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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Dinner @ Fenix

It's fitting that we end 2006 at Fenix for their New Year's Eve dinner.

We start the night with Champagne Ruinart.

Vichyssoise of Sweet corn - ile flottante of smoked milk


Confit cylinder of tomato, basil sorbet, candied olive tuile

Sashimi of Atlantic Salmon, white chocolate, wasabi, grape jus

Raw salmon belly, wasabi paste, pickled grapes and deep fried eggplant


NT wild Barramundi, pea broth


Rolled and stuffed loin of Ascot Lamb, carrot puree, fondant potato


Manchego, "wool" and quince paste


Berry sorbet, pistachio crumbs


Deconstructed black forest cake

petit fours

Petit Fours - mango jelly and salt and vinegar chocolate truffles

The details:
680 Victoria Street Richmond
Phone: (03) 9427 8500
Open: Tuesday - Sunday for Lunch; Tuesday - Saturday for Dinner

Friday, December 22, 2006

Dinner @ Fenix

For our last dining experience before Christmas we've headed back to Fenix and as a treat we're given our own degustation with dishes that aren't on the menu. Interestingly, we're offered Ruinart to start with.


Milky cheese soup - hard to describe, quasi yoghurt-like. There are sliced cherries and the Nasturtium leaves give it a little peppery kick.


Raw salmon with slightly picked grapes and deep fried eggplant pieces in a light wasabi syrup = there's also a gently spiced wasabi paste. An instant favourite.


Northern Territory Barramundi topped with wild beluga caviar, grated raw cauliflower, quenelle and fried shallots. Luxury on a plate. The caviar just warmed by heat of the seared fish.


Ascot Lamb - cooked at 56° for 36 hours. It's just meltingly soft.


Slice of manchego cheese with "wool" and quince paste.


Strawberry spaghetti, strawberry mousse and basil sorbet.


Deconstructed Black Forest cake.


Petit Fours - mangopops, salt and vinegar chocolate straws and jelly

The details:
680 Victoria Street Richmond
Phone: (03) 9427 8500
Open: Tuesday - Sunday for Lunch; Tuesday - Saturday for Dinner

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lunch @ The Press Club

We return to The Press Club for our "christmas work lunch" and we opt for the lunch Kerasma (degustation) with matching wines, beginning with a glass of Ruinart Champagne.

Now we haven't taken a photo of everything had - so head here and here for our other Press Club meals.


Part of the cold antipasto platter - smoked oyster wrapped in Kataifi pastry on caramelised onions served with shot glasses of greek salad smoothie.

These weren't those tinned smoked oysters, they are smoked in house and have a most delightful aroma. They are to be eaten with the shot of greek salad smoothie - the smoothie wasn't liked by all.

Not photographed - Stuffed zucchini flowers with spanakopita and ouzo mayonnaise and the deep fried Quail (which you can find in this post)

The zucchini flowers were simply fantastic and the quail just perfect.


Grilled half shell scallops, atherina and baby prawn coleslaw - atherina are those tiny whitebait. Just an excellent combination of flavours and textures.


Rotisserie Chicken under a crust of pistachio, lemon and breadcrumbs served with roasted garlic potatoes.

It would be impossible to convey how good this chicken was - succulent doesn't do it justice and the topping was something you'd want to make sure you've eaten every last bit of.

Desert, as usual was the Dessert mezedes.

The details:
The Press Club Restaurant and Bar
72 Flinders Street
Phone: 03 9677 9677
Lunch: Monday-Friday
Dinner: Monday- Saturday

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lunch @ Canvas

Canvas is an odd creature - located on the second floor of what is basically an office block. It also is one of these multipurpose venues - there's a large outside area, a formal dining room and a bar/cafe area.

It's also opposite another place, The Undertaker, that seems to be doing the same thing.

For today's lunch, we're in the formal dining area - there's another menu for the bar/outside area.

Butter, Dukka and Olive Oil

In the dinning room the bread along with this dish of butter, dukka and olive oil is gratis - in the bar/outside area you'll have to pay $4.50 for it.

Sauteed marinated quail with peppers, deep fried olives and herb salad ($16) - Quite a nice dish though the quail isn't as good as The Press Club.


Slow braised shallot tarte tartin with goats cheese and red wine syrup ($14.50)


Roasted rump of lamb with braised fennel and spiced sausage ($29.50)


Pan fried duck breast and leg confit bastilla with honey and jasmine ($29.50) - not sure where the jasmine was in this dish though the bastilla was the star of the dish.


Pistachio creme brulee with vanilla and honeycomb ice cream ($12)


Saffron Poached pear with Cinnamon pannacotta ($12)

The details
Canvas Restaurant and Bar
Levil 1, 302-320 Burwood Road
Phone: 03 9819 2200

Open - Restaurant:
Monday - Friday: 10am - late
Saturday: 9am for breakfast; lunch/dinner until late
Sunday: Closed

Open - Bar:
7 days until late (1am license)


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lunch @ Magic City

At one time Magic City seemed to have the food writers in a tizz, eager to outdo each other in espousing the virtues of this restaurant. When we eventually bit the bullet and dined, it failed to live up to the hype. Now that the buzz has long gone we decided it was time for another visit.

I must say it was quite a surreal experience - as we were waiting for our food, we both had come to the realisation that Paalo was the only man dining in the restaurant - the only man out of 38 diners! This really is a place for the LWL (ladies who lunch).

