The Chef Series Progressive Dinner @ Collins Square

Nestled within the heart of Melbourne's thriving Collins Street business district is Collins Square Hospitality Group's hub of award winning restaurant brands Chiara, Bar Nacional and Long Shot Café.  To complement the group's iconic restaurants comes Collins Square Catering and the Collins Square Cellar, outstanding hospitality services for discerning inner Melbourne foodies. From your morning coffee fix, to Spanish tapas and VIP sommelier experiences, Collins Square Hospitality Group offers a little something for every foodie.

Gastrology recently enjoyed an intimate 'Progressive Dinner' where we sampled the finest food and beverage from Collins Square Hospitality Group in an intimate dinner hosted by each of the executive and head chefs in their respective venues.

First stop: Canapés @ Collins Square Catering
Compressed watermelon, Yarra Valley feta, aged balsamic, oregano 

Our evening began with canapés in the catering kitchen. Collins Square Catering is Melbourne's most convenient events and catering offering, with a seamless process from ordering through to delivery.
Slow cooked duck 'empanada', blood orange mayonnaise

Our favourite canapé was the Duck empanada. The wonderfully flaky empanadas were filled with melt in your mouth slow cooked duck and served alongside blood orange mayonnaise. Topped with sesame seeds for some added texture, the empanadas were just beautiful.

Second stop: Entree @ Bar Nacional
Bar Nacional pays homage to the most celebrated aspects of Spanish food culture: a lively atmosphere, community, quality ingredients, careful preparation, and the fast-paced variety of flavours and creative combinations achievable with dishes designed especially to share. 

The Bar Nacional menu re-interprets a range of Spanish classics in new and exciting ways, with Head Chef Scott Spence dishing up traditional Carrasco guijuelo Iberian bellota and a creative play on crema catalana.
Smoked ham hock and fennel bomba

The bomba had a wonderfully crisp exterior which combined beautifully with the smoked ham hock which provided salinity to the dish while the creamy fennel ensured that the dish had requisite balance.
Perrito caliente - guindillas, pork crackling

We loved this Spanish take on the hot dog. Sandwiched between buttery brioche buns are juicy chorizo sausages, complete with indulgent sauces and decadent pork crackling. These rolls wantonly disregard the current trend towards healthy eating and, as a result, are abundantly flavoursome.

Third stop: Main @ Chiara
Chiara's menu pays homage to the authentic Italian culinary culture, with a modern Melbourne twist. The restaurant's impressive wine list boasts a decadent selection of Italian wines, champagne, local favourites and rare, aged options alongside aperitivo style cocktails. 
For those looking for an exclusive experience, Chiara's semi-private cellar room offers bespoke dining with personal menus and matched beverages for up to 18 guests.
Braised rabbit saddle, carrot, cardamom, guanciale & rock oysters

A myriad of well-balanced flavours enveloped the rabbit meat which was well cooked, juicy and tender. It was a rich and complex dish that worked superbly.

Fourth stop: Dessert @ Long Shot
Rumoured to be the best cafe West-of-Spencer, the team behind Long Shot understands that Melburnians take their coffee seriously, with expert baristas pouring a morning brew of coffee roasted by St Ali. 
Coconut ice pops, passion fruit curd, baby basil

All sweet treats are made in-house daily by pastry guru Maria Lantelme. 
From left: Brown butter panacotta, Canadian Maple croissant croutons; Caramelised chocolate puff pastry, cherry ice cream, vanilla powder

A local lunch haunt for fresh sandwiches, healthy salads, baked goods and treats to cap off your afternoon cravings, Long Shot has spoils for every palate.
Madeleines & caneles

We loved each of the sweet treats we indulged in. Each were a decadent interpretation of classic French and Italian creations that had been carefully handcrafted.
Find out more about Collins Square here.

Contact CSHG

Collins Square Hospitality Group:

Chiara Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bond Melbourne

The new Bond Melbourne set to shine as the city’s most glamorous event space and entertainment venue.

