Henry & the Fox
525 Little Collins Street
I was so taken by Henry & the Fox on a prior encounter, it was a foregone conclusion that I would venture down to Paul Mathis’ other ventures in South Wharf - Akachochin which I adored, and the Sharing House - my least favourite of the three. To be invited to Henry & the Fox for more good food by Paul Mathis & Gun Communications, I knew we had a good night ahead of us.
These are the last photos I took using my Canon 600D. This was also the night I cracked open my Nikon and felt totally helpless. In that moment I truly appreciated my 600D, sincerely wished I hadn’t been greedy and realised it might be a better idea bringing my Canon to Barcelona instead. (I did not).
07 Domaine Marcel Deiss Pinot Gris // 10 Crittenden Estate Pinot Gris, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
We started with the Crittenden Estate Pinot Gris - fresh, vibrant and crisp. And moved onto the Marcel Deiss Pinot Gris with the starters - coming from a cooler and dry climate, the grapes get quite ripe, producing a rich sweeter honeyed texture.
Jamon & Manchego Croquettes
I’m not partial to croquettes and this didn’t convert me. Bits of jamon with creamy manchego beneath the crisp crunch.
Fried Zucchini Flowers
Filled with creamy ricotta, sweet peas and hints of mint, very light and finished off with zesty lemon juice.
Rabbit Terrine, Rhubarb Compote & Salad
Served cold, the terrine was hearty with gorgeous chunks of wobbly rabbit. I loved how they managed to pack quite a lot of flavour into the terrine. I believe the last time I enjoyed charcuterie this much was when I indulged in the divine jar of duck rillettes at Merricote.
With Toasted Brioche
While these shiny glossy brioche rounds were warm and quite soft within, they were not as seductive on their own, but made for a good subtle accompaniment for the terrine.
Goats Cheese, Roasted Baby Beets, Pickled Shallots, Shiso & Raspberry Vinegar
Reading off the menu, beets & goats cheese don’t sound like the prettiest of pairings, but visually it was quite entrancing. The marshmallow meringue-like white goats cheese were smooth and musky, paired with dark plummy tangy earthy sweet baby beets.
Cured Kingfish, Coriander & Fennel Seeds, Mandarin & Coriander Shoots
The cured aspect of the kingfish was quite subtle, the vibrancy of the dish enhanced by the sweet plump triangles of mandarins.
Seared Scallops, Apple & Celeriac Remoulade, Caper & Raisin Puree, Toasted Pumpernickel
The scallops were beautifully seared, fresh and sweet as I knew they would be.
Roasted Moreton Bay Bug Tails, Cauliflower Puree & Spiced Cauliflower
One of their popular dishes, one I had thoroughly enjoyed previously. On the night it might have erred on the saltier side, but I admit I have a penchant for salty food and I loved the juicy fresh baby bugs, positively plump with a light and sweet cauliflower puree.
Confit Ocean Trout, Salted Cucumber, Radish & Horseradish Cream
The ocean trout in contrast with the kingfish was fresher and softer with the lightest kick from the horseradish cream.
Head Chef Michael Fox
Paul Mathis was on hand to explain the origins of the name - during a brainstorm session, he was inspired by his PA, last name Henry, and head chef, last name Fox. Henry & the Fox. A children’s book, the right touch of child like whimsy, in line with the beautiful dishes they plate up.
Mulloway, Avocado, Chickpea, Chorizo & Red Pepper
The firm mulloway was sweet and crisp and beautifully cooked, with a light salsa of red pepper, whipped avocado and onions.
Crispy Pork Belly, Fennel, Dill & Orange
Another one which was lamented as tiptoeing on the saltier side, I thought it was divine. You have this golden crispy skin up top, a luscious layer of juicy fat below and a tender attachment of pork at the base. What is there not to love. I’m still trying to pinpoint when I turned into a pork belly aficionado. Growing up I abhorred fat, anything jiggly and translucent had me running for the hills or discarding the entire piece to the edges of my plate and now, it makes for the perfect party in my mouth.
Poached Chicken Breast, Quinoa, Pistachio, Fig & Sorrel
I find myself hardpressed to pick chicken as my main when I go out, it was cooked well but to me, chicken isn’t particularly exciting - though I note I had my first taste of chicken sashimi at Dos Palilos last week which is a different story altogether.
Spiced Carrots // Brussel Sprouts // Salad of Rocket
On my prior encounter with Henry & the Fox, the one aspect that had been a letdown was the sweets. I have to say, what we were presented with tonight - redemption. The right touch of whimsy from the deconstructed passionfruit cheesecake and the undeniably exquisite chocolate pannacotta with hints of strawberries - I would go back for both in a heartbeat.
Passionfruit Cheesecake, Passionfruit Mousse, Jelly, Granita & Yoghurt Sorbet
Visually it’s hard not to fall for this dessert, and thankfully it was executed well. Each spoonful comes together beautifully with the crunchy crumble, the tangy passionfruit, the right touch of salty sweet, topped with creamy cold yoghurt sorbet.
Quince, Pear, Custard, Coconut Crumble & Coconut Ice Cream
Soft stewed pears and quince, rough spongey coconut macaroons, slowly soaking up the rich fragrant custard, and the coconut flavours are unmistakable as we finish off with a cold creamy coconut ice cream.
Doughnuts & Chocolate Sauce
The doughnuts were warm and sugary, but I had hoped for a rich thicker molten chocolate that would coat the doughnut beautifully and slowly trickle down my fingers. This one was quite light and lacked the richness I craved.
Chocolate Pannacotta, Strawberry Cream & Strawberry Sorbet
Chocolate and strawberries. This pairing trips me up at times. I feel that the richness of chocolate often overwhelms the freshness of strawberries entirely. This was just gorgeous. Picture cold silky smooth chocolate pannacotta, fresh and sweet strawberry compote, a delicate fragrant strawberry cream cloud with an icy strawberry sorbet. Topped off with a sprinkling of cool chocolatey crumbs.
And we finished off the night on those sweet notes.
NOTE: I was extended an invitation by Henry & the Fox and Gun Communications, and this review is based solely on my personal thoughts of the atmosphere, the quality and aesthetics of the food & sweets treats we were presented with on the night.