14 High Street
organic butter // rye, white, sourdough
Torquay for the weekend, on such short notice, Loam was booked a good 6-8 weeks out. Right off Hamilton Highway, a bright dining room at lunch. We went with the eight-course tasting menu, tacking on an extra course that was on the five-course.
beetroot gel // green tea cloud // trout mousse
Shiny cool earthy beetroot gel, with a caramelised onion crisp and heady parmesan, both grated & crisp.
A soft pillowy cloud, nutty from the sesame seed, of sweet & savoury.
Balsamic pearls nestled in creamy trout mousse, with a cracker of the sea.
kingfish, konbu, apple, rice, wild rice
A promising start, this was gorgeous to behold. Paired with a spanish wine, refreshing, not unlike a Riesling. Fresh kingfish, black & white sesame & light rice puffs, a warm dish, with a clear konbu consomme gel. With white apple crisps & delicate garlic blossoms. Each mouthful as precious as it looks.
trout, cucumber, daikon, avocado, lime
The cool clean cucumber ribbons & pearls tempered the citrus cured trout nicely, with a saltier edge, sleek & oily, with the roe. Held together by the creamy avocado mousse. Paired with a fruity Austrian wine.
snapper, rye, chicken, mussels, red peppers
The snapper, drier than we hoped, with crisp golden skin. The mussels were gorgeously soft & fresh of the sea. A cream of chicken buttermilk foam, a skeleton of crisp bread & sweet bursts of capsicum - a dish clumsier than the others.
chicken, scallop, corn, faro, asian mushrooms
The chicken, moist with a crisp skin, with a creamy sweet corn puree & scallops.
western plains pork, pumpkin, fennel, yoghurt
The pork - as divine as it looks, with a crisp golden coat, luscious fat, and a piece of crumbed gelatinous pig’s ear. Pork & pumpkin, a fondant & a puree, sweet & velvety, both broad on the palate.
From fish, to chicken to pork. No stone left unturned, beef & duck follows tomorrow.
The start to our afternoon was the most promising, while the others never quite hit the same highs as the kingfish & the trout.
duck breast, pearl barley, mustard, hazelnuts, raisins
Tinged pink, the succulent duck - perfectly summed by its counterparts. The earthiness of the grain, the nuttiness, the smokiness from the lardo - a shiny glaze, the sweet stickiness of the raisins.
sher wagyu rump, asparagus, onion, gnocchi
The rump, grade 9, tender yet crisp from the sear, with a creamy parmesan gnocchi & sweet caramelised onion puree.
lavender parfait, tapioca, pandan, mandarin
The lavender parfait, creamy & fragrant, with segments & syrup of mandarin, shards of meringue, pandan tapioca pearls & fluffy white honey clouds.
manjari chocolate, citrus, campari
Textures of chocolate - puffs, a rich mousse & clusters with hazelnuts, small tart raisins & aerated orange.
macarons & jubes
The blood orange jubes were soft gels dusted in sugar.
2/157 Fitzroy Street
iceberg, pink grapefruit, asparagus mint
Ticking them off one by one, next up - Golden Fields. A little hit & miss this time, the sashimi was fantastic, as were the old favourites - the lobster roll & the twice cooked duck.
new england lobster roll - hot buttered bun, cold poached crayfish, watercress & kewpie
As good as I remembered it.
kingfish, salmon roe, scud chilli, ginger & lime
Fresh kingfish with bursts of roe & zingy lime, heat from the scud chilli slivers & ginger.
szechuan pepper steak tartare & preserved mustard stem
Still holding the record for one of the best tartares I’ve had, I couldn’t go past the new tartare, a special. Disappontingly on the sinewy side. Rice paper crackers with flecks of black sesame, broken for texture.
rolled pork belly, white kimchi, yuxiang sauce
Soft pork belly rolls.
tuna, oyster cream, pickled shiitake
Gorgeously dark pink, the tuna, like the kingfish was silky & fresh, takes on a richer creamier feel.
diamond shell clams, xo
With a squeeze of lemon, a little tough.
twice cooked duck, steamed bread, vinegar & plum sauce // house made kimchi
A dark golden crispy coat reveals tender duck, with rows of steamed buns. Like the lobster roll, it hadn’t changed and I hope it never will.
430 Collins Street
moreton bag bugs with herb emulsion
Plump & always perfectly cooked.
morels, duck egg yolk & smoked cream cheese
The morels were sensational, sauteed with clarified butter - juicy & rich, matched by the decadence of the slow cooked duck yolk, a gorgeous smoky cream cheese, strewn with garlic flower blossoms.
courgette flower, capsicum puree, goat’s cheese
Done two ways, the battered flower on a vibrant puree & a courgette bowl filled with goat’s cheese. The flower, disappointingly heavy.
I’ve put off ordering tartares after having the most divine kimchi tartare grass fed at Golden Fields. Bistro Vue has renewed my faith with this cold tartare which melts, with a fair amount of heat from the horseradish & quite literally a tartare flavour, the zing matched by the green baby gherkins on the side and textures of crisp potato criss-crosses.
giovanni fabbri seafood pasta
Pastas with a bite, fresh seafood & a rich bisque.
lamb, potato & onion
From the rotisserie, a gorgeously pink lamb leg, velvety sauteed potato with crisped leaves.
41 Little Collins Street
arancini // mussels
Another one of my favourites - Lupino for gorgeous hearty Italian dishes. Arancini with compliments, the mussels were beautifully fresh & light.
Always the tomato based marinara at Lupino, and just as good each time.
The weather was sensational - the balmy breeze, tall slender coconut trees & green bamboo, slow whirring fans, rustic white rattan chairs and slow sensuous jazz. It’s incredibly serene and simple - rows & rows of green, a glimpse into the rural, like being transported into another lifetime, another world, complete with little wooden shelters.
The concept reminds me of Ku de Ta, dinner is one affair, drinks late at night is an entirely new affair - admiring the magnificent crashing waves - its ferocity & relentlessness illuminated by the giant white beams. Truly a sight to behold.
Encouraged to wander & explore with neat grassy paths, I could spend all day under the shade of the white bougainvillea tree. Like Ku de Ta, you don’t come here for the food alone. Polar opposites, yet two perfect places to while the evening & night away.
banyuwangi scallops, nuoc cham, chilli & coriander // yellow fin tuna tartare with avocado & wakame seaweed salad
The warm scallops, with hints of lemon grass & lime and creamy roe. The tuna, visually quite dull, was surprisingly fresher than the scallops. The side of seaweed salad, is not particularly enticing, and yet contrasts wonderfully with the tartare, each alternating bite heightens your awareness of the flavours. The seaweed lifting the tartare with textures.
grilled whole fish jimbaran style, sambal matah, two color rice & bedugul vegetables
I wasn’t off to a flying start with the entrees, but the fish. I’ve been to Jimbaran Bay, and if memory serves me correctly, the grilled corn by the roving vendors was probably the highlight. The whole fish, was redemption. Hot steaming succulent & wonderfully fresh, stained with yellow tumeric & elevated a notch by a generous squeeze of citrusy lemon. Deboned and drizzled with fragrant olive oil.
Sardine is a world away from the busy streets of Bali. It’s a rude awakening stepping back out onto the streets, away from this amazing little seclusion.