The venue recently received a $5 million facelift which has resulted in a luxurious venue complete with decadent gold-coloured brass curtains, gold-studded lounges and gold lighting, curated by leading design company Hachem. 
Devoid of dark corners but with its own mysterious edge, Bond Melbourne’s unique design space is completely curved, from the bars and fittings, to the walls, roof and retractable curved glass door, creating a flowing space that can be opened up as one area or elegantly divided into seven private and intimate sections.
We loved toasting to the end of another working week at Bond Bar in one of their booths where waiters and waitresses, elegantly dressed in black wafted around the moodily lit area delivering seamless service.

One of the main highlights from our evening at Bond Bar was indulging in their Liquid Nitrogen cocktails. A new menu feature, the Liquid Nitrogen cocktails are a first for the drinks industry in Melbourne. 
Mixologist extraordinaire Jack Coombes entertained us with his skilful making of the classic Amaretto Sour but with a liquid nitrogen twist. 
We enjoyed the theatre of clouds of smoke overflowing from the bucket, quickly revealing a “sorbet” of sorts. 
The proof really is in the tasting - it was delicious
We also enjoyed delicious canapés throughout the night of our visit. Hammer & Tong caters exclusively for major events at Bond while an array of rotating restaurants offer catering for the weekly Friday Bond Unwind sessions.
A new Melbourne institution, unlike any seen before. Bond Melbourne brings a new level of luxury with mix of LA-style service and Dubai-style glamour.

Location: 24 Bond St, Melbourne
Phone: (03) 9629 9844

Click to add a blog post for Bond Lounge Bar on Zomato

Gastrology bloggers visited courtesy of Bond Melbourne.
Images courtesy of Meagan HardingRosanna Faraci and Shania Shegedyn.

Hobba's autumn menu launch

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Hobba.
Boasting a vibrant industrial space, Hobba is an impressive operation in Prahran which delivers honest, locally produced food with big flavour.
Autumn is upon us and Hobba have pulled together an invitingly new and warm menu to bring us into the season. Gastrology were invited along to a first tasting of this autumn menu.

The driving force behind Hobba’s food and drink offerings is head chef, Rhys Hunter. Starting his career early at Giuseppe Arnaldo and Sons in Melbourne and moving onto North Bondi Italian in
Sydney, both by the Iceburgs Group, Rhys has gained an impressive resume. 
With over a decade of cooking experience under his belt, this young chef has taken a fresh and exciting approach with his dishes at Hobba. 
Hobba’s Vietnamese ‘Banh mi’

Hobba’s rendition of the Vietnamese pork banh mi was the highlight of our evening. The sweet and buttery brioche buns crunchy bread roll was shimmered with pâté and filled with generous serves of marinated cooked pork loin, topped with Asian greens, fresh chilli and the most delectable pork crackling crumb. It was both fresh and very tasty.
Pan seared snapper 
served with cauliflower puree, potato gratin, asparagus and heirloom beets and purple cauliflower 

While the flavours of the dish were simple, the quality of the snapper was exemplary. The skin of the fish was perfectly seared to be very crisp while the flesh was delicate and moist. It was a wonderfully simple dish that allowed the natural subtle sweetness of the fish to be enjoyed.
Wild mushrooms
Woodear, enoki and oyster mushrooms, served with sherry jus, green chives and a slow poached egg (65 degrees Celsius)

A perfectly poached (at 65 degrees) egg was accompanied by a generous serve of exceedingly plump mushrooms, a top a slice of crunchy grilled bread. 
Chili con carne
Served with 10-hour confit brisket and goats cheese croquette. Topped with a slow poached egg (65 degree Celsius) and shaved dark chocolate. 
Alfa Feast
Southern style slow cooked pulled pork served with fried eggs, fresh alfalfa salad and pear cider reduction hollandaise. 

The feature component of this respectable assembly of breakfast items was the Southern style slow cooked pulled pork. Imparting a unique flavour from the use of southern spices, it was beautifully tender, and was slathered in a beautiful BBQ sauce. The alfalfa was a great addition which brought a lovely freshness to the dish. 

Fluffy with some real "height", the hotcakes was adorned with seasonal berries, whipped mascarpone, honeycomb, vanilla bean and house-made maple syrup. A simple breakfast favourite that amalgamates the best things in life. 

We took home a little gift from Hobba to enjoy the next day... 
Classic brownie

The classic brownie was perhaps one of the best we have ever tried. Possessing the perfect exterior crunchy layer with a dense cakey layer to follow before a perfectly gooey interior.  It was captivating!
Hobba’s new menu caters for all tastebuds. Whether you’re after clean superfoods, something healthy but a little cheeky or simply downright dirty to cure that hangover, Hobba has you sorted.

