Category Archives: 2 Hat

Dinner by Heston

Dinner by Heston exceeded all my expectations and has ended up being one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in Melbourne. Everything was perfect.    The atmosphere of the restaurant is unpretentious and casual, the service was attentive and prompt and the food was amazing.   I would highly recommend going to Dinner by Heston, so much so that I’m re-visiting in March!

Great thing about the menu is that it’s a la carte, so you can pick the courses you want.  I was here with a party of 5, so we had a chance to see most of the dishes that were on the menu.   Impressively, all the entrees and mains were winners.

Food highlights: Meat Fruit (classic) , Rice & Flesh (super tasty), Mash Potato (as good as Joel Rubechon), Powdered Duck Breast (amazing – I can’t begin to imagine how they cooked it so well) and Tipsy Cake (watching that pineapple slow roast speaks volumes for how amazing this tastes).

Maybe give a miss: Fries (nothing out of the ordinary), Spring Tart (was nice, but compared to other desserts a bit dull).

Enjoy the pictures!

Meat Fruit – Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled breadIMG_6665

Rice & Flesh -Saffron, curried kangaroo tail, red wine & amaranthIMG_6668

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ezard, an Oldie but a Goodie

Dined at ezard for my birthday this year, and gotta say, I was a bit worried that the restaurant might have dated but was pleasantly surprised.  Last time I dined here was about 4 years ago and whilst the menu stays true to it’s original style,  you can see/taste the newly incorporated elements.  Had degustation with matching wine, and gotta say, I love it!

First up, we had  “Japanese inspired swordfish shooter” (left) and a piece of sashimi (right).  Was delicious.

japanese inspired swordfish shooter" (left) and a piece of sashimi (right)

We then had “citrus and vodka cured salmon, black quinoa, olive oil jam, smoked yoghurt, tangerine vinaigrette“.   Clean, fresh and tasty.

citrus and vodka cured salmon, black quinoa, olive oil jam, smoked yoghurt, tangerine vinaigrette

The “steamed spanner crab dumpling with yarra valley salmon roe, chervil cress and tom kha” was a lovely subtle dish with a delicate little dumpling sitting in a mild cocunut curry sauce.

steamed spanner crab dumpling with yarra valley salmon roe, chervil cress and tom kha

The “salad of target beetroot, asparagus, serrano jamon, parmesan custard and white truffle vinaigrette” was light and tasty.

salad of target beetroot, asparagus, serrano jamon, parmesan custard and white truffle vinaigrette

The “crispy skin baby barramundi with caramelised eggplant, tomato and lime salad, yellow curry dressing” was perfectly cooked fish with a tasty curry (and rice on the bottom).   This was my favourite dish of the night.

crispy skin baby barramundi with caramelised eggplant, tomato and lime salad, yellow curry dressing

The “slow cooked pork belly, apple pudding, fennel, white peach and calvados jus” was super tasty, but I did find my piece of pork a bit chewy.

slow cooked pork belly, apple pudding, fennel, white peach and calvados jus

We chose the “eight score sher wagyu beef, potato terrine, garlic and red wine jam, mushroom soil, bordelaise jus” as our main and it was amazing!  The beef was so perfectly cooked and melted in my mouth.  Actually, I think this was my favourite dish of the night.

chinese style roast duck, green chilli and oyster sauce dressing with coconut rice and asian greens

Finished off the night with the “ezard dessert tasting plate to share” which was a collection of miniaturised desserts.  All very good, and a nice variety of desserts.

ezard dessert tasting plate to share

All up, a great dinner.  Food was tasty and looked pretty as a picture.   Can’t wait to revisit in a few years time!

For more info and reviews:

Ezard on Urbanspoon

Amazing food at Cutler & Co.

I was totally blown away by how great dinner was at Cutler & Co.  Whilst many rave about  it, I had my reservations as my first and only visit years ago was very average.   Perhaps back then it was opening month and they were still sorting out teething issues.  My boyfriend booked it in for our anniversary dinner (thank you!) and we had a smashing time.   The food was amazing, the wine (and sommelier) was perfectly matched and described, and service was great.

Started with an appetiser of “tapioca chips with seaweed and eggplant puree” which was so, so good!  It was crispy, tangy and salty.   My boyfriend normally doesn’t like tapioca & seaweed but devoured this.

tapioca chips with seaweed and eggplant puree

First dish up was the “diamond shell clams“.  The clams had a strong clam flavour (in a good way) which made them very tasty and thy were enhanced by pickled onion.

