Archive for the ‘Fine Dining’ Category

Darrell Felstead at Foveaux Restaurant (One Hat) puts forward a weird and wonderful menu to suit the adventurous diner. You have a nose to tail philosophy, a creative flair for reinvention and a pairing of unlikeliest of food types. Surely that should pique anyone’s interest? The menu challenges you conceptually and can be confronting if you’re not quite game. There’s the pepper nachos and sour cream ice cream which is said to quite popular or the duck cheese served with smoked duck and cuttlefish. What… is that all together? Or perhaps the veal tail is more to your taste? No matter where you turn, you can’t hide. It is not for the faint hearted and I like that. A lot.

With a Groupon voucher I was able to sample the menu at a reduced cost and for two people we received an entree and main for $59.

Prices quoted below are at al la carte prices.

collage - fpn

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One of the things that I love about my job is that everyone at my office, loves food.

My boss is no exception. We regularly talk about food, new places on our hit list and we constantly share recipes and products.

To celebrate our 3 month milestone together, she decided to surprise me at sushi e.¬†If I had I known, I probably would have brought my camera but then it wouldn’t have been much of a surprise. Nonetheless, I still managed to take photos with my iPhone. Given the quality of the my experience here, I couldn’t resist the temptation of putting a post together for you to see.

prawn shumai

prawn shumai $18.5
chinese influenced steamed prawn dumpling with ponzu dipping sauce

Ms G started our order with the prawn shumai, insisting that it was a sushi e must have. I can see why you wouldn’t want to give these dumplings a miss. The prawn fillings were plump and sweet. The wrappers were thin and delicate with the ponzu perfect for dipping.

goma ae

goma ae $13.5
Japanese spinach salad with sesame paste

The spinach was dressed to impress and coated with the most luscious and nutty sesame paste that brought your bland old spinach to something that is worth longing for.

salmon tartare

salmon tartare $25.0
salmon sashimi combined with onion, lemon and mayo then finished with generous serves of salmon roe and cucumber, then dressed with a wasabi ponzu dressing

Chef Nobuyuki Ira said, “the trick to eating this dish is to mix the tartare and roe until it is completely combined. Then use the deep fried wonton wrappers to scoop up the mix”.

Ms G and I gave each other this pained look, as we couldn’t bear the thought of tearing it apart. (I was also concerned that I wouldn’t get my fair share of roe!)

But we did as we were told. We mixed and we scooped.

The result was absolutely mouthwatering, it was outrageous.The explosive pearls, creamy flesh and wonton crisps made us get over our guilt trip, post-haste. Reminding me distinctively of the sashimi taco at Sake Restaurant.

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One of the things that a lot of people don’t know when they hit London is that can get a Michelin star rated meal at a ridiculously reduced price. Great if you’re on a budget, after a working lunch or just looking to give it a bit of a whirl.

At Murano you can opt for the 2 courses for £25 or 3 courses for £30. And most places will do this lunch special, you just have to hunt them down.

Google “michelin set lunch menu London”, and you should find some. Take Dinner by Heston Blumenthal for starters.

But its best to see their set lunch menu before you go in.

coppa di parma & salami

Most Londoners will know Murano by Angela Hartnett as being co-owned with Gordon Ramsey. But since 2010 they have gone their separate ways.

Angela Hartnett in her own right, has had a formidable career and is best known for her appearances on Hell’s Kitchen as well as, Gordon Ramsey’s protege.

bread platter

We began with a generous serving of coppa di parma and salami platter and the bread platter. This was enough to get our tongues wagging. We managed to hoe into that pretty free and easy and couldn’t help but being a pig about it, so we ordered another bread platter to polish off.

peaches, burrata, prosciutto

The salad of peaches, burrata and San Daniele prosciutto is worth giving up your first born for.

Tough luck kid.

The peach was perfect, incredibly ripe and fresh. The peach paired well with the sweet saltiness of the prosciutto and the creaminess of the burrata. The prosciutto was of the highest grade and was so thinly sliced that it gently melted away in your mouth.

tortelli

I found the tortelli didn’t quite have the same impact. I found the pasta a touch too thick. I also found the pasta slightly dry and needed a touch of creaminess to lift the subtlety of the tortelli filling.

mackerel

I’m not normally one to order fish. I normally have this misconception that there is no such thing as a good fish dish. But today, I was in the mood for something light, something fishy.

After all, I had eaten my weight through London, so something had to give.