Location: 428 Malvern Road  Prahran
Phone: 03 9510 8336
Cuisine: Breakfast, International, Modern Australian

Hobba on Urbanspoon

‘MATCHED’ @ The Boulevard

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of The Boulevard and Cake Wines.
Cake Wines recently launched ‘MATCHED’, a celebration of kitchens that don’t live in the limelight.
The campaign runs through-out July-Aug-Sept and is about celebrating “kitchens that don’t live in the limelight”, hearing stories from the chefs that run them, and giving some much needed love, and exposure, to the restaurants, cafes, tapas/wine bars and gastro pubs that sometimes get drowned out by the celebrity driven food world.
Cake Wines is a newish, contemporary winery from the Adelaide Hills made up of a couple of young wine makers and young wine lovers. Working with over 50 venues nationally, Cake has approached chefs / venues / owners to match their favourite dishes to any one of Cakes’ existing wines. Cake will dedicate their social media network to sharing some of these inspiring food and wine stories across the 3 months.
As part of the ‘MATCHED’ campaign, Gastrology were privileged to visit The Boulevard. A unique venue which offers beautiful views of Melbourne’s skyline and the local Studley Park precinct, the Boulevard is located a mere 10 minutes from the CBD. 
The menu features modern Australian cuisine which showcases the finest ingredients carefully selected from local and imported suppliers.
Whipped goat cheese with onion compote, house made dukkah and toasted olive sourdough

This was a scrumptious start. We enjoyed the prominent tartness of the goats cheese which was complemented by the sweet onion compote. 
House made gnocchi with mustard butter, fried sage and shaved grana padano

The beautifully pan fried gnocchi was wonderfully light and captivating with its fragrant sage aroma and lingering rich grana padano flavour.
Crispy skin barramundi with king prawn, sautéed spinach and prawn bisque

The quality of the barramundi was exemplary. The skin of the fish was perfectly seared to be very crisp while the flesh was delicate and moist. It was a dish that allowed the natural subtle sweetness of the fish to be enjoyed. The prawn bisque boasted a decadent depth of flavour and was the perfect accompaniment to the fish, king prawn and melt in your mouth spinach.
Slow braised beef cheeks in a red wine sauce, white bean puree, caramelised onions and crispy pancetta

The slow braised beef cheek was excellent – a memorable dish combining flawless texture with equally superlative flavours.
The matching wine, the Cake Wines Pinot Noir 2012 was the perfect match to the slow braised beef cheek. A supple and approachable wine, the summer fruit flavours and subtle spice notes complemented the earthy braising sauce and the sweetness of the onions. 
Banana and sticky date pudding with butterscotch, organic vanilla bean ice-cream, walnut praline

Consistent with the preceding courses, the banana and sticky date pudding was well made and decadently coated in copious amounts of rich butterscotch sauce. It was a lovely rendition of a classic dessert.
With a lovely relaxed ambience, cheerful wait staff and award winning Modern Australian cuisine, The Boulevard is an ideal venue to laze away the afternoon.  

Location: 121 Studley Park Road, Kew
Phone: 03 9852 8144
Cuisine: Modern Australian, Coffee, Breakfast/Brunch

The Boulevard on Urbanspoon

Autumn @ Rochford Winery Restaurant

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Rochford.
Rochford possesses all of the requisite elements to deliver an enchanting experience not found in the hustle and bustle of Melbourne. Our expectations of Rochford are fostered not only by its excellent reputation, but by our own experiences on each of our previous visits. Our unwavering eagerness to return speaks volumes about how highly we regard this wonderful winery restaurant.
As the winter month approaches, the Yarra Valley is transformed into a stunning scene with golden autumn leaves adorning the vines.
Despite having eaten at Rochford countless times already, it continues to draw us back time and again and has rightfully claimed a spot in our favourite restaurants of all time.
The dining area is spacious, modern and elegant, exuding an air of calm. The glass windows encasing the dining area allow the sun to trickle in and present magical views out to the Rochford vineyard and the broader Yarra Ranges.

