The other Saturday, Alastair and I went on a lunch “date” to the Brasserie by Philippe Mouchel (Riverside at Crown).
When we arrived at 12.30, there were only two other tables and we were seated between them at a table by the window. Not a bad seat, but we could easily overhear the other conversations and it felt as if the tables were quite close together.
Al was in a minimal eating mood (whereas I’m always in a big eating mood!) so only I ordered an entrée. I tossed up between the Country style corn-fed chicken liver terrine, with onion jam and toasted sourdough , versus the Snails Provençale tomato fondue, garlic and parsley butter, & puff pastry before deciding on the terrine, as Al didn’t seem keen to share the snails with me.
The terrine (pictured above) was lovely but very rich. It would’ve been great if there was more onions and sourdough toast! Still, I kind of wish I had chosen the snails. I’m sure I could’ve made Al taste one!
One sort of funny note – the knives and forks were set a certain way at each table. The forks were prong down, and the knives had flattened handles that enabled them to stand on their edge. I had moved my fork so that the prongs were up, and when the waiter took away my entrée, he reset my fork properly. Whoops! Naughty me!
For my main, I had the Slow braised Wagyu ox cheek served with truffled mash and carrots (pictured above). Ohmy. This was divine! I put my knife into it and the meat yielded with the bare minimum of pressure. It had been braised in a rich, meaty sauce and was served with truffled mash and baby carrots. The truffled mash was smooth, smooth, smooth, and it was unbelievably gorgeous. I wanted to lick my plate.
Al had the Medley of lamb, Navarin jus, sautéed Winter vegetables (above) – I was too in love with my meal to care about how his was going. But he ate it all, so it must’ve been good!
While we were eating, the restaurant filled up and my initial feelings about the closeness of the tables subsided. When there were more people, the restaurant was filled with a nice buzz from people talking which helped mute any nearby conversations. Unfortunately once the restaurant was a bit busier, it felt like we had become the invisible table! After our mains were cleared we waited at least 15 minutes for someone to offer us a dessert menu. When it was obvious this wasn’t going to happen we had to ask for one – surely I look like a women who won’t leave without dessert?? It was only a minor quibble though.
For dessert, we had the dessert tasting plate (I can never resist small tastes of stuff!). Several cute little desserts – profiteroles, cream brulee, apple tart, chocolate brownie, pistachio & lemon sorbet and some cakey thing. In hindsight, we should’ve started with the sorbets, as they were well on their way to melting by the time we worked our way through to them!
All in all, it was a great lunch and pretty good value. At lunchtime you can do 2 courses for $37.90 or 3 courses for $43.90 with a choice of side dish (a few menu items are excluded, but there’s plenty of choice without them). I would go back just for another taste of that ox cheek… mhmm…. Oh, and the company was tops!