Tag Archives: Modern Australian

McConnell Marathons

1 Jun

Sorry for the absence!! It seems DDO have been too busy eating or breast feeding to properly document our culinary adventures of late!  But rest assured… we are still eating… rather excessively in fact!  So whilst the other part of DDO is busying herself tending to the little chub – little babe is gaining the weight of a block of butter every couple of weeks! – I thought I’d give y’all a little look into what I’ve been stuffing my face with in her absence from society!

I’m going to start with an oldy but a goody!  It’d been a successful week on the fitness front and i’d just completed my second workout session at the gym.  Feeling pretty excited by my commitment to working on my fitness I thought i’d treat myself to CUMULUS INC… Something about cold weather and craving carbs!  I needed some of that Fried Bread that Cumulus does so damn well!  I called my favourite mid week dining companion Z to help celebrate my new found lease on life.

Filling the Void: Fried Sour Dough!

I don’t know how Z felt about this bread.  Especially given how much I harp on and on about this stuff, but I enjoyed it!!  This was Z’s first time at Cumulus so I let her do most of the decision making (bar the bread and cauliflower salad).  We decided to get 2 starters, 2 mains and a salad.

Smoked mussels, escabeche $9

First to arrive were the smoked Mussels, with the escabeche giving it a nice vinegar-y kick!  Soon after came the soft shell crab which came with lettuce for wrapping up, and kewpie mayo!

Fried soft shell crab, kimchi, lettuce & kewpie $18

I’ve always been partial to soft shell crab!  Only because you generally, you can’t really f*** it up!  Having said that, credit to Cumulus for getting their batter/crab piece size ratio perfect!  SO many textures and flavours topped with smooth sweet Kewpie!  Winner!

Tuna tartare with crushed green pea salad $32

I think by this stage i’m already getting pretty full, and rather boozy.  Some thing about exercise and making you get drunk really quickly…? The Tuna Tartare came at a good time though, as it’s cold, and light.  I forgot almost instantly about my almost full stomach …

Roast Aylesbury duck breast, toasted grains, lentils & quince $36 (back) & Cauliflower Salad

The duck was delicious and completely unnecessary.  And while  I’ve always been a firm believer of not winning friends with salad, for this Cauliflower salad, I always make an exception!  There’s a bit of greenery, a good smack of paprika… those mouthfuls where you get the pop of pomegranate and pine nut crunch!  It’s a pretty good mouth party!

I left feeling it was all a pretty great way to celebrate my new found fondness for working on my fitness and discovering the genius invention that is ‘skins’.   Sadly, I have since fallen off the fitness train.  But I am still wearing my skins, and eating out!

Our next adventure was also an Andrew Mc Connell establishment.   This time we decided to take new DDO mum out on the town while getting a rest from baby duty, with Little L, Z and I meeting her at the newly renovated The Builders Arms Hotel.

Bread & butter

It didn’t take long for us to settle in, order some wine and get our orders in!  It’d been a while since we all got to hang out and try somewhere different, so amidst me losing my shit over the bread being served  (…yeh don’t get too excited!  It LOOKS like fried bread… but it paled in comparison to that of Cumulus… think it was just a regular sour dough!) and trying to participate in the verbal diarrhea happening at the table, we almost let the waiter open a Magnum bottle of  Valpolicella!

We’d ordered the 2010 Ca’Rugate Rio Albo Valpolicella, which the waitress somehow assumed we meant ‘bring us the biggest bottle of it you have!’.  Love a night out with my girls, but I personally don’t want to imagine the state of us (we’re kind of small, driving and 75% of us asian…) after having 1.5 Litres of wine!

Anyway, crisis averted, normal sized wine served, back to the talking at each other and food on its way!

Pig ear scratchings $6

We decided to get an appetizer and an entree to share.  Between the Pig Ear Scratchings and the Roast Chicken Hearts on the menu, I was right in assuming no one would be into eating hearts…which was annoying because I was sooo intrigued by the tiny little things!!  No matter.  The Pig Ear scratchings were given the go ahead and were tasty, salty and crispy!  We also ordered the Corned duck, raw brussels sprouts and prune ($16) which I have no idea how, but I decided not to take a photo of it.  Come to think of it, I can’t even remember what it tasted like… I guess that’s enough said…?!! (The other DDO – it was amazing! raw brussel sprouts were delicately sliced and surprisingly tasty and the duck was pretty amazing)

Fish pie, smoked trout, prawns, hapuka, sorrel $32

For main’s, both N and I decided to get the Fish Pie (it’s seems N has grown soft since her recent birth giving, and has now relaxed on her ‘everyone order something different’ rule).  It was a very generous serving, with really big, fresh chunks of trout and hapuka in a béchamel type sauce inside.