The sense of true hospitality is palpable, echoed in the modern Australian menu prepared using high quality, fresh ingredients which are often locally sourced. The service is always friendly and efficient.
We decided to share a bottle of the 2010 YV “La Droite”. A 50% Merlot 50% Cabernet Franc blend named with reference to the Bordeaux “Right Bank”, it was a beautiful drop.   
Not only does the arrival of the autumn season mean the beginning of Vintage harvest at Rochford Wines Yarra Valley, but it also marks the arrival of a new menu at Isabella’s Restaurant created by Head Chef Ciaran Butler. The menu is extremely well-priced. From $55 for 2 courses, the value proposition is compelling.
Galway born, Ciaran has worked in several Michelin star restaurants throughout Europe and Asia. His experience extends from working under the great John Kelly at Ardilaun House Hotel in Ireland to time spent at Crown Casino and the Yarra Valley Grand Hotel.

 As usual, each dish was cooked perfectly.
Kingfish ceviche 
a ceviche of Australian kingfish with sea grapes, pickled radish, yuzu jel & seaweed powder 

We commenced our dining experience with a beautifully presented ceviche. The citrus cured fish was embellished with sea grapes. The pickled radish added a wonderful touch to what was an enlivening combination of ingredients.
Local beetroots & Goats curd 
Local beetroots, with Yarra Valley goats curd foam, pine nuts 

The entrée of goat’s curd and beetroot had perfectly balanced flavours. 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.
Tasmanian salmon fillet 
Oven baked fillet of salmon with Port Phillip Bay mussels, Rochford Chardonnay Marinières sauce, potato stones & sea asparagus 

The salmon skin was beautifully crisp and the flesh was deliciously moist and tender. The accompanying sea asparagus was a delicious addition. A coastal succulent, the sea asparagus provided delicious bursts of saltiness.
220g Wagyu Rump
Marble score 9 rump with horseradish potato puree, baby leeks, pearl onions and Rochford Pinot Noir jus 

The accompaniments of horseradish potato puree, baby leeks, pearl onions and the famous Rochford Pinot Noir Jus worked wonderfully to draw out the robust beefiness of the Wagyu. A light searing ensured that it was lined with a thin crisp layer packed with caramelised beef flavour. The meat was intense with characteristic wagyu notes and a deep earthy richness. Texturally, it was sublime with a decadent melt in the mouth, almost buttery, consistency.
Death by chocolate 
chocolate sponge, Belgium chocolate ganache, griottine cherries, hazelnut praline powder 

The visually attractive “Death by chocolate” was a magnificent layered creation. The mixture of the light chocolate sponge, together with the intense richness of the ganache and the tartness from the griottine cherries produced a balanced and delectable dessert.
Yarra valley apple pie 
Warm individual apple pie with crème anglaise, vanilla bean ice-cream & toffee apple 

The apple pie was a decadent end to our visit. The soft centre of caramelised apples combined with the perfect biscuit pastry and decadent vanilla ice cream was simply stunning. Served with crisp toffee apple, this dessert was sublime. 
Rochford Yarra Valley's delicious menu which showcases the freshest and finest Yarra Valley produce provides the perfect excuse to escape to Victoria’s Yarra Valley and enjoy the views overlooking the vineyards.
Location: 878 - 880 Maroondah Hwy Coldstream
Times and Prices: 
  • Monday – Saturday Two course meal ($55) or Three Courses ($63)
  • Sunday and Public Holidays Two course meal ($65) or Three Courses ($73)
Phone: 03 5962 2119
Cuisine: Modern Australian, French, Seafood

Rochford Winery Restaurant on Urbanspoon

#SAXITUP launches @ Royal Saxon

Images courtesy of APL PHOTOGRAPHY.
To celebrate the start of the bone chilling Melbourne Winter, Royal Saxon are SAXing Up your Friday nights.
On Friday the 16th of May, Royal Saxon celebrated the start of #SAXITUP Fridays with plenty of libations, delicious canapes and tunes from DJs Piero, Funky Col and Rowie.
Think good tunes, Spiced Apple Cider cocktails & Laurent Perrier Champagne upstairs at the Saxon - All available from 8 PM every Friday.
When: From 8 PM every Friday
Location: 545 Church Street, Richmond
Phone: 03 9429 5277
Cuisine: Italian, Pub/Bar Food, Coffee

A weekend away @ Lake House

A weekend away @ Lake House

Needing very little introduction, Lake House is one of Australia's finest luxury retreats and destination restaurants. A world away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Lake House is perched on the edge of Lake Daylesford amongst six acres of beautiful gardens.

