Tag Archives: Crab

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.


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

Shoya – an old favourite that consistently delivers!

My beloved boyfriend brought me here for our anniversary in late Jan, as I love Shoya and have not been in 2-3 years.  My oh my, how things do not change!  This was a good thing, as the dishes I wanted were served to me as I had remembered.  The restaurant was quaint, service was impeccable and food was delicious!

We decided to go for the most modest of the degustations ($120 per person) and I’m honestly not sure how we would have coped with the larger ones as I was so fully by the end of it!

The first dish for the degustation was a lovely “Salmon Carpaccio Shoya Style served with deep fried salmon skin and truffle .  We were instructed to roll it and eat in one mouthful.  Delicious!

The next item was “Kingyowhich is basically chicken meatballs.  The meatballs smelled divine (chicken and sesame oil) and were a lovely soft consistency.  It was served with lentils which added a nice texture.

Next up was “Monk Awabi” which was an abalone dish served with monkfish liver pieces and miso flavoured cream cheese.   It was tasty and my partner commented “who would have thought monkfish liver would taste that good”.

We were then served a  mysterious sounding dish:  “Hatching Ocean Egg“.  It was a steamed egg custard (served in an egg shell) topped with truffle and tempura scampi (nom!).  Beautiful flavours in a beautifully presented dish.

The “Assortment of Sashimi” has the most delicate and fresh sashimi presented in a mesmerising ice bowl. Mesmerising because my partner and I spent a good 10 minutes trying to work out how it was created (balloons?).  Fresh wasabi was ground in front of us, and it made for a spectacular way to eat sashimi.

On to the meat dish!  “Beef Spinach Roll” – slow cooked meat wrapped in a spinach soufflé.  You had me at “slow cooked”…   it was rich, it was tasty, it was delicious!  This was my partners favourite dish of the evening.

The next dish was the highlight of my evening: “Crab Tempura“.  Massive crab legs in a light tempura batter served with wasabi salt.  Sooo good!  Warning:  it does get messy with the de-shelling.

At this point we got a palate cleanser – Lemon lime bitters topped with caviar.  Alcoholic tasting.  Strong and did the job.

The next dish was snapper with noodles in a bonito soup – it was fragrant, had beautiful soft fresh noodles and a delicate broth.  The burst of the roe when taking a mouthful elevated this dish to all new highs.  And it was very pretty to look at.

Last savoury course of the evening was “Wagyu Beef Steak“, “Mixed Rice” and “Miso Soup“.  The steak was rich, and how could it not be when it has truffle with it.  The rice was tasty and the miso soup was good.   Felt very homely and it was a nice way to end the savoury dishes.

At this point of the dinner, I was bursting at the seam so luckily, dessert was a modestly sized platter aptly named “Chef’s Dessert” – there was a chocolate mousse, a green tea panna cotta and a slice of sea urchin cheese cake (it’s not as bad as it sounds!).  All were good, light and most importantly, small portioned!

So, all up, a fantastic experience was what I was expecting and it’s what I got.  The food was as good as I’d remembered and I was a very happy camper.

For more info and reviews:
Shoya Nouvelle Wafu Cuisine on Urbanspoon

San Francisco: Crab House and Dottie’s True Blue Cafe

This is my post on “touristy” food in San Fran.   As it was my first time in San Fran, I had to have something that was popular to SF… and lo and behold, we have the dungeness crab! If you walk along the pier, you’ll notice scores of restaurants serving crabs right outside, ready to be cooked and served with an ice cold beer.

We decided to stop at Crab House, in the heart of the touristy area.  It was a really nice looking restaurant, and the service was good.   Started with a  crab chowder, which was creamy and delicious!  There were other restaurants around that were serving the chowder in a big sourdough bun, but to my disappointment, this came in a bowl.

Following that we ordered a serve of the “Killer Crab Roasted in Our Secret Garlic Sauce”  to share between the two of us. It was covered in garlic buttery goodness and was cooked perfectly.  Good thing they gave us bibs, as this was messy eating.

The 2nd touristy place we went to was highlighted in our tour book as having exceptional breakfast.  We queued for 30 mins to get a table at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe and when we finally got our food, I could see what the fuss was all about – it was awesome!  Have to put a warning in here that the location is a bit dodgy, and doesn’t feel like the safest neighbourhood, but given it’s breakfast, it’s unlikely you’ll get mugged at that time of the day.

My partner stuck to his business as usual breakfast, which was scrambled eggs on toast with a side of bacon.  This also came with a side of home fries.  When the dish came out, I thought to myself “looks pretty good, but looks like you could get it any old place”… how wrong I was!  The winner on the plate was the toast!  It was the one of the most delicious slices of toast I’d ever had!  It was tasty, and lightly browned and had a hint of herb (dill?) running through it.

Being the more adventurous of the duo, I decided to try the Southwestern – andouille sausage, mushroom, onions, peppers & jack cheese in an open-faced omelet with home fries with salsa and tortillas.   It is the biggest plate of breakfast I’ve ever come across.  And all this for $13.95!  Crazy!  It was super tasty, but I struggled to get through half of it.

Would I go back to these two places?  Crab House, maybe.  There’s plenty of other restaurants in that area that serve crabs and I’d like to try the others.  Dotties, yes.  That toast was phenomenal, and I’d like to try the pancakes and other breakfast items (at the expense of waiting in line for 30 mins!).

More info and reviews on Crab House:

Crab House on Urbanspoon

More info and reviews on Dottie’s True Blue Cafe:

Dottie's True Blue Cafe on Urbanspoon