20 and still punching on.

Ok I tried with the title. Can’t you tell?

Recently one of my faves in Melbs has turned 20! The big 2-0. A big congrats to Punch Lane. Located near…Punch Lane. NO way, I know. Martin and his team create a fantastic vibe and the atmosphere is perfecto for that winter night. Or Summer night. Or Spring or Autumn for that matter.

When everywhere else is trying to be uber hipster, different, or just plain cray cray (oh yeh I said it)….Punch Lane do what they love, and do it oh so well. I feel like I need Ron Burgundy to describe the rich mahogany furnishings, and the wallll of wiiiiine. (cue angel music)

IMG_1610

Oh that’s not even a 50th of it. So many wines and for a red wine lover like me, it’s rather freakin’ awesome. The wine ‘bible’ is available to peruse or you can just try in the brilliant Punch Sommelier and that’s exactly what we did. I ventured here with ma Fiance and my parentals for yet another engagement celebration. I mean why not! It only happens once!

So whilst we sipped on some vino (with another bottle in a decanter, I should add) the menu was consulted….numerous times. Yeh, I’m hopeless with decisions. Gah. And, as menu perusal is such a difficult task, we decided we needed a charcuterie board to get us through. And omg. It was so amazing. Among the best I’ve had. So much goodness. I could have just had that for dinner. Ha that’s a lie.

 

IMG_1614

Look at that baby. Pate, popped corn, a million different meats, cornichons….drool! In case you were wondering, this was demolished. Ahh yuuuum. I wish I could get this take away all day everyday (hyundai….ahh brain fart…)

So the meals came a rollin’ in and it was some of the best food I’ve had in aaaages. No fancy smoke and mirrors, just brilliant produce cooked oh so well. Bravo Punch Laners.

 

IMG_1615Golden Confit Chicken, Carrot Escabeche and Coriander.

This was mine. Excuse the blurry photo. I had to rush because prying forks were trying to get a sneaky taste. Delicious meal. Light enough for an entree but packed alot of flavour. I always avoided ordering chicken, because hey, anyone can cook good chicken. Nope, that’s a lie too. Anyone can cook chicken, but it takes an art like this to cook it so you want to make angel noises whilst eating.

 

IMG_1617

Roast Baby Snapper, Chorizo, Fennel and pickled Rhubarb.

My main man. Sorry Fiance, you were second to the food for a few minutes…This dish was superb. Ah sorry for the lame masterchef words but geez it was so good. The fennel was a great match with the snapper and hey, all dishes are improved when chorizo is involved.

 

IMG_1618

Pumpkin, Sage and Hazelnut Risotto

Fiance’s main of the evening was the risotto. His choice surprised me as he’s usually goes for the biggest, meatiest thing on the menu so he turned all dainty for a while and ordered the vegetarian risotto! And he was so, so glad he did. He probably could have eaten a tub full of it. Beautiful pumpkin flavour with the right texture from the hazelnuts. Hazelnuts. Chocolate. Mmm Nutella. Ok not related. But how good is Nutella.

 

IMG_1621

Baby Flounder with Lemon.

My mother dearest is hopeless at stealing food from my dad’s plate (probably where I get it from)…so he breathed a sigh of relief when they both ordered the same thing. Not gonna lie, as great as mine was, I had a littttle bit of food envy. But I wouldn’t have swapped my snapper, I would have just eaten them both. Mhm. Portion control issues.

 

IMG_1622

Chips worthy of a chippy slap.

These chippies definitely deserve a mention. They were ACTUAL potato. Always a good start. Perfectly fried (prob had a second sesh in the fryer). Oh so good. Definitely returning for the chips alone! There were alot of chippie slaps going on as the bowl dwindled.

Due to the ridiculous amount of food, we didn’t have dessert. I know! No dessert. My 2nd and 3rd stomachs were even full. Fantastic evening with brilliant service to boot.

When most people turn 20, they are still getting their shit together and wondering hmm what am I going to be when I grow up?? But Punch Lane have got it going on and on and on.

Martin, I will be back oh so soon.

Cheers to you Punchers! Can’t fault you.

10/10

Punch Lane on Urbanspoon 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Circa. Cheer-kah. Yep you got it. Kinda.

As if I needed another reason to eat more food. Well when hunting for reception venues, and with food as a priority (derrr), that had to happen. So sounding like a spoilt brat, I wanted the best of the best when it came to food. Ridic produce, melt in your mouth satisfaction. Mhm. I knew where to go. Circa, St Kilda.

