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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lunch @ Il Bacaro

We're back at Il Bacaro for our Italian Fix.

Il Bacaro© by Haalo


Il Bacaro© by Haalo

This was offered as a special starter of the day - it sounded too good we decided to share one - Prosciutto San Daniele with cows' milk mozzarella and fresh figs.


Il Bacaro© by Haalo
Thistle Quadretti with Wagyu Beef Cheek ragu and baby carrots

Paalo couldn't resist reordering this and it was as good as the last time.

Il Bacaro© by Haalo
Cornmeal Spaghetti with Spanner Crab & heirloom tomatoes


Il Bacaro© by Haalo

Bistecca (Steak) with roasted beetroot, beetroot jus

Il Bacaro© by Haalo

Quinea Fowl served two ways - one roasted, one braised served on polenta taragna - Polenta Taragna is a blend of course ground corn flour and buckwheat and it is served here deliciously whipped and creamy.


Il Bacaro© by Haalo

Coconut semifreddo and chocolate aero

Il Bacaro© by Haalo

Pistachio Cannoli, fresh figs and mascarapone ice-cream

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


Il Bacaro Cucina E Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 23, 2009

Event @ Vue de Monde

Part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, we're at Vue de Monde for the Master and Apprentice Dinner - Shane Osborn from Pied à Terre and Marcus Eaves from L'Autre Pied.

The dinner will provide an opportunity to explore how this Michelin-starred chef and his protégé have learnt from and inspired each other. The menu will be influenced by local produce, and wines will be provided from Pyrenees vineyards Dalwhinnie and Taltarni.

vue de monde© by Haalo

While we wait for the dinner to begin, we are struck by just how much tension seems to be in the air. It's a sensation we hadn't felt here at least before. We later find out that there has been some last minute changes - the first of which is in the presentation of the canapés. Initially they were to be served as people arrived but instead were served when all were present.


vue de monde© by Haalo

Top row - left to right
Crisp polenta, quail egg, tomato fondue, lardo di colanatta and sage
Sauteed snail, celeriac fondant, sweet potato and balsamic crumb
Bottom row - left to right
Pumpkin and ginger foam, crisp ginger and crystalised sunflower seeds
Beignet of smoked bacon and shitake mushrooms and black truffle
To drink: 2004 Clover Hill

Lucky me, I got two slices of truffle! While Paalo quite enjoyed the pumpkin item, I thought it was somewhat lacking, falling short when compared to its companions.

vue de monde© by Haalo

Oh look, there he is.


vue de monde© by Haalo

Tartare of scallop, avocado, tzatziki and coriander

Another dish that caused some (understandable) tension - it was only added that day to the menu!

vue de monde© by Haalo

vue de monde© by Haalo

vue de monde© by Haalo


vue de monde© by Haalo

Caille Rôtie
Roasted breast of quail with clams, peas, broad beans and smoked butter emulsion
To drink: 2008 Lalla Gully Riesling

vue de monde© by Haalo


vue de monde© by Haalo

Truite Pochée
Poached Ocean Trout with fennel cream, green olive, vanilla sauce and olive tuile
To Drink: 2004 Dalwhinnie Chardonnay

vue de monde© by Haalo

vue de monde© by Haalo

vue de monde© by Haalo

Main course:

vue de monde© by Haalo

Râble de Lapin
Saddle of rabbit and thyme-crusted leg, roasted carrot oil, braised baby gem and pickled carrot
To drink: 2005 Dalwhinnie Cabernet Sauvignon

vue de monde© by Haalo

Towels are laid over the bench and vast amounts of ice were dumped on it - all to cool down the bench for the dessert

vue de monde© by Haalo

vue de monde© by Haalo

Shane says: Cock-a-doodle doo


vue de monde© by Haalo

Ananas et Chocolate au Lait
Pineapple, star anise and milk chocolate


vue de monde© by Haalo

Mousse au Caramel
Caramel mousse with roasted banana, beurre noisette and passionfruit
To drink: 2007 Taltarni Brut Taché

The details:
Vue de Monde
Normanby Chambers
430 Little Collins Street
Phone: 03 9691 3888

Lunch: Tuesday - Friday Bookings:12.00pm-2.00pm
Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday Bookings:6.30pm-9.30pm


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dinner @ Eleonore's Restaurant

Unlike our previous visits here, we're ordering from the a la carte menu rather than take the degustation option.

Eleonore's Restaurant© by Haalo
We begin with the amuse - Jerusalem Artichoke velouté with Jerusalem artichoke chips

For starters:

Eleonore's Restaurant© by Haalo

Slow-Cooked Rabbit and Jamón
apple purée, confit of celery and apple, smoked eel and rye toast

This was quite a spectacular dish and not what you immediately picture from its description. The slow cooked rabbit and jamon have been layered, mille-feuille style to form a terrine of sorts. This terrine was then sliced and topped with a good piece of incredibly moist and delicately smoked eel.

Eleonore's Restaurant© by Haalo

Poached Loin of Veal
studded with yellow fin tuna and anchovies, salsa verde, tomato and basil terrine

In this dish the veal loin has been stuffed with a yellow fin tuna roll which it in turn has been studded with anchovies - salsa verde rests between the tuna and veal.

