Woodland House

When you arrive at Woodland House, a mere first glance makes you understand why new owners Thomas Woods and Hayden McFarland have decided to continue their stint at the old Jacques Reymond location. 

Sumptuous statement chandeliers, show plates on crisp white linen, well-spaced tables and noise levels at a muted hum capture the luxury and ambience of a bi-gone era creating the perfect setting for opulent fine dining. 
While Jacques Reymond has left the building, one thing is certain - the breathtaking mansion continues to honour its glamorous past, with an evolving epicurean offering.
The dynamic menu features local producers and showcases top ingredients cooked in a manner which allows their natural flavours to shine through.
Rockling, crab emulsion, almond
Matched with: 2011 Tarrawarra ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Australia

The rockling was served in a beautiful sea of crab emulsion. The fillet had been cooked at very low temperatures for an extended period and, as a result, retained slightly gelatinous characteristics. The flesh was extremely delicate and communicated many of its natural flavours. It was a beautiful start to our dining experience.
John Dory, sheep’s whey, bottarga, dill
Matched with: Grüner Veltliner ‘Von Stein’, Saloman Undhof, Kremstal DAC Reserve, Austria

The John Dory was perfectly cooked – its skin was crisp and the underlying flesh was tender and succulent. 
Snail, pig tail
Matched with: 2011 Etna Rosso, ‘Archiner’ Pietradolce DOC, Sicily, Italy

The beautifully composed dish of snail and pig tail was highlighted by its feature components that were each expertly prepared. 
Spatchcock, Jerusalem artichoke, black garlic
Matched with: 2013 Sumur Rouge, Domaine Guiberteau, Loire Valley, France

The spatchcock was silky, courtesy of being cooked to perfection. The natural gaminess of the spatchcock was showcased alongside the subtly sweet Jerusalem artichoke puree. 
Shortrib, sweetbreads, kohlrabi
Matched with: 2010 Agricola Punica ‘Barrua’ IGT, Sardinia, Italy

The shortrib was tender and delicious, with caramel undertones courtesy of being slow-braised. Paired with an earthy and luxurious sauce, the shortrib fell away at the weight of our forks whilst still retaining its integrity. The perfectly cooked sweetbreads were a great accompaniment. It was a magnificent dish.
Cheese, boudin noir

Our cheese dish was a cheese sensation that demonstrated memorable dishes can often be very simple. In this instance, a slice of an amalgamation of cow and sheep milk cheese was topped with fried black pudding and crisps. 
Celeriac, macadamia milk sorbet, fermented pineapple
Matched with: 2014 Singlefile Frankland River Riesling Botrytis, Great Southern, Australia

A wonderfully imaginative dessert concluded our meal. The dessert featured a truly novel flavour combination of celeriac, macadamia milk and fermented pineapple that succeeded.  
Under the guidance of Woods and McFarland, 78 Williams Rd, Prahran continues to be a timeless fine dining landmark and continues its award-wining food journey.

Location: 78 Williams Road, Prahran
Phone: 03 9525 2178
Cuisine: Modern European, Contemporary

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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Woodland House.

Moo-light in the Jardin

Gastrology bloggers attended the event courtesy of Jardin Tan.
Melbourne chef and entrepreneur Shannon Bennett has extended his passion for food fusion and reinterpretation to include craft beers that also put their own spin on traditional styles.
Bennett formally launched his connection with Tasmanian craft brewery Moo Brew at his newly established “Jardin Tan” eatery at the Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens last week. 
Moo Brew – known for its five premium craft beers and unique sculptural bottles labelled with John Kelly artworks – was the brainchild of fellow visionary entrepreneur David Walsh; the man behind Tasmania’s world-renowned MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art). 
Bennett sees Moo Brew as a great match given their reputation for stylistic beers that transcends core styles – but with their own twist with Jardin Tan which takes French Vietnamese cuisine and imbues it with farm to table philosophy. 
Gastrology was pleased to attend the Moo-light in the Jardin media launch which featured John Kelly artworks plus some new, exciting Bennett sourced artworks from David Teplitzky including Sigalit Landau: 4 Love Heaters, 2012, Heater and neon light, various light installations, launch of the Banh-Mi bikes (custom-made bikes which will deliver food to Jardin patrons around the Tan), Moo Brew installations and styled food.
Mini bo la lot burger

We adored the perfectly matched morsels that went hand-in-hand with beer.
Prawn and sweet potato fritter with pickled green chilli

The fritters had a crunchy golden brown exterior and were succulently sweet - the nuggets of deep fried batter brought pleasure to our taste buds. 