Whilst inspecting The Deck at Circa, we of course decided to stay for lunch and eat more food than any human needs to consume. But hey, this is my version of the wedding diet. Fiance and myself ventured there with my parentals and his parentals for an afternoon of brilliant food, delish wine and oh so much cheese.

The service was fantastic and he even put up with my “hmmm….what’s better X or Y?” questions for each course. Yep, I’m one of those people. But hey, they know the food, so why not ask! I would eat a piece of cardboard so it’s a pretty safe bet that  I will finish whatever is put in front of me.

First up was entree. Oh yes, I had to say entree came first in case you got confused for some reason and though entree came last. Wow it’s only Tuesday and my brain is having a moment. Ignore that ramble on focus on the food, JP.

IMG_1627

Smoked quail w. parsnip, vanilla + barberries 

Papabear and I went with the same quail dish and I would have had massive food envy if I hadn’t ordered it! Quail was cooked to perfection. Ha sorry really bad Masterchef call there. Wasn’t sure about the vanilla flavour initially, but it worked really well and definitely could have eaten the rest of the flock.

IMG_1626

 

Spanner crab w. black barley + crayfish emulsion

Fiance umm’d and ahh’d and finally went with the spanner crab with black barley. When it first hit the table, he seemed to think he’d ordered the wrong thing. But the dish that disappeared in about 30 seconds said otherwise! And in case you were wondering, the spanner crab is buried under the black barley. This dish also looked incredible on the black plate. Totally want black crockery now, but then I think I would have to put squid ink on everything to make it look perty….imagine.

Papabear was in charge of the wine bible and he did oh so, so well. Beautiful red throughout the meal. Bravo sir.

IMG_1625

BBQ King Prawns with…hmm…I can’t remember

Very sorry but I can’t remember what accompanied the King prawns on this dish as it was a special for the day and not on the usual menu. Mumma, Mumma-in-law and Papa-in-law all chose this dish and what a cracker it was. I had a teeny taste and yep, somehow it had that fantastic BBQ flavour with the light accompaniments. Mhhhm. Those prawnies had it goin’ on.

The conversation was flowing through all the wedding talk and I’m sure Fiance and the other gentlemen at the table were super enthralled in the flower colour discussion and the secret talk about the dress that will all be revealed next year. Woop woop!

Mains came rolling through and I had been promised one of the “best steaks you’ve ever eaten”, so the bar was high. Like Aaron Sandilands high. Ha bringing in the footy ref to food. Oh yeh, that just happened.

IMG_1631

Robbins Island short rib w. celeriac + lovage 

And there she is. What a beauty. Salivating and I have just finished dinner. Duah. Second dinner, ahoy! Papabear and I ended up choosing the same main as well and boy did that pay off. Absolutely amazing. Ermagherd. Just had to push the knife on it and it you could slice through. Bloody beautiful. And yes, we had no idea what lovage was either. Fun to say though.

In case you were wondering, it’s a herb. Lovage Levisticum officinale, is a tall perennial plant, the sole species in the genus Levisticum in the family Apiaceae, subfamily Apioideae, tribe Apieae. You get that? Ok to translate…

The leaves can be used in salads, or to make soups or season broths, and the roots can be eaten as a vegetable or grated for use in salads. Its flavor and smell is somewhat similar to celery.

Now I am one of those people that only thinks celery takes good when you have a bit of celery with your Peanut Butter….mmm….but it was a great compliment to the rich steak and celeriac puree.

IMG_1635

Wagyu hanger w. burnt onions + truffle mustard

Mumma bear was super impressed with her hanger too. I think she had a bit of food envy about our melty short rib, but her burnt onions lifted the steak so nicely. mmmm. steak. *drool*

IMG_1637

Roasted duck w. pear, chestnut + red endive 

Circa seemed to like hiding their protein, oooh peak-a-boo its a ducky! The roast duck dish that Papa-in-law ordered looked like it was going to be packed full of flavour and it game through with the goods. Big fan of endive or radicchio in everything as well, so that got bonus points from me.

IMG_1639

Murray Cod w. pine mushrooms + jerusalem artichokes 

You don’t often see Murray Cod on a menu, so Mama-in-law jumped on this delish dish. And although it wasn’t the most visually appealing dish initially, the flavour was fantastic and she was raving about it. Listening to everyone rave about their food just makes my foodie choices for ze wedding so much harder! gah. NO CLUE. 1 of everything? yehhh.

So once again, it was time for the 2nd tummy to kick in and one word had caught my eye from the beginning of the meal. Doughnut. Mmmm. Homer Simpson tendency is apparently hidden in my belly.