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Media launch of Nespresso’s new Boutique Melbourne store @ Vue de monde

Gastrology bloggers dined coutesy of Nespresso and Vue de monde.
Gastrology was invited to celebrate the opening of Nespresso’s new Boutique store in Melbourne’s newly opened premium shopping destination, Emporium. After a media briefing where we were acquainted with the new store and Nespresso’s latest additions (read more about the new Boutique store here), we were whisked away to a decadent Nespresso-inspired brunch at Vue de monde.
view from Vue de monde
The bespoke menu was crafted by Vue de monde’s Head Chef and Nespresso Ambassador, Shannon Bennett.
As part of the ambassador role, Vue de monde has been serving Nespresso coffee to restaurant and event guests.
The brunch started with a delicious selection of canapés. The truffle marshmallow was a particular highlight. We loved the intense aroma and flavour of the truffles and the delicious chewy texture of the perfectly shaped marshmallows. 
Duck yolk, pear, truffle  

The dish of duck yolk, pear and truffle was inspiring. The velvety egg yolk combined to produce an intensely rich dish. It was an excellent starter which typified the multi-faceted Vue de monde style of cooking.
Spanish Mackeral, coffee, potato and Nespresso Arpeggio Grand Cru

Superbly cooked, the pieces of white fish were succulent and sweet. The flavours were subtle and earthy. We loved how well the coffee synergised and brought a beautifully balanced flavour profile to the dish with its aromatic allure.
The brunch concluded with arpeggio espressos which were served with delightful doughnuts and signature Vue de monde lamingtons. The Arpeggio's strong character and intense body made it the perfect coffee to have with the sweet treats.
Read about Nespresso’s new luxury boutique at the Emporium here.

Vue de Monde on Urbanspoon

Event: Wyncity Launch @ Point Cook

Gastrology attended the event as guests of WYNCITY.

Gastrology attended the media launch of WYNCITY over the weekend. WYNCITY is a brand-new world-class bowling and family entertainment centre which has just opened in Point Cook.
Offering the latest in tenpin bowling, world-class Laserforce laser tag, bumper cars, pool tables, mini golf and an amazing range of arcade games, WYNCITY is Australia’s newest venue for action-packed indoor recreation.

A short stroll from Williams Landing train station, WYNCITY is a multi-configurable 6000m² venue for both public entertainment and private functions.

Owned and operated by the Scolaro family, WYNCITY has been an iconic bowling and entertainment centre in Werribee for the past 30 years. The family’s decision to expand and move their successful business to the new Point Cook site has been five years in the making.

Designed by the renowned BB Design Group and incorporating murals by famed Canadian artist Trev Fury, the leading-edge Point Cook venue positions WYNCITY at the forefront of family entertainment in Victoria.
Combining the latest interactive entertainment technology sourced from across the globe with the Scolaro family’s expertise in leisure management, the new WYNCITY will draw crowds from far and wide.v

WYNCITY’s 24 lanes of QubicaAMF tenpin bowling feature 42-inch monitors, iPad scoring systems with Facebook check-in, latest PlayStation-like bowling games, built-in cameras and are serviced by virtual waiters. It will be bowling your way.
The Laserforce arena provides guests adrenaline-packed adventure. With capacity for 24 people per mission, WYNCITY’s technologically advanced laser tag is complete with awesome props, easy-to-use weapons and a pumping soundtrack.

Among the range of arcade games at WYNCITY is Australia’s first ever Time Freak attraction, a thrilling race against the clock in a vibrant UV-coloured room.

Spread over two levels, WYNCITY offers activities for everyone from small children to adults and offers facilities for kids’ parties and adult birthdays as well as corporate events and conferences for up to 70 people.
The new location includes a full service restaurant bar facilities featuring wood-fired pizza. WYNCITY has parking for up to 85 cars and is easily accessible by public transport. The venue is only a five-minute walk from Williams Landing train station, which is a 30-minute journey from Southern Cross Station.

Gastrology bloggers visited WYNCITY as guests.

