Tag Archives: Modern Australian

Brae… interesting and challenging

Brae, Brae, Brae… what can I say?  It was interesting and somewhat challenging.  When the menu has ingredients that are listed out, you never know quite what to expect and that’s exactly how the meal went down.  There were dishes of brilliance, there were dishes that had me questioning my taste (and the restaurants) and there were some dishes that for me didn’t quite hit the mark.

Don’t get me wrong, the whole experience was great.   Everything was impeccable, service was great and dishes were very pretty.  Enjoy the happy snaps!

Cucumber and lemon myrtle, brook trout and nut butter crisp, rae pea and lemon aspen tart, midnight pure potato and smoked eel sandwich.

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Tomatoes and davidson plum in a chilled crustacean broth

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Prawn, nasturium, finger lime

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Iced oyster (yeah, this was an interesting surprise.  I loved it, partner hated it.  Neither of us are big oyster fans).

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Calamari and black lip abalone, brocolli and blue mackerel (my favourite dish of the night)

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Crayfish and burnt potatoes, sunflower, milk and mustard

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Eggplant and salt grass lamb washed with sweet onion juice, fragrant and acidic plants 

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Hapuka, cured pork and mustard greens, fish roe whipped with onion

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Berkshire pork and Otway shitake, fermented cabbage and black garlic

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Plum simmered with vanilla, sheep’s milk and Brae farm honey

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Parsnip and apple

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Rhubarb and pistachio, blood and preserved blackberry

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For more info and reviews, check out Zomato:

Brae Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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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

Lazy Saturday lunch at Supernormal

There’s something so delightful about having a leisurely long lunch whilst sitting at the restaurant counter watching the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.  And that’s exactly what the husband and I did a few Saturdays ago before heading to the NGV for the Andy Warhol – Ai Wei Wei exhibition.

I must confess that the more I visit Supernormal, the more I like it.  There’s something to be said about being able to consistently execute on perfectly cooked food.   Highlights of the lunch (besides having all the time in the world to enjoy an amazing lunch):  the baby corn rocked my socks – super tasty,  pan fried spicy beef bun: moist spicy beef in a flaky bun, baked meringue:  an amazing dessert, subtle but hits all the right notes and textures.

Kingfish, dashi, celery & fresh horseradishIMG_6831

Baby corn with miso butter IMG_6833

Tonkatsu (crumbed pork) sandwichIMG_6834

Pan friend spicy beef bunIMG_6835

Prawn & chicken dumpling, chilli and vinegar sauceIMG_6837

Baked meringue, jasmine, lychee and raspberryIMG_6838

For more info and reviews:
Supernormal 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

Gorgeous dishes at Saint Crispin

Saint Crispin was one of those places on Smith St that I’ve been dying to try for ages and I finally got taken there for my birthday this year.   I’m going to have to apologise in advance, as I have very little recollection of what the dishes actually were (drinks much?).   But what I do remember is that they were stunning!  And I loved every single thing I ate and drank and I can’t wait to go back.

We had the chefs 7 course tasting menu.   There were a few dishes, but that’s because we substituted a rabbit or quail dish (my partner doesn’t eat either!).   I’m not going to attempt to describe them, just know that everything was perfectly cooked and enjoy the gorgeous pictures!

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For more info and reviews:

Saint Crispin 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