IMG_1643

Pumpkin doughnut w. buttermilk, pepitas + chestnut 

When it came to the table, I was the luckiest girl in St Kilda. It looked spectacular and definitely deserved the 20 or so photos I took with my camera…and then the extra 20 I took with my phone. Pfft, yes, this was definitely Insty worthy.

UNFORTUNATELY, the flavour didn’t live up to the appearance. The pumpkin puree inside was delicious and well seasoned but the doughnut itself lacked a lot of flavour and was a little too heavy. Very disappointing. But then again, lucky as I probably would have put it on the wedding menu, and it won’t be going on there now.

IMG_1646

Chocolate mousse w. strawberry + toasted meringue 

Fiance and his mother dearest both went with the chocolate mousse dish and it looked and tasted oh so, so good. Had major food envy after my doughnut that didn’t taste like a doughnut. Mm I want that chocolate mousse right nowwww.

So…because we hadn’t had enough to eat already (pfft), we had to choose some cheese from the ridiculously beautiful cheese display. Just take a look at it. It was sooo good. Except I didn’t really like the little oat cakes. Not my bag.

IMG_1647

Cheesus. 

Overall a brilliant long, long lunch and although the doughnut didn’t stack up, the rest of the food was oh so amazing. I cannot wait to have our wedding there. I might just have my dress made bigger so I can fit more food in. Yep, that’s my style.

Circa. You awesome.

9.5/10.

 

Circa, the Prince on Urbanspoon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Uniting at Union Dining

So when you pack up your life and move interstate, it’s always a reason to celebrate with the fam comes to visit. A few weeks back, two of my sisters decided to venture to the land of the flu and indulge in their body weight in food. Plus more.

IMG_1586

One of our stops was Union Dining in Richmond. I’d ventured here once before and had high hopes. Firstly, amazing service. Our lovely waiter looked like the perfect grandma. Not commenting on her age! But I could definitely see her bringing fresh baked cookies to your place. And when you’re eye height with someone when you’re sitting down, and she’s standing up, you can’t help but say ‘nawww’.

‘Twas a very busy night in the restaurant and the place was buzzing which is always a great sign. With the brilliant Nicky Reimer at the helm, we knew we were in good hands. Well, I did anyway. The other 3 had no idea who that was and I just looked like a sad, sad foodie when I tried to see her by peeking through the pass…..awkward. moving on.

Bread. delicious. Obsessed with bread. Ate too much bread.

IMG_1587

Look at that crispy/fluffy goodness. mmmm.

First up, I ordered Cobia. A kingfish-like fishy that I hadn’t tried previously so thought I would give it a crack. Unfortunately the taste of the fish wasn’t my bag, but the accompanying radishes and celeriac remoulade was delish.

IMG_1589Cured North Queensland Cobia, celeriac remoulade, radishes & grissini.

Not sure what it was about the Cobia that didn’t take my fancy, but unfortunately it did deter me from the dish.

Ma fiance/AT, being the crazy seafood lover, went with the King Prawns that made your mouth water as soon as they hit the table.

IMG_1592

Sauteed Mooloolaba King Prawns, Roast Vegie deliciousness.

Visiting sister numero uno, BP, had been waiting to have fresh pasta for a couple of days and so she couldn’t go past the pappardelle. My have type of pasta. As long as it’s done well and cooked to perfection. And yep, they did it oh so well.

IMG_1591

Pappardelle, Flinders Lamb shoulder ragu, olives, ricotta salata.

Had definite food envy over that dish. Looove italian food. Ok I know, I love all food. But italian food, spesh good pasta has it’s own special plate in my heart. Ha good one, JP.

AP, the youngest of the diners, not sure why that’s important, but hey, let’s go with it, had never had steak tartare so that was her pick. And it did indeed look like a good one.

IMG_1594

Steak tartare, watercress, pickled cauliflower, capers, potato gaufrettes.

Aside from the Cobia, all meals were demolished in record time so that’s a pretty good indication that something was working! Our lovely pretend-relative of a waiter was brilliant all night and she was a great help when choosing mains.

Unfortunately a little kitchen glitch left us waiting….and waiting….and waiting for mains, and when another waiter accidentally gave our wine to another table, it did create a bit of a speed bump. But once mains arrived, we were all back on track. and hungry.

At relative-waiter’s recommendation, I went with the snapper and it was delicious. AP totes copied me. So we were the food envy of the table. High five. Crispy skin, delicious flesh and clammy clams that I could have eaten a bucketload of.

IMG_1601

Bay caught snapper, diamond clams and pearl barley with an escabeche vinaigrette.

Fiancé/AT went with the duck, roast leg and breast and I think he was wanting to eat the entire flock after demolishing his main. Only negative would probably be the portion size. But then again, I have ridiculous portion control issues and so it’s a safe bet that my fiancé suffers from the same issue.