Restaurant Review: Sichuan House Seafood

Location: 395 Victoria Street, Abbotsford
Phone: 03 9913 6235
Link: Facebook page
Cuisine: Chinese, Asian
Overall Impression: 8/10
Sichuan House serves up specialties from the far reaches of Western China, where the freezing climate encourages the copious use of chilli and peppers from the prickly ash tree.
The warmly lit dining room, combined with the warmth of restaurant manager Jerry, set the scene for what was a truly delightful dinner. The pace, the presentation, the service, and the food were wonderful. 
Gongbaojiding (also known as Kung pao chicken -  spicy stir-fry dish made with chicken, peanuts, vegetables and chili peppers) 

The Kung Pao chicken was moreish. The tender chicken pieces were cooked with red chilli oil, peanuts and chopped spring onions. This was a very flavoursome, spicy dish which paired beautifully with rice. 
Steamed barramundi in pickled chilli sauce

The steamed barramundi in pickled chilli sauce was lovely. Supple and moist, the fish soaked up the distinctive minty-pine Sichuan spice. 
Cummin pork ribs (fried braised pork spare ribs tossed in cumin and spicy salt)

The cumin pork ribs were fatty, soft and beautifully caramelised - a guilty indulgence. 
Yuxing eggplant (deep fried eggplant strips in yuxiang sauce)

The roughly sliced eggplant strips were crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and coated in deliciously sticky and spicy yuxiang sauce. 
Xiao long baos (steamed mini buns filled with pork mince and broth) 

The xiao long baos were tasty and brought back memories from our recent trip to China - the filling was succulent and the translucent broth reduction rich. 
Red bean, sesame seed and green tea ice cream
Ice cream filled mochi (ice cream filled rice cakes made of glutinous rice)

For dessert, an assiete of ice cream and mochis really hit the spot and cooled us down following the fiery savoury courses. 
All of the dishes we sampled at Sichuan House were exemplars of the gutsy, fragrant and fiery Sichuan approach to cooking. The dishes exhibited complexity, depth of flavour and a skilful use of spice, truly showcasing the multi-dimensional cuisine born from Sichuan province. We cannot wait to return. 

Sichuan House Seafood on Urbanspoon

For a similarly enjoyable Sichuan dining experience in the CBD, check out their restaurant on Corrs lane:
Sichuan House on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Sichuan House Seafood.

Restaurant Review: FOG Bar and Restaurant

Location: 142 Greville Street, Prahran
Phone: 03 9521 3155
Cuisine: American, Modern Australian, Wine Bar, Breakfast/Brunch
Overall Impression: 9/10
It's a Friday night and FOG Bar and Restaurant is bustling. While most are toasting to the end of another working week, the work is just beginning for the FOG team. 

Waiters and waitresses, elegantly dressed in black waistcoats and ties, waft around the moodily lit dining area delivering seamless service.

Executive Chef Jeremy Sutphin is serving up a lesson in gastronomic diversity, showcasing a range of American inspired cuisine rarely seen in Melbourne. 

And overseeing the whole operation, Sam Frantzeskos (the owner of FOG and mastermind behind its success) is smoothly working the room and ensuring everything runs like clockwork. 
When it comes to restaurants, the ability to surprise is important. Restaurants that can surprise hold your interest and make you want to return time and again. 

After having such an enjoyable time at FOG Bar and Restaurant for the first American Regional Cuisine Monthly Dinner, we found ourselves returning to try the a la carte menu. 

And FOG managed to surprise and delight us again. 
Queensland spanner crab salad, capsicum, tarragon & lemon aioli, beetroot, labne & yarra valley salmon caviar

The crab salad was beautifully presented. The richness of the crab, lemon aioli and the salmon caviar was offset by the interspersed chunks of capsicum, which provided a crisp freshness. The intensely flavoured beetroot purée acted as a ribbon tying the whole dish together. 
King Prawn Tostadas 
guajillo chilli, avocado, tomato, chipotle aioli & tortilla chips 

Fine dining meets comfort food, the king prawn tostadas were nothing short of delicious. The plump prawns were fresh and cooked perfectly, and much to their credit, were able to remain dominant whilst in the company of guajillo chilli, avocado, tomato and chipotle aioli. 
Beer battered zucchini flowers, stuffed with goats cheese & watermelon salsa 
Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi 
jalapeno, toasted sesame, red onion & raw soy 

