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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lunch @ Les Boucheries Parisiennes

We've returned for a relaxing Sunday lunch.


While the full menu isn't available - you still do have a lot of choice. There's the express lunch menu, regular lunch menu as well as the specialty menu and if you can't find something you like there, then there's something wrong with you.

We decide to pick our way through the specialty menu and create our own mini degustation


We start with a couple of Oysters with salmon roe and pink grapefruit sorbet


and follow them with half a dozen Escargots de Bourgogne

There are three types of sausages available - Merguez, Toulouse and Duck & Pistachio


We select the Toulouse Sausage, freshly cut pork with white wine, garlic & cabbage. A rather adorable coil served in a lovely Chasseur cast iron skillet. It is accompanied by pommes frittes and mustards of your choice.

For our main dishes:

I have the Duck a l'orange

while Paalo has the Lamb Navarin

We decide to share a dessert -


it's very hard to go past the Mango Pannacotta with pineapple salsa and Pineapple donuts

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


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lunch @ Enoteca Vino Bar

With Christmas coming, it's time to stock up on some Italian goodies at Enoteca Sileno and while we are here, we might as well grab some lunch at the Vino Bar!

As usual we begin with some items from the assaggini menu


At the front - Il Mongettino peperoncino ripieno e fritto (Crumbed Mongettino Chilli Peppers stuffed with anchovies and capers) - In the middle - Crocchette di Melanzane e mozzarella affumicata con salsa di pomodorini (Eggplant and smoked mozzarella croquette with roasted cherry tomato sauce) - at the back - Baccala mantecato all'olio extra vergine d'oliva su polenta alla griglia (Salted cod and Caroli Extra Virgin Olive Oil mousse on grilled polenta disc)

A better view of the Baccala mantecato

Vitello Tonnato con mele saltate, sedano giovane e capperi - Poached veal with sauteed apple, young celery leaves and capers served with tuna emulsion

This is probably one of the best vitello tonnato we've enjoyed - the veal was incredibly tender, almost like pate in consistency.

For mains:

Lonza di vitello in padella con verza brasata, insalata di carciofi e salsa ai porcini - Pan roasted veal loin with braised Savoy cabbage, artichoke salad and porcini sauce

Paalo throughly enjoyed his wonderfully tender veal - you could cut it with a butter knife.

Agnolotti di antra della casa su creama al porri con pinoli tostati, porri fritti e olio tartufato - House made duck agnolotti on a bed of creamed leek with toasted pine nuts, crispy leeks and white truffle oil

A really lovely dish, the agnolotti were surprisingly light showing a deft touch to the pasta making. The truffle oil would teasingly waft up between mouthfuls.

we couldn't go past ordering a side of peas and pancetta!

For desserts we decided on try a couple of cakes

Panettone pudding - Paalo has enjoyed this before and can't seem to go past it!

I opted for something different - semolina cake topped with red wine poached pears

The details:

Enoteca Vino Bar

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

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


Friday, November 28, 2008

Dinner @ Koots

We seem to be in a re-visiting mood and tonight we're off to Koots.

There's a caviar special on at the moment and well, while we're enjoying some lovely glasses of 1999 Pol Roger why not indulge...

The jar of Petrossian Alverta Caviar is served with its traditional accompaniments - absolutely fantastic chive blinis, sour cream, finely diced red onion, finely diced egg yolk and finely diced egg white


For our starter we decide to share the house platter - La terre, La mer et Le jardin. It's a selection of starters from "the earth, the sea and the garden", you'll find that some of these are offered as full sized entrees

On the top right we have assorted olives, a fantastic duck liver parfait, freshly shucked south australian oysters with salmon roe, rounds of seared tuna, a tomato salsa served with french sausages. There's also a few slices of hiramasa kingfish ceviche that you can't see in the photo. In the center, tempura zucchini flowers sitting atop a salad of roasted beetroot and goats curd.

For mains:

Paalo is intrigued by the Frenchified veal "burger" caillette style served with Pommes Maxim, crispy pancetta and spicy tomato syrup.

The Pommes Maxim is that wafer thin strap laying across the top of the burger - it almost looks like toffee.

I order the Tuna Tartare with confit tomato and white anchovy tart and served with smoked capsicum cream.

On the plate are two good sized domes of tuna tartare, one topped with a quails egg, very nicely flavoured with a fine dice of capers, gherkins and onions. The white anchovies are a great foil to the richly flavours of the confit tomatoes.

As we've shared most of the dishes tonight, dessert is no different

The Dessert Platter consists of - from bottom left and moving clockwise: Ille Flottantes with creme anglaise and pistachio, rectangle of chocolate sorbet, lime sorbet, fresh strawberry salad with almond crumble and cylinder of strawberry sorbet, creme brulee and in the center, strawberry shortcake.

The details:
479 Glenferrie Road
Phone: 9822 3809

Lunch: Tuesday - Friday
Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dinner @ The Grand

There aren't a lot of places open for Sunday dinner - fortunately though, The Grand in Richmond is and considering we haven't been there for a long time, it's about time for a re-visit.

For starters:

Paalo chooses this spicy Sicilian sausage, served with haloumi and grilled breads. The sausage contains a bit of a kick.


I order the pasta of the day which is Pappardelle served with a ragu.