IMG_1599

Roast duck leg and breast, picked Medjool date, juice, glazed turnips.

IMG_1588

Fancy photo with backward writing. ooooh.

Unfortunately have no snaps of the BP’s main meal. Assume that is because she ate it too fast. That is a likely outcome. She’s related to me. It could happen.

As a “sorry we made you wait for ages” pressie, we each got a blackberry sorbet. Which was…well….super sweet. So sweet in fact that not one of us finished. Oh wait, fiancé finished his. And mine as well.

Dessert time. Yep. Once again that different stomach had it’s role to play.

IMG_1608

Cheesus. Twas ridic. Ah yum. Drooling.

IMG_1606

The. Apple. Frangipane Tart. With butterscotch sure. Get ready to drool.

So the sisters and I managed to convince Fiancé that he wanted dessert, specifically the apple frangipane tart. Thus letting us look like the three who would just have a bit of cheese, but secretly wanting to demolish the tart instead. I’m sure he got at least one bite of his dessert. Maybe. Fantastic way to finish.

Overall a great night with the fam and fiancé. Few hiccups with the wine mixup and the longgg wait for mains. So, Nicky & Union, I’ll give you a 7.5.

Apparently the sunday lunch is the deal of the century so I will def be back to give that a crack.

Nice work Union.

7.5/10

Union Dining on Urbanspoon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cecconis. Bortolotto Brilliance.

Mio dio, mamma mia, uffa. Ridiculous italian food. I have found you. (Sound that angel noise).

So yes for those who have read ma blog a bit, italian food has a special place in my stomach. It probably has a special stomach all for itself. Yeh that’s a thing.

Since moving to Melbs a few years back now, I was yet to be blown away by delicious italian food. I mean, I’ve tasted the best in Italy (yep sorry for the knob-ish comment…) and now I have found it in Melbs. Fantastic news for me. Not so good for the expanding waistline that needs to wear a wedding gown in less than a year. Ha oh yes I through in the recent engagement note into the blog right there. Don’t worry, I don’t know what a diet is, so I will continue to eat. ALOT. prior to the big day. ANYWAY let’s get back to the food of the moment, Cecconi’s.

I was invited by the lovely Maria and her family to sample the foodie goodness in their Restaurant on Flinders Lane. And no I will show no bias in this blog. They really are THAT good.

IMG_1511

Photo of the menu…so arty. naaat.

So on this, freaking freezing, Friday Night AT/Fiance and I were seated at a fantastic table with a great view of the pass (foodporn ahoy!). We had fantastic service the entire evening. Right from the get go they wanted to please, create a great atmosphere and make sure everyone dining would have a brilliant evening.

IMG_1515

Arty beer shot by AT. Cool label.

I was attempting to practice my italian with the waiter but his english-italian was just so damn distracting! In a good way. I’m now trying to teach fiance how to speak english with an italian accent. Saaa adorable.

IMG_1525Olives. Bread. Olive Oil. Staple diet.

After perusing the menu I was torn between about 16 dishes….ok I wanted the entire menu, but after the waiter’s recommendation I went with the rabbit ravioli and ermagherd/mio dio, I am OH SO glad i did. Hands down. The best pasta I have had in Melbourne. Hey, probs the best pasta I’ve ever had. Al dente, beautiful filling…ahh I am salivating right now thinking about it. The smell as soon as it hit the table was perfection. I know I sound like a Masterchef judge using random descriptive terms, but you should try it. Trust me.

IMG_1531

Rabbit Ravioli, Cime di rapa, Creme Fraiche, Chives & Parmesan

Ridiculously delicious. I can’t think of any other words to describe the party that was going on in my mouth with that amazing dish. Bravo bravo bravo.

Fiance was finding it a little harder to choose as like me, he wants it all. Our lovely waiter from Puglia (sorry sorry can’t remember his name, but I hope you get treated to his lovely service when you go!) described the few specials and they won over fiance. So along came dish numero uno for him, Duck & Mushroom Risotto.

IMG_1530

Duck and Mushroom Risotto.

Apologies for the blurry photo. It was the only chance I had to get in there before he attacked me with his fork. It tasted so smooth and was everything a risotto should be. A whole lot of YUM.

I started with a great Prosecco and  fell in love with the glasses as well. And as you can see below, the drinks trio of the evening was a pretty sight. Pinot, Prosecco and my good friend San Pellegrino. P party! You’re invited.

IMG_1536

The three P’s.