The yellowfin tuna sashimi was succulent and strikingly ruby red. The square presentation and use of jalapeño, toasted sesame and red onion challenged our preconceptions of how sashimi should be served, but the dish was a great success - harmonious and texturally delightful.
Fish Tacos 
spiced rockling on soft corn tortillas, charred tomato salsa, avocado & shredded lettuce 

The fish taco (a dish that has developed quite a cult following) impressed. The spiced rockling was beautifully cooked and sat atop a warm tortilla that had been canvassed with deliciously charred tomato salsa and creamy avocado. 
Cone Bay (WA) wild barramundi fillets, roasted king brown mushrooms, buttery leeks, wilted rocket & balsamic glaze 

Although only a special, the barramundi deserves a permanent place on the FOG menu. Seared beautifully on the outside and wonderfully moist on the inside, the barramundi was stunning. The roasted mushrooms and the buttery, soft leeks were the perfect accompaniment. A profoundly delicious dish displaying great technique. It is no exaggeration to say this would not have been out of place in a 3 hat restaurant.
Pan Roasted Duck Breast  
pearl cous cous, beetroot, pea tendrils & peach glaze 

The pan roasted duck reveals another side to Sutphin. Contrasting starkly to the elegance of the barramundi dish, the duck was rustic. The peach glaze is vibrant and sweet, and pairs well with pearl cous cous, beetroot and pea tendrils - complex but not complicated. 
Roasted beetroot, marinated feta, cumin & maple vinaigrette 
There is clear energy radiating from the FOG kitchen. Sutphin's well-considered approach is also applied to desserts. 
Hazelnut panna cotta 
freeze dried strawberries, brandy white chocolate chantilly & chocolate crunch 

The pannacotta was textured perfectly - barely, but surely, holding its shape. Mildly flavoured, the creamy pannacotta was cut by the lovely tartness of the freeze dried strawberries. 
Mexican dark chocolate molten cake 
roast almond ice cream & spice poached pears

The Mexican dark chocolate cake was a decadent end to the meal. Extremely rich and moist, yet not overly sweet, and with an oozing chocolate centre. Pure indulgence. 
FOG surprised us again with the quality, diversity and inventiveness of the dishes on offer. This ability to introduce new, American inspired flavour combinations in relaxed, understated but elegant surroundings is unmatched in Melbourne. And so the only thing that’s not surprising about FOG is the desire to return and do it all over again. 

Fog on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of FOG.

Event Review: FOG's American Regional Cuisine Monthly Dinners

Location: 142 Greville Street,  Prahran
Phone: 03 9521 3155
Cuisine: Modern Australian, Wine Bar, Breakfast/Brunch
Overall Impression: 8.5/10
Just off Greville Street in Prahran, FOG Bar and Restaurant (FOG) immediately transports you to a world of old school luxury, combined with a dash of the ultra-modern.

The moody colour scheme and lighting create an ambience of subdued elegance, accented by pairs of small Art Deco style lamps that sit at regular intervals along the vast wooden bar lining one side of the dining room. A wonderful contrast is provided by the bright red flocked twig chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and skilful use of mirrors. 

Gastrology bloggers were privileged to be invited to FOG’s (first of ten) American Regional Cuisine Monthly Dinners

The 10 monthly dinners celebrate the increased awareness of American Regional Cuisine in Australia and showcase the enormous variety from the many states and regions of the USA. 
Jeremy Sutphin, Executive Chef at FOG (left) and Sam Frantzeskos, owner of FOG (right) 

Originally from Montgomery Alabama, Jeremy Sutphin (Executive Chef at FOG) worked under Mark Miller at New Mexico’s renowned Coyote Café, famed for inventing southwest cuisine. Staying true to his roots, Sutphin has designed a modern Australian menu drawing heavily from the flavours of south-western USA. 

