Archive for the ‘Festival’ Category

Taste Of Melbourne 2008

Well, what a fantastic idea


I was floating on a cloud of heaven


The Setting: The Old Exhibition Building


The Premise: The Top Restaurants in Melbourne prepare 3 taste sized dishes each ranging from $8 to $12


The Plan: The menu is released in advance, so you can plan which restaurants you want to target and which dishes you’re going to try

Then you arrive

We went on Friday night

The place was packed


Not only are there the restaurants with the tasting menu, but there are also stalls selling Olive Oil, Olives, Dukkah, Chocolate, Cakes, and so on and so forth.


You buy books of “Crowns” in books of 10 or 30, $1 = 1 Crown

It’s a clever gimmick because most people will have left over crowns.

Some of the stalls allowed you to mix and match crowns and cash (thus my purchase of Lighthouse olive oil infused with Grapefruit)


My menu went as follows


(Longrain) – Glass noodle salad with Crystal Bay pawns, chili jam, peanuts & mint

Verdict: Sold out before I got there


(The Courthouse) – Cabonade of beef with pomme puree, parsley and caper salad ($10)

Verdict: Delicious.  The beef was soft and rich, on smooth creamy mashed potato in a rich burgundy jus


(The Courthouse) – Marinated char grilled calamari, sauce vierge and watercress ($12)

Verdict: Really light, perfectly cooked hood of calamari, with a light zesty sauce.  Perfect for a picnic


(Fifteen) – Pork sausage with chili and garlic on a caponata di melanzane (a Sicilian eggplant relish) ($10)

Verdict: Hot and Tasty, the eggplant relish was a perfect accompaniment

(Note, they also offered a Rotolo, which I’ve had before – see the entry re: Fifteen)


(The Press Club) – Spring Bay mussels spankopita ($12)

Verdict: I have to say, this was the most disappointing dish of the night.  It was a great idea that just didn’t work.  The mussels were over cooked and overpowered by the shells surrounding them being stuffed with the spanakopita mixture.  They were served on a bed of warm chick peas which did not compliment the dish at all


(The Botanical) – The Botanical Wagyu Burger ($12)

Verdict: Juice, tasty with nice hot mustard that made the nostrils tingle. Very rich, so the little burger was more than enough


(The Stokehouse) – Blue swimmer crab chowder with pangrattato, chives & Spanish pepper crème fraiche ($10)

Verdict: To be honest, I was disappointed.  The flavor and texture were excellent, but it wasn’t the flavor of crab and I couldn’t find any crab in it.  It was a shame, as it suggested a crabby (in a good way) experience, which it didn’t deliver.


(The Press Club) – “Hellenic Republic” lamb souvlaki ($10)

Verdict: One of the best tastes of the night and probably the best value.  A hot fresh Turkish bread pocked with freshly grilled lamb, horseradish mayo, rocket, red onion and – a great touch – fresh fries.  Satisfying and delish

Last but not least


(Lindt) – Chocolate Cheesecake ($6)

Verdict: Rich, decadent and the final nail in the coffin.


I was so full by the end of it and I didn’t get to try a fifth of the dishes on offer

Next year I plan so save up and then go to the whole festival (Thursday through Sunday) which would allow me to try close to every dish.


What a night!


I didn’t eat till 4pm the next day, and all I could manage was a small bowl of fruit salad and a glass of water!



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