Tag Archives: French Restaurant

Daylesford Adventures

For my mom’s birthday pressie, my sister and I decided to take her away to Daylesford for the weekend.   Daylesford is a lovely little town with great places to eat!  Two places stand out for me, which are:  Kazuki’s and Cliffy’s Emporium.   Another place of note in the region is Du Fermier in Trentham which rocked my socks.

Let’s start with Cliffy’s.  It’s just a nice little cafe with great brunch.  I wish I took pics, but alas I can only recall that the cheddar potato hash was excellent, the scones were a delightful afternoon snack and the cakes were great!    Most importantly, coffee was solid.  We brunched there twice and got takeaway coffees and cake once.

Kazuki’s was fabulous.  A very solid restaurant with great food and superb service.  Started with a beautiful “house smoked salmon, spanner crab, cucumber, edamame“.  Light and delicate, really beautiful to eat and to look at.IMG_6636.JPG

The second dish I had was the “pork belly, bun, kimchi, apple“.  Mix of different textures, and delicious.

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For main I had the “Sher Wagyu porterhouse, MS 9+, chimmichurri, chargrilled vegetables” which was spectacular.  Loved this dish.

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Dessert was “Tonka bean crème brûlée, lychee sorbet, meringue, raspberry“.   Again, beautiful to look at and beautiful to eat.

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Would you believe, after that 4 course dinner, I went to Du Fermier the next day?  By the end of this holiday, I was well and truly well and over fed.

The concept at Du Fermier is that there is no menu, they serve you whatever it is that’s in season and available.    We started with the best savoury tart I’ve ever had, which were filled with leeks from the chefs garden.   Was amazing.

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The main was a shared plate consisting of wagyu steak with garlic croutons roast vegetables with a veal jus.  It was so so so good.  I honestly can’t describe how good it was.  All I know is that it was perfect and I want to eat it all over again.

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Dessert was lemon curd and meringues.   It was pretty darn good.

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My mom, sister and I had an amazing time in Daylesford enjoying the sights, hot springs and massages.  The food was also amazing and on a whole new level of regional dining.  I seriously can’t wait to get back to Du Fermier.

For more info and reviews:

Kazuki’s (one hat)
Kazuki's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Du Fermier (one hat)
du Fermier Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Swept away to Luxembourg

When I heard that Andrew McConnell was going to swap out Golden Fields with a European bistro named after Jardin du Luxembourg my heart leapt for joy!  Luxembourg!    There are not enough bistros in Melbourne in my opinion.  Especially those inspired by phenomenal gardens in Paris!  Joy!

Went for the chef’s selection, which was excellent.  But I really wanted to try the “potato skins, whipped cod roe & avruga” and that was not included…. I’ll just have to go back!

Started with a “tuna, oyster cream, apple & bonito dressing” from the raw section.   Nice light start to dinner…

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We were then treated to the “soft shell crab sandwich, tartare & iceberg” which would give the Golden Fields lobster roll a good run for it’s money…

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I love love love a good selection of chacuterie and this ticked all the boxs.  Rillettes, terrine, cured meats… yum!

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The “radicchio, smoked duck breast, grapes & walnut” was epic.  It was such a powerful taste for such a small dish.  Smoky dish with bitter raw radicchio and braised sweet radicchio.  It was wonderful.

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Slow braised beef short rib, grilled tongue, red wine sauce & parsley” was excellent.   Meat was tender and cooked to perfection.

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We then got to try the “tripe & cuttlefish braise, brioche crumbs“… which is an amazing genius dish.    I don’t even like tripe but I adored this!

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Desserts followed, first up was the “Mille-feuille, spiced quince & brown sugar creamwhich was fantastic.  The pastry was crispy, the cream was not too sweet and the quince added a nice tartness to the dish.   Despite sounding like a heavy dessert, it was light and delicious.

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The “buttermilk panna cotta, blood orange, meringue & fennel granita” was a nice cleanser and a great way to end the meal. IMG_2550

So it’s pretty obvious that I loved this restaurant.  I loved the food… but service was a bit patchy and the layout of the restaurant is a bit awkward.   But  I’m willing to forgive all that for the great food!