It was soon time for the main attraction and I was once again led by the waiter’s recommendation as my (lack of) decision making skills were in full swing that evening. I went with the, rather large, Veal Cotoletta with an Apple and cabbage salad which complimented it sooo well. I could have had a massive bowl of the salad. The Veal was cooked very well with delicious crumb. Gah, I’m salivating again.

IMG_1543

Check out that bad boy. Veal Cotoletta with Apple & Cabbage Salad.

Safe to say, I demolished that thing without hesitation. Juicy meat, crispy crumb. Mhhhm. The lemon was also appreciated. Coz hey they’re a match made in heaven. Just like Kanye West and his love for Kanye West. Ok I can’t claim that as my own. Saw it on insty. But hey, brilliant work by that person.

Fiance was once again swayed by the specials and went with the Lamb Shoulder with Lamb belly…I think. Let’s just say it was a lot of lamby goodness and he was in hog heaven.

IMG_1537

LAMB. Enough said.

I tried a little morsel of this perfection and it was just melt in the mouth. I am pretty sure fiance was daydreaming about this for a few days. Fantastic dish and he wants on the menu permanently! I also can’t speak more highly of the service throughout the night. I’ve had many a good night dampened by bad service and this was just impeccable. Bravo. Again.

So yes we had both pigged out ridiculously but pfft it was dessert time. (cue the ‘hhhoooraaay!!’)

So many delicious options on the menu, so naturally we wanted as many as possible, so the dessert tasting plate was the go. Let’s go for the close ups!

IMG_1544

Walnut Pavlova, Lemon Custard, Caramelised Nuts & Apple Sorbetto

IMG_1545

Caramel Mousse, Shortbread, Pecan Butterscotch, & Brandy Gelato

IMG_1546

White chocolate & Early Grey Pannacotta, Blondie & Fior Di Latte Gelato.

Fantastic desserts. As expected after the other brilliant meals. I think all three had disappeared before the lovely Puglia waiter had put it on the table. For another angle for you, check out the dessert boards that could compete with the best of the best.

IMG_1547

The dessert tasting plate.

Overall such a fun, enjoyable, fantastic evening and I will definitely be returning to Cecconi’s as soon as my stomach is ready for another feast. I have also purchased their cookbook La Tavola Della Famiglia and I am so excited to get my italian cooking on!

Grazie mille Cecconi’s. Era una sera meravigliosa.

10.5/10.

Cecconi's Flinders Lane Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Altair-iffic. Oh hi-larious.

Ok that title wasn’t my best, but hey, it’s a tricky word to work with!

I’ve lived out in the eastern suburbs for about 6 months now and when I’ve wanted a ‘fine dining’ experience, I’ve automatically ventured into the city and surrounding ‘burbs and not thought to look in my own backyard. Until now!

Friday night a couple of weeks ago, work googling directed me to Altair in Warrandyte. Service from my initial email was brilliant. Best I’ve had in a very long time.

AT and I arrived for date night a little later than planned, due to the brilliance of the Melbourne taxi services. This was not a problem at all and we were seated right away. Previously part of Elwood’s Sails on the Bay team, Michelle and Kelvin Shaw have created exactly what we  eastern suburbians needed. Nope I don’t think that’s a word either.

IMG_1234

OH yes I took the big camera. That means decent photos. Hai Five!

A brilliant restaurant with quality produce and nothing too pretentious. Ah my type of place. This was evident upon the arrival of fresh, FRESH bread with local olive oil. I could have just eaten the bread all night. Sourced from a close bakery, this bread was perfection. I have a sad obsession with bread. But often go for the gluten free variety to be nice to my tummy. But that night, that wasn’t happening.

IMG_1246

Another great point about Altair is that it’s BYO ($10 corkage) so if you have a particular vino that you want to bring along. Go right ahead. We had a lovely Tarrawarra red for the meal ahead. But of course, the cocktail menu sounded ridic so had to try one of those first! I went with the Eastern Mojito, and although not usually a fan of the muchos mintos mojito, this was so refreshing and a great start to the night. AT went with the Pimms mixup which was demolished in about 2 minutes so I am going to safely say he enjoyed his too.

IMG_1238

‘Pimms Cup No.1 with Kaffir Lime’ and the ‘Eastern Mojito’

Although I had perused the menu numerous times prior in an attempt to not be so indecisive on the night….when the tasting menu option was presented to us that threw a spanner in the works! Another great point about this place (no I don’t work there, it’s just THAT good) is that not everyone at the table needs to do the tasting plate, although after indulging in it, you would be silly not too! It was decided. We were going to take on the tasting menu. AT, like me, has severe portion control issues. So we were ready for the challenge. Once we had ordered, we were given an amuse bouche which was perfection in a tiny little jar. Yep, I’m going to run out of vocab by the time I finish this post.

