Friday, September 2, 2011

Review : Embrasse (A Spontaneous Return Visit) - CLOSED

312 Drummond Street
Carlton, Melbourne

03 9347 3312

Wed-Sun Dinner from 6.30pm
Fri-Sun Lunch from Noon
Mon/Tues Closed

Cooty loves Italian food. Old school Italian, that is.

So the plan for this evening is to head to Lygon Street to see if we can find somewhere ‘old school’ enough.

However, after a very long day traipsing around the city and a matinee performance of ‘Love Never Dies’, Cooty decides that she would rather stay in with a pizza and a crossword.

So what are Buggles and Squeak to do? We want to go out to dinner, but we haven’t booked anywhere!!!

As we are staying in Carlton, we realise we are not too far away from Embrasse. So, pizza delivered we hit the road & make our way to Drummond Street.
It is a Saturday night, so we aren’t optimistic (in fact I rarely am, such is my lot in life).

We arrive at around 6.30pm to a restaurant with only one table occupied. Is it just too early, or by some strange miracle, are we in luck?
We ask the maitre’d if by chance they have a table for two available; unfortunately not……unless of course, we would be interested in a private table they have out back, one that sits between the kitchen and dessert station…..the CHEF’S TABLE!!!

We jump at the chance to dine at this table that easily seats 6, but tonight just the two of us.

Let me just say right off the bat, we are immediately so impressed with the service and our wonderful, charming maitre’d, that we already know we are in for a spectacular evening.

We order a bottle of Stefano Lubiana Sauvignon Blanc and wait for the magic to unfold.

First to arrive are a duo of amuse bouche(s); one carrot, one cauliflower....both spectacular.

Following on from the this we have......

Squid cooked in red wine, zucchini and family, fromage blanc froth, Meyer lemon and bergamot. To start, there is no denying how beautiful the plate is when it arrives. If the old adage is true about eating with your eyes, then this dish is well and truly consumed! The squid is incredibly tender and the zucchini provides a nice contrast in texture. The lemon and foam is very flavoursome and Buggles proclaims the dish a triumph!

Bendigo Corn feed chicken cooked on the bone-finished tandoor style, roasted egg, oyster emulsion, pea and sea lettuces.
The chicken is so beautifully tender, with a wonderfully crispy skin. The dish is so perfectly seasoned. The real revelation is the oyster emulsion (a component I initially was a little worried about), it turns out to be the highlight of the dish with its lush flavour. Fantastic.

Roasted Gippsland duck breast, confit and crispy tongue, pressed beetroots, purple potato. The duck breast is certainly left very pink, which thankfully for Buggles is fine by her. The pressed beetroots are surprisingly sticky and sweet. The potato provides aesthetic appeal and the crispy tongue (it is so wrong, isn't it?!) is tasty, but still does not measure up to her last Vue du Monde crispy duck tongue experience.

Beef from the Victorian producer of the moment-Burnt carrot, broccoli, toasted malt, smoked rice vinegar, pomme croquette

This is without doubt the most flavoursome piece of beef I have eaten in recent memory. It is pull apart tender with a charred fatty exterior, it is so good, words fail me. The black burnt carrot is a very nice surprise and the dish as a whole is perfect.

Aligot a Provincial cheesy mash potato from the South of France is possibly cheesier & more delicious than the last time we had it. Works beautifully with the beef and the double potato serve for Buggles doesn't seem to be a problem!  Probably because it is more cheese than potato!

Coconut mousse, frangipane, passion fruit, corn, orange blossom
This dessert has Buggles swooning. The coconut mousse is gorgeous and the orange blossom flavour of the sponge complements it. The real eye opener (literally) though is the intense ZING she receives from a fine passionfruit powder that is sprinkled liberally over the top of the mousse.  She absolutely loves this dessert.

Warm mandarin pudding, white chocolate, lemon sorbet, liquorice meringue, marmalade
The mandarin flavour is divine and very apparent in the pudding. The pudding is light & not remotely stodgy. The lemon sorbet is full of tang and the liquorice meringue quite sublime. The little dots of intensely flavoured marmalade complete this stupendous dish.

Salted caramel and chocolate petit four... one of the 'to die for' combinations. We both have to say that the petit fours on this visit are far better than the last. Last time they were just too big and kind of 'heavy'. These last salty, buttery and chocolately mouthfuls are a delicious sweet end to a magnificent spontaneous dinner.
We really did enjoy our meal at Embrasse the last time we visited, but this time - a mere one year later - seems to have taken Embrasse to another level.We loved everything about our evening - the food was phenomenal, the service was perfect AND we had the equivalent of our own personal dining space. What more can you ask for?

Embrasse Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Dumpling Girl said...

Buggles' dessert sounds to die for. A pity I have no plans to head down to Melbourne any time soon.