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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Lunch @ Enoteca Vino Bar

It's the perfect excuse - we need to get some of those last minute Italian treats for Christmas and Enoteca Sileno is our port of call, so why not have a bite of lunch while we are there.

We decide to finally try the antipasto platter - we'd seen many go past in our previous visits and always eyed it with a "next time"

it's a large platter consisting of various salami and prosciutto, grissini, frittata

grilled zucchini, mushrooms, olives, fetta, eggplant

marinated artichokes, stuffed peppers, grilled bread

For mains,


Spaghettini with prawns, rocket and a "stain" of tomato - a lovely light and tasty dish


Paalo chose the braised pork with mashed potatoes.

The details:

Enoteca Vino Bar

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

Tuesday - Saturday: 9am - Late
Sunday: 9am - 4pm

Enoteca Vino Bar will be closed from the evening of December 24th and re-open for dinner, January 7th.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lunch @ The Botanical

We decide to try someplace new for lunch and find ourselves at The Botanical in South Yarra. 

On first impressions, it isn't quite what I expected it would be. It is, according to The Age Good Food Guide, a 2 hat restaurant but at lunch, it has the feel of a cafe.

I don't know if that was due to the rather scruffy bare tables or the indifferent style of service but something just didn't feel right. 

For starters:

Paalo began with the "Artisan Charcuterie Selection" with Jamon (because the terrine de campagne wasn't available), Calabrese, Felino, Sopressa, Wagyu Bresaola, tongue, coppa, Kurobuta prosciutto, duck liver parfait, chicken liver pate topped with PX jelly

Warmed poached egg with Reggiano, summer truffles and soft polenta

This dish looked beautiful, the truffle aromas coming off the plate were delicious, the polenta was fantastic but in what was a major letdown, the poached egg was hard. 

For mains:

Paalo had the  Milk fed calves liver with bacon braised Savoy cabbage and mousseline potatoes

An unusual presentation, the liver is served in one piece, looking alot like a steak. Paalo really enjoyed the dish but noted that unless you really love liver, you aren't going to enjoy it.

Beef bolognaise lasagne with ricotta and cavolo nero

I'm not sure about it coming out in such a tatty pan but I suppose that could be seen as being "rustic". This is a very rich dish and for me, it was just a bit too salty. 


Less bolognaise, more pasta sheets and probably incorporating the cavolo nero into the actual dish would make it more appealing to me and probably cut down on the richness.

We also ordered a side dish:

Braised local asparagus with tomates and tarragon

For desserts:

Botanical Dessert Selection (2 person minimum)


Top: Chilled Coconut Rice pudding with exotic fruits
Bottom: Pavlova with passionfruit and melon salad


Top: Hazelnut and Coffee cappuccino creme brulee with warm chocolate doughnut and biscotti
Bottom: 24ct gold leaf Valrhona chocolate nemesis with poached apricots

While there were disappointments in the savoury courses, the desserts were excellent.

The details:

The Botanical
169 Domain Road, South Yarra

Phone: +613 9820 7888

Monday to Friday: 7am to 11pm
Saturday to Sunday: 9am to 11pm


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dinner @ Les Boucheries Parisiennes

Paalo is in the mood for steak and I don't have any in the fridge so we've come to Les Boucheries to soothe that inner carnivore.

For starters:

Seared scallops with carrot puree, watercress and apple salad, almond foam

I just can't go past the scallops.

Paalo orders the platter of six entree's

ham hock terrine with poached shitake

gruyere cheese souffle, hazelnut biscotti, spiced pear chutney

Truffled Tortellini, Seared scallops, Escargots de Bourgogne and oysters with grapefruit and salmon roe

The next dish is a special treat from the kitchen:

beef tartare with quail egg


You might easily mistake it for tuna but that is beef, beautiful and tender, it is cut as small chunks rather than minced. It's one of the best we've had and I hope they put it on the menu.

For mains:

I have the Welsh Black Angus Steak served with roasted shallots, cherry tomatoes and bearnaise sauce

Paalo opts for the Rib Eye served with a red wine sauce

The steaks both come with pomme frites but we swap one out for

truffled mashed potatoes and also order a side of beans.

We finish off with a grand assortment of cheese.

The details:

Les Boucheries Parisiennes
268 Toorak Road, South Yarra

Phone: (03) 8256 1636

Lunch - Tuesday to Sunday: 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner - Tuesday to Saturday: 6pm to late


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lunch @ Church St Enoteca

In the midst of this silly season, it's a good idea to escape the madness and take some time out to relax and enjoying a leisurely lunch is one of the best ways you can accomplish that.