Z and Little L went for the Dry Aged, grass fed Rib Eye, Cape Grim 800g ($69) to share (that big chunk of meat in the back of the photo) which by all accounts looked cooked to order (Rare!  Of Course!!) and juicy.  We also ordered the obligatory side of fries and baby cos.  Z couldn’t finish her steak, but feedback was positive from both of them.  We all sit back rubbing our rather over stuffed bellies as they clear our well demolished dishes… until the suggestion of dessert seems to magically revive us instantly.

Poached meringue, frozen curd, sour quince jelly $14 (front) & suet pudding

We share the poached meringue and the suet (i.e. animal fat – really) pudding special which the waitress convinces us is the BEST thing on the menu.  Thankfully for her, we aren’t instantly turned off at the sound of animal lard baked into a small cake… because that’s all I remember of the little syrup covered cake to the back.  And she was right!  While the meal wasn’t bad, I think the only redeeming factor of this whole meal (from start; with the lack luster bread, and almost catastrophic mis-serving of the magnum to finish) was in fact this dessert.  You probably won’t see me rush back to the Builders Arms in a hurry….but if I had to, it would be for that pudding.  Animal fat – baked and served with cream!

Cumulus Inc- 45 Flinders Lane  Melbourne VIC 3000 | (03)9650 1445
The Builders Arms Hotel- 211 Gertrude Street  Fitzroy VIC 3065 | (03)9419 0818

Assiette, Ash cloud & A long ride home

25 Jul

Did you know that there is an overnight train from Sydney to Melbourne? Did you also know that the journey takes as long (if not longer) than driving between the two cities?  And who knew that people in towns with names like Harden and The Rock, actually use these services even though it means getting on / off the train at 3am in the morning? Oh and by the way the toilet / bathroom facilities are UV lit and there is no running water.

I had the (dis)pleasure of finding all of this out recently when some volcanic ash from a far away land (Chile) forced me to take the overnight train with my distinguished colleagues – who by the way were not feeling so distinguished after 12 hours sitting upright (guys, if you are reading this you know who you are).

The only saving grace of the whole saga (but by no means did this make up for the horror of the train ride) was a pre-train meal at Assiette in the trendy locale of Surry Hills (also conveniently in close proximity to Central train station).

Earning a second ‘hat’ last year, Assiette could easily have been another fancy establishment with trendy ‘deconstructed’ / fusion fare and not much else.  So I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and creativity of the food we had – a welcome treat before the dreaded train journey.  The setting is intimate (think Embrasse style – simple decor, white table clothes but none of the pretentiousness that is so common in Sydney establishments), the service prompt (we were done and dusted in just under 2 hours) and there is plenty to choose from the carefully crafted, albeit short, menu (so short that one of my esteemed colleagues mistook the list of mains as a five course degustation for $37, asking for ‘menu 2’ to which the polite but confused waiter asked – ‘are you sure you can eat all of that?’).

Cured Hiramasa kingfish with dashi jelly, pickled octopus and blood lime

Momentarily forgetting the journey ahead of us, we enjoyed our beautifully presented meals (it felt a little like ‘the last supper’ to some of us).  For entrée I chose the cured Hiramasa kingfish with dashi jelly, pickled octopus and blood lime, which not only looked fantastic on the plate, but also had the perfect balance of flavours – a touch of sweet from the jelly, the fresh briny taste of the fish and the slightly sour blood lime worked a treat.

Roasted denver leg of venison with parsnip and chestnut croquette, brussels sprouts and lardons

For mains most of us opted for the roasted denver leg of venison with parsnip and chestnut croquette, brussels sprouts and lardons.  Again, our plates arrived looking like mini works of art and tasted even better.  The venison had a warming gaminess to it, without being chewy (as is always a risk with game meats).  The brussels sprouts were perfect with the crisp lardons and the croquettes (one of my favourite things in the world!) were wonderfully golden and crunchy on the outside, and creamy on the inside – although I didn’t finish these as they were rather rich and filling.  Judging by the very clean plates at the end we all enjoyed our meals.

Pretty Dessert

Desserts were possibly the prettiest dishes of them all and I had serious food envy, given I didn’t order any (to avoid food coma on the long train ride which was going to be unpleasant enough without a bursting belly).  Unfortunately I cannot recall what was actually on the plate – some ice cream, marshmallow and delicate little cubes of jelly; but its safe to say it was delicious as it all disappeared pretty quickly.

Cheese platter

The cheese platter was also very generous with 4 types of cheese, quince paste, some lavosh and rye bread.

So with desserts finished and the last drop of wine consumed we could delay the journey no longer.  Dragging our luggage down the street like lost stragglers we ambled our way to the dreaded train to begin our epic journey – a little delirious from the wonderful food we had just consumed and somewhat hopeful that the journey would somehow be a more likeable experience than what we were expecting.

What misplaced hope – in the words of one of my travelling companions as our train journey came to a close: “that really was just horrific”.

Note from DDO: apologies for the poor quality of the photos (again!) – but as you can probably tell, there were a lot of unexpected events surrounding this dinner, hence the lack of a proper camera!

Ratings:

Assiette: 2.5 Gold Stars (out of a possible 3 – good food, relaxed ambience, worth a visit if you are in the area)

Country Link: 0 (Horrific! Only because Australian train travel is at least a century behind the rest of the world!)

Assiette

48 Albion Street
Surry Hills, Sydney

http://www.restaurantassiette.com.au/index.html

Eat Drink Man Woman (EDMW)

3 Jul

A touch of Gold at EDMW

A far cry from its namesake film, the Eat Drink Man Woman philosophy is simple – we Eat, we Drink, and we’re either Man or Woman.  There are no meat cleaver toting chefs (well not from my vantage point into the sleek open kitchen) and no barbeque pork buns on the menu (well not yet, although it would be a bit of a kitschy move to reference the Asian gore flick).

The brainchild of Daniel Schelbert and Marcelo Tummino (of The European and Supper Club fame), EDMW occupies the large space that used to house that Brunswick Street stalwart Retro – which by the way, was probably 10 years past its used by date anyway.  Gone is the garish yellow paint, replaced by classy neutrals, with hints of deep blue and gold – all of which blend with surprising harmony.

Open for just a few weeks, and being where it is (Brunswick St will always be dear to us, despite it now turning into the new Chapel St for the North) we were keen to give the place a go before it became the next over-reviewed and over-populated establishment (ok we’ll admit it, we wanted to be one of the first blogs to get to it before The Age did!).  So despite the no-booking policy (I don’t do no-bookings generally, although the lady on the phone assured me we should be fine for a table of 4 as they had just opened – and then added as an afterthought that ‘yes, we are getting busier and busier by the day…’), we found ourselves seated at a window table (the fam crew – J, JP and E) on a Saturday night.  The place had a nice buzz to it and despite being a rather large space, didn’t feel like it was only half full.

Water came shortly after we were seated (tick!), along with a wine list that whilst not extensive, includes some carefully picked Australian, Spanish and Italian wines, which are all available by the glass and very reasonably priced.  We order a Spanish tempranillo/grenache for $45 and settle in to peruse the menu which offers a mash-up of influences – Thai, Vietnamese, Spanish, Chinese, French…the universe!  Its not a large menu, but add in a couple of specials, and there is more than enough to satisfy any hungry belly.  Being the Asian foodies that we are, we order 5 entrees, 3 mains and a few sides to share – I’ll note here that whilst its not a ‘share menu’ per se, ordering the conventional way will mean that you miss out on all the wonderful offerings on the menu (which is exactly what the patrons next to us opted for…how boring).

For entrees we opted for two specials – salmon cooked at 35 degrees; Spanish jamon; chicken liver pate; ox tongue and mussels with chorizo.  Whilst the mussels were nothing to write home about (well cooked, but uninspired) the 4 others would be what my DDO counterpart would describe simultaneously using superlatives such as ‘flavour nation’, ‘party in the mouth’, and ‘amaze balls’, etc..

Salmon - cooked at 35 degrees

Spanish Jamon

Chicken Liver Pate with grilled bread

Ox Tongue with Bagna Verde

Mussels with Chorizo

First the salmon – the waitress wasn’t lying when she said it melts in your mouth – and melt it did, silky smooth in texture and bursting with flavour that only the freshest piece of produce can – true Flavour Nation!

Secondly the jamon – thinly sliced and served simply with some crusty bread and pureed tomato (I am sorry, its some Spanish way of doing tomatoes but the name escapes me completely).  The fat to meat ratio on each slice was perfect and the saltiness of the meat balanced well with the sweetness of the tomato.

The ox tongue – taste I cannot comment on as I don’t eat it – was beautifully presented with a drizzle of a Bagna-verde and anchovies.  By all accounts its as tasty as it looks and it disappears within seconds of being placed on the table.

Then came the chicken liver pate in its cute little jar and thin slices of grilled bread – not much to look at but talk about a party in the mouth!  The pate was the perfect spreadable consistency (not sludgee, but also didn’t turn into bread crumbs once out of that jar) and not too heavy so that by the end we were all wishing it came in a much larger jar.

Needless to say, entrees had left us hankering for more and we’re salivating as we wait for the mains and down the last drops of wine.  Lucky we didn’t have to wait long at all.  For main course we have the slow cooked pork belly, beef ribs and chargrilled lamb with sides of mushrooms and Vietnamese coleslaw (there are also fries on the menu which looked very appealing at the next table – but alas given the no carb dieters on our table we opted out).

Pork Belly

The pork belly was soft and juicy, the Balinese style dressing of lemongrass, shallots, turmeric, chilli and lime providing the perfect tang and a little spice to each mouthful which melted like butter in the mouth.  Ditto the beef ribs – which was a pleasant surprise actually as ribs usually conjure up a dental nightmare with bits of meat left stuck in hard to reach places as your tear it off the bone.  No dental nightmare here – the meat falls effortlessly off the bone and the housemade barbeque sauce was an amazing balance of sweetness and saltiness.

Beef Rib

The chargrilled lamb rump (with olives, artichokes and rosemary), was probably the only disappointment compared to the other dishes and was probably not worth ordering.  Not that it wasn’t cooked well, just that it could have been replaced by potentially another more inspired dish.  As for the side dishes – highly recommend the Vietnamese coleslaw.  Not the mushrooms though which were a little tasteless.

Lamb Rump

Trifle

Affogato

As always dessert cannot be bypassed even though we are all nursing rather large food babies. J and I share a trifle of raspberry, biscuit crumble and vanilla custard, whilst the others order the affogato.  The trifle comes in a basic glass and is the perfect way to finish off the meal – sweet, crunchy and creamy in all the right proportions, this one’s a winner!  By all accounts the affogato is a hit too (you’d be surprised how many places can stuff up a simple espresso with a  bit of ice cream).

At the end of the night we all agree that this is one of the better dining experiences we’ve had in a long time (particularly in this end of town).  Great service, nice (for now) unpretentious ambience and fantastic food – go there now before the secret gets out!

 

Eat Drink Man Woman

413 Brunswick Street

Fitzroy

(03) 9419 0088

Estivo

6 Jun

Located in a bit of a vacuous part of Kew, Estivo could have taken the easy way out and been happy dishing substandard offerings to a captive (and generally well heeled) audience.  But far from falling foul of ‘big fish in a small pond’ syndrome, this much loved establishment continues to represent  everything that is right about suburban dining experiences, and its one-hat status is well earned.  The service is warm and friendly – all pretension stops at the white table cloths – and the ambience is pleasantly intimate, as you would expect from a suburban establishment.

Oysters

Our most recent visit (celebrating Mumsy’s birthday) did not disappoint.  Seated in the upstairs dining room we shared an entrée of oysters between the eight of us – the oysters were fresh, retaining just the right amount of that briny taste of the sea, and had us fighting over who would get a second one!

For mains we broke my oft imposed rule of ordering different dishes (to my dismay), and we all ordered either 1. Steak; 2. Crab Linguine; 3. Duck Risotto or 4. Lamb. At this point I should make mention of the Duck which I have had on prior visits and would highly recommend if you are a duck fan – it would have to be one of the better duck dishes I have had in a Melbourne restaurant (of course, nothing could ever quite compare to Paris).

The steak as usual was perfectly cooked and juicy in such a way that only the best cut of meat can be.  It came served on a pretty bed of spring vegetables in a red wine jus.

Steak with spring vegetables

Linguine with Spanner Crab

The Crab Linguine – whilst not huge in volume (oh and don’t, unlike a patron on our table think that you will get served the WHOLE crab), it was huge on taste! The tomato based sauce lended a natural sweetness which perfectly complimented the freshness of the  the crab, and there was just enough sauce coating each strand of al dente linguine without the dish being a complete soggy mess.  As a great lover of pasta I was a little envious of Mumsy who had picked this dish, although my duck risotto (which I had overlooked the other 2 times that I dined at Estivo earlier in the year) did not disappoint.

Risotto is at the best of times a little risky – too often its either undercooked and crunchy when it really should not be (I do NOT enjoy a risotto that resembles crunchy peanut butter), or else its one big sloppy mess.  This risotto is one of the better ones I have had – perfectly cooked so that the grains are soft with that glutinous liquid clinging in all the right places.  The duck was tasty without overpowering the mushrooms scattered throughout – YUM!

Duck & Mushroom Risotto

Lamb was the other popular dish on our table, and looked succulent and juicy.  Inside, the meat was a beautiful rosy colour – and I was assured that it tasted as good as it looked.

Lamb

On this occassion, we didn’t order dessert as Mumsy had a big cake surprise for us (see our next post on ‘A Sweet Thing’).  But if you are that way inclined, the dessert has about 4 offerings that can satisfy the chocoholic as well as the fruit fanatic.

So if you’re looking for a good feed that’s a little bit fancier than fish and chips, pizza or lemon chicken, and you’re in this part of town, Estivo is a great choice.  We know we’ll be back!

Estivo

330 High Street Kew VIC

(03) 9853 1727

MFWF – 2000 and Legs Eleven – Collins Quarter

14 Mar

2000 & Legs Eleven

On a glorious autumn day, between two buildings in a little alleyway (sans sitting on milk crates….oh how Melbourne) Collins Quarter hosted 2000 & Legs Eleven, a celebration of the lusciousness of legs from all kinds of animals.  We were looking forward to chef Michael Nunn’s legs menu (5 courses with matching wines) and the afternoon started well with free flowing Taittinger Champagne.

Unfortunately the afternoon quickly took a turn for the worse, when an hour later the first course (‘The First Leg’ served canapé style) had failed to find its way to our group.  After a quick word with the management the unapologetic waitress finally made stop at our table.  Unfortunate really that the poor service managed to overshadow what was great tasting food – Confit quail leg with romesco; Spanner crab leg tortellini with fennel and tarragon; Crispy calamari tentacles – but lets just say that the experience would have been much more enjoyable had the wait staff been a little less aggrieved with the paying customers that they had to serve.  But this blog is about food – so I will leave the service comments at that.

 

Crispy calamari tentacles

Confit quail leg with romesco

With the first course out of the way, we were seated and the second course of Game Leg Terrine with green tomato chutney was served.  The terrine was not really a hit – a bit too dry and a bit bland – and not even the green tomato chutney could save it.

Game leg terrine with green tomato chutney

The next course was a shared plate of Crispy Duck Leg served with cherry compote, garlic & onion puree and grilled Italian flat bread.  This was a much improved offering – the duck was juicy and tender, the cherry compote the perfect accompaniment with its slightly sour tang.

Crispy duck leg with cherry compote, garlic & onion puree and Italian flat bread

Following the duck was the lamb – fresh from the spit roast which was installed in the Magnolia courtyard.

The Spit

The lamb was quite delicious, and lean enough without being tough – although again, not exactly a mind blowing experience.  The gratin dauphinoise (a baked potato dish) served with the lamb was a good pairing, and was cooked well, without too much cream, and the top crisped nicely.

Spit roasted leg of lamb

Gratin Dauphinoise

By this stage, the lunch had already lasted over 3 hours and we were quite keen to drag our very full bellies to bed.  However there was one course more – dessert of course.  Chef Nunn got creative with this course, creating sweet ‘legs’ of cannelloni – one filled with white chocolate, and the other with a pina colada mousse.  The white chocolate cannelloni was perfect (coming from a non-fan of white chocolate, that’s no small feat) but the pina colada was a little on the sweet side.

Cannelloni with white chocolate and pina colada

After a mammoth 4+ hours we all stumbled home on very wobbly legs and literally fell into food comas for the rest of the evening.

The verdict?  The food was nice enough, but probably not worth $120 (and lets not even bother talking about the wines).  Whilst the idea of such foodie events are nice, I am yet to attend any of these ‘lunches’ that have been worth all the hype (and money) – so would probably not bother with ‘events’ in the future.  Much rather control my own culinary destiny and choose my own dining experiences – unless someone can convince me otherwise.

Collins Quarter

1 Pink Alley, Melbourne

www.collinsquarter.com

Huxtable

8 Feb

It’d been a long week of ringing in the New Year.  (Chinese New Year)  I hadn’t seen cutlery or any one besides my family  in over a week and I was well and truly ready get back amongst society.  Particularly with my good friend and fellow foodie (Z)!  As it’d been such a long time since catch ups and cutlery, my only request for our wining and dining catchup was that it was at a venue that did not offer chopsticks as a utensil of choice.

I had some things to finish up at the studio so I suggested we keep it local (especially since Collingwood had offered so many additions to my culinary hit list in the recent months).  Z had tried Huxtable already, but had been meaning to try it again…  properly (her first experience was with a gluten intolerant person… Do not even get me started on my intolerance or patience for such culinary restrictions) and I’d heard and read so much about this place I really wanted to try it for myself.

To my delight we arrived to plenty of empty seating and even better, we got to sit at the bar which looks onto the open kitchen.  And yes.  Me being the nosey kitchen fiend, I like to see what/how things are being prepared.

glass of 09 kasaura montepulciano with crusty fresh baked bread

The menu is designed to be shared with ‘bites’ (ordered per item) and then progressing to larger share plates categorised into ‘sea’, ‘land’ and ‘earth’ categories.  I’d read endless raving reports about the Oyster Po’Boy and so could not resist giving in to communal hype and trying it for myself.  PLUS, my love of all things Americana meant this item was a no brainer.

rice flour crusted oyster po'boy, iceberg, sriracha mayo $6.50 ea

These little bundles of joy are under the ‘bites’ part of the menu so we ordered one each.  They were promptly presented on a clean circular plate, the golden crusted oysters glistening in all their glory whilst being encased in a warmed dick roll (much like those ones you used to get from Safeway that were meant to be reheated in the oven and were possibly the most disturbingly pale white roll you’d ever see.  Although this actually tasted fresh and tasty).  In addition to the shredded iceberg the po’boy was also laced with a spicy mayo which gave it a nice kick.  Being my first Po’Boy experience I guess I was satisfied, but I found it a bit too bready and would probably prefer it without the Carb-case!

crisp filo log of lamb puttanesca, lemon yoghurt $5.50 ea

Next was the Filo log of lamb puttanesca.  This was definitely one of my favourites.  Perfect balance of crispy outer filo, encasing a fragrant and soft lamb (loves me my meat) with a slight tang from the lemon yoghurt.  Flavour/texture sensations a-plenty.  Party in the mouth!

chargrilled quail, witlof, peach, proscuitto $19

So with our ‘bites’ part of the meal done, it was time to move on to our ‘shares’ part of the meal.  Z really liked the sound of the Quail which came chargrilled.  Gotta say, my usual response to quail is, ‘meh’ as it usually has resulted in it being deep fried with some sort of 5 spice seasoning.  From tonight, I learned that it can indeed be rather flavoursome and enjoyable.  The chargrilling gave it a nice smokey flavour but didn’t over power the quail flavour that often happens when it is deep fried.  The bitterness of the witlof, combined with the sweetness of the peach, saltiness of the proscuitto and crunch of toasted almonds made for a pretty amazing mouthful of flavour when paired with the tender quail.

quinoa w zucchini flowers, pomegranate, goats cheese $14

By this stage I’m feeling pretty satisfied, but considering the final two dishes we ordered were vegetables I figured, it’s just vegies.  Suck it up.  Make room.

Quinoa with zucchini flowers was pretty tasty.  Although I think it’s my obsession with pomegranate and goats cheese that tipped me over the satisfied edge.  I love the pop of the pomegranate, and when combined with the softness of the goats cheese, its texture-nation.  The last dish was the lebanese cauliflower with harissa yoghurt and dukkah.  Can I just say.  Cauliflower (being NOT MEAT) rarely factors on my radar of food group.  But this was pretty amazing.

lebanese cauliflower, harissa yoghurt, dukkah $14

Now I know the picture may be cause for concern.  Why on earth, is this cauliflower brown!! Let me assure you, this cumin encrusted fried cauliflower is possibly the tastiest flavour explosion you will ever experience coming from a vegetable.  Its crispy.  Its flavoursome.  And eaten with some dukkah and harissa, it’ll be the most memorable forkful of food you’ll experience.

All in all I must say I left rather impressed by my experience at Huxtable.  It’s not often a place can be so talked about and actually live up to the hype.  Service was attentive without being interuptive, good wine list, and most importantly, not a single pair of chopsticks in sight (high on my list of needs this week)  I left feeling exceptionally satisfied!   And $55 each for a food coma inducing good feed (i couldn’t even fit in dessert) and 2 glasses of wine (each), this place is definitely worthy of a revisit!

131 Smith Street Collingwood  Tel +613 9419 5101

http://www.huxtablerestaurant.com.au/