Category Archives: 3 Hat

Attica – Mixed Emotions…

This is the post that’s long overdue,  and truth be told, I’ve been avoiding it a bit.  First of all, it’s a loooong post as I sat through a long degustation.  There were some highlights, and there were some lowlights.   And it’s Attica!  There’s a 6 month wait to get a table!  And it’s in the top 50 best restaurants in the world.   I’m very torn about this.  Having said that, my partner points out that it was a “complete” experience – food, atmosphere, service (I’m guessing he was more enamoured by this dinner than I).

A few interesting snacks to start…  There were breads, an olive oil mousse, buckwheat pancakes, and crumbed mussels (complete with crazy painted mussel shell).

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Snow Crab, Mandarin and Sorrel.  Light, delicate and fresh.

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Marron and Ground Greens.  Really, you can’t really do anything wrong with a marron dish.  Love.

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A simple dish of Potato cooked in the earth it was grown.  First time I had this dish a few years ago, it was a revelation.  Whilst this time, it was not a revelation, it was still pretty darn good as I love a good potato.

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Cucumber, Holy Flax, Sauce of Burnet.  Never ceases to amaze me how something that sounds so bland (cucumber) and good for you (holy flax!) can actually taste good!

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Meat from the pearl oyster pinctada maxima with Radish.  Hmm… this was a real miss for me.  Weird consistency, weird temperature (it was warm and not) and a poor used pearl oyster!  It tasted good, but that was about it.

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Wallaby with Herbs Tended by the Hands of our Cooks.  It was delicious.  Perfect proportions and the herbs tasted excellent.

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At this point, we were invited to check out the herb garden at the back and were give a little chocolate ice cream treat.  It was nice to be outside and having the opportunity to chat to the chefs.

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Blueberries, Vinegar and Fresh Cheese.  Perfect dessert.  Totally my kind of dessert and I loved it!

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Raw Strawberry Jam.  This was good too.  Interesting in that it was like semi frozen jam on top of strawberries and other things.

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Lastly, we were presented with a little ditty about a Pukeko bird and some chocolates.  Very cute way to end the evening.

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So, one miss, and a few hits.  I’m not sure if I would recommend Attica to people as it’s a bit avant garde and a fair amount of dollars for dinner.   I suppose I will be back in a few years to see what new food experiences are there and if the old trusty potato dish is still there!

For more info and reviews:
Attica on Urbanspoon

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Remarkable dishes at Sepia

Was in Sydney for a weekend trip to celebrate a friends birthday and the celebration dinner was held at Sepia.  Quite a prestigious little place, restaurant of the year and three hats.  Had the degustation with matching wine, and in hindsight, each dish was amazingly complex.  And the degustation was very well harmonised and built up with each course.

The dinner started with a delicate little dish: “udon, smoked roe, tomato“.

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Sashimi Yellow Fin tuna, Jamon Iberico, apple, daikon, white sesame cucumber and sake, wasabi” was texturally interesting.

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Winning dish of the night:  “sashimi of bonito, flavours of roasted chicken, umeboshi, upland cress, green tea, nori“.  Maybe dish of the year.  The sashimi is topped by crispy chicken skin, and the cream at the centre of the plate taste like the best roast chicken in the world.

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Yabby, seaweed puree, ginger, shellfish and blood orange emulsion, sorrel“:  Sweet yabby in a thick emulsion… crazy textures, with a complex taste.

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Glazed smoked fresh water eel, sushi rice, shiitake mushroom, garlic emulsion, green apple, pickled aka seaweed“:  taste like an upmarket version of eel sushi!

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Chargrilled wagyu rump, sea urchin and wasabi butter, garlic chive mustard leaves, ponzu“:  this was amazing.  Salty tasty butter with a beautiful piece of meat.

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Sansho seared Mandagery Creek venison, beetroot butter, horseradish chestnut mushroom“:  Pretty as a picture, and great tasting.