For starters

soft shell crab on cucumber and avocado - the soft shell crabs were a special of the days, crisp and plump full of soft flesh.

heirloom tomato salad with fior de latte and white anchovies - this is on the entree menu but we enjoyed this as a side to the crabs.

For mains:

Seared tuna on a quinoa salad and served with blood orange sorbetto - this was a special entree of the day

I certainly can't resist tuna when it looks like that! The sorbetto was quite different, flavoured with cinnamon. 

risotto with pork and fennel sausage and lentils

As soon as Paalo saw pork and fennel sausage, there was no question he would be ordering this dish. It's another special of the day. The lentils are an interesting touch.

We forgo dessert for the cheese platter.

The details:

Church St Enoteca
527 Church Street, Richmond

Phone: 9428 7898

Restaurant Open:
Lunch: Monday-Friday 12-3pm
Dinner: Monday-Saturday 6pm to late


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dinner @ Eleonore's Restaurant

We've managed to skip town for just a night and are enjoying the country air at Chateau Yering. We also get to indulge with a degustation dinner!


The evening begins with an amuse

lightly seared, herb rolled tuna loin served with crisp tofu sheet shard

stuffed calamari tube served with wakame and abalone salad

Seared Coral Trout, white asparagus, broad beans, artichoke, zucchini flower

Tataki of Wagyu, wasabi Panna cotta, crisp sushi, black bean vinaigrette, beer air

Roasted Yarra Valley Quail, foie gras farce, truffled linguini, sauce périgord

slow cooked rump of spring lamb, jerusalem artichoke and rosemary galette, pear and mint custard, roast garlic and mascarpone purée

lemon curd tart

iced banana terrine, caramelised honey ganache, banana cake, honey-roasted macadamias, caramel ice-cream

The details:

Eleonore's Restaurant at Chateau Yering
42 Melba Highway, Yering
Phone: +61 3 9237 3333

Dinner - every evening from 6.30pm
Lunch - Saturday and Sunday from 12pm - 3pm

Eleonore's Restaurant

Friday, December 05, 2008

Dinner @ Bistro Vue

If I wasn't in need of a drink before heading out to Bistro Vue, I certainly was by the time we arrived. What should have been a 20 minute trip, turned into a 45 minute shocker. I have not seen traffic as bad as this for a long time.

Glasses of Gardet Brut proved an ideal way to wash away those traffic woes and a great match for this trio of oysters

Clair de Lune

Rusty Wire - is a generic name given to the "best on the day" oysters

Angasi - our native flat oyster

We selected the 2004 Coldstream Hills Reserve Cabernet Blend to enjoy with the rest of our meal.

For starters:


French Onion Soup with Beer, topped with Gruyere

Sometimes French Onion soup can be a touch too hearty, this had a lot of flavour but somehow managed not to give you that bloated feeling. It does come out piping hot!


Slow cooked Duck Eggs with cepe puree and pancetta grissini

Underneath the yolk sits a silky cepe puree - the eggs have been slow cooked for I think 2 hours at 60°C leaving them wonderfully runny. There's a lovely drizzle of white truffle oil over the pancetta wrapped grissini. Every now and again you get hit with that lovely white truffle flavour.

For mains:

Plat du Jour for Friday: Pied de Cochon - Pigs trotter

Paalo does have a weakness for pig trotter - this comes out as a tight roll but just falls apart in a wonderously gelatinous "mess". It comes with mashed potatoes and a simple leaf salad.


Chargrilled Wagyu served with Goose Fat fried Pommes Frites

You do have a choice of sauces, pepper, béarnaise, diane - I decided on the Béarnaise. I also got to taste some of the Bistro Vue Truffle Mustard which is beyond delicious. It was so good we bought a jar!

The wagyu was superb - it ranks up there as one of the best.

For dessert:

Tarte tatin aux pommes

Paalo just finds it impossible to go past it.


Red berries with honey jelly, warm white chocolate mousse and raspberry praline

I enjoy one of the one newer desserts - at the bottom of the glass are an assortment of macerated red berries, interspersed by small cubes of honey jelly. Above it, served as a thick white band is the warm white chocolate mousse. The glass is crowned with a disc of what I'd call raspberry flavoured toffee.

The details:

Bistro Vue
430 Little Collins Street
Entrance via New Chancery Laneway

Phone: 9691 3838

Monday-Saturday: 11am until Late