Mark Eather lemongrass fish skewer

The skewers were another highlight. Sufficiently seasoned and flavoursome, the skewers had benefited from sufficient time on the grill to achieve the perfect degree of outer charring.

Vietnamese spring rolls, nouc mam Cham

Bo la lot: Beef mince wrapped in betel leaves

The bite-sized appetiser of betel leaf with beef mince was a medley of aromatic and acidic ingredients and was thoroughly enjoyable.
Crispy tofu, fermented chilli, lemongrass salt
Mini pork Banh mi 

The traditional Vietnamese pork banh mi was a delight. The crunchy bread roll was shimmered with pâté and mayonnaise and filled with generous serves of pork, topped with a salad of sweet pickled carrots, cucumber, coriander and fresh chilli. It was both fresh and very tasty.
We adored the Moo Brew beers. The Dark Ale was our favourite of the bunch. An American Brown ale using resinous hop flavour, the beer was rich and dark with caramel and chocolate notes with a lightly roasted finish - beautiful.
The evening concluded with a decadent array of beautifully made desserts...
With the beautiful  Royal Botanic Gardens as a backdrop, Jardin Tan is at once warm and welcoming. The delicious menu draws influence from the Vietnamese/ French fusion cuisine which makes it perfect for sharing with friends for any occasion whilst knocking back on some delicious Moo Brew craft beer. 
Location: Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9691 3888
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Cocktails, Coffee

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Miss Fitzy's

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Miss Fitzy's.
Located at the beach end of Fitzroy Street, Miss Fitzy’s is relaxed dining at its best, with a flavoursome menu, smart service and enviable streetscape.
The menu focuses on showcasing the best local produce and mouth-watering tastes from the kitchen and the bar. 
The menu created by head chef Lachy Cashman (Circa, Sloaney Pony, Salsa Bar and Grill Port Douglas) has been developed with sharing in mind. Diners can choose from a generous selection of sharing plates, the Family Style Share Mains, individual main courses or tasty bar snacks.  
 Left: Roasted squid, chorizo, parsley, pickled onion
Right: Smoked chicken wings, pork belly, mustard fruits
 Organic tomato, buffalo mozzarella, herbs

Simple, elegant and impactful, the dish of Organic tomato, buffalo mozzarella, herbs was exceptional. We enjoyed the beautifully fresh tomatoes which worked in sync with the buffalo mozzarella, herbs and lifted by the balsamic vinaigrette to produce an enlivening dish.
Left: Grilled Robbins Island Wagyu bavette steak, herbs, potato, egg
Right: Scallops, bacon, truffle, watercress
Grilled goats’ cheese, beetroot, quinoa, hazelnut

We were particularly pleased with our entrée of grilled goat’s cheese with beetroot, quinoa and hazelnut as it had perfectly balanced flavours. The grilling had increased the intensity of the luxurious goat’s cheese and each element of the dish matched the other. The slight acidity from the beetroot brought a lovely tanginess that cut through the creaminess of the cheese. It all came together beautifully.
Left: Whole 1kg crispy fried snapper, asparagus, sauce grenobloise
Right: Cape Grim Black Angus 2+ tri tip, charred onions, roasted carrots, duck fat potato
Smoked Saskia Beer corn fed chicken, roasted celeriac, brussel sprouts

The smoked chicken was another highlight. It was wonderfully tender and beautifully smokey courtesy of Miss Fitzy’s custom-built smoker and curing room which provides a variety of smoked meats, fish, vegetables and ingredients.
Dessert tasting plate

Our meal finished on a high note dessert tasting plate which featured (amongst other delights) a velvety smooth Armagnac ice cream, fluffy cinnamon doughnuts and decadent bitter chocolate. 
Miss Fitzy’s is a welcome addition to St Kilda. With a paddock-to-plate philosophy, Miss Fitzy’s cuisine has a French flair with distinctive Spanish influences that is sure to please. 

Location: 23 Fitzroy St  St Kilda
Phone: 03 9537 1653
Link: http://www.missfitzys.com.au/
Cuisine: French, Modern Australian, Spanish

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