End of the week and mum didn't feel like cooking dinner (yet again). Being the good daughter I am, I offered to take them out for dinner. Making a reservation online, it was only a quick walk over to Alice street from work. Arriving at my arranged time, I was very pleased at the very warm and friendly reception that I was greeted with. Without any prompting, staff were already able to welcome me by name when I mentioned I had a reservation, a level of attention to detail that I found to be highly impressive, as was the level of service throughout the evening.
I was promptly seated in the very stylish and sophisticated restaurant to await my companions. The menu was quite extensive, but being too captivated by my surroundings, of course I forgot to take photos of it. My companions arrived soon enough, and an order was placed without too much deliberation on our part.
First to arrive was our shared entree, the Seafood Platter which comprised of natural oysters caviar, pan-seared scallops with Jamon and cauliflower as well as salt & pepper calamari with lime aioli. As always, fresh oysters were well received by all, and I especially loved the popping caviar that it was served with.The calamari was freshly fried and nice and peppery, but nothing out of the ordinary. The highlight for me though, was of course the pan seared scallops wrapped in jamon, which offered a good texture contrast with the silky scallop and meaty ham. As there were only two in the platter, I only wish I could have had more than half a piece. Still, we found the platter to be very enjoyable and decent value for what it was.
After our entree, mains arrived soon after. First up was the Fraser Isle spanner crab spaghettini smoked chorizo and heirloom cherry tomatoes. It was a simple and elegant dish, with the spaghettini a little softer than we would have expected. My companion though felt that there could have been a little more crab meat and perhaps some sauce to accompany the dish which she found more on the bland side as the tomatoes and crab didn't cling to the pasta as much as she would have liked.
Another companion had the wild mushroom ravioli consisting of sauteed mixed mushrooms, asparagus, truffle cream and chevre. Compared to other ravioli we have had at other venues, the portion here was considerably larger. The ravioli had considerable bite. The mushrooms made it a mild comforting dish but the chevre added some tanginess to it, making it quite a well balanced dish.
My final companion ordered the Char-grilled Scotch fillet. It was served with vegetables “a la plancha”, herbed Kipfler potato, confit garlic and red wine jus. The steak was a good medium rare, just as he had requested. The pan fried veges were a classic combination to go with the steak, and this coupled with the timeless red wine jus made for a satisfying dinner.
Wanting to try something new, I opted for the Chicken Ballotine, served with roast potatoes, baby carrots, asparagus, tarragon and saffron cream. I quite enjoyed the stuffed chicken, which proved to be quite moist and tender. For a main though, three pieces of chicken was a little small, but the veges on the side were done well, and I did appreciate the saffron cream sauce.
Between our table, we also shared two sides, first of all was the rustic fries served with truffle aioli. The fries were wonderfully crunchy and remained that way throughout the meal. The truffle aioli was also deliciously fragrant.
Second side was the Garden leaf salad with house dressing. The leafy greens were fresh and crispy, with the tangy house dressing, it made for a good balanced meal with our hearty mains.
After our mains, we still had some room for dessert, so we ordered two to share. First to arrive was the Trio of Chocolate, comprising of a dark chocolate ganache tart, chocolate mousse and chocolate gelato. I really enjoyed this dessert, mainly for its abundance in chocolate taste with not too much sweetness. The gelato was rich and smooth. The mousse was light and fluffy. The tart was dense and heavy, but I wish the tart base was a bit less firmer as it proved very difficult to break apart.
Second dessert was of course my pick of the Bombe Alaska, containing joconde sponge, vanilla bean ice cream, berry coulis, Italian meringue and white rum. I usually select this dessert out of my love of theatrics, and setting something on fire always makes me happy. Unfortunately the bombe alaska in this instance came out pre torched which disappointed me slightly. I did however really enjoy the delicious sourness of the berry coulis, which was a nice variation from the norm.