We have finally managed to snag a booking. After months of trying, a spur of a moment phone call and we are in.
What strikes me at first is a sense of generosity - a generosity of space, from the large tables and very comfortable chairs to the fact that they have resisted the temptation to cram as many people as physically possible into the space. You can enjoy the luxury of feeling at ease and that sense of generosity continues with the food.
Menu wise there are three degustation options - a la carte is only available from Tuesday to Thursday so keep that in mind.
First degustation is $100 which allows you to choose two entrée dishes, two main dishes and two sides, desserts are also included.
The second degustation is $140 and you get all four entrée dishes, two main dishes, all sides and desserts. There is also a third degustation that requires 72 hours notice, it begins at $140 and will be designed for you by Greg Malouf.
We decided on the second degustation and began with glasses of Perrier-Jouët Champagne
An interesting way to begin - a selection of fantastically fresh and crisp vegetables and herbs, sprinkled with a little sumac and served with olive oil dashed with pomegranate molasses and tiny round flatbreads. You can't pull this off without having impeccable produce.
The two dishes are silver served (as are all subsequent savoury courses) at the table which I think is really a lovely touch.
On the left: Ras el Hanout King Prawns with orzo pasta alla carbonara, crab and preserved lime
On the right: Avocado fattouche with very rare salmon, cooked gently with olive oil and fragrant spices
Every bit of the prawn is delicious, perfectly cooked so that all the shell can be enjoyed.
The salmon is so tender that it slices with the faintest amount of pressure.
Left: Musakhan, spicy quail baked in mountain bread, with chickpeas and melting shallots
Right: An entree special of the day - Cotechino stuffed pig trotter served with a fine salad
The quail comes to the table as a whole pie - inside it's been generously stuffed with succulent quail.
The trotter is served as a thick slice - stuffed simply with Cotechino.
Our first main selection is a special of the day - stuffed garfish in parmesan crust
and it's served with two of the side dishes:
left: young romaine and radicchio salad with preserved lime-Caesar dressing
right: chilled vine tomato salad with tarragon, shankleesh, sumac and lemon dressing
Our next main is the Pigeon Bistayeea with Lebanese-style white cabbage salad
and it is served with
left: nicola potatoes, baby beets and zucchini gratinéed with cumin Gruyere
right: creamed feta spinach with Turkish pepper
meringue chimney filled with white chocolate mousse on red wine/plum jelly - date crème brûlée with mastic toffee - pear baklava
fresh and dried autumn fruits with prickly pear sorbet
We're both in agreement, we are seriously impressed with tonight's meal - from the food to the wine to the service you couldn't really ask for more. All we have to do now is try to get another booking!
Lower Plaza Level
123 Collins Street
Phone: 9650 0660
Open: Dinner Only - Tuesday to Saturday