The cornish mackerel turned out to be another gorgeous dish. It was prepared two ways, roasted and tartare with the mackerel tartare being the real winner. The hints of apple provided a zesty lift and added crunch.

lamb rump

The lamb was perfectly pink (medium rare) and wonderfully tender. Served again with tthe pea puree which was a delicious accompaniment. However, it just needed more sauce. The only thing I didn’t like about this dish was the anchovy pieces which was a bit slimey. But that’s ok. You can just push that to the side.

prosecco mousse, strawberries

Striking as this dish is, looks can be deceiving. I thought this dish was so beautiful but I found it rather one dimensional and uncomplimentary in its flavours.

tart

The unsung hero.

The gooseberry and frangipani tart was absolutely warm and comforting, something you yearn for, on a cold winters night. I loved the honey ice cream and how it brought contrast to the hot and cold temperatures.

chocolate ganache crumble

Brazil doesn’t really eat fruit, so he requested this dish to be kindly substituted in exchange for a dessert from the set menu. Sis and I gobbled up the most passionfruit sorbet (not photographed) with no complaints and managed to steal a piece or two, (ok maybe three) of the chocolate ganache crumble. Just delicious.

Welcome to Murano by Angela Hartnett, a michelin meal thats a steal.

Murano on Urbanspoon

About a year ago, my sister and I were invited to sample the menu at Apsleys at the Lansborough Hotel in Hyde Park Corner, London.

This would be the most overwhelming, heart stopping and mind blowing experience of my life and is also known to house Michelle Obama’s favourite dish – ¬†Carbonara Fagottelli. Where a pillow of pasta quizzically encapsulates a carbonara filling. You place it in your mouth, push your tongue to the roof of your mouth and let the fluid centre combust. It is unforgettable. (See post here).

Executive and Sous Chef Massimiliano Blasone and Marco Calenzo are responsible for this dish and have since moved on from Apsleys and now head up Cassis Bistro in South Kensington, rubbing a michelin star quality to the restaurant menu.

To celebrate their new venture, we were invited back as guests to sample a specially created tasting menu across their al la carte range.

brioche

We began with a foie gras terrine marinated in provencale wine served with a toasty and buttery brioche. The foie gras is almost as thick as the brioche, so I just slithered a little foie gras and ate the rest on its own LOL, I wanted it all to myself!

The addition of slow cooked peach and “terra”, a cocoa butter crumble were interesting condiments but I was more than happy with foie gras alone.

caramalised foie gras

This fresh piece of foie gras was absolutely mouth watering. Prepared like a creme brulee and blasted with a sugary coating before service. It paired wonderfully with the rhubarb marmalade cutting straight through the fat and lifted the foie gras with a wonderful sweet intensity.

sea bass tartare

The sea bass tartare with sesame wafer was absolutely delicious. The tartare was sliced and diced to teeny tiny perfection and immaculately coated with a gorgeous cream sauce all nursed in between two crumbly thin wafer slices.

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Second stop. Dinner by Heston.

Dinner was the most highly anticipated restaurant opening in 2011, receiving about 6,000 calls a day for restaurant reservations alone. eBay saw restaurant bookings auctioned off at the ¬£50 mark. It even pipped its very own mothership, The Fat Duck (#13) and entered the San Pellingrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2012 coming in at 9th place.

The inspiration behind Dinner takes us back to Heston’s TV series, Heston’s feasts – (watch online)¬†where he took a step back in time to resuscitate the long lost archives of British gastronomy. Each menu on the item references the period in British history as well as, the cookbook where it draws its inspiration from.

bread

complimentary bread

Here you have the meat fruit (c.1500) which was commonplace during the Tudor dynasty. It is quite the mutli-sensory experience and a true testament to Heston’s indisputable genius. It is a chicken liver parfait in the guise of a mandarin fruit and it is made with a mandarin glucose jelly to reach its carbon copy exterior.

The appearance is flawless, texture is velvety and the taste? Absolutely mind blowing.

You can watch how he makes it here.

meat fruit

Meat Fruit (c.1500) Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread
£15.00 Рmust have item

meat fruit 2

The roast marrowbone (c.1720) again, is visually deceiving. Whilst served to resemble that of a marrowbone, you need to scoop out to reveal the wonderfully buttery little snails lurking on the inside. Surprisingly the anchovy lifts the butter and elevates the whole escargot experience. The pickled vegetables were not nearly as exciting but visually complemented the dish well.

roast marrowbone

Roast Marrowbone (c.1720) Snails, parsley, anchovy & mace, pickled vegetables
£15.50

Like all meat served at Dinner, the Fillet of Aberdeen Angus (c.1830) was prepared sous vide and finished off in the purpose built hearth to give it its smokey and charred coat.

With a perfectly pink centre, the beef was juicy and tender. It was served with a jus and mushroom ketchup and traditionally this is also served with a side of triple cooked chips. However, I was disappointed to learn that they were not serving the triple cooked chips due to not having the particular potatoes in season.

This is particularly heart breaking knowing how far we’ve come and with the knowledge of how arduous it is to even make triple cooked chips!

rib eye

Fillet of Aberdeen Angus (c.1830) Mushroom ketchup & chips
£38.00

triple cooked chips

The Black Foot Pork Chop (c.1860) was served with a pink centre and was another excellent main. This is served with cabbage, tender ham hock pieces, puffed pork scratchings and finished with a delicious Robert sauce which is historically served to the likes of Henry IV!

black food pork chop

Black Foot Pork Chop (c.1860) Hispi cabbage, lardo, ham hock & Robert sauce
£30.00

The tipsy cake (c.1810) is the second quintessential item you must have on this menu.

The brioche turned cake is drenched in copious amounts of alcohol, butter and cream. (Which is enough to make your heart turn). The glorious goo finds its way around each brioche segment and knows exactly how to disintegrate, melt and implode on you.

It just stops you in your tracks and is absolutely heart breaking.

Just wow.

The pineapple piece is coated and spit roasted in sugar syrup for 2 hours and while tasty, it’s the brioche that’s the real show stopper.

tipsy cake

Tipsy Cake (c.1810) Spit roast pineapple
£12.00

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The one dish you must try. Sake’s most celebrated dish. The sashimi tacos.

Eat ’em and weep.

sashimi tacos

2x tuna & salmon sashimi baby tacos with chilled tomato salsa matched with Kozaemon Junmai ‚Äėsake shots‚Äô $17

The minced morsels of sashimi flesh, the taco Jap inspired shell with the excruciatingly microscopic salsa beads is truly legendary. It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes.

bocconcini tempura

bocconcini tempura w reduced balsamic and lemon salt $10

bocconcini tempura 2

The thing I love most about this dish, is that the tempura bocconcini is remarkably stringy. This made for fun, long sweeping arm movements in order for us girls to firmly get the damn thing under control and safely into our mouths. You are left bound by your moral imperative to channel your inner child and play with your food. So, forget mum!

scampi tempura

tempura scampi tails with sweet ponzu, coriander & jalape√Īo slices $36

The tempura scampi tail was wonderful thick, plump and super sweet. The ponzu sauce made it even sweeter and the tempura batter liberally drank the sauce from the bottom up, leaving it positively dribbling with the sauce. The scampi tempura crossed between both crunchy and soggy territory. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it!

sashimi tacos 2

sashimi tacos $17

I couldn’t resist it, fight it nor withstand it and thanks to good old fashion gluttony, we indulge in another round of the¬†sashimi tacos¬†with absolutely no shame.

kingfish double crunch

kingfish double crunch $15

The¬†sushi roll¬†looks simple enough but this baby is loaded with crunch, textures, layers and flavours on the inside and out. One bite and everything implodes. ¬†It’s pure perfection and I’m somewhat confused, overwhelmed and even a little ecstatic by this little humble roll.

dessert bento box

dessert bento box – chocolate cup cake, yuzu sorbet, nashi pear gyoza, passionfruit dipping sauce with matcha apple mousse sticks $22

We thought the dessert bento box was the perfect way for the pair of us to go out on the finish. The bento box is ideally paired for two and a great way to sample sweet Japanese inspired flavours along our palette.

The highlights were the¬†Yuzu sorbet¬†which served ¬†us with a refreshing hit and the¬†apple mousse sticks¬†was a crumbly and a creamy ensemble with this glorious goo spilling from the inside. The¬†chocolate cupcake¬†was too rich for my taste but Emma practically hoovered the poor thing down,¬†apple floss¬†also didn’t stand a chance while the¬†nashi pear gyoza¬†remained as the weakest link.

buttermilk pannacotta w raspberry coulis

buttermilk pannacotta w raspberry coulis – $12

Just to top things off, we were fortunate enough to receive a complimentary tasting of the¬†deconstructed Russian cream. I’m not sure why, but who am I to refuse Sake and my god, it was absolutely delicious.

Welcome to Sake Restaurant & Bar, for cutting edge Japanese food sitting firmly at the fore.

Saké Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Saké Restaurant & Bar

02 9259 5656

12 Argyle St
The Rocks, NSW 2000

sakerestaurant.com.au

Ok. So we all know. It’s an absolute nightmare to even make a booking.¬†The booking form is as famous as the restaurant itself.

It’s rigid, comprehensive and virtually impossible. It almost makes you want to give up on food. Life even!

