Monday, January 25, 2010

Yering Station - Restaurant

Location: The Wine Bar Restaurant, Yering Station
Cuisine: Modern European

This is a restaurant somewhere... in the Yarra Valley. I apologize for not taking any photos of the food.

The following was the lunch menu:

red wine poached pear and brie tart, hazelnut vinaigrette 19.50
sweet corn and lime filled zucchini flowers, avocado and beetroot salad, tomato cream, basil coulis 19.50
smoked salmon and fennel risotto with pan-fried scampi, cinnamon velouté 20.00
grilled prawns wrapped in pork belly, snow pea salad, nam prick sauce 21.00
rabbit and chanterelle mushroom ravioli, fried parsnip, lettuce and capsicum salad, wild mushroom jus 21.00
prosciutto, smoked quail, chicken and pistachio roulade with olive jam, walnut oil 21.00

roasted salmon fillet, grilled prawn, scallop tortellini with tomato, basil and scampi fumet 34.00 baby snapper and kataifi wrapped scallop, confit potato, sauce gribiche 33.00
king fish and Moreton Bay bug with celeriac brandade, smoked tomatoes, olive tapenade 34.00 tarte Tatin of summer peas, crumbed Persian Fetta filled shallots, asparagus, lemon beurre blanc 32.00
pork filled with porcini mushrooms, potato, treviso and herb tartlet, sauce cavalier 33.00
roast lamb loin with potato, basil and sour cream crush, onion jam, Manchego and witlof salad 35.00
beef eye fillet with tomato and beef sausage, pommes Anna, creamy red wine and capsicum jus 35.00

cocktail potatoes with rosemary and garlic 9.00
salad of cos, olives, cherry tomatoes with Persian Fetta, vincotto dressing 10.00

vacherin of mango sorbet, seasonal fruits and double cream, kiwifruit coulis 15.00
white chocolate and malt bavarois filled with poached cherries, passionfruit sauce 15.00
slowly cooked chocolate and ginger fondant, orange sorbet 14.50
raspberry mousse with toffee cage, pink champagne zabaglione 14.50
dessert assiette for two chefs selection of the above desserts 34.00
house selection of cheeses with tropical jam 21.00

I ordered the prosciutto, smoked quail, chicken and pistachio roulade with olive jam, walnut oil. This was pleasant but could have been better. There were some interesting flavours but I found it a little bland and disappointing. The saltiness of the prosciutto had somewhat masked the usually distinct and rather strong smoked quail flavours. I quite liked the olive jam though.

I ordered the king fish and Moreton Bay bug with celeriac brandade, smoked tomatoes, olive tapenade. The celery root blended with brandade (what I assume to be a puree that incorporated boiled potatoes) had a beautiful soft and melt-in-your-mouth texture. The king fish was perfectly done, with its deliciously crispy skin. The Moreton Bay bug was pretty good as well. The thing that made this dish to die for was the combination of the flavours and textures when eaten together. The crispy skin of the king fish, the soft celeriac brandade, the salty olive tapenade, the sweet and sour smoked tomatoes... it all just worked. My taste buds were in heaven.

We had the 'dessert assiette for two' which was basically just every dessert that was on the menu but presumably in a miniature version. Everything was lovely but nothing in particular stood out. The only comment I will make will be with regards to the portion... It was MASSIVE. We only managed to finish barely half of what we were served. Don't get me wrong, the dessert platter delivered everything you would expect but my advise is to share it with at least another couple.

Overall Impression: 7/10
Good service, beautiful food and a lovely environment that overlooks the Yarra ranges.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BlueFire Churrascaria Grill: Super Tuesday!

Location: 477 Docklands Drive, Waterfront City, Docklands
Phone: (03) 9670 8008
Cuisine: Grill, Modern Australian, Brazilian

Wandering around Docklands in search of a good Tuesday deal, we stumbled across BlueFire (which I had been wanting to try for quite a while but had almost forgotten about) and had a quick skim of the Super Tuesday deal. We were very impressed with the half-price Churrascaria and dessert (bringing the price down from $65 to $32.50) and decided to give it a go.

Tasting platter: marinated olives, dips (corn, eggplant, spinach & fetta), roasted peppers and warm flat bread

The Churrascaria started off with a tasting platter to share consisting of three dips (spinach and fetta, eggplant, and corn), warm flat bread, marinated olives and roasted peppers. The dips were very good - particularly the corn dip which was sweet, juicy and fresh tasting. The flat bread was warm and slightly fluffy inside, cut into perfect sized portions to go with the dips. The olives were very salty (as olives should be but I guess I'm not a huge fan) and the roasted peppers were sweet and had a nice smokey roast aroma.

Grilled seasonal vegetables

Sauces: tomato, honey mustard, caramelised onions

After we were done with the tasting platter, the waitress brought out the grilled seasonal vegetables and condiments. The vegies were extremely well done. The corn was notably the best part - much like the dip, it was sweet and juicy. The batons of carrots were soft and sweet on the inside, with a slight crispiness on the edge from the grilling. The wedges of potatoes were also very soft on the inside,crisp on the outside and seasoned with a variety of herbs. The sauces a bit on the average side. The caramelised onions were very good - nice caramelising and sweet jus. The honey mustard was pretty good too but I found it didn't work as well with the way the meats were marinated. Tomato sauce was, well, tomato sauce.

