Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Toff in Town

Location: Curtin House, above Cookie on Swanston Street near Lonsdale Street
Cuisine: French, Spanish, Modern Australian
Company: Dan, Stace, YC

The Toff is tucked away at the top of Curtin House. After climbing numerous flights of steps, past Cookie, you arrive at a smallish entrance. In front of you is the bar, to your right is a train-like structure, composed of multiple booths. Each booth has its own doors and blinds for privacy, as well as a 'alert' button for when you require service. Bookings only, the place is nice and warm, with some bands playing in the background.

After some initial confusion and hesitation about the menu - which consisted of a number of French, Italian and Spanish words that we did not understand, we opted to share 3 main dishes, a cheese board and two desserts:
  • Air Dried Wagyu with Parmesan & Artichoke Panna Cotta [$18.50]
  • Brochette of Scallops & Salmon wrapped in Jamon with Almond & Rice Salad [$22.50]
  • Smoked Duck Breast with Spiced Currant & Red Cabbage Salad [$21.50]
  • Cheese board with 3 cheeses, crackers and walnuts [$18.50]
  • Caramelised Orange with Chocolate Mousse & Brandy Snaps [$12.50]
  • Flourless Black Forrest Cake with Morello Cherries [$13.00]
[Caramelised Orange with Chocolate Mousse & Brandy Snaps]

Yes, dishes copied directly from menu, I don't have that good a memory!

This was the first time I have ever tasted Wagyu and it was very well done. Thinly sliced, it tasted a little bit like salami but also it's own unique flavour. The scallops and salmon were extremely well-cooked, the Jamon wrapping it was again thinly sliced and full of flavour. The almonds and rice in the salad gave it a nice texture. The duck breast was fantastic, smokey and not too oily. The salad of currants and red cabbage wasn't too bad either.

The cheese board came with brie, blue vein and a tougher cheese that tasted a bit like parmesan. The crackers were, well, just crackers, the dough pieces were a little nicer. Dessert was token. The black forrest cake was nice and soft, rich with chocolate and drizzled with cream. The brandy snaps and chocolate mousse were devine, the snaps had a nice ginger tang to them.

~Atmosphere and Service~
Nice and secluded, a good sense of privacy, and the waiters were extremely helpful and attentive. It can be a little noisy but with the doors shut, some background noise can be easily cut out.

Slightly on the expensive side [prices listed above already]. The servings were not huge, but as our waiter warned us, there weren't made so much as for a meal as for a 'delicacy'. There were a lot of new flavours we hadn't tried before and probably would not have been game enough to try on our own, but well worth the experience!

~Overall Impression: 9/10~
Absolutely loved the place. Would have liked a slightly more extensive menu, or the inclusion of a few more 'normal' dishes but the atmosphere and the service just make the place that little bit more special compared to other restaurants!

No comments: