Friday, February 26, 2010

Kitchen Workshop

Location: Ground Floor, Clarendon Street Entrance, Crown
Cuisine: International

I hate buffets. But due to several factors including undue influence, I went to Kitchen Workshop last night. There was a pretty decent selection of mains and entrees like roast, lots of random deep fried things, beef bourginon, calamari, fish, roasts, antipastos, salads, pasta, biriyani rice, an interactive teppanyaki station (where you get to choose what you want in your stir-fry). I was waiting in line at the teppanyaki station and saw them pour a ridiculous amount of oil on and chickened out, quickly leaving my position. My friends tried it though and they said there were nice flavours but nothing to shout about. There was also a generous selection of desserts (that included a chocolate fountain).

The mango pudding in particular was a winner. Simple and pleasant.

Overall Impression: 5/10
Delivers everything it promises but goes no further. Great value for money. An all you can eat dinner that cost us 23.50AUD per head. Relaxed ambience. Helpful staff.
Kitchen Workshop on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bistro Guillaume

Location: The Riverside at Crown
Cuisine: French

I was recently surprised with a 5 course degustation at Bistro Guillaume. I had high expectations when it came to the dining experience since I had been told it was the perfect place to take a date because the venue shouted romance and the food was to die for.

Freshly shucked oysters with shallots and red wine vinegar
This was my FIRST fresh oyster experience. I have only ever had baked oysters and I've always been afraid to try them raw but was very ready to take up the challenge. There were very good flavours. The red wine vinefar and the lemon juice really took away the 'fishy-ness' of the taste and the shallots made soft textures of the oysters more prominent. By the time I had finished the second oyster, I found myself enjoying the dish. Its true, oysters really do taste like the sea. Having said that, this is not something I would order again.. at any restaurant. Oysters just aren't my thing.
Sashimi of Hiramasa kingfish, parsnip puree and pommes allumettes

This was so beautiful and fresh. The flavours were subtle but this emphasised the freshness of the sashimi. The parsnip puree was delicate and mousse-like in texture. The pommes allumettes (in English, this can be directly translated to 'matchstick potatoes') went beautifully with the dish because it was crispy and brittle, in contrast to the other elements of the dish. They did not taste like your every day chips. Very refined, just the right amount of saltiness. Overall this dish had beautifully subtle and fresh flavours.

Pan seared Suzuki Mollaway, fricassee of squid, cockles, prosciutto, shellfish and parsley buillon

This dish was slightly dissappointing. Don't get me wrong, everything was cooked to perfection and it was a good dish but after the sashimi, this was a slight let down. There didn't seem to be enough prosciutto to go around - as the dish tasted its best when everything was eaten together, this definitely made a difference.

Beef tenderloin on a bed of Paris mash, braised shallots and merlot sauce

My taste buds got a shock when I took a bite out of this. The flavours were soooo strong. The merlot sauce was the real deal - rich and bold. Half way through the steak, I realised the flavours I had initially thought were strong had mellowed down and everything tasted balanced and lovely. The acid from the merlot sauce balanced nicely with the creamy mashed potatoes and the braised shallots had a nice tangyness to it. And as would be expected, the steak was cook to perfection. Pink inside, flavours seared, meat incredibly tender.

ith regards to my sudden change in opinion of the course, my dinner date suggested that this may be due to the fact that the previous courses we had been served had very subtle flavours and as a result, the flavours of this course had been heightened. But if this course had been consumed at the start, my taste buds would not have been in such shock.

Bistro Guillaume may have benefited from introducing palette cleansers between the courses?

Fondant au chocolat, soft ganache in the middle, glace a l'orange

Did I just die and go to heaven?

What is this?

Too amazing. I doubt words will do it justice, but I'm going to try anyway. The beautifully hard and thin chocolate casing, snaps as my spoon breaks through it with a soft 'crack!', revealing the softest and smoothest chocolate ganache and a crumbly biscuit base. I make sure some of that delicious looking vanilla ice cream goes on the top of my spoon and I run my spoon full of sin over the orange glaze. Result: AMAZING =)

The balance of flavours? Perfect. The chocolate case was dark (just enough of cocoa bitterness) balanced with the acidity of the orange glaze, which went perfectly with the creamyness of the icecream and soft chocolate ganache. Oh, and the chocolate they used was Varlhona chocolate!