So I thought, what better way to enable my fellow foodies by writing up about my first-hand booking experience and share with you some of my key tips picked up over the course of a month.

With the hope that one day, you could almost certainly secure a spot at the elusive¬†Momofuku SeiŇćbo¬†restaurant. Or at least die trying.

My experience was no easy feat. Oh no no… But practice makes perfect and with countless attempts later, I would hone my clicking and typing skills down to a ‘T”, eventually taking me to see the bright lights of sweet success.

I would ceremoniously log in everyday at 10:00, enter my details, hit ok, only¬†to find crosses everywhere along the reservation table. This would already be my third week running…

Finally, I found a green tick that was available for me to click on. Ding ding ding – Jack pot.

momofuku - green

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I made a booking for the secretive degustation menu a while back. Generally, Saturday evenings are booked out for the following 6 weeks from the time of placing the booking. This is because the degustation menu on Saturday is pieced together based on produce the season has to offer and has proven to be very popular.

So when I had to reschedule 3 times in a row and then I had to multiply that number by however many weeks, well you do the math. As you could imagine my patience was waning! This occasion was to mark my best friend’s birthday in April. I bought him a voucher back then¬†and he was kind enough to wait until I returned from my¬†four-month overseas trip¬†to share it with me.

After having to reschedule 3 times, delaying the experience actually worked out to our advantage. Between the time I had made the third and final booking and the actual booking itself. Sepia had received the coveted Restaurant of the Year and the 3 hat Award. We were even more thrilled at the wonderful news!

D-day arrived and finally we made our way to Sepia. Excited to see the menu on arrival we were advised that we will not be provided one, that tonight we would be served a seafood inspired menu and everything would be revealed to us when served.

Amuse bouches…

First up, we were served a deconstructed version of salt and vinegar chips. Martin Benn you are genius. You gave me my first foodgasm and I was only looking at the gorgeous thing. I know. I am a total chip tart and I am not ashamed of it. If your one weakness is chips, which is one of mine. You would have quivered and shuddered in its presence too. Its golden brown good looks were so nail bitingly beautiful, crisp and fragile.

So fragile, I could see right through it. So crisp, I could hear others shatter it to pieces. So weak, I could feel it crumble before me. So mouth-watering, it disintegrated along my tongue. And the sansho pepper, gave it a nice  little kick right on the finish.

Salt and vinegar potato starch with sansho pepper

The ocean smoked trout with¬†consomm√©¬† was to die for. It was killer. It had me at hello. I don’t know about you but every time I see red flesh in its raw state or smoked state, I just loose my mind. Include the char grilled surface and I am done for.

This dish had aburi flavours through and through. The¬†consomm√© that the fish had been seeped in was gushing with that smokey aburi flavours which helped infiltrate every single fibre and morsel of the “sweet sweet flesh”. Oh and I took my time with this one. I savoured every moment. Every bite and every sip.

The finish of the consommé  was simply irresistible. It lingered there just enough to you keep you hanging and then it would leave you hanging, to keep you coming back.

Cold smoked Tasmanian ocean trout consommé

If looks good kill… phoarrr…¬†This tuna tataki had me spellbound. All that raw red flesh. Oh my… And that pickled leek cream with the tamari soy sauce, (I think my heart just stopped) was cheekily hidden underneath it all. So when I went to grab a piece of tuna it did the grand reveal and exposed its creamy leek¬†and sweet soy base.

The tuna tataki definitely lived up to its appeal. So good that we wouldn’t let anything go to waste. We dipped our fingers in the plate to collect the cream and sauce where we proceeded to lick it off our fingers. Jack got caught though! I however, did not ūüôā

Mains…

I have to admit, I can’t say I have had a sashimi of spring bonito before but my first time was¬†more than¬†pleasant. It’s hard to turn down a perfectly¬†pink and naked¬†plump piece of sashimi lying in alcohol and oil that is barely covered in a thin apple and radish shreds. No not at all. You simply eat it and you¬†love it. Longingly.

IMG_0151

Sashimi of spring bonito, green apple, radish, chive and sake oil

The scallop sushi was an innovative and pretty play on your traditional sushi. I developed a little thing for the picked ginger gel with those pretty bright baby pink colours. It also helps that I love  pickled ginger to begin with too.

What truly impressed me about this dish was the rework of the pickled ginger into a liquid gel. It was like one of those cosmetic gels. The scallop¬†alone didn’t quite have the same effect on me as the previous ¬†dishes but¬†I found this dish worked best when you had¬†everything all at once.

IMG_0164

Scallop Sushi – Nori rolled scallop, avocado cream, pickled ginger gel and puffed sush rice

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