Plasma screens in the dining area

A 'passador' slicing meat at our table

Finally, we were ready for the meat and seafood. The 'passadors' brought around huge skewers of meat/seafood and sliced it at the table. As it was all-you-can-eat, I took a little too much of everything at the start. By the second round, we knew what tasted good and what we didn't like, so stuck with just getting the meats we had liked. You can even watch the meat as it cooks on the plasma screens in the dining area.

Each type of meat and seafood was marinated differently, although most were quite subtle flavours.

Pork (smoked tomato and chilli marinade)

One of the best cuts of meat we had. The pork was tender and moist, and had a nice form with a good balance of the fatty bits and the leaner bits. The flavour was a little bland, but the meat was cooked perfectly and the meat juices and caramelised onions worked well.

Chicken (five spice marinade)

My favourite meat of the day - the chicken was moist and cooked very well (it looked like it would be a lot drier than it turned out to be - and it was very well flavoured. No need for sauce for this piece!

Fish (lemon, garlic and herb)

The fish looked good, but tastewise was a bit of a disappointment. The fish was rather tough and dry (not in terms of chewing, but I judge fish by how soft and tender the inside it). It also lacked flavour which could have made up for the dryness (it was grilled after all).

Calamari (garlic, herb and paprika)

Looking quite dry, the calamari was actually very nicely cooked and soft to chew. However, there was a slightly fishy aftertaste indicating the possibility of not being fresh, and not enough of the marinade to cover it up. Would have been nicer had it been fresh or salted.

South-American spiced sausage

This one was also a winner. The sausage was bursting with flavour and had a nice spicy kick to it. However, the spiciness meant we didn't consume as much as we would have liked to of it.

We finally gave up and turned over our coasters to the red 'no more' sign. The waitress cleared our table and brought out our desserts (normally $15 each, at half price).

Black and white Baileys and Valrhona chocolate mousse

Beautiful soft and airy chocolate mousse, with a hint of Bailey's flavour. Nothing to complain about. I liked the added touch of the little wafer roll. Cute.

Chilled chocolate tart with vanilla ice cream & warm chocolate sauce

I was almost hesitant in ordering this dessert after the chocolate tart at Mecca Bah, but the description was so simple and tempting, so I thought I'd give it a go. I was very glad I did try it. The chocolate inside the tart was smooth but was soft like ganache and went amazingly with the ice-cream. The tart was a little too solid - would have been nicer had it had more of a crunch. The little crisp on top added a nice crunchy texture to an otherwise very smooth dessert.

The service was generally top notch, as one would expect at a restaurant of its class. The waitresses were polite, the passadors were friendly and the food came out quite quickly (or in the case of the meats, sometimes a little too fast!). The one thing we were annoyed at was having to pay for water (we were given the option of 'still or sparkling' and no 'tap'). Other than that one issue, we had a very pleasant time and came out extremely full!

Overall Impression: 9/10
Bluefire Churrascaria Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mecca Bah

Location: 55a Newquay Promenade, Docklands

Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Mecca Bah dips & bread

The dips were very interesting and quite tasty too. The bread was warm and crisp. The only problem was that the dips should have been served in individual dishes to avoid them merging into each other.

Prawn and salmon kibbeh

These were amazing. The seafood was soft and juicy, and very well flavoured. The outer casing was crunchy but also a little chewy. The mash that it sat on was very smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of salt and butter. By all counts, best dish of the night!

Spicy lamb kofte with carrot, onion, spring onion and yoghurt sauce

The lamb was soft and well-flavoured, with a little spice giving it a nice bite. The yoghurt sauce complemented it nicely.

Turkish pizza: tiger prawns with artichokes and lemon rocket salad

One thing to note - Turkish pizza is not like normal pizza. And this one wasn't even cut up into pieces. The base was different, more like Turkish bread, but the prawns on top were beautiful.

Turkish pizza: spiced chicken with eggplant, rocket & tahini sauce

This one was a little odd - the chicken had a strange taste to it, but it was edible.

Chicken with tomatoes, almond, sesame seeds & honey tagine

This was a new dish that none of us had ever had before, and it was, to quote the majority of the table that night, 'interesting'. The sauce was sweet and sticky, and went quite well with the chicken. However, the chicken served as one large piece - making sharing hard and also preventing the sauce from coating the chicken properly. I quite liked the sesame seeds and almond in the sauce, as it gave the dish a different texture and added some bite to the sauce.

Moroccan spiced calamari with Turkish bean salad

One member of our table decided to opt out of the tapas style eating and ordered his own dish. The main complaint was the serving size - something we found with most of the dishes at Mecca Bah was that you get a lot less than what you would expect for the price paid.

Turkish coffee

Reports were that the coffee was very good indeed, worth a try if you're a coffee fan.

