Friday, August 13, 2010

Pettavel Winery & Restaurant

Location: 65 Pettavel Road (corner of Princes Highway), Waurn Ponds 3216
Phone: 03 52661120
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Overall Impression: 9/10

Pettavel recently lost a chef's hat in the 2011 Good Food Guide but please don't let this deter you from visiting this lovely restaurant. It is a gem! This Geelong winery is more than worth the 74.6kms drive from Melbourne. But be warned, the staff don't seem very big on their wines. (Maybe because the awesome restaurant overshadows the winery?) In fact, there wasn't even a push to order more wine etc. We had a beautiful glass of their sauvignon blanc each. It had beautiful passionfruit notes. Again, like I have repeated on many of my blog posts, - I don't know anything about wine… I can only tell whether I liked it or not so you probably shouldn't take my word for it… but if you want my uninformed opinion, I really liked it. =)

We opted for the full degustation. Each course was beautifully balanced and elegant. The only thing that I could possibly fault them on was that there was too much fat on the Lamb Rump dish, which should really have been trimmed off. And even that is a tiny tiny flaw. The service was excellent. The waitstaff were so welcoming and explained each dish in an informed manner, without being intrusive. Ohhh and I actually took my boyfriend there for his birthday and they PERSONALIZED the menu! The menu was dated and wished him happy birthday on the top! What a lovely touch. We got to take home a copy too =) That's great service for you! I will definitely be back.

First Course: Calamari Laksa

Second Course: Parsnip with Pear, Blue Cheese and Horseradish

Third Course: Prawns with Celery and Quinoa
Fourth Course: Local Bay Snapper with Scallop, Ham Hock and Celeriac
Fifth Course: Lamb Rump with Eggplant and Capsicum
Sixth Course: Pheasant with Quince, Artichoke and Bone Marrow
Seventh Course: Ox Cheek with Tomatoes and Serrano Ham
Eighth Course: Deconstructed Chocolate Ricotta cheesecake with Rhubarb Sorbet
Ninth Course: Pandanus Jelly with Peanut and Toasted Coconut Sorbet
Pettavel Restaurant and Winery on Urbanspoon

Jacques Reymond

renchLocation: 78 Williams Road, Prahran VIC 3181
Phone: (03) 9525 2178
Cuisine: French
Overall Impression: 10/10

Perfect. Just perfect. I was spoiled to death by my wonderful boyfriend who took me here for the 8 course degustation with matching wines. This option will set you back $265 a head. Such an amazing experience. Service, execution, and presentation of the dishes - faultless. Every dish was perfectly balanced and delicious. And the wines perfectly matched the food (not that I know very much about wine.. but everything just flowed so perfectly). Even the order that the dishes came in was perfect. By the end of the degustation I felt like I had been taken on an exciting journey.

The following is a list of the courses we were priviledged to devour and the matching wines we had, with pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Choux pastry on arrival

Lemongrass, spinach and rock lobster soup, fragrant Tiger prawn, sweet potato and turmeric ice cream
Matched with: 2004 Tyrrell’s HVD Semillon, Single Vineyard, Hunter Valley, NSW

Sandwich of spanner crab, mirin and fresh wasabi jelly, lacquered Petuna ocean trout, black bean and sweetcorn dressing

Wild barramundi, almond and bush mountain pepper caramel, yoghurt and black garlic, kaffir lime and lemongrass espuma
Matched with: 2009 Toolangi Estate ‘Jacques Reymond Selection’ Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Vic

Peking duck and Hervey bay scallops, peking juices, spiced marshmallow like a crêpe, ginger sesame and pandan oil
Matched with: 2007 Bass Phillip ‘Jacques Reymond Selection’ Pinot Noir, SE Gippsland, Vic
Highland venison like a warm carpaccio, horseradish mustard dressing, butternut pumpkin with honey and bitter chocolate beignet
Matched with: 2006 Dalwhinnie ‘Jacques Reymond Selection’ Shiraz, Pyrenees, Vic
Western plains suckling pig and tamarind, celeriac and bitter almond, dashi apple veil, dancing bonito flakes and rosella chutney salad, cavalo nero
Matched with: 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Clos du Mont Olivet, Les Fils de Joseph Sabon, Rhône Valley, France
Pacific Rim martini of pineapple, passionfruit and banana, liquorice ice cream and honeycomb
Millefeuilles of chocolate: white chocolate mousse, pure Caribbean chilli ice cream, dark chocolate mousse and praline ice cream
Matched with: NV SeppeltsField Grand Tokay (Topaque), Barossa Valley, SA
Coffee and petits fours
And I'm still in awe.
Jacques Reymond on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Durham: 2-4-1 Mondays

Location: Green Square, Kingston ACT 2604
Phone: (02) 6295 1769
Cuisine: Steak

Monday nights at the Durham in Kingston is 2-4-1 steak night. That's right, two steaks for the price of one!

300g Sirloin steak with mushroom sauce, chips and vegies, all for $10.50!!

Having had past bad experiences with cheap steak, I was rather impressed this time around.  The steak was overcooked (I made the mistake of ordering medium-well, but this steak was more like 2 x well done), but mine seemed to be the exception - all other steaks were brilliantly cooked.

The sauce was amazing. There was a real depth of flavour and actual slices of mushroom swimming in the sauce. The chips were also amazingly well done - crispy on the outside, light and fluffy inside, and the beautiful 'crunch' sound as I bit into it. The vegies were also nicely done - the only thing missing was a drizzle of melted butter over them.

On top of half price steak, the Durham also give out raffle tickets when drinks or meals are purchased, and you go into the draw to win meat trays. We won a massive platter...

Yes, that's a leg of roast in the top left corner of the photo.

Service: varies - it's a pub, so don't expect 5-star service. But the waitresses there are generally quite attentive.

Price: on a Monday, this place exhumes value-for-money.

Overall Impression: 9/10