For more info and reviews:
Luxembourg on Urbanspoon

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Singapore

We were in Singapore for our post wedding holiday (read: mini honeymoon) and could not resist going to L’Atelier which is located at Resort World Sentosa.   We were at the L’Atelier in St Germain Paris two years ago and it is one of our favourite restaurants.   Whilst the restaurant was great, food was perfect and service was good, it didn’t have the same feel as the Paris restaurant (and let’s face it, it never would have… it’s Paris!).

So first up we had bread and an amuse bouche of potato and leek soup… SONY DSC SONY DSC

Entree of prawn in wonton skins…. it was perfect!

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Scallops and jamon which was a totally perfect combination!

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Wagyu beef with grilled mushrooms was great!

SONY DSCThis was the ultimate dish… bone marrow on toast!   It was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

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Mains were next, I had the perfectly cooked John Dory with a lemon butter sauce…SONY DSC

Hubby had fillet steak…. super tasty.
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And of course, we both got sides of mash potato, which is their signature thing.  It was rich, silky and buttery!

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For desserts, we share a serve of gelato and a chocolate delice dessert (which was chocolate mouse, chocolate base, with chocolate crackle).  All very good.
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Food was sensational, service great, restaurant is beautiful.  Yes, yes, for the prices we paid one should expect nothing short of perfect.    We would definitely revisit (and visit any of the other 10 in the world!).

For more info and reviews check out TripAdvisor.

 

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

My new favourite restaurant: Brooks

Brooks is a delightfully intimate restaurant with outstanding food.  It has a nice back story – Nic Poelart is mates with the guys from Gerald’s bar and decides to open this place together.  Those who have been to Embrasse know Nic is such a lovely and thoughtful cook.   They have a philosophy to treat diners as guests at their restaurants and it shows.

Started with the amazing chicken liver parfait with rye bread”, which were like little pillows of deliciousness.   I wish I had more!

Chicken liver parfait in rye pillows

There were oysters on the menu, and of course, they were fresh and pretty as a picture.

oysters

The “meli of vegetables” were a carry over from Embrasse and is as good a dish as ever.  I think they are the best vegetables I’ve ever had.  And so darn pretty, I didn’t know where to begin eating!

meli of vegetables

 We had the “marron done two ways“.  I don’t exactly remember what it was served with, but it was really good!  I think the first dish involved cauliflower.  Take my word for it, it was awesome 🙂

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Finished off the savoury courses with a delicious smokey beef, served with the cheesiest mash potato I have ever had.  I could only eat a small quantity as it was so rich!  Loved it!

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Before launching into the sweet stuff, I had to have some cheese.  After all, I am a French person stuck in the body of a Chinese Malaysian.

cheese selection

I had to finish my dinner with the “forrest floor” dessert.  I’d missed out on having it at Embrasse and I’d been habouring this desire for it for years!  Different chocolate textures, some mint, and it was amazing!  And very pretty!

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So, I don’t think I need to reiterate how in love I am with Brooks.  I have been back once already, and can’t wait to get back there again!

For more info and reviews:

Brooks on Urbanspoon

Homage to Paul Bocuse at l’Auberge du Pont de Collonges

We were in Lyon, and had to pay our respects to the legendary Paul Bocuse by visiting his restaurant Auberge du Pont de Collonges.   I knew what I was in for when I made the booking, which was a restaurant and menu that had not changed since 1975.   And yep, it was exactly what I got.  Rich, luxurious, scrumptious and excessive food!

Since I’d gone all the way there, and the chances of returning are fairly slim, I’d decided to go all out and have the Menu Grande Tradition Classique.  Seven courses, which included a whole Bress chicken and dessert trays that you could select anything from.  Just a small piece of advice if you ever go there: make sure you’re hungry!

Before we started, we had the customary amuse bouche which was a lovely bisque.

Amuse Bouche

First course was “scallop of foie gras, pan-cooked, verjus sauce“.  The foie gras was beautifully seared on the outside and soft inside, and it was served with crispy potato lattice on top and a sweet sticky sauce.

Scallop of foie gras, pan-cooked, verjus sauce

Next up we had the famous “Truffle soup V.G.E.” which was a dish created for the French President in 1975. A dish that has been around for over 35 years must be good to stand the test of time.  I’d expected a thick soup under that puff pastry but it was actually a clear soup with veges and truffle.  Be warned: a bowl of this soup was $82 euros!

Truffle soup V.G.E.

The “filet of sole with noodles, à la Fernand Point” was devine!  Lovely soft and sweet sole with a creamy white sauce (which had been lightly grilled to give it that browned taste) with noodles.