For mains:

Paalo has the Lamb Rack, served with slow-roasted capsicums and a tomato and bread salad


I have the roasted duck served with a semolina gnoccho and an orange and juniper berry sauce

Onto desserts:


Paalo once again orders the Italian doughnuts filled with pistachio ice cream and served with oranges


while I opt for the Tartufo - chocolate and hazelnut ice-creams with a good drizzle of Vecchio Amaro

The details:

The Grand
335 Burnley Street, Richmond
Phone: 9429 2530

7 days, noon-3pm and 6pm-10pm


Friday, November 21, 2008

Dinner @ The Undertaker

It's been quite a while since we last dined at The Undertaker and many things have changed - the most obvious is that the dining room has moved from the ground to the first floor.


While perusing the menu at times I had to remind myself that I wasn't across the road at Canvas. The Italian menu has certainly vanished and been replaced by one that is more middle eastern inspired - a change that makes perfect sense once you note that new chef, Ian Alexander used to be head chef at Momo's.

For an amuse,


we are offered these goat cheese stuffed filo tubes, which are served sitting in a spiced tomato sauce. A lovely tang of goat cheese works well with the crisp filo.

For starters:

Seared scallops, crushed peas, taramasalata, bastourma

I find it very hard to resist scallops and these make resistance quite impossible. A well constructed and well executed dish.

Warm Mt Vikos haloumi, beetroot, preserved orange, pinenuts

The haloumi sits on crisp filo and is coated in beetroot dust. Pickled and fried beetroot sit among the mix of orange, pinenuts and beetroot shoots. The haloumi itself has quite an unusual texture and I'll be keeping an eye to see if I can find it in the stores.

For mains:

Angus rump, ox tongue, carrots, chickpeas, salsa verde, mushrooms

Paalo makes up for his vegetarian starter with a good slab of beef.

Western plains pork, Zaatar crumbed shoulder, roasted loin, celeriac puree

The Loin, on the left, comes presented as to two thick slices, served pink - very tender and with good flavour. The cube of zaatar crumbled shoulder is the star of the plate, it's shredded meat that has been reconstructed to form the cube, chock full of flavour, the meat just melts in your mouth.

For dessert:

Lebanese doughnuts, chocolate and orange ice cream, orange syrup

Poached peach tart, almond cream, raspberry sorbet

Our only negative of the night had nothing to do with the food or the service. It was the atmosphere. Unfortunately, with the bar downstairs and rowdy patrons, no matter how refined you try to make the dining area, the noise travels straight up the stairs and absolutely kills the mood. It's hard to have a quite conversation when tipsy bar patrons are screaming at the top of their lungs.

The details:

The Undertaker

329 Burwood Road, Hawthorn
(03) 9818 3944

Dining Room
Tuesday - Friday: Noon - 3pm
Tuesday - Saturday: 6pm - 10pm


I don't often write about websites but The Undertaker has one of the more painful restaurant websites out there. If the objective is to absolutely frustrate your prospective customers then congratulations you have succeeded and I'm sure you're certain to win next years "best website award" from the shonky food guide.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Lunch @ Della Nonna

We're back for another Saturday Lunch.


We begin with a warm mix of olives,rosemary and rosemary and


a serving of the tomato and basil bruschetta - the base is cooked in the wood-fired oven.

For mains:


I have the rigatoni with meatballs - this is the main course size and it is rather large. I think that even an entree size would have been more than enough.


Paalo orders the pizza with prosciutto, rocket and parmesan. The base is thin and crisp, just how we like it.

The details:

Della Nonna
844 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn

Phone: 9819 6444


Wednesday - Saturday Noon-2.30pm

Sunday - Thursday 6pm - 10pm
Friday - Saturday 6pm - 10.30pm

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Dinner @ Les Boucheries Parisiennes

In a celebratory mood, we're joined by Elle and Al for a special degustation dinner.

We start off with a bottle of that great Champagne Gardet Cuvee Riche we enjoyed at the wine dinner and it's a perfect match to our first course.

Freshly chucked Oysters with grapefruit and salmon roe and Escargots de Bourgogne

Smoked ham-hock terrine, salsa Verde, poached shitake mushroom

Caramelised scallops, carrot puree, watercress & apple salad, Almond foam

Pan seared quail, roasted beetroot, wild rocket, Goat cheese

Rack of lamb, baby peas and carrots, wilted spinach, oxtail ravioli

I'll sound like a broken record but the meat here is divine. It is cooked to perfection.

Cheese assortment with fruit bread & quince paste

For dessert:

Mango pannacotta, pineapple filled doughnuts, pineapple salad

Cherry ripe, coconut ice-cream, Malibu anglaise

Soft centered chocolate fondant, coffee cream, sable biscuit

Peanut butter & chocolate brownie parfait, caramel sauce, Peanut praline

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


Friday, November 07, 2008

Lunch @ Il Bacaro

We'd hoped to get here in time for the white truffles but alas we're too late. Oh well, you can't always have everything.

We start off with the bruschetta of the day

it's a mix of braised borlotti beans topped with Sicilian white anchovy. The anchovies are especially delicious, not overly salted and with a soft subtle taste and texture.

For starters:


Canadian Elk Prosciutto with slivers of green almond, Jerusalem artichoke chips, fresh fig and ricotta


This is very reminiscent in appearance to a goose prosciutto I enjoyed in Italy. You can see in this photo the slivers of green almond.

Tagliatelle with Wagyu beef, oven roasted wild onions, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese.

For mains:


Fish of the day: served with Mussels and asparagus in a saffron infused broth


Special of the day - Trio of rabbit; rabbit ragu, rabbit terrine and roasted rabbit loin.

For dessert:

Rhubarb and Ricotta crumble


chocolate and hazelnut tart

The details:

Il Bàcaro
168 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Phone: 9654 6778

Monday-Saturday: Noon - 3pm
Monday-Thursday: 6pm - 10.30pm
Friday-Saturday: 6pm - 11pm