Tag Archives: Degustation

Estelle by Scott Pickett

For my birthday, hubby took me to Estelle by Scott Pickett (aka ESP). I loved the old Estelle, and wasn’t sure about what to expect at ESP.   First up, the interior has definitely been upgraded – it’s dark and super modern in there, with normal table seating at the front and bar seats facing the kitchen towards the back.   Service was efficient, but perhaps a bit cold.  The food, was just as good as I remembered the old Estelle to be.

Highlights for me were the Moreton Bay Bug, Iberico Jamon & Melon and the Wagyu Beef, Beetroot, & Artichoke.  My husband, upon tasting the Kangaroo, Egg Yolk, Saltbush dish, exclaimed that it’s the best kangaroo dish he’s ever had.   The degustation is well planned and the extras (the beef and souffle) are worth it.

Without further ado, here was what we ate… (and check out the amazing dinnerware and plating!)

Smoked Wallaby & Black RiceIMG_6888

Cod Roe, Ink, Bottarga, and Spiced Avocado, Salt & Vinegar PotatoIMG_6887

Bacon BreadIMG_6889

Kangaroo, Egg Yolk, SaltbushIMG_6890

Kingfish, Cucumber, RadishIMG_6893

Moreton Bay Bug, Iberico Jamon & MelonIMG_6895

Great Ocean Road Duck, Beetroot, CherriesIMG_6896

Wagyu Beef, Beetroot, & ArtichokeIMG_6899

Beefsteak Tomatoes, & Woodside Goats CurdIMG_6901

Black Fig, Olive Oil & BasilIMG_6903

Coconut, Strawberry & ChocolateIMG_6904

Banana, Toffee Souffle with Salted Caramel Ice CreamIMG_6905

Passionfruit, Lemon Verbena SherbetIMG_6908

For more info and reviews:
ESP - Estelle by Scott Pickett Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lûme

For my birthday, my wonderful husband surprised me with dinner at Lûme!   It’s been on my to eat list for a few months since opening with the big bang of “we’re going to be in the top 50 restaurants in the world” (paraphrased but you get the gist).  We went the day before the announcement about the change in ownership, with 2 of the 3 originals leaving to go overseas.  Not sure what this means for Lume, but none the less, here’s my review of the place.

Some things to note:

  • Amazing interior.  From the outside, you wouldn’t know that there was this beautiful restaurant with a open courtyard out the back hidden in the back.
  • Have faith:  you get very little info about what you’re eating and sometimes it gets a bit scary but in the end it all works out.
  • Matching wine = 1 bottle.  That’s a lot of wine.  We were there on a school night so I could not partake.  We did try the non-alcoholic match which was different (in a good way) and complimented the food nicely.

So without further ado, here’s what we ate…

Breakfast eel on burnt barley crumpetIMG_6692

Red summer fruit, dashi and citrusIMG_6693

Raw asparagus and calamari entrails warmed with saltbush butter – surprisingly the best dish of the night.IMG_6695

Emu tart with warm jersey milk and white geraniumIMG_6699

Pearl on the ocean floorIMG_6701

Flinders island lamb perfumed with cherry wood, rhubarb, hibiscus and roseIMG_6704

Red beet baked in La Sirene Praline, raw cocao vinegarIMG_6706

Sea corn and pork fatIMG_6708

Barbecue ice with raw yabby tail, shitake and lemon aspenIMG_6710

Dry aged duck dressed with sour mulberries and elderflower vinegar – stunningIMG_6717

Cauliflower cheese with a pastry smoked over pear woodIMG_6718

Lambs blood ganache rolled in maple oats, native apple jam and riberry pepperIMG_6721

Blackberries, blueberries and sour goat’s milkIMG_6722

Jarusalem artichoke, La Sirene Praline, caramelised apple and chamomileIMG_6724

Cacao pod from Maralumi with notes of tobacco, green banana and currants – the picture doesn’t do this justice.  It’s a very generous serve of chocolate delights.IMG_6729

 

For more info and reviews:
Lume Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bowled away by Champions Bistro (aka Clayton Bowls Club)

I rushed to book a table at Champions Bistro after the article appeared in the Age in Nov last year and had to settle for a weeknight dinner as all weekends were booked out till March.  At that time, the chef and his lady love were supposed to leave Australia after that and head off to South America so there was no time to waste in getting a table.  Since then, they’ve extended their gig at the bowls club, so don’t rush people, plenty of seats for all!

I was very impressed by the food, and loved the juxtaposition of the location.  Fine dining at a humble bowls club in good old Clayton.   I am a bit over the minimal descriptions of food, but in this case all is forgiven as the food delivers.

It was love at first sight for me when the “crispy chicken, sour cream, onion, chive” starter came out.  Anyone who serves me crispy chicken skin I will love till my dying day.

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Deep fying “beef tendon, native pepper leaf, lime” means you get something totally unexpected from just reading it off the menu.  Again, a very good dish and intriguing start to the evening.

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Another pretty and unexpected dish:  “raddish, smoked butter, pork“.

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Now, I would have never put this combo together, but the “lamb sweet bread, leek, tatsoi, mussel, grape” seemed to work.  Lamb and mussels….  right.  Bear in mind, for me to say this dish was okay is big praise considering a) I only eat sweetbreads when it’s cooked really nicely and b) I don’t eat mussels.