Diamond shell clams

We then had the “smoked trout, rye & avruga” which was basically smoked trout and horseradish cream sandwiched between the thinnest crispiest rye bread.  A great classic combo.

Smoked trout, rye & avruga

Bonito sashimi, avocado, sorrel & cucumber” was a lovely light sashimi with avacado and pickled cucumber.   It had a soft creamy texture with good flavours, and a very pretty dish.   It was a subtle understated dish, not the star of the evening but still lovely.
Bonito sashimi, avocado, sorrel & cucumber

Peas & zucchini, sunflower seeds, onion & bergamot” is lovely fresh peas in a very tasty broth.  Again, a very pretty dish.  My boyfriends comment for this dish was “nice way to get me to eat my vegetables”.
Peas & zucchini, sunflower seeds, onion & bergamot

The “WA marron, wagyu bresaola, iceberg hearts & whipped cod roe” was sensational.  The sweet succulent marron with salty bresaola and crispy chips…  omg!  Boyfriend also loved it and “could have eated a hundred of them”.

WA marron, wagyu bresaola, iceberg hearts & whipped cod roe

We moved on to the meat dishes and started with “smoked & fried duck, morcilla, carrot and gingerbread“.  There was a lovely smoky duck, a crispy confit leg with salty goodness, and delicious blood pudding. It was a really rich dish, so the serving size was perfect in that it left me wanting more.

smoked & fried duck, morcilla, carrot and gingerbread

Last dish before dessert was the “wood grilled wagyu rump cap, hay baked carrots & ash“.  The beef was a bit chewy (not my favourite cut of meat but cooked well) but the sauce and carrot puree was amazing.

wood grilled wagyu rump cap, hay baked carrots & ash

The “wild strawberries, buttermilk snow, sour cherry & shortbread” is my kind of dessert.  Strawberries were fresh and light, and the cherries provided a nice pop.
Wild strawberries, buttermilk snow, sour cherry & shortbread

Lastly we had the “Earl Grey ice cream, chocolate, Pedro Ximénez prunes & honey” dessert.  The Earl Grey tea ice cream was amazing – the dry tea flavour goes perfectly with chocolate and supersweet prune.  The multiple textures and flavours were definitely a winner.
Earl grey ice cream, chocolate, Pedro Ximénez prunes & honey

So my faith in Cutler & Co. has been restored and I am now a devoted follower.  The food was outstanding, wine was outstanding, and service was good and attentive.  Can’t wait to go back!

For more info and reviews:
Cutler & Co on Urbanspoon

Ten Minutes by Tractor

Ten Minutes by Tractor is a gorgeous winery with a modern restaurant facing the hillside in which the vines grow.  Was there in summer for my mom’s birthday dinner, and it was an outstanding meal all around.   Each course was matched with a perfect wine from the winery.  As you can see from the pics, the food was beautifully presented and tasted fantastic!

We started with an amuse bouche of tuna tartare.   A small bite that packed a punch – lovely soft tuna, crunchy zesty apple.   Gotta say, I loved the presentation and the spoon in which the tuna sat in.

Amuse Bouche

For entree, I had the “seared tuna with sesame and bean salad, spring onion yogurt“.  It was tasty and light.

seared tuna with sesame and bean salad, spring onion yogurt

My sister had the “charred mackerel with ratatouille, lemon creme fraiche, tomato vinaigrette” and my mom had the “beetroot cured king fish with beetroot, avocado snow, celery panacotta“.  I had a taste of both and they were superb.

charred mackerel with ratatouille, lemon creme fraiche, tomato vinaigrettebeetroot cured king fish with beetroot, avocado snow, celery panacotta

For main, I had the modestly described “duck & five spice with fig, soubise, duck jus“.   Putting it out there that this may be the best duck dish I’ve ever had.  The duck was juicy and moist, with crispy skin and the accompaniments went perfectly with the duck.

duck & five spice with fig, soubise, duck jus

My mom had the “Flinders Island wallaby with parsnip, slow roasted grapes and walnuts” whilst my sister had the “Cape Grim eye fillet with beetroot, heirloom carrots, parsley emulsion“.  Again, I had a taste of both and they were fantastic.

