Andreas Gursky, a German photographer, takes large scale colour photographs of scenes of modern life that are often highly detailed. At the exhibition are some fantastic photos – one of my favourites was titled Nha Trang, a shot of a factory floor where woven baskets and chairs are made. Really, you just have to see these photos in person – some are simply astounding – because they are MASSIVE and seeing them in a book or online doesn’t have the same effect.
It would be great to own one of his photos, but alas, (according to Wikipedia) he holds the record for the highest price paid at auction for a single photographic image – a measley GBP 1.7 million in early 2007 for 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001), a shot of a discount store (this is in the exhibition).
It’s the first Australian exhibition of his work and the NGV is the only Australian venue for the show. Andreas Gursky can been seen until 22 February 2009. For more info about him, see his page on artsy.net.
After we had seen enough of the photos, we went to Persimmon for lunch. I had been keen to try Persimmion after reading about visits that other Melbourne food bloggers had made – see Tomatom, 1001 dinners, 1001 nights and Eat (almost) anything.
Persimmion is located at the back of the NGV, overlooking the Grollo Equiset garden. The restaurant only opens at lunchtime (between 11am-4pm, closed Tuesdays).
We were given a selection of some nice warm little rolls.
Benisa started with a mezze plate of green olive tapenade, smoked aubergine puree, marinated mushrooms and artichokes, braised red peppers and toasted ciabatta ($14).
Alastair and I shared a serve of deep fried soft shell school prawns with garlic aioli ($12). Eaten whole, the little prawns were simply done, but delicious! If you’ve ever eaten a prawn head or tail you’ll know the intense the prawn flavour is. We gobbled these up in no time!
After our starters, there was a longer than normal wait for our mains, as the restaurant had filled up.
Ben had the braised ox cheek burger, served with beer battered onion rings and fat chips ($16). This looked great! The meat was fork tender.
Lisa had had the pan fried silver dory, with cauliflower cream, pickled onions, carrot ribbons and watercress ($24).
Alastair had the plats du jour, which on Fridays is pan fried Atlantic salmon with caramelised chicory, citrus fruits and rocket ($28). On the subject of the plats du jour, on Sundays they do a roast of the day with all the trimmings. I’m tempted to go back on a Sunday already!
And I opted for the three onion risotto with sweet white onion puree, red onion marmalade and grilled spring onions ($19). It was pleasant and creamy with the grains still having some firmness. The red onion marmalade was quite sweet.
After a wee rest, we were then on to dessert. The descriptions of the desserts were very intriguing on the menu and I couldn’t let us leave without trying something.
I choose the coconut parfait for Alastair and me – it came with roast pineapple and toasted almonds, sago and “Malibu” foam ($13). Unfortunately, Alastair didn’t like my choice! The desserts seemed much more “inventive” than the rest of the menu and mine was more interesting than delicious. The Malibu foam tasted quite strongly of the liqueur (ie alcoholic) and the roasted pineapple was strongly flavoured (not really a surprise) but was quite good with the nuts. The dessert worked better when the components were eaten together rather than separate, but again, it was more interesting than delicious.
Benisa shared the iced nougat with banana marshmallow and bitter chocolate ($13).
It was a pleasant way to spend an afternoon – it definitely beat going to work! The restaurant and setting is lovely and prices are reasonable. NGV members get a 10% discount.
180 St Kilda Road