IMG_1250

Blue Eye Cod Mousse.  

The mousse was rich yet light and the salmon roe on top with the micro herbs broke it up perfectly. Was just the right amount as well. Wham. Flavour already and we hadn’t even started the menu. AT’s direct quote – “It tasted like….like YUM”. Oh yes. He is very intellectual.

Just in case there wasn’t going to be enough food in the tasting menu, we ordered a side of olives. WELL aside from the fact they were probably the best olives I’ve ever consumed (also locally sourced), it was probably the biggest ‘side’ of olives ever seen. I could have had a meal of olives. Maybe.

IMG_1253

Olives, olives and olives. Oh my!

It was a great atmosphere in the restaurant that Friday. A few couples and a larger group, with enough noise to create a buzz yet not overpower everyone. We were discussing world issues…probably food….coz that’s all I really talk about….At breakfast time I discuss lunch options, lunch time I toss up dinner choices…yada yada yada.

First up was ze tofu dish. I wasn’t expecting too much from this dish as I have never been wowed by tofu. Until now. I should have remembered, anything fried is delicious and tempura tofu is no exception. The tofu came with toasted grains, roasted pumpkin (in two textures) and shitake mushrooms and the combination was delicious.

IMG_1258

Tempura Tofu, Toasted Grains, Roasted Pumpkin, seeds and Shitake mushrooms

It was clear from this dish onward that so much care was taken in creating and plating each dish. I must apologise as my photos don’t do the food justice. The micro herbs also lifted the flavours and well yes. This was probably my favourite savoury dish of the night. For this carnivore, that’s a BIG thing for me to say.

If I ever see scallops on the menu, ordering them is usually a done deal. I’ve had some damn good scallops over my many years and years of eating. And as you may have guessed, these were no exception. Delicious. Perfectly cooked. again.

IMG_1261

Seared, cold smoked scallops, asian herbs and miso soup

The scallops were delicious and the crisp fried lotus root was a great texture addition. The miso was lovely when eaten with the scallops and herbs although probably a tad too salty for me when tasted by itself.

I am definitely one of those patrons who love to people watch and listen to conversations that I’m not meant to be partaking so we spent the night little while discussing the issues of people around us. Always so entertaining. And then the conversation probably went back to food and how obsessed I am with bacon. I was also probably wondering what I would have for breakfast the next day. It happens.

Next up was rabbit done 3 ways, or maybe 4. Either way, the chef was just showing off! A very gamey meat I found with rich flavours so this was probably the least preferred dish for my palate but AT loved it and it was definitely full of flavour.

IMG_1267

Braised Rabbit, truffled apricot, wakame and radicchio

When combined, this dish was the stuff of legends. The sweetness of the apricot, the radicchio, the rich rabbit. Oh lordy. Delish. As I said it was very rich so a smaller amount would have been fine for me, but AT demolished his, so I definitely recommend you try it.

I am very lucky I am dating a fellow portion control issued individual otherwise he would have thought I was a human trash can for powering through this menu. Even if you felt full, the flavours were just so delicious, you couldn’t stop eating! Go on, try it.

Soon after Bugs Bunny, we were served a very fancy pork and apple dish. Pork Jowl. Tick. Pancetta. Tick. Boudin Noir Coulis. Tick double Tick. Once again this was another rich dish and the pork jowl just melted in the mouth. The crackling was quite chewy which was disappointing but the moist meat made up for that and then some.

IMG_1274

Pork Jowl, Boudin Noir coulis, yoghurt, pancetta, Chinese apple, cider jus. 

Pork and apple, obviously a match made in food heaven. (Gah apologies for the oh so masterchef-y comment…but you know it’s true). Bravo chef man on this dish. Everything together was a fancy partae in my mouth.

So yes, you can imagine the stomach was indeed creepy towards capacity at that time. We had tried about 12 different proteins. But the last savoury dish was one which we were both salivating over from the get go so it was game on.

I give you. Black Angus Scotch Fillet. Oh hellll yeah. Accompanied by creamed potato, horseradish and a Bordelaise jus. Want me to repeat that so you can get the imagination going? No need here’s a couple of brilliant snaps by moi so you can share the experience.

IMG_1276

Black Angus Scotch Fillet. Enough said. I wanted to drink the jus. Ok I admit, I did drink it.

IMG_1279

Close up. He wasn’t camera shy. Melted in the mouth. Gah I’m salivating again.

