I've been a bit bewildered at the attitude of the professional reviewers. I don't know how professional it is to go to review a place with a mind set that you want to rip it apart. Worse still, all this angst isn't based on the food being served, or the people in the kitchen, or the people on the floor, it's directed at a person that isn't ever there. It was then disappointing to see that this attitude had seeped into the blogisphere, along with other mainstream vices, though that might be best left for another time.
Maze has been thoroughly scrutinised by many of our fellow EAT-ors - lunch and dinner, a la carte and set menu, I think between our crew we've tasted every dish. Some went during the first week, and felt while the food was excellent they had a hard time enjoying themselves due to the amount of flashes going off from neighbouring tables of food bloggers. It's a dimly lit restaurant at night, you can't take good photos, so give your fellow diners a break, your flashes are annoying and that is putting it politely.
This particular outing to Maze is in lieu of my failed birthday dinner. In fact we're even staying in the hotel and making a little holiday out of it.
The maze entrance, reached by sweeping staircase or elevator from the hotel lobby. Behind the screen is a lounge, to the left a bar area.
Inside the restaurant proper - must add that the chairs are very comfortable - you can easily sit there and enjoy a rather long meal.
Those cane light fittings that always seem to be mentioned
and part of a huge installation that hugs one of the curved walls.
Mustn't forget the private dining room which is probably the most attractive space in the restaurant.
Now that we've come to the end of the tour, onto the food
While I love butter to cook with, I'm not a great butter eater, unlike Paalo, who doesn't have bread and butter, he has butter with a little bread. My exception to this rule is white truffle butter but that was until I tasted this butter - this is seaweed butter and I could happily devour that whole pot and then have seconds. The first time we tasted it, we were flummoxed, couldn't work out what it was but what we did know, is that we wanted more of it. Happily, they do replenish both bread and butter during the course of your meal.
The meal we're having is basically the Tasting Menu and as it will be explained to you if you eat there, the dishes are tasting menu sized so you'll need to leave that entrée/main mentality at home. There are about 16 dishes on the menu, 8 lighter and 8 heavier.
Beetroot, Goats cheese - a combination we've all probably had countless times before. This is such a simple dish but you really need skill to make it this good. The goat cheese has been mellowed with a little mascarpone, there's sweet nuttiness and crunch from the toasted pinenuts.
The kingfish has been given a delicate smoking and the fennel has been nicely treated to mellow it's flavour so it compliments and not overpowers the dish. The floss is sprinkled with star anise.
I had to take a closeup of the dish just to highlight the care that has been taken. They look big here but those enoki had to be the tiniest ones I've ever seen on a plate. If you look at the first photo, you can get a sense of just how small a component it is.
Good to see rabbit on the menu especially when it's as well presented as this. The dish highlights different tastes and textures of the rabbit.
Plump and gorgeous scallops
What caught my attention the first time I had this dish is that it came to the table still steaming, it was as if it had been taken from the pan and put on the plate and out to me with no fluffing about. The skin was perfectly crisp and the flesh moist, an excellent piece of fish.
On paper this was a dish that didn't really capture me however tasting it I was won over. The salmon had an almost sponge light softness while the succotash was pure corn sweetness.
The horseradish pomme puree is served in a little bowl, smooth and creamy with just the right amount of horseradish heat. You'll be needing plenty of bread to soak up that terrific jus, thick, rich and sticky.
It's the battle of delicious jus and I still can't decide which one I preferred.
After the rich flavours of the two previous dishes, we're given this first dessert, its sharp flavours from passionfruit provide a cleansing effect.
Having had our palates refreshed we can now enjoy the final dish - you can really pick up the salt in both the caramel and the nuts, chocolate creameux is more bitter than sweet but it's silken texture is a delight. The banana bread has a light texture but doesn't skimp on banana flavour and the pearl barley appears as a flavour rather than a texture in the ice-cream.
Overall, our impressions haven't changed too much between visits - number one, the food is excellent, there's plenty of choice to be had in the expertly selected wine list whether you decide to do wine matches or go by the bottle. Paalo was particularly flummoxed by media criticism of the wine list, in fact he wondered if they had even looked at it before passing comment. Service is the issue in which they need to work on but I think it's more an issue about having confidence and losing that stiffness but that is something that comes with time.
8 Whiteman Street
Phone: 9292 8300
8 Whiteman Street
Phone: 9292 8300