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Mmm this was delicious.   Soft, delicate and tasty:   “Southern squid, buttermilk, kohlrabi, cabbage

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Upgraded the menu and go the “Aaco Darling Downs Wagyu Tenderloin BMS 7/8, pear, Tasmanian wasabi, daikon” dish.  It’s a small dish but because it’s so rich and packed full of flavour, it was the perfect amount.

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This was described to us as a fancy vegemite cheese sandwich, and it was!  “Pynegana cheddar, vege paste, crackers” was delightful!IMG_1839

The “smoked chocolate, tarragon, malt and black truffle” dessert was good, but compared to all the other dishes we had that night, it was like a big clumsy giant as it was too big!  And eating so much truffle on a dessert dish really freaked me out.

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Finished off with a beautiful light dessert of “summer corn“.  It was sweet and creamy and cold.  Delightful.

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Loved dinner here.  They don’t do matching wine’s but there’s a good little wine list.   They’ve upped the price since the article in the Age (and why wouldn’t you?) so don’t expect a $50 dinner (it’s $80).  Totally worth it and I’m totally going back!

For more info and reviews:
Champions Bistro on Urbanspoon

Crabapple Kitchen trip to Burgundy

Was at Friday Night Flights at Crabapple Kitchen for the trip to Burgundy.  We googled the food of Burgundy before the night and we pretty much got Burgundy’s greatest hits for the dinner.   It was amazing, as always!  Great value for money, good wine and great service.

Started with delicious “Gougeres – little savoury golden choux pastry treats filled with cheese sauce” – puffy cheesy goodness.

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The “Beef & burgundy sausage with puy lentils, spinach, mustard sauce and parsley” was devine!  Beautiful tender sausages with a mustard sauce and rich lentils.  So good!IMG_0955

The “Jambon Persille – pork and parsley terrine served with cornichons and Dijon mustard” was a fresh and salty terrine.  Different to most other terrine’s I’ve had, in that it wasn’t heavy or too rich.

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The “Oeufs en Meurette – eggs poached in a red wine with mushroom and tarragon sauce” was beautiful!  Silky red wine sauce with a ridiculously rich taste.

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Coq au vin – chicken thigh slow cooked in aromatic wine with mushroom and carrot puree” was very tasty and rich.  Beautiful sticky glazed chicken….  Yum!IMG_0961

The old “Boeuf Bourguignon – Beef cheek with button mushrooms, smoked bacon, shallots and potato mash” was a lighter version than what I’ve previously had, but it packed a flavour punch and the beef was very tender.IMG_0962

To end the meal, we had to have the “Rigodon-Brioche, hazelnut and cinnamon pudding with pouring cream” dessert which was buttery and light.IMG_0964

Thank you Crabapple for taking me on such a wonderful culinary journey.  Food was absolutely perfect and I felt like I was in Burgundy for the evening.

For more info and reviews:
Crabapple Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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“.

Udon, smoked roe, tomato

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

Dandelion

Went for a group dinner to Dandelion and chose to have the 7 course menu aptly named “The Sea”.   The description attached to the menu was “Vietnam has 3260 km of perse coastline. This menu is a seafood lovers dream. Luxury and quirky ingredients, simply and lovingly prepared”.

As we are all foodie gluttons, we also opted to add “The Age Good Food Guide Dish Of The Year – BBQ Pork spare ribs with a refreshing lychee and mint salad” to this feast.  I was so excited about that dish that I scoffed it down before I could get a picture!  It was good, but I’m not sure if it warrants being the dish of the year.

First up, we had “coconut roast rock lobster rice paper roll with rambutan and Thai basil, coconut chili sauce“.  Was a fresh tasting entree.

coconut roast rock lobster rice paper roll with rambutan and Thai basil, coconut chili sauce

Next up was “green rice fried tiger prawns, butter lettuce and pickled daikon wrap, green chilli nuoc cham“.   Crunchy and savoury.

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The “Morten Bay bug salad with pomelo, spearmint, chilli and lime juice” was delightful.  This is a winning combo which can’t go wrong.

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The “diamond clams steamed in a lemongrass and chilli broth” was lovely.  Clams were delicious.

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Todays seafood selection from the coconut grill with our own herb and spice rub, wrapped with citrus leaves” was prawn and fish, which were both fresh and well cooked.

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The last main before desserts was the “claypot of smoked eggplant, black vinegar, spring onion, chilli“.   Mmmm I love eggplant and this dish was awesome.

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The description for dessert was “Che co hai ‘aunty 2’s che’ toddy palm, grass jelly, jackfruit and jasmine scented syrup , avocado sorbet” but we got two items.   I’m not even going to try to figure out which was which.  All I’ll say is that they were good, even though I’m not usually a fan of Asian desserts.

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Overall, food was good but if you’re after a substantial meal, go for something else.  I have mixed feelings about this dinner.  The seafood was fresh and aplenty, but it felt like there was something amiss.  Perhaps that I didn’t feel the “lovingly prepared” that the meal had promised.

For more info and reviews:
Dandelion on Urbanspoon