Filet of sole with noodles, à la Fernand Point

We then had a palate cleanser which I thought was worthy of mention: “Beaujolais winemaker’s sherbet“.  It was like icy red wine – really powerful and unexpected.

Beaujolais winemaker’s sherbet

Next we were served a whole “Bresse chicken truffled cooked in a bladder“.  It’s quite scary looking (a chicken in a bladder that’s puffed up from the steam whilst cooking) but really delicious!  The chicken was carved up and served with a creamy sauce filled with morel mushrooms, and a side of rice and spring vegetables.

Bresse chicken truffled cooked in a bladderBresse chicken truffled cooked in a bladder

After that we moved on to a “selection of fresh and matured cheeses from La Mère Richard“.  We were presented with a cart full of cheeses of various varieties and could select any that we wanted!  Divine!

Selection of fresh and matured cheeses from La Mère Richard

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And then came the “delicacies and temptations”, which again involved a cart full of desserts that we could choose from.  I went for the fruit, crepe and cream options whilst my boyfriend went for the sweetest items in the cart.

 Delicacies and temptations

Last item for us was the “fantasies & chocolates” which was a beautiful stand of chocolates and treats.  Note the figurine on top of the stand (it’s a mini Paul Bocuse!).

Fantasies & Chocolates

Overall, it was quite an experience.  Very old school formal, classic dishes, excessive surrounds, immaculate service, luxurious feel throughout the whole experience.   If you have the means and time, definitely do it.  Being a lover of all things French, especially the food, this was a chance to live and breathe French gastronomy.

Pressed Lobster at Pressoir D’Argent, Bordeaux

When I’d heard that Pressoir D’Argent had a lobster press (and apparently there are not that many in the world), I had to check it out.   What is a lobster press?  It’s a heavy silver contraption that you put the cooked lobster shells into and press it (manual turning of a handle) to get all the lobstery goodness out.

That aside (yes, sounds like a strange novelty!), the restaurant was great.  Hard to believe they were awarded only 1 Michelin star considering the restaurant was gorgeous, the service was impeccable and the food was some of the best I’d ever had (innovative and tasty).

Upon arrival, we had a lovely glass of champagne and a few small treats including gold dusted macadamias (just a bit over the top) and salmon tartare in a crispy cone.

Macadamias in Gold Dustsalmon tartare

For entrees, we had what was described as scallops in foie gras and langoustines and foie gras.  Cooked scallops were encased in a sphere of foie gras and wrapped in savoy cabbage.  It’s then sat on top of a crispy piece of bread, on some tasty foam, and a green sauce.  Whilst it looks a bit weird, it tasted really really good.  The langoustines dish consist of plump juicy langoustines, sandwiching a piece of pan fried foie gras, with foam and champagne/seafood jelly.  Presentation for this was gorgeous, and it tasted fantastic.

Scallops in Foie GrasLangostine with Foie Gras

Then came the lobster.  A few lives ones were presented to us for selection, and then whisked away to be poached.  It all comes back out, and the lobster shells are pressed and the sauce is cooked before us.  The sauce is then served with the poached lobster and a side of rice with veges (so similar looking to Chinese fried rice but didn’t taste anything like it).   The pressed lobster sauce was unbelievably good.  It was like the most intense buttery lobster bisque.

LobsterRice with Veges

We were then given a fruity palate cleanser before moving on to dessert.  For dessert, we ordered what was described as citrus and wow I was totally blown away.  The plate consisted of little pieces of foam, jelly, mousse, biscuit, gelati and cream and it was perfect in every way (balance, texture, taste).  Phenomenally good.

Palate CleanserCitrus

To finish, we had coffee and a beautiful plate of petit fours.  The sweets specialty of Bordeaux is caneles and  we were also given a little box to take away.  The caneles are browned on the outside and a bit chewier, but soft and stickier on the inside.  Very rich consistency, and I can eat lots of them, but in very small bites!

Petit Fours

All up, fantastic dining experience.  All dishes were spectacular and the service was first class.   The restaurant is located in a beautiful building in the main square of Bordeaux.   I loved the star of the dinner, the lobster, and all it’s accompaniments.   If I’m in Bordeaux again, I would re-visit to have the lobster again!

For more info on the lobster press, here’s a link.