The resulting flavour combinations, whilst unashamedly avant-garde, work. Each course was well thought out, wonderfully balanced and interesting. Sutphin’s classical French training is also clear as each course is presented with elegance and finesse. 
Ahi tuna poke, sriracha aioli, raw soy, spring onion, cucumber & wakame
Beef tataki, ponzu sauce, green papaya, Thai basil, chilli, capsicum & crispy shallots

The two main courses were particular standouts. 
Miso glazed hapuka fillets, black rice, broccolini & coconut kaffir lime broth

The miso glazed hapuka fillets were soft and moist, and when combined with the black rice and coconut kaffir lime broth, yielded a stunning explosion of flavour. 
Ginger beef eye fillet, shitake mushrooms, miso baby bok choy & wasabi potatoes

The ginger beef eye fillet was beautifully tender and perfectly cooked. The use of miso was a masterstroke, resulting in the dish being loaded with umami - absolutely moreish. 
Haupia, coconut pudding, caramelised pineapple & dark rum sponge cake
Green tea crème brulee with macadamia nut cookies.

The service at FOG was just how it should be - extremely attentive, warm and unobtrusive. 

FOG Bar and Restaurant delivers excellent, unique food in a wonderfully understated, elegant setting. It provides a perfect backdrop to meet with friends over a cocktail (or three) and treat yourself to some of the good things in life.
The next American Regional Cuisine Monthly Dinner at FOG is on Thursday the 4th of April. This dinner will feature New England cuisine which originates from the Northeastern Region in the United States. The menu features mouth-watering items like Grilled New York strip steak, succotash, braised chard & “old bay” demi glace and “Boston cream pie”!

Fog on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of FOG.

Review: Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat & The Argus Dining Room

Location: 124 Main Road, Hepburn Springs
Phone: 03 5348 4199
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat is located in and amongst scenic Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges.

The surroundings are serene, making it the perfect venue for a relaxing weekend away. 
In terms of foodie delights, the Argus Dining Room which is located within the grounds of Peppers Mineral Springs retreat boasts delicious Modern Australian fare with a focus on freshly sourced regional produce. 
I was fortunate enough to enjoy a lovely dinner catered by The Argus Dining Room at the Conservatory. 
Tartar of salmon, with olive and green apple 
Istra smoked ham hock, 63 degree egg and pea soup 
Wild Barramundi fillet, black bean, asparagus and hollandaise 
Birch Estate Lamb 2 ways, heirloom carrots, salted lemon and garlic 
Buttermilk, rhubarb, strawberries, cracked pepper
Honey poached pears, ginger bread, pollen, royal jelly and honeycomb 

The dining experience was very pleasant. Each dish showcased local produce that was executed very well. We were impressed by the good balance of flavours and nicely added textures that came with every course.
The Argus Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Restaurant reviews: Persimmon and Kri Kri Greek Restaurant (Christmas functions)


Phone: 03 8620 2434
Location: NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Overall Impression: 7/10

It’s the first week of December but Christmas celebrations have started as early as mid-November for me. The first one was a cocktail party at Persimmon at NGV. 

As far as function finger food went it was brilliant. The night featured an array of delicious items including freshly-shucked oysters served with Japanese seaweed salad, perfectly battered calamari and lovely desserts including the above pictured raspberry soufflé. What a great start to the festive season!

Persimmon on Urbanspoon

Kri Kri Mezethopoleion

Phone: 03 9639 3444
Location: 41 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Cuisine: Greek
Overall Impression: 7/10
Named after the Cretan mountain goat found on the island of Crete in Greece, Kri Kri celebrates Greek cuisine with authentic and fresh food in a relaxed environment.

Mixed Dips - Varied dips
Piperies Xithantes - Marinated roasted peppers

We had their “Dinner Banquet #1”. 

Saganaki - Grilled Kefalograviera cheese with lemon
Octopothi - Chargrilled octopus
Giganthes - Lima beans braised with tomato and onion
Calamari Lemonato - Deep fried lemon marinated calamari
Loukanika - Grilled spicy pork and orange sausage
Patates Sto Fourno - Oven baked potatoes with lemon and oregano
Elleniki Salata - Greek salad
Keftethes - Chargrilled meatballs
Kotopoulo Scaras - Chargrilled chicken skewers

It was the perfect casual Christmas venue. Everyone was very pleased with the food – everything tasted fresh, authentic and was flavoursome. The servings were incredibly generous - most of us struggled getting out of our seats after our meal! The waitstaff were polite and helpful (although the service was a tad slow).

Kri Kri Mezethopoleion on Urbanspoon