All night we were served by Michelle Shaw and she was lovely and answered all of my silly foodie questions and gave us the low down on the place, the food, the suppliers and THAT night when THE Larissa Dubecki came in for a review. I’m sure she is just as nervous about my review as she was Larissa’s. We are pretty much on the same level….Larissa has about a million readers….I have…my mum. See? The same.

It was time for the dessert tummies to do their thang. Sticky date pudding has a special place in my heart and so when I saw that on the al a carte menu, Michelle was lovely enough to trade the tasting menu dessert (which AT had) with their Sticky Date. Salivating again.

SO the tasting menu dessert was a dream for dark chocolate lovers, so it was a big deal for me to swap it out for the sticky date. Dark Chocolate ganache to be exact.

IMG_1285

Dark Chocolate Ganache, Bergamot orange, kumquat, rice pudding sorbet.

I have no idea how I got in to take a photo of this before AT came in, guns blazing. This was gone at lightening speed and he had this ridiculously satisfied look on his face the whole time. Just look at it. It’s so perty.

My sticky date was by far the best I’ve ever had. That’s saying a lot. A 70 year old family friend named Betty used to hold that title and unfortunately she’s been superseded by Altair. As I said to Michelle, it is great to seeee the dates in the sticky DATE. Take note other restaurants, we like to SEE the ingredients.

IMG_1282

Sticky date pudding, dulce de leche, spiced ginger icecream, pecan and butterscotch.

I’m now wondering whether Altair is open right now and whether they will give me this. right now. It was incredible. Beautiful rich flavours with a great balance of every foodie word I can think of. Didn’t think I’d be a fan of the spiced ginger ice-cream but it went with everything so well. There was not a morsel left on that plate. Luckily surrounding diners had left by this point as I was scraping the bowl trying to get to the very last morsels of the b’scotch sauce. YUUUUUM.

Because we clearly had not eaten enough, the lovely Michelle brought over a special treat from the kitchen and when you see it, you’re going to want to go there. right now. I warned you.

IMG_1287

Cinnamon and Ricotta donuts with a Kiwi jelly

These little babies were off the chizang. I don’t even know if that makes sense but the brain goes numb thinking about these delicious balls of goodness. Perfect example of #cleaneating #naaaat. Try to look at that photo for more than 2 seconds without salivating. I’m tempted to go into the herb cupboard and just eat cinnamon….sadly I don’t think that will be the same thing.

Overall. A fantastic experience and we will definitely be back asap. Thank you to the team at Altair for such a brilliant night and they well and truly went above and beyond our expectations.

11/10.

Go there. now. Eat. ALOT.

 

Altair on Urbanspoon

 

79%?? Fellow voters. You cray cray.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Down the rabbit hole…into Docklands

Tuesday morning. Jack frost was nipping on our heels and I was off to the wind tunnel of Melbs. Aka the edge of Docklands. Why you ask? Well I was late, late, for a very important date. Ok no I was actually on time but I am trying to be hilarious and make as many links to Alice in Wonderland as possible. I’ll stop soon I promise.

I was invited by De Mad Hatter and Harvey PR to check out the brekky at the cafe. I was to join Melbs’ elite (food bloggers) and drink a hell of a lot of cawfee in a couple of hours. And I succeeded. I think I’m still buzzing from the two long blacks I had. Bravo on the coffee De Mad Hatter, that was chesire-iffic. (ha chesire…like the creepy cat? Oh JP, you hi-larious thing, you.)

IMG_7296

Oh yes. We had name tags. We ARE important.

Had a chat to a couple of bloggers. One of which I found bizarrely familiar and later it hit me that she was on The Mole! Didn’t disclose this knowledge at the time as I am quite sure I was one of the 5 people in Australia who watched the Mole for a total of about 5 minutes. She was lovely though! Do believe she’s a link to a fantastic blog Sharking for Chips & Drinks. So there you go. Bloggers ARE cool. They’re on the mole.

IMG_7298

Arty photo.

Everyone was taking photos so I thought I should too. Liked the tulips and the themes of the tables. Also, apparently the vase is known as a ‘bomb vase’ in the industry…not sure I’m ok with that. Anyhoo back to the cafe. After everyone had taken random arty or not so arty photos of the caf, our starter was served with a spiel from De Mad Hatter Manager. They are linked to Jack and the Beanstalk (see the theme??) and the low ceilings were a link to the reason why the Alice in Wonderland theme stuck. SO beware tall people. That ceiling looked solid and probably not a nice surprise for the forehead.

IMG_7304

Berrylicious Bircher.

Our starter was definitely the highlight of the meal. A well balanced berry bircher. Yoghurt wasn’t too sweet and balanced well with the coulis and fresh berries. Good portion size too. I know I like my portions…large….but this was juuuust right for bircher. Oh yes she just through in a Goldilocks reference for good measure.

