193 Evans Street
Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm
Sunday from 12pm
It had been a long time between visits...a VERY long time.
The last time we dined here Darrell Felstead was still behind the burners...and he has been at Foveaux since 2007!!!!
So it was definitely time to check out what Leigh McDivitt (ex Est., Pello) has been up to.
In terms of the dining space, if my memory serves me correctly, not much has changed; the decor seems strangely familiar.
When we arrived at 6.30pm the restaurant was empty & we were led to a cosy table towards the middle of the room.
The menu looked enticing with a variety of very tempting dishes on offer. I love it when I look at a menu & start to get excited about what lays ahead.
We placed our order, sat back & relaxed, sensing we were in very capable hands...
The first dish to arrive was the Amuse Bouche of Ceviche of Kingfish with chilli and lime dressing and horseradish ice cream. It looked beautiful & it tasted even better. The Kingfish was fresh, silky & cool on the tongue; the lime & chilli adding both tang & heat...the horseradish ice cream was a revelation; icy cold, but with that touch of heat from the horseradish itself....wonderful.
For her entree Buggles chose the Carpaccio of venison with pickled carrot, confit baby radish, Gympie goats cheese and orange and juniper dressing. This dish looked a little 'untidy' on the plate, but in terms of flavour it was very good. The venison was delicious and worked very well with each individual element (especially with what seemed to be a quenelle of chocolate cream/mousse, we are sure it was chocolate); however, the venison was a little overwhelmed by all the other components if taken as a 'whole', there were too many strong and competing flavours. Still, it was a very successful dish which she did enjoy.
I went with Roquefort mousse and pickled beetroot with tomato and white balsamic sorbet. As opposed to Buggles's dish, mine was very pretty. Two discs of pickled beetroot encasing the lush, blue cheesy Roquefort mousse made for wonderful eating; neither element overpowering the other....just perfectly harmonious. The sorbet was another surprise, capturing the balsamic flavour so well, it was both acidic & cooling a joyous combination. This was a thoroughly enjoyable dish.
Roasted breast of Thirlmere duck and a parcel of confit leg with cuttlefish, rhubarb gel and port reduction, was the main of choice for Buggles. This arrived with most of the breast meat sitting on top of the parcel. We are not sure if this is what resulted in the breast meat being ever so slightly over cooked (still cooking off the heat of the parcel?); however, the breast itself still had decent flavour & the confit leg parcel was absolutely delicious, and paired well with the lentils. The tartness of rhubarb gel cut through the richness of the confit, although the port reduction was not as fully flavoured as expected. It was, however, a wonderfully balanced dish.
Beef....of course I went with beef. This time it was Black angus fillet with wagyu short rib tortellini, pea purée, baby leeks, eschalot and bone marrow jus. The fillet was the most beautifully tender, perfectly seasoned piece of meat I had eaten in a long time and the flavour of the beef itself was excellent; it positively melted in my mouth. The wagyu short rib tortellini promised much, but failed to deliver flavour wise; the pea puree (& powder?) was divine & was a lovely accompaniment to the beef. I am a bone marrow junkie, so there is never enough bone marrow for me....what was there though, was simply divine!
Our side dish of Truffled Parmesan Potato Puree was....do I really need to say more???...well ok...SPECTACULAR!! Rich, creamy, lush, indulgent....enough said!
Buggles tried to go through the motions of the "should we share a dessert?" thing - it wasn't going to happen. I needed my own dessert & lets face it, so did she.
Ever since her amazing Passionfruit Souffle at Rockpool, Buggles has been trying to find another that can match its sheer magnificence. She didn't find it here with the Passionfruit Souffle with Caramelised Banana ice cream, but it was the closest so far. The ice cream was very good, the souffle was light & fluffy and the syrup was pure passionfruit essence...Buggles did think that the passionfruit flavour in the souffle itself (without the syrup) was not as strong as the one at Rockpool. Still... it was a very good souffle.
My Pumpkin Bavarian cream with espresso parfait, croccante and walnut, was very good indeed. The pumpkin flavoured cream (yes it did capture the pumpkin flavour very well), had the most luscious texture, almost truffle chocolate like...the espresso parfait was not too heavy on the coffee, not remotely overpowering & the croccante (Italian praline), sweet but with that slightly burnt toffee edge. Another winner.
To finish off we ordered two coffees & decided to share the petit fours.
The passionfruit marshmallow had a bit of an odd texture, slightly grainy...in terms of flavour though, I thought it hit the nail on the head; Buggles disagreed & thought it was sadly lacking on all fronts.
The chocolate, chilli truffle, while having great dark chocolate flavour & a nice chilli kick, did not really have the texture of a truffle...so it wasn't entirely successful.
The olive oil & mandarin cream in dark chocolate...was amazing. Intensely mandarin flavoured, gooey & delcious. I'm not sure if the olive oil added anything in terms of flavour, but I'm sure it added to the lush texture.
The honey and sesame macaron was to die for...sticky, chewy & bordering on almost being too sweet, but just stopping short, perhaps because of the inclusion of salt.... it takes you to the edge, but doesn't drop you over. They should package this & let you take it home.
The perfect end to an almost perfect meal.
In terms of service, we found it to be efficient & professional, if at times a little detached, and a touch brusque by one waiter in particular.
We certainly enjoyed this visit to the 3 Weeds much more than our last & will be sure to not leave it another 4 years before we visit again!