Flinders Island wallaby with parsnip, slow roasted grapes and walnutsCape Grim eye fillet with beetroot, heirloom carrots, parsley emulsion

Given the meal was quite rich, I opted for a light and fruity dessert.  The “strawberry medley with lime cake, lemon verbena and white chocolate espuma, meringue, strawberry ice cream” was perfect!   Sweet, citrusy, fruity and creamy.

strawberry medley with lime cake, lemon verbena and white chocolate espuma, meringue, strawberry ice cream

My sister chose the “chocolate chiboust with Michel Cluizel chocolate, poached cherries, cherry sorbet, vanilla & kirsch espuma“.   She was happy with her choice (I declined to try any as it might have overwhelmed my dessert) and it looked amazing!

chocolate chiboust with Michel Cluizel chocolate, poached cherries, cherry sorbet, vanilla & kirsch espuma

In summary, the food was amazing.  The restaurant was lovely, good service, great wine and good value ($89 for 3 courses!).   In future if I’m ever in the region, I am booking myself in for a meal at Ten Minutes!

For more info and reviews:

Ten Minutes by Tractor on Urbanspoon

Michael Lambie, 17 Years in 17 Dishes at The Smith

I was at The Smith a few weeks back and noticed a sign up in the ladies room: “Michael Lambie, 17 Years in 17 Dishes”.   The man behind some of the most famous restaurants (Stokehouse, Circa, & Taxi) was celebrating his 17 years in the Melbourne dining scene by serving up some of his most delicious dishes.  Needless to say, the very next day I signed up for it!

I was pleasantly surprised to discover upon arrival that drinks were included in the cost and with unlimited top ups!   Turned out to be a much bigger night than I’d originally anticipated…

We started off with three canapes:  kingfish sashimi with nam jim and toasted coconut, organic tofu with pickled ginger, cucumber and mint, and freshly shucked oysters with ponzu and wasabi caviar.   A lovely refreshing start to the dinner.

Canapes

The food was broken into time periods, so the first four dishes represented 1995 – 2000.  The mushroom cappuccino with truffle cream was like heaven in a cup.  It was rich, earthy, and creamy.

Mushroom cappuccino with truffle cream

Harrisa crusted yellow fin tuna with Thai style spanner crab salad was excellent.  Refreshing and light.

Harrisa crusted yellow fin tuna with Thai style spanner crab salad

Seared Atlantic scallops with cauliflower puree and curry oil… well I loved this dish.  Beautiful and delicately seared scallops with creamy puree… yum!

Seared Atlantic scallops with cauliflower puree and curry oil

King Island crayfish salad with tomato confit and lobster oil dressing…  Can’t go wrong with that combo!   The cray was fresh and perfectly cooked.  The dish salad added a nice crunch.

King Island crayfish salad with tomato confit and lobster oil dressing

The next episode was 2001 – 2004 and first up was quail salad with apple and celery salad, bois bourdon sauce.  Crispy pan fried quail on a tangy salad.

Quail salad with apple and celery salad, bois bourdon sauce

We were then presented with a very full plate housing San Daniele proscuitto with blue cheese dressing and crostini and ballotine of duck and foie gras with rillettes, parfait, hot toast and ginger pear chutney.   I love these charcuterie plates – heaped with salty tasty goodness and crusty bread.

San Daniele proscuitto with blue cheese dressing and crostini

And last lastly, we go into 2005 – 2012.  The roast wild barramundi fillet with eggplant caviar, basil puree and orange miso jus was an interesting combo but worked well and tasted good.

Roast wild barramundi fillet with eggplant caviar, basil puree and orange miso jus

Wonderfully cooked and tasty rolled roast rabbit saddle with rabbit confit and grain mustard veloute.

Rolled roast rabbit saddle with rabbit confit and grain mustard veloute

This was so so good:  Wagyu 7+ rump cap with horseradish cream and yakaniku dipping sauce. Meat was  cooked perfectly and the accompaniments were amazing!

Wagyu 7+ rump cap with horseradish cream and yakaniku dipping sauce

And last but not least, a modest raspberry souffle with white chocolate sorbet to finish a marvellous dinner.

Raspberry souffle with white chocolate sorbet

I hear you asking “how did she walk out of the restaurant?”.  Stuffed full of fine fine food?  Stumbling from too many wine top ups?  Euphoric from eating some of the best dishes ever?   Yes, twas all of the above.

For more info on The Smith:
The Smith on Urbanspoon

The Atlantic… great seafood cocktail!

Decided to take my mom to Atlantic for her birthday, as she loves Donovan’s (St Kilda) and wanted to try his new restaurant.  First impressions upon walking in is that this is nothing like the casual beachside atmosphere of Donovan’s, instead we have a sophisticated Crown Casino friendly fine dining restaurant.  The decor and furnishing is stunning.