Paalo chose the Free range Asian Pork with Thai Pear Salad and Apple Plum Sauce.


I chose the Salt and pepper calamari with herb salad and sweet chilli dressing - nicely spiced with a good crunch.


A wasabi sauce accompanies the french fries.


With banana's being a luxury, I've opted for the rum bananas with caramel, walnuts and ice cream.


Paalo choose the kaffir lime leaf panna cotta.

The details
Magic City
871 Burke Road, Camberwell
Phone: (03) 9882 7788

Open 7 days from breakfast to late

Monday, November 27, 2006

Dinner @ The Press Club

For our second visit to The Press Club we have company in the form of Elle and Al. After perusing the menu with a bottle of Drappier Brut ZD we opt to try the Kerasma B 5 course degustation menu. As Elle is quite partial to champagne, while 3 of us will opt to have wine matches with our meal, we've also ordered the Egly-Ouriet Brut.


Antipasto - Sakanaki Martini, Dolmades, assorted olives, pickled octopus, pickled cabbage, marinated anchovies


Baklava stuffed baby squid with sweet onion stifado sauce - obviously a dish we enjoyed as we were too busy chowing down on it to take a photo.


Deep fried quail on beetroot taziki - incredibly good, the ultimate in spiced fried poultry.


Greek salad - cucumber quarters, tomato, olives and feta


Yoghurt braised neck of lamb, olive oil and pomme puree


Raviolo, seared fish with broad beans and feta


Dessert mezedes -
Chios Mastic Panna Cotta with marinated strawberries,
Chocolate souffle,
Watermelon sorbet with feta
Carpaccio of sesame seeds, licorice ice cream and tahini,
Greek donuts,
Cypriot cinnamon ice cream with sour cherry jam
Chocolate baklava
Passionfruit Tzatziki

The details:
The Press Club Restaurant and Bar
72 Flinders Street
Phone: 03 9677 9677
Lunch: Monday-Friday
Dinner: Monday- Saturday

Friday, November 24, 2006

Lunch @ Italy 1

Another one of these places that we haven't been to in a while. I must say that it bears all the hallmarks of the worst of 90's restaurant design - tiny tables packed as closely together as possible. When the restaurant is full, the only way through the restaurant is sideways! It really makes me appreciate places such as Fenix that give the patrons decent sized tables, that are generously spaced from their neighbours. It helps to create the dining experience rather than make you feel as if you're in some kind of feed lot.


Antipasto - we decide to share the Antipasto ($18) which for a serving for 1 is a good portion. There's a couple of mini grissini sticks, proscuitto, olives, roasted red pepper, pickled calamari, salami, asparagus, arancini and labne (or as they call it on the menu garlic yoghurt curd)


Veal Coteletta with mashed potato - this is off the fixed price lunch menu. It's quite small and I believe the veal lied about it's age. It's looks like it's made in-house and is cooked to order. The mashed potatoes are quite smooth and overall it's alright.


Paalo opts for the Gnocchi con Agnello ($25.50) from the regular menu and he gets a more generously sized portion. The gnocchi are a touch on the large size but taste of potato. It's served with a lamb ragu. The parmesan is grated to order at the table. It's another nice dish.


Panna cotta with berry comport ($14) - it's tasty, there's nothing extraordinary about it.


Tiramisu ($13) - a decent serving - not too soggy, another good interpretation of a classic dish.

At Italy 1 it's all about not changing. You don't get anything cutting edge but what you do get is well made and fairly mainstream. I think the adjective we most used during lunch was "nice". The gentile folks of Camberwell won't have their senses disturbed by eating out here.

The details:
Italy 1 Camberwell
Burke Road, Camberwell (even though they are really in East Hawthorn!)
Phone: 03 9804 0944

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Lunch @ Wildflower

It's been a few years since we've dined at Wildflower so it was more than overdue for a re-visit. Unfortunately every time we called it was booked. Eventually our luck had to change and so it did and happily we scampered off for a spur of the moment, leisurely Saturday lunch.


Wildflower is located in a traditional Victorian building - lace trimmed veranda on a pedestrian only lane. The interior is light and airy and lacking any of the stuffiness that the exterior might imply.


For Saturday lunch there are two menus, a fixed price and a la carte. We opt for the a la carte.

My first course: Hermit crab, pickled red onion, falafel
I've never had hermit crab before but it was delicious with its quasi prawn/crayfish characteristics. A large cube of falafel sat underneath the deep fried finely shredded leek along with more hermit crab pieces. A generous serving indeed.

Paalo's first course: Raviolo with rocket, char-grilled capsicum and crispy proscuitto

My main: Chicken ballotine with porcini mushroom filling on a bed of green beans. I'd call this quite a large serve but it was delicious. Earthy flavours from the porcini mixed with succulent chicken.

Paalo's main: Venison medallions topped with strudel. Another generous portion of 3 meltingly soft medallions of venison. A sticky rich jus coats the plate.

Cheese course - tasmanian gruyere, shadows of blue, comte and a camembert served with thick slices of char-grilled bread.


Desserts - they do things a little differently here. The dessert menu consists of 19 items of which you can pick any 3 to make up your dessert plate.
This is Paalo's - the centre item is a Kaffir Lime Panna Cotta which was incredible - next time Paalo might just order three of them!

We certainly won't be waiting too long before we return.

The details
1 Theatre Place, Canterbury
Phone: 03 9888 6662
Open: Tuesday - Saturday noon-2.30pm and 6.30-9.30pm; Sunday: 9am+