Archive for December, 2011

What an epic adventure!

The food was amazing, theatrical, and endless – in the best possible way.

One of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had.

I would describe St. Katherine’s as the happy middle ground between Helenic Republic and Maha – with some signature dishes from each popping up as well as entirely new dishes too.

As always, the staff were accommodating, well acquainted with the menu, and went out of their way for people with special dietary requirements.

We had an amazing table for Becky’s Birthday, right opposite the grill kitchen – TALK ABOUT FOOD PORN! I was in heaven!

So it begins:

Warm yogurt soup rice, mint, charred lamb, burnt butter.

It was served as the bits of lamb in burnt butter, and then the staff theatrically poured the hot soup over with a long handled copper jug.

Delicious, creamy and tangy with great texture and then heavenly pockets of little bits of the charred lamb.  A souvlaki without the bread!

Hummus with candied pecans and peppered figs
The hummus was smooth and tangy and complimented with the sweet peppery figs and crunchy candied pecans.  Served with warm fresh sourdough rye.

Fresh ricotta hand made locally, lemon, mint, GC olive oil

A lovely combination of sweet and savoury.  The ricotta was like a creamy cloud with the zest of the accompaniments.

Raki cured salmon, preserved lemon, lemon balm flowers, popcorn shoots

The salmon was smooth and rich and was popping with flavour.

Fried baby calamari lemon, Aleppo pepper, garlic, taramasalata

Sweet and crunchy calamari legs with the hot spiciness of the Aleppo pepper – also rather delicious with the house made BBQ sauce

KFC “St Katherine’s fried chicken” BBQ sauce

It smelled amazing, but I couldn’t have any as I’m allergic to chicken.  It made a wonderful crunch when the others bit into it.

Instead of the chicken, I had a replacement course of:

Honey Roasted Beetroot with goats cheese mousse
Sweet earthy beetroot with the tangy side of goats cheese mousse that was magic.
Heirloom tomatoes with peccorino, bread salad, and fenugreek
Zingy fresh flavours with interesting textures.
Heirloom baby carrots cardamom, caraway, yogurt

The baby carrots were raw and sweet and balanced perfectly with the yogurt with a slight honeyed aftertaste with which most pleasant.

Whilst the others had a char grilled chicken snack burger, I tucked in to my:

Fish Snack burger, sesame & cinnamon roll, Japanese mayo, herbs

I have to say, I’m not a fan of Japanese Mayo, it has a slightly aluminium aftertaste. But the burger itself was delicious and charred and spicy, lovely herb salad and the bun was so so fresh it almost floated off the plate.

Then the tall tray of pide’s  arrived:

ground lamb, tomato, garlic, parsley, Aleppo pepper, lemon

It was wonderful, sweet lamb with spicy Aleppo pepper in a wood fire oven pizza crust – finger licking good!

mint, ricotta, haloumi, peppered figs
Again a perfect balance of sweet and salty, absolutely delicious.

Chips and (anchovy) tarama

Wow – I can only describe the anchovy tarama as ‘saltier than salt’ and it was fantastic. Hot crunchy chips with a warm fluffy center, and then a burst of salt from the tarama.

Salad of ancient grains seeds, nuts, lentils, capers, currents, pomegranate

The perfect salad! No annoying leafy bits – just wonderful crunchy nutty grains and seeds and then a sweet fruity burst of flavour from the pomegranate and the tangy dressing to balance it all out.

Chargrilled spicy kingfish

Hot off the grill, lovely and charred, served simply with micro herbs, olive oil and fresh lemon.

And then the show stopper:

Whole Suckling Pig cooked on the rotisserie flavoured the St Katherine’s way
Pig served with lemon and olive oil roasted potatoes, almond skordalia, fennel and apple salad

We had watched the little piggy slowly spinning over the char grill. The skin had been rubbed with salt and fennel seeds. If you held the crackling up to the lights you could see through it. Crunchy and caramelised.  The meat was soft, tender, moist and almost creamy in texture, it just melted in the mouth. ABSOLUTELY MAGIC!

This was also served with plates of lamb and chicken on the spit.

And of course there was a pork alternative for our vegetarian – Delicious chargrilled veggies with deep fried honeyed chickpeas.

The lamb was charred and sweet and served with yoghurt and fresh lemon.  I was also given a chicken alternative which was also delicious and spicy – Adana Turkish lamb kebab, heirloom tomatoes.

Lastly the dessert platters arrived – beautifully presented, great flavours, interesting textures, and delicious of course!

Choc chip mousse and jam doughnuts hot cherry jam doughnuts, whiskey jelly, choc chip mousse served in a shot glass.

At every Columbaris restaurant they serve the donuts and they’re always disappointing – BUT NOT THIS TIME – they were light and fluffy, rolled in cinnamon sugar and the sweet/sour surprise of the cherry in the center.

Peanut butter parfait chocolate sorbet, baklava crumbs, sheep’s milk yoghurt and orange blossom foam

Wow – we practically licked the plate when these came out! The peanut butter parfait was that wonderful combination of sweet and salty.  The sheep’s milk yoghurt foam was so fluffy and sour and was a fascinating compliment to the rich and sweet ice creams.

The final palate cleanser:

Honey and orange blossom panna cotta lemon sorbet, strawberry powder

The perfect finish to an epic feast. Simple tart fresh flavours with a variety of textures.  The cold tangy pure lemon sorbet, the creamy smooth panna cotta, and the super infused flavour of the strawberry powder was a poetic final chapter.

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What a treat! I was taken to The Table Restaurant in Fitzroy Street for a belated birthday dinner by my friend Miss Jill.

It was the perfect balmy Melbourne summer night to eat out in a funky St. Kilda Venue, it was sunny until almost 9pm and we watched the sun set as we ate dessert.

The waiter was so friendly, and knew the menu inside and out – which seems so rare these days.

The food was delicious, fresh flavours from clearly excellent produce cooked with thought, creativity, care and love.

We started with a tasting plate:

There was a spicy chipotle picante dipping sauce, soft little tacos, kingfish seviche with tequlia soaked salsa, suveed duck breast, and a roasted tomato and corn salsa, tomato and corn fritters and home made blue corn chips.  Everything tasted so fresh and zesty

Jill’s main was spicy mussels:

Mussels steamed in tequila, Roasted tomato and chilli broth, with Calamari corn and corriander fritters.  The jalapinos were a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the mussels.

My main was the pork loin:

Pork Loin glazed with agave, orange and chipotle. Stuffed with apricot and goats cheese. Roasted baby fennel. Butternut squash and corn puree.

The flavours were perfectly balanced, the sweetness was not overpowering. The salad was a gentle compliment of sweet pea shoots and grated fresh apple and the roasted fennel was nutty with a hint of licorice.

I wanted to eat it again straight away!

Dessert was a wonderful little tasting tray:

Mexican Spiced Chocolate Tart, Orange and Tequila Flan, Chocolate Truffle Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream.

It was lovely except the chocolate truffle fritter that tasted of nothing.

I’m looking forward to returning to The Table Restaurant and sampling some more of the menu

What a lovely night out – Thank you Miss Jill!

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