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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Desserts @ Interlude

Last night at the end of the special dinner at Interlude we were given this


As you can see on the label it is an Instant Chocolate and Coconut Pudding made by Interlude's Pastry Chef Pierre Roelofs.

The instructions are very simple - place the contents into pan


and whisk in 140mls of cold milk. Over a gentle heat, continue whisking until it reaches boiling point.

Pour into two small bowls and allow to set.


It's quite a rich dessert so it's more than enough for two to enjoy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Event @ Interlude

Interlude has recently been holding a series of dinner and this one certainly got our attention:
Join Raymond and Robin for an eight course degustation with matched wines on Monday the 28th April.

Raymond has always been a proponent of molecular gastronomy and some of the techniques that Robin uses at Interlude.

It promises to be an amazing and inspiring night with unique food interpretations matched with wines selected by Interlude sommelier Jason Tozer.

With the opportunity to sample the menu from these two innovative chefs it's pretty obvious that we would be there.


While the dining room has great lighting for dining it is not really conducive for taking good photos of the food and as I'm not about to use flash or bring a tripod and the nikon d80 these rather dim photos will have to do.


To get things started we are offered a small bowl of beer flavoured nuts and these chips served with an aerated creamy malt vinegar sauce. The beer flavoured nuts certainly did live up to their name while the "salt and vinegar" chips were a playful way to awaken those tastebuds.

The first course is a dish from Interlude

Oliver our Twist
To drink: NV Manzanilla Sanlucar de barrameda, Delgato Zuleta

The jellied strand made from green olives runs diagonally along the plate and it's crossed at both ends by toasted breadcrumbs from olive bread. Shards of olive oil toffee are placed randomly along the length. There are dots of roasted red capsicum and hints of anchovy.

The second dish is from Ray


Scampi, roasted, Almond Tripe, Oil
To drink: 2006 Kremstal Riesling Salomon "Undhofkogl"

This is just the type of dish you expect from Ray - the flavours are clean and well-balanced and the dish is devoid of extranegeous elements. The texture of the almond tripe was quasi-gelatinous and provided a contrast to the scampi while highlighting its natural sweetness.

The third dish is from Interlude

Snail Trail
To drink: 2007 Mornington Peninsula Pinot Gris, Paradigm Hill

I wish the light was better in this photo so you could really appreciate the presentation.

There are three snails racing up the plate - their "trails" are representations of the traditional accompaniments. The snails themselves are wrapped in a mushroom puree and topped with a meringue snail shell.

The fourth dish is from Ray

Sous Vide Hapuka, Orange Zest, Green Crab May-Vin, Leeks, Hazelnuts
To drink: 2006 Bourgogne Chardonnay Paul Pillot

The consistency of the Hapuka itself was incredible - tender and gelatinous.

The fifth dish is also by Ray


Slow Cooked Pork Cheek, Pickled Apple, Cinnamon, Organic Earth
To drink: 2000 Alsace Gewurztraminer Reserve Trimbach

What looks like a cinnamon stick is actually rolled filo that is flavoured with ground cinnamon - the idea is break the stick over the pork.


The pork itself is as tender as butter and actually quite lean.

The sixth dish is from Interlude


Duck, Bacon, Foie Scramble, Short Stack
To drink: 2006 Langhe, Nebbiolo Marchesi di Gresy "Martinenga"

Another dish where I wish the light was better - there's a lot happening on the plate.

This is a new dish from Robin - the short stacks are those four small discs which are mousse like in consistency but do taste like pancake. The foie scramble looks a lot like scrambled eggs and it's served alongside cubes of roasted duck. There's quite a sweetness to the dish but the bacon comes into play providing a salty foil.

The seventh dish is by Ray


Molecule of Light
To drink: 2006 Moscato d'Asti, La Pinetta "Bricco Quaglia"

One bite of this and we were back in Italy eating this. There's the unmistakeable taste of smoked buffalo milk.

The eight dish is by Interlude


Total Eclipse
To drink: NV Seppelt Rutherglen Grand Muscat

This dish was a study of chocolate in various forms.

The final dish is by Interlude


Coconut Canyon
To drink: 1996 Vouray Modelleux, Dom Pichot

The final course are the petit fours


which you should always leave room for!

At the end of the night we were given a wax-sealed menu


and also a little something that we can eat later


To see how the Pudding turned out - look here.

There will be another dinner on Monday 26th May and if you missed this one then make sure you book early for what will be a brilliant night of stunning food and wine.

The details:

211 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Phone: 9415 7300

Lunch: Tuesday to Friday 12-3pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday 6.30pm to late


Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dinner @ Maha

Having just mentioned Elle and Al, we're joining them for dinner at Maha. Our booking was for 8.30 and having arrived early we found a spot at the bar where we could enjoy our pre-dinner drinks.


It was a considerably more pleasant experience then our wait at Nobu and at 8.32 we were escorted to our table.

We'd pretty much decided before hand that we would be trying the Soufra menu which for $70 a head you get a selection of small cold dishes, small hot dishes, grilled meat and fish and dessert. You basically get what the kitchen decides but you can ask for certain dishes to be included. Dietary requirements and/or Allergies are also catered for.

The first course comes out on a large board


roasted red pepper and feta dip, deep fried school prawns, chicken liver mousse, sumac coated cauliflower


assorted marinated olives and lemon and saffron soup. This also came with a large plate of pita bread which was refilled during the course of the evening.