The menu changes daily, but I’m guessing that only applies to fish dishes and that the more steady dishes are seasonal.  We were there mid Jan, and the food was fabulous and fresh.  Note:  I’m naming these dishes based on what I can remember but I’m sure they had nicer/fancier names on the menu!

Started with really great strong entrees such as the “seafood cocktail with lobster, prawn, scallop” – which was totally awesome!  If you’re only going to have one thing whilst there, have this!  The other entree we had was a “crab and cantaloupe cold dish” which was also delicious.

The other dishes were good.  My only criticism of the meal is that the mains are huge!  And given they are quite rich, it may be too much of a good thing.  The three mains we had were grilled fresh snapper (looks scary but tasted very good and was very fresh), panfried hapuka in a seafood broth and snapper cooked with a tomato sauce in a paper bag.

This was the dining experience that prompted me to go back again in the next few weeks for the 5 course crustacean celebration degustation – which turned out to be one of the best dining experiences I’ve had in awhile.

Loam… Amazing!

Got taken to Loam for my birthday!  It was truly spectacular!  Beautiful countryside, great looking restaurant,  great service and sensational food!  Some of the food combos were mind blowing, and they were all well balanced and enhanced the flavour of the key ingredient.

The menu has an interesting format, in that they have a list of ingredients that are in season and that will be featured in the dishes.  All you have to do is specify how many courses you’d like to have.  We all know I’m a glutton, so it was 9 course for me, plus matching wines.

Before commencing, we start with bread and a few munchies.  The butter that went with the bread was so good – it was house churned (hence it was soft and fluffy) and smoked.  I don’t normally eat more than 1 slice of bread but on this occasion I had 3 slices as the butter was so good!  We also had cured mussels, parmesan biscuits and salmon jerky.

First up, we had the “cuttlefish, ink, unripe tomato“.   The cuttlefish was marinated in squid ink and sat in the tomato consume, topped with a cuttlefish cracker.  The unripe tomato consume packs a punch, but the star of this dish was the cracker which contrasted with the silky texture of the marinated cuttlefish.

The “marron, lychee, turnip, macadamia, celery” dish was mind blowing.  The marron and lychee were covered in macadamia shavings which meant that when you took a bite of it, it dried your mouth out a bit before hitting it with the juicy sweetness of lychee and marron.  Phenomenal.

The “snapper, black russian tomato, basil seed, samphire” was a beautiful panfried snapper in a tomato consume with basil seed and packed a lemony punch.  Good looking dish which tasted great too.

The “shiitake, cheese rind, onion, cucumber, tea tree fungus” dish had oven roasted shiitake mixed with onion, onion flower and lebanese cucumber atop a cheese rind custard.  Surprisingly a light dish which smelled amazon.   Mushrooms never tasted so good.

Next up was the “pork jowl, watercress, pear, lettuce hearts, purslane“…  the pork had been cooked for 17 hours and then pan fried to crisp it… delicious!  Best pork I’d ever had.  Amazing.

The final savoury dish was the “wagyu rump, avocado, veal tongue, saltbush, thyme” which consisted of crispy shredded veal tongue and saltbush leaves sitting atop a perfectly cooked piece of meat on avocado purée.  Again, amazing.

The first of the desserts was “mauri taleggio, fermented cabbage, raw honey, pollen“.  The picture below shows the fermented cabbage sitting atop the taleggio.   The taleggio is from Northern Italy and the cabbage is fermented for 10 days in the same bacteria as the cheese (yup, the chef told me himself!).   As a cheese lover, I loved this dish.  The cheese was amplified by the fermented cabbage – stinky and amazing!

Next dessert was “fig leaf, molasses, wild plum, mint, spiced bread“.   The parfait was fig leaf, with a crystallised sliver of molasses on top.  This was topped by the wild plum with spiced breadcrumbs around it.  This dessert came with an elderflower liquor as the acommpanying drink and the combination was fantastic.

Last dish for the night was “berries, rhubarb, pine yoghurt, wild fennel, milk“.  The rhubarb came in the form of sorbet and was surrounded by berries.  Crispy milk skin sat on top and on the bottom was a goats milk yoghurt.  It was a nice light end to the fabulous dinner.

Overall, the dinner was amazing.  I honestly can’t fault anything about the whole experience.  To top it off, as it was my birthday, I got to visit the kitchen at the end of the night and have a chat with the head chef (Aaron).  It was such a great experience!  One last photo, and that was the lovely little lemon tarts that came with our coffee.  One last time… amazing!

For more info and reviews:
Loam on Urbanspoon

Or The Age review!