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Palate cleanser:  “Meyer lemon butter, ginger bread crumb, sheep yoghurt sorbet, fennel, olive“.

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Gorgeous “strawberry and yuzu bomb” dessert – was like a surprise with each bite.

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“Winter chocolate forest” Soft chocolate, hazelnut and almond, orange and thyme cream, sour cherry sorbet cocoa brandy jellies, green tea, licorice, chocolate twigs:  Complicated and yummy dessert.

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Food was beautiful, service was good (but could be better) although perhaps looking after such a big party is challenging.   We had a group of 14, and dinner took about 6 hours.  Service was good, but there were a few hiccups.  For example, were were given bread between the third and fourth course (which had a significant wait).

Would I recommend Sepia?  Yes, not only was the food excellent, there were some really clever elements to it (fish and roast chicken!).  I look back at the experience and think that there were so many dimensions (lenses!) to each dish – texture, taste, colour, smell.  Quite remarkable.

For more info and reviews:
Sepia on Urbanspoon

Jacques Reymond… over overindulgence…

Decided that winter in Melbourne is too dreary and that I needed some “highlights” to get me through. Hence, we decided to have an extra special date night at Jacques Reymond. Last time I was at Jacques it was about 4-5 years ago, and I remember the first time as being excellent. This time round, perhaps I am a different type of diner now, the wow factor wasn’t quite there.

Degustation started with a appetizer of cheesy puffs (there’s probably a more fancy name, but whatever!). Had a lot of these during the last holiday in France, so knew what to expect – soft fluffy shoe pastry filled with cheese! They were delightful.
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The “clear broth of shiitake, fragrant lemon balm, clams” was a beautiful subtle dish, with the broth being very flavourful with perfectly cooked clams. IMG_0818

The “yellow fin tuna, smoked salmon mousse, spiced nougatine, togarashi, lemon caviar” another subtle dish. Interesting textures with raw fish, mouse and a jelly like sheath on top.

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Nothing makes me happier than perfectly cooked fresh fish, and the “King George whiting, acidities of pickles Japanese style, yuzu” dish delivered on that. The pickles elevated the fish to a whole new level.
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Gotta say, I love dishes that combine seafood and poultry. “Cuttlefish, pork and crispy chicken skin” was an excellent dish which was so tasty, I was scraping the bottom of the plate to get all the sauce. Finely sliced cuttlefish and pork with a super tasty broth/sauce topped with a think piece of crispy chicken skin – yum!IMG_0821
Parmesan custard, green peas, macerated grapes, wasabi and apple granita” = palate cleanser to get us in the mood for the meat dishes. I’d describe this as cold, cleansing and sour-ish, with pops of peas.

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The “salad of Flinders Island lamb, smoked eucalyptus scallop, scampi, masterstock jelly” was a nice little dish that showcased the lamb whilst incorporating lightly cooked seafood.

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The “Sher wagyu a la plancha, burnt onion and coffee” was delicious. A perfectly cooked piece of beef, however, I wish it came with more sauce and a few more things to accompany it!

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Dessert number one was “Camargue organic red rice, champagne, Yarra Valley berries” which had nice textures in the semi crispy rice and cold berries and sorbet on top.

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Dessert number two, the “spiced cherries, chocolate and chestnut mont blanc, bay leaf and cassis” was fabulous. Little things on a plate that went perfectly together, and was not too sweet for me.

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Finished off with the generous petit fours, including Spanish donuts!

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Overall, the dinner was good, but there were a few things that I thought were a bit a miss. The biggest one being when we decided to order the degustation (which is in the $200 per person mark), we were asked if we would like to include truffle with the beef course at an extra $50 per person! I don’t know what was worse… trying to be up-sold truffles or that it was $50 per person!

The food was well presented and immaculately prepared, service was good and atmosphere was a bit stiff. Would I revisit? Probably not for another 5 years. Would I recommend you go? Nope, there’s more exciting dining for more reasonable prices in Melbourne.

For more info and reviews:
Jacques Reymond on Urbanspoon