For mains:

Eleonore's Restaurant© by Haalo

Roasted Suckling Pig
seared scallops, brawn croquette, celeriac rémoulade, candied grapes

The brawn croquette sits on the left side of the plate and to the right a good thick slice of roasted suckling pig.

Eleonore's Restaurant© by Haalo

Olive-Crusted Lamb Loin
ratatouille tart, roast garlic and sheep’s milk pudding, rosemary jus

The ratatouille tart is freefrom - the ratatouille mix sits between two shards of crisp filo.


Eleonore's Restaurant© by Haalo

Pomegranate jelly with gold leaf and soured cream

For dessert:

Eleonore's Restaurant© by Haalo

Mango and Coconut Jelly
lemongrass custard wrapped in crisp brik pastry, guava sorbet, tropical fruit salsa

mango and coconut is always a great flavour combination but those brik pastry cigars filled with lemongrass custard where fantastic. They were like the ultimate cannoli.

Eleonore's Restaurant© by Haalo

Apple and Lime Chiboust
cassis ripple ice-cream, cinnamon doughnuts, baby toffee apple

The chiboust is presented as that artistic curve that runs through the plate.

Every time we eat here we leave more impressed than before. The chef has really found his style and groove and the desserts are now as interesting as the savoury dishes on offer.

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

Lunch @ De Bortoli Restaurant

We're taking a very quick one-night break in the Yarra Valley - a day to get away from the phone and relax.

Our first stop before checking in at Chateau Yering is the restaurant at De Bortoli Winery.

De Bortoli© by Haalo

There is a choice of a la carte or a 4-course degustation ($65) - as soon as we here that magic word, our choice is easy.

While we wait, I sip on a rather civilised White Peach Bellini while Paalo enjoys a refreshing Red Angus Pilsener

De Bortoli© by Haalo
Served with good Italian styled bread is a mix of soft curd cheese and herbs.

De Bortoli© by Haalo
Our first course is antipasto - consisting of baked ricotta with herbs, grilled capsicum and slow roasted suckling pork.

We took note of another offering heading to a nearby table - deep fried school prawns, which to our horror where being tackled with a knife and fork. For the love of food, it is positively sinful not to eat the whole thing.

De Bortoli© by Haalo

Spaghetti with Prawns, garlic and olive oil - juicy prawns with a pleasant level of garlic and excellent pasta, cooked correctly.

De Bortoli© by Haalo

Quail saltimbocca on Sicilian caponata and crispy fried grape leaf

Served in very much an Italian fashion, the meat course isn't overly large, the pasta course easily being the main course of the meal. The quail was excellent - juicy and flavoursome.

De Bortoli© by Haalo

Tiramisu - a good version of a classic dessert.

The details:

De Bortoli Winery and Restaurant
58 Pinacle Lane
Dixons Creek

(03) 5965 2271

Lunch - Daily from 12pm
Dinner - Daily from 7pm

Winter trading hours from the 5th May until 30th September 2009 - Restaurant closed Tuesday and Wednesday


Friday, March 13, 2009

Retro Italian Dinner

retro italian dinner© by Haalo

Taste the influence of Italian cuisine and wine on the Australian dining psyche. From the genesis of Italian cuisine in Australia post World War II immigration, this five-course dinner will journey through the decades exploring the ingredients, dishes and wines that have found their way onto our tables and into our glasses.
The Retro Italian Dinner, part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, was hosted by Church Street Enoteca.

retro italian dinner© by Haalo

They certainly managed to get the retro feel going with those red check tablecloths and jars of Kraft Parmesan.

As we waiting to begin the dinner we enjoyed Christmont LaZona Prosecco and the following bites:

retro italian dinner© by Haalo
Caprese - Salad of heirloom tomatoes, white anchovies, fior di latte and 30 year old balsamic, baby basil, Yellingbo extra virgin olive oil

retro italian dinner© by Haalo
Salami sandwich - mini panino filled with hand made Calabrese salami

retro italian dinner© by Haalo
Fried Whitebait in Newspaper

First Course:

retro italian dinner© by Haalo
Aussie Pizza
My version - Fratelli Galloni Prosciutto, torn basil, broken egg, bocconcini
Served with: 2008 Chrismont LaZona Arneis

As with all the food this evening, it is served family style, large platters meant for sharing. A simple pizza but bursting with flavour.

Second Course:

retro italian dinner© by Haalo
Garlic Bread

I know garlic bread is twee but gosh it does taste good!

retro italian dinner© by Haalo
Fresh pasta sheets, ragu of pork, veal and pancetta, peas, reggiano
Served with: 2008 Chrismont LaZona Pinot Grigio

This is a Sicilian style lasagne, quite fresh and light.

Main Course:

retro italian dinner© by Haalo
Chicken Cacciatore
Corn-fed Glenloth chicken pieces cooked in fresh tomato passata with black olives
Served with: 2005 Chrismont LaZona Barbera 2005

A simple green leaf salad was served alongside this dish.


retro italian dinner© by Haalo

After dessert we enjoyed chilled glasses of Limoncello di Capri followed by coffee and biscotti.

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