Mains: $34-$110, Dessert: $18-$22, Degustation menu: 7 courses, $185

Complimentary: Foccacia and butter.

The bread was both oily and dry at the same time.

A mushroom soup?

I remember this being pleasant.

We ordered: tasting menu - $125 and some other dishes for me.

salad of beetroot, root vegetables, local goats curd, roasted hazelnuts - $21

Tasting menu version on left.
R loved it - reminded him of the dishes from Persimmon.
I thought it was nice, but I didn't like the beetroot in jelly form - just not a fan of the texture. I also would have liked more goats curd to balance the sweetness, other than that it very pretty on the plate.

slow cooked pork belly, caramelised skate wing, onion puree, puffed rice

Too much of an 'Asian' taste for R - he also did not like the skate wing one bit.

Atlantic salmon, compressed cucumber, fennel, sorrel

R thought this was ok but the cucumber jelly ruined it for him.

wild barramundi, parsnip, brussel sprouts, pig trotter

rangers valley 300 days grain fed waygu rump cap, new season onions, caramelised bone marrow

R enjoyed this.

heirloom carrot salad, fennel, oregano, mint - $10

This had an almost fruity tang to it. Some of the carrots were a touch undercooked and hard to cut through but otherwise the flavours were fresh and went well. I enjoyed the addition of pinenuts. The plate wasn't practical though - half of my carrots would just slide off onto the table

risotto with white onions and thyme, honey, sherry vinegar, king brown mushrooms - $34

The rice was well cooked and flavours were pleasant apart from the mushroom stems which were very rubbery and unpleasant to eat in terms of both texture and flavour.

coconut tapioca, passionfruit, mint - $18

Tasting menu version on left.
Both R and I had this, he enjoyed his.

I found that the first mouthful of this tasted like toothpaste which for me, is not pleasant. The second mouthful  tasted like an Imperial leather soap bar which was again unplesant.
However, once I had more of the passionfruit curd on my spoon it was OK. I was expecting more tapioca pearls and whilst there were a few there weren't many, just the marshmallow like cloud that only got its coconut flavour from the desiccated coconut sprinkled on top. Although I could see the ginger shredded on top I couldn't taste the ginger. Overall, the flavours just weren't balanced well, it could be a great dish but somehow it just didn't work this time.

chocolate, hazelnut, pear

R loves anything chocolate but this just left him cold. I tried a mouthful and the pear which was in jelly form, was completely lost amongst the chocolate and hazelnut. The chocolate itself was extremely mild in flavour with the hazelnut being the dominant flavour. Nice but nothing memorable and does not satisfy a chocolate craving.

Cost: $208 for one 8 course tasting menu and 1 entrée, 1 main, 1 side and 1 dessert,

So-so. Our waiter was fantastic, however the kitchen let the service down. Despite the restaurant being only 1/4 full it took over 3 hours to get 8 dishes.

Atmosphere: Very chilled out with a ton of space. The ceilings extend to extraordinary heights with floor to ceiling windows giving you an almost 180 degree view of the CBD, best views I have seen in a CBD restaurant yet. The decor was neutral dotted with red accents as well as a gorgeous marble floor and hanging light sculptures. The noise level was very low and the vibe was romantic and calm. 

Parking: Ample - chance a street parking or choose one of the many underground paid parking lots.


Hours: Open Daily 7:30am-10pm

Would I return: Yes, despite the slow service the decor was lovely and the food was good enough to warrant a second try.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Peninsula Hotel - Hong Kong - review

Name:  The Peninsula
Address: Salisbury Road, Kowloon
Hong Kong

(852) 29202888

Food: European, Cantonese, Northern Chinese, Japanese, French,

Average price: $250HK for Traditional Peninsula Breakfast and$268HK for Afternoon Tea.

Complimentary: Water.

We ordered: Four servings of the Afternoon Tea Platter.

This was perhaps the nicest afternoon platter I have ever had. Nothing was stale, dry or tasteless. My favourite items were the gorgeous scones studded with plump sultanas and the miniature chocolate tarts oozing with passion-fruit curd. Even the boys ate everything, right down to the pink marshmallow topped strawberries.

I also wanted to put in a mention for their Peninsula breakfast which has been my favourite hotel breakfast to date. I particularly loved their Bircher muesli. Here's a few snapshots.

Bircher muesli with berries, pancakes with apricots and syrup, fruit salad, eggs with bacon and potatoes, mixed Danish pastries.

Service:  Balanced. The service was attentive without being obtrusive. The staff were efficient, friendly and the food came out quickly.

Atmosphere: Colonial glamour. The floors are marble floors with large patterned rugs in the eating areas. The Lobby is filled with gilded columns, large potted ferns, ornate ceilings and gorgeous paintings all in neutral warm tones. The seats are dark wood with a royal blue fabric. Despite having a rather luxurious design and staff to open all doors for you  the atmosphere is rather relaxed and mellow.

Parking: Limited - take a cab or train.


Hours: Daily 7am - 12:30am (for the Lobby), 2pm-7pm for afternoon tea

Would I return: Yes - for breakfast.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hutong - Hong Kong - review

Name: Hutong

Address: 28th floor, 1 Peking Rd,
Hong Kong
+852-3428 8342

Food: Northern Chinese

Average price: Minimum $300HK per person (Around $40AUD).

Complimentary: Mung Bean and Preserved Vegetable

We ordered:

Pig throat and leek salad with coriander and sesame oil

The boys thought this was a touch bland and found the pig throat texture unpleasant.

Sliced pork with beef rolls pork cheek rolled with minced beef with mashed garlic

This was ok, nothing special.

Vegetarian spring rolls with mushroom served with scallion

I found these well cooked with a great crunch and rather tasty filling, they were yummy even without the dipping sauce.

Crispy deboned lamb ribs

These were ok, though a touch dry.

Grouper in Szechuan chilli

Very spicy and generous serving size.

Egg white fried rice with conpoy and spring onion

Not much flavour. R found the texture a little too crunchy.

Minced pork with fennel seed dumplings

Everyone thought these were nice.

Mixed vegetable dumplings

Whilst they had a nice consistency, without the garlic vinegar sauce they had no flavour of their own.

Apple rolls with fried lotus

These were merely ok - they needed some other flavour besides the apple and perhaps a sauce or ice cream for some wetness as it was a rather dry dish.

flower drink - rose, lychee, honey and cinnamon

Way too heavy on the honey for me which made it too sweet to drink, it increased my thirst. The blend of fruity lychee, spicy cinnamon and fragrant rose was nice though.

Kiwi cocktail

Very strong alcohol wise.

Service: Not great. We had to keep pouring our own wine bottles but the food came out at a decent pace.

Atmosphere: Too dark to see my shoes. Whilst the foyer had a some gorgeous red lanterns, a decorative rickshaw and a stunning view of the harbour (and later on, the laser show), overall it was far too dark, I could barely make out what the rather uncomfortable chairs even looked like.
The noise level was quite low, perhaps the dark lighting just made everyone a little quieter than usual.

Parking: Limited - take a cab or train.


Hours: Daily noon-3pm and 6-11pm

Would I return: No.