Petit fours

Really? This is what you serve us after that amazing dessert? Average. Very average.

skinny cuppucino

Overall Impression:8/10
The waitstaff could not be faulted for lack of effort but they lacked the refinery that one would expect. Apart from that, service was prompt and polite. Lovely ambience (not as romantic as I had imagined but still nice). Very very good dining experience.
Bistro Guillaume on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Location: Riverside at Crown
Cuisine: Modern Japanese

Decided to check out Aperitivo Fridays at Nobu's bar! We had lots of sake, cocktails and plum wine and this came with complimentary tapas.

Edamame to start!

Whitefish Sashimi with dried miso and sushi

Everything you would expect. Whitefish sashimi had a bit of an Assam Laksa flavour to it which I really liked.

Beef Toban Yaki (on skewers)
Black cod with miso (on spoons)

The black cod with miso was amazing. Great balance of flavours: salty yet sweet, crisp skin, soft flesh, just a hint of sourness. Mmmmm

The beef toban yaki was delicious. Very tender. Strong flavours that I couldn't quite make out. It may have been some soy sauce? Meat was soft and tender. Cooked to perfection.

Hokusetsu Onigoroshi Devil Killer (Cold)

Tasted quite dry and clean. VERY strong.


Overall Impression: 7/10
Worthwhile if you're planning to have drinks anyway since the drinks are pretty pricey. Lovely ambience and great service.
Nobu on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Essence Restaurant, Marriott Hotel

Location: Cnr of Lonsdale & Exhibition Street, Melbourne
Cuisine: modern Australian


Seared Tasmanian salmon with eggplant moussaka and a fennel orange salad

The salmon was overdone. It was a bit too dry for my liking. The moussaka was very average.


Hot chocolate fondant with coconut ice cream

The hot chocolate fondant was quite nice, oozing chocolate in the middle. The coconut ice cream was a joke. It tasted like supermarket vanilla ice cream with dessicated coconut stirred through it. The random cookie on the plate was out of place, had a small bite and it tasted stale.

Overall Impression: 3/10

Dissapointing. Wait staff tried extremely hard though. Each table is assigned to one waiter which is nice but there is such a thing as trying too hard. Our waiter kept asking us if everything was ok etc. Very average food.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Court House

Location: The Court House, 86-90 Errol Street, North Melbourne
Cuisine: Modern European

After hearing so much about The Court House from wine-loving friends who had gone on and on to me about their extensive wine list and amazing food, I decided to go there with someone who is quite passionate about wine. I thought this was a good idea since my palette for wine is so unrefined, I am happy to drink out of a cask. I'm going to do you a favour and not go into any detail about what I thought about the wine. I just found it delicious but I'm not sure why... I had a Pinot grigio because ..erm..well, the waitress told me it would match what I was having... and I trusted her.

ANYWAY... the bread was freshly baked and arrived at our table. I love sourdough bread. This was delicious! We were told it came straight out of the oven. MmMMm complimentary bread never tasted so good.

My Entree:

Grilled Asparagus Salad with White Truffle Oil

A simple dish done well. The crunchy macadamia nuts worked very well with the rest of the dish and the beautiful aroma of white truffles permeated the dish. Very refreshing dish =)

Dinner date's entree:

Braised Globe Artichokes and Celeraic Velouté

I tried a spoonful of this and it was sooo light! Creamy and yet not too heavy. Beautiful balance of flavours.

My main:

Confit Duck leg

caramelised onion, pumpkin and thyme jus

This was far too salty for my liking. The duck skin was beautifully crisp and everything else was cooked quite well but as a whole, I wouldn't recommend this dish.

Dinner date's main:

Pan Fried Atlantic Salmon Fillet
roasted Tuscan red onion, watercress, olive and caper salad

I tasted a bit of this and the fish was cooked to perfection. Crispy skin, beautifully tender inside. I've had bad experiences with Salmon where chefs have overcooked it but this was perfect. The roasted Tuscan red onion, watercress, olive and caper salad accompanied this dish harmoniously. Very pleasant.


Both my dinner date and I decided to order the Orange Cremé Caramel. Beautifully presented, and the taste certainly didn't dissapoint. The Cremé Caramel just melted in my mouth.

Overall Impression: 5.5/10

Extremely helpful staff. The staff had great knowledge on all the wines on offer. Gave us lots of advice on what would be appropriate for our meal. Excellent service - great attention to detail. Food was pleasant but quite average for a 1 hat restaurant.