Everyone loves breakfast. So when it’s a two course breakfast that is even better. There were three choices being – breakfast bruschetta, ricotta pancakes, the DMH Special and the corn fritters….with bacon. Safe to say I went with the one that included bacon…so I didn’t have to ask for it to be added to the other dishes. Gah bacon, why you so damn tasty. Now I am thinking of Bertie’s butcher bacon and I’m drooling. The dog is looking at me doing that side tilt with his head….probably wondering why mummy is drooling over her computer. Ahem, back to the rabbit hole.

IMG_7312

Corn Fritters, Tomato chutney, Avo & Bacon. mmm bacon.

I have had some awesome corn fritters around Melbs and must admit this wasn’t up there with the best. With the chutney/sauce on top of the fritters, they had become a touch soggy and maybe needed a bit more corn. Hope that doesn’t sound corny. Ha. oh that was bad. The bacon was fine as well. Just needed a bit more time on the pan. sizzle sizzle. Overall, a decent brekky and will def go back to give those ricotta pancakes a crack.

A lovely way to start the working day and so good to meet other people who embarrass their friends by moving the items on the table to create  a good photo. Sort of like those girls that take so long to get ready to look like they didn’t even try. We move stuff on the table so much to take a relaxed photo to make it look like it was all there by accident. Get my drift?

So if you are STILL reading this ramble. 1. I thank you. 2. Check out De Matter for their great coffee and their lunch time salads are deeeelicious. Fair prices too!

Overall a lovely morning, with a few niggly bits.

7.898/10

De Mad Hatter on Urbanspoon

Tagged , , , , ,

It’s Grand and it’s good.

A couple of weeks ago I was one lucky lady and was taken to see the boob himself. Mr B. Suave, Mr Michael Buble. I was excited and probably annoyed AT all day…ok all week prior giving him my renditions of various buble songs.

Prior to heading off to watch my future husband with my boyfriend (awkward), we headed to The Grand for a couple of bevvies and a feed.

I admittedly wanted to go there as they stocked my new fave drink, Trumpeters Iced Tea, and I knew the cibo was a bit of alright as well.

Ahh delicious is more like it.

The service at the Grand is always pretty friendly and laid back and that’s why the locals like it. I assume. The dining room looks a tad more fancy schmancy though, so hopefully the friendly service continues on in there. Will have to try it soon.

In case you’ve missed my previous ramblings about my new fave bevvie, it’s alcoholic iced tea using Sri Lankan tea leaves. And it is da bomb. That just reminded me that when I was young my email address was pipisdabomb@yahoo.com….yup it rhymed. I look upon those years now and shake my head in dismay…but I am still impressed a young JPizzle came up with a rhyming email address.

IMG_6782

Latest fave. Trumpeters. Get on it. 

Back to the alcohol. It’s lightly fizzy with a noice flavour between a beer and a cider. Just the way I like it. (So pleeeease, catch my diseeease. Ah good old Ben Lee. Whatever happened to him….)

So we have a couple of Trumpeters, and perused the menu. Ok I admit I’d already looked at it on my phone on the way there, but I still like to make the menu feel special, so I looked at it nevertheless.

AT went with the pork cutlet and after umming and aahing, I chose the calamari, plum & radicchio salad. And because of my severe portion control issues, I also ordered the ‘semolina gnocchi’ chip…things. Essentially polenta chips given a different name to confuse.

So. The pork cutlet. Came out crumbed which was completely fine by AT but would suggest throwing those words onto the menu to make the next diner aware. But it did look ridiculously delicious. Pork Cotoletta style. And this thing was massive. Wilbur must have been a big, big boy.

 IMG_6787Crispy, oh so large, pork cutlet

My salad was delicious and exactly what I felt like. (Warning: wanky statement coming up)….the flavours were great together and never would have thought to combine calamari, radicchio and plum but will def be attempting to do a recreation at home.

IMG_6791

Practically perfect in every way.

The semolina gnocchi (chips) were great and the chili style chutney that came with it was a highlight. Chippies weren’t as good as those at City Wine Shop though. Bit tooo soft for me. But still yum. And I still of course ate more than my share of those.

IMG_6789

NB. Dipping sauce was delish. Chippies were crispy. Done deal. 

Overall a good vibe and perfect intro to a fab evening with Mr Buble.. And yes he was amazing, no he unfortunately didn’t ask me to marry him and yes he looked at me at least 4.5 times.

IMG_6827Oh, hey there Mr B. 

The Grand. 8.3/10

Grand Hotel Dining Room on Urbanspoon

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 161 other followers