Chocolate nut tart with chocolate sauce, vanilla ice-cream and sesame tuile

Description got your mouth watering? It's not quite the same when you try it. I expected a soft creamy chocolate and nutty centre, but was surprised with a solid centre and rock-hard tart casing. It had obviously been left in the fridge for too long. The tuile did not fit the description on Masterchef - there was no 'snap' and it was just a little bit too hard - perhaps too long in the fridge?

Vanilla pannacotta with raspberry coulis

I didn't try this one, but it looked pretty good as the pannacotta held its shape.

I initially had a bad impression - we had booked but somehow they had managed to lose a booking for 6 people (even after Stace had called up to confirm numbers). Luckily for us, the waitress was able to set up a table for us after a 15 minute wait. The service throughout the night was generally lacking in friendliness and it was hard to catch their attention. YC had an interesting incident with one waiter regarding the glass his water had been served in.

Very loud and busy. We were lucky to get a table towards the back against the window which overlooked the water and was slightly quieter.

Very pricey given the serving sizes, but the food was generally good. I'd probably save this for special occasions than a regular eatery.

Overall Impression: 7.5/10
\Mecca Bah on Urbanspoon


This review proudly brought to you by...Helen Lee

Location: Ground Floor, Crown Promenade Hotel
Cuisine: Modern Australian
  • A seafood buffet consisting mainly of oysters and prawns with some sort of fish and squid salad

  • This was accompanied by the usual salads and sauces (a thousand island and seafood cocktail)
  • Dips and bruschetta (sic) were also a part of the buffet. They were eatable although the corn chips provided were too salty and would cause a heart attack to anyone who had a lot of it

  • A main meal was also included with choice of lamb, chicken, fish , porterhouse steak and roast beef which was also accompanied with a choice of sauce
  • Lamb: cooked nicely with the a bit of a pinkish tinge, however it was lacking in sauce and we had to ask for more which took a while so the meal went a little bit cold
  • Porterhouse: according to reports, dry and not recommended although the mash on the side was very nice
  • Chicken: according to reports, also dry and not recommended also

  • Each person was also permitted to three drinks of their choice although limited to beer, wine and soft drink. They were a bit stringent on these choices, as I asked for tea and it was not allowed.

  • Dessert buffet included a variety of small cakes (mango cheesecake, orange cake), jelly, mousse, Portuguese tarts, and ice-cream. Only the mango cheesecake was worth recommending.
  • Cheese Platter: brie, blue and cheddar

  • There were quite a few birthday celebrations on the night which made it slightly loud and the place was packed
  • Although a bit loud at times, we could still converse with each other.
  • The only negative aspect of the crowd was that, at times, patrons had to queue up for the seafood buffet

  • Good overall
  • Raman (sic) was our waiter, and informed us of the main meals and was kind when one of our party was eager in filling out the drinks sheet
  • When the wait staff saw we had finished dishes, they did take them away, so this aspect of the service was good.
  • But the second batch of drinks that we ordered did take a while to be served (approximately a thirty minute wait)
  • The service was also quite slow on the extra mushroom sauce we ordered, and we had to remind them of our order a second time.

  • $42.00 per person
  • For a seafood buffet, this is quite good value, because one only has to eat two dozen oysters and a main to roughly break even, and the cost included drinks and dessert
  • Would return for a special occasion or large gathering

Overall Impression: 8/10
Mesh on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Brasserie by Philippe Mouchel

Location: Riverside at Crown
Cuisine: French

Bread to start off.

Entree: Calamari and prawn salad [$22.00]

I've just checked their menu and this doesn't appear to be on offer anymore =(

quick –seared, sweet cherry tomatoes, cucumber and basil

This was perfectly done. The calamari was chewy and delicious without being stringy at all. The texture was excellent and the prawns were very good as well.

Main: Gold band snapper [$37.50]

pan-fried, eringi mushroom, crushed potatoes

Main: Beef tenderloin (200gr) with braised wagyu ox cheek, parisienne mash [$40.00]

This was seriously the best steak I have ever had in my life. The wagyu ox cheek quite literally melted in my mouth. I'm not a big wagyu fan but having it sandwiched between two very solid (I'm not sure how else to describe it?) cuts of meat was just divine. The beef tenderloin was cooked to perfection. Medium, the way I love it =)

Side Dish: Oven-roasted vegetables Provençale [$8.00]

This was just so-so. Just tasted like veggies baked in cheese. Really, not very exciting.

Dessert: The brasserie’s dessert tasting plate [$17.00 per person] - checked their new menu and looks like its gone down to $12 per person!

We couldn't decide on what to order and everything on the dessert menu looked very very good so we decided to go with the dessert tasting plate. Everything was quite good but it wasn't spectacularly good. The best thing on the plate was definitely the nougat. I've never had nougat in ice-cream form before and this was delicious! Not sure what its called... but mMMmMMm..=)

Overall Impression: 7/10
A lovely night out. Extremely good service. Wonderful ambience. Well deserving of its '1 hat' status.
Remember to book though, I was there on a Saturday night and it was a full house.
The Brasserie on Urbanspoon