The second course


Ma'ahani sausages served with cumin roasted pumpkin


and ravyul malti - semolina and ricotta ravioli, toasted hazelnuts, cumin and tomato braise


Third course:


Vine leaf wrapped sardines stuffed with chermoula and served with a chickpea, tomato and mint sauce


Lemon and Coriander crushed potatoes and fattoush salad


and Rabbit Tagine

Sweets Course:


liquorice ice-cream, watermelon with rosewater cream, jallab jelly (in glass), chocolate coffee mousse (in cup)


turkish delight filled doughnuts, rice pudding


Orange blossom lemonade with pinenuts and mint


and lastly Baklava.

I think it's pretty obvious that you won't be going away hungry - the quality of the dishes are excellent and the service is pretty sharp too, something it shares with sister restaurant The Press Club. With a full restaurant and a lively buzz, it definitely has that winning formula.

The details:

Maha Bar and Grill
21 Bond Street, Melbourne

Phone: 9629 5900

Lunch: Monday to Friday - noon to 3pm
Dinner: Monday to Saturday - 6pm to 10.30pm
Supper: Thursday to Saturaday - 10.30pm to 3am

Enoteca Sileno

We didn't just have coffee at the Enoteca - the cakes on offer were just too tempting.

Paalo had the Panettone Pudding - served warm there was no sharing of this one


and I had the Pistachio tart


which I wasn't going to share either! I don't know what I enjoyed more but those toffee pistachios were sinfully good.

The details:

Enoteca Sileno

920 Lygon Street, Carlton
corner of Lygon and Richardson Streets
Phone: 03 9389 7070

Monday: 8am - 4pm
Tuesday - Saturday: 8am - Late
Sunday: 9am - 5pm


Lunch @ La Luna

We've always had a good meal at La Luna so when I heard of a less than stellar dining experience from our regular dining companions Elle and Al, I was very disappointed. 

I'm at a loss to explain what happened but I think it is something that needs to be considered. Because one person has a good meal doesn't meal that everyone will and the reverse is also true. Posts like these and reviews from the revered "media" are only guides - a snapshot only for that particular meal. The quality of a restaurant shouldn't be based on one meal but on consistently putting out good meals.

Now I don't know if standards dropped because they were doing double sittings but I hope that isn't the case. It's far better to say you're booked and hope they will book for another night than to have customers vowing not to return after having a bad meal.

With that said, I shall return to today's meal


For starters


I have the Elk Sausages with Potato Aioli and Parsley salad - two chubby little sausage sit happily upon the potato aioli surrounded by a rich jus. The sausages were quite dense filled with a chunkier grind.



Paalo has the Hand Cured Meat Plate, served with olives and pickled cherry and a generous basket of bread. The prosciutto was especially flavoursome.

For mains


I have the Five meat bolognaise (beef, veal, pork, chicken and prosciutto) with organic Nicola potato gnocchi and shaved truffled pecorino.

This is one the dishes that Elle had and she described her dish as gnocchi soup - overcooked gnocchi at the base of the plate with the sauce dumped over it.

The dish I had is the polar opposite - the gnocchi were perfect, tender but still with a little resistance. You couldn't really ask for any better. 


Paalo has the Grilled Bullboar Sausage, champ potato, onion and mustard jus. All very tasty and well presented.

for sides we have green beans with feta and yoghurt dressing

it might be interesting to compare the same dish from Elle's dining experience


We decide to skip dessert this time and head off to the Enoteca for a spot of shopping and a good coffee.

The details:

La Luna
320 Rathdowne Street, North Carlton

Phone: 9349 4888

Lunch: Tuesday to Friday - Noon - 3pm
Dinner: Tuesday to Sunday - 6pm - 10pm
Brunch: Saturday to Sunday - 11am - 3pm


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dinner @ Attica

We're back at Attica to try out the special Tuesday night menu where new dishes are offered in a 5 course (plus cheese if desired) tasting menu. As the food is new, wine matches aren't offered but they are more than happy to help advise you.

attica© by Haalo

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lunch @ The Press Club

I was right to think Paalo was a bit jealous of my solo lunch at the Press Club so it's no real surprise that we've come here for Sunday Lunch.

The structure of Sunday lunch has change somewhat - you don't need to choose the number of courses anymore.

The meal begins with soup:

a hearty bowl of lentil and vegetable soup.

It is quickly followed by this large platter of assorted dishes


Clockwise from bottom right: Bastourma (air dried beef with "curry" spice notes - served warm), Marinated Olives, Red Capsicum Dip, Greek Salad, Pickled Cabbage.


Hot dishes follow


Simple grilled garfish fillets


deep fried school prawns with a spicy honey and almond dressing


and tomato stuffed with dill rice

Our final savoury dishes consist of

a large cast iron pan of Spit-roasted Lamb with Potatoes

and simple roasted Chicken pieces.

Dessert is served with a nod to the quantity of food that preceeds it - it comes packaged in a take away box!


Inside the box we had, honey soaked Greek donuts, chocolate semolina slice and baklava.

If you are looking for a decadent Sunday lunch that won't break the bank, then it's very hard to go past this feast from The Press Club.

The details:

The Press Club Restaurant and Bar
72 Flinders Street
Phone: 03 9677 9677

Lunch: Monday - Friday and Sunday
Dinner: Monday - Sunday