fine dining

Dinner by Heston

Dinner

As I’m sure you’re all aware – because wow was there a lot of (justified) fanfare and excitement – last year the Fat Duck was in Melbourne for several months while its premises in Bray were being renovated.

(Side note: here I’m going to drop a link to my post about our visit to Fat Duck in Bray – look at those terrible photos though!)

But the Fat Duck couldn’t stay in Melbourne forever, and once it moved back to Bray, the space it occupied was changed into Dinner by Heston, a more casual, relaxed eatery. Unlike the Fat Duck, Dinner is ala carte, and serves dishes that are modern interpretations of historic British food.

Dinner seats

Alastair and I had lunch there at the beginning of the year with the regular eating crew (yes, we had lunch at dinner).

There’s about eight starters on the menu, so we picked the six that seemed the most interesting and shared them. You should’ve seen us rotating these dishes around the table. Nerds.

Meat fruit

Meat Fruit (c.1500) – Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread – $38
(C.13th-15th century)

Meat fruit

The meat fruit is probably Dinner’s most famous dish, and while it looked like a mandarin, inside was a very rich and smooth parfait. This is definitely one to share, because while delicious, it was rich.

Marrow

Roast Marrowbone (c.1720) – Snails, parsley, anchovy, mace & pickled vegetables – $36
(1720 The Cook’s and Confectioner’s Dictionary by John Nott)

Rice and flesh

Rice & Flesh (c.1390) – Saffron, curried kangaroo tail, red wine & amaranth – $38
(1390 The Forme of Cury the Master Cooks of King Richard II)

This was basically like a super risotto ramped up with flavour.

Savoury porridge

Savoury Porridge (c.1660) Garlic & parsley butter, grilled abalone, picked beetroot & fennel – $36
(1660 The Whole Body of Cookery Dissected by William Rahisha)

Octopus

Frumenty (c.1390) – Grilled octopus, spelt, pickled red moss, chervil emulsion & smoked sea broth – $38
(1390 The Forme of Cury the Master Cooks of King Richard II)

Cucumber

Marron & Cucumber soup (c.1730) – Cured prawn & roast cucumber salad, golden trout roe, sorrel & grilled onion – $40
(1730 The Complete Practical Cook by Charles Carter)

The marron and cucumber soup was my favourite dish – so refreshing and flavoursome at the same time.

Bread

After looking at the mains, we decided it would be too hard to share them so choose one each. Alastair and I had the pork belly and the lamb. The other mains were also mostly protein heavy: duck, fish, chicken, and three steak options.

Pork belly

Slow cooked Pork Belly (c.1820) – Spelt, lardo, baby turnip & Robert sauce – $56
(1820 based on Careme’s residency in London)

Lamb

Lamb & Cucumber (c.1830) – best end of lamb with with roast cucumber heart, sweetbreads, peas, barilla & mint – $56
(1830 The Cook and Housewife’s Manual by Mistress Meg Dodds)

Lamb

Hard to say which was better – they were both perfectly cooked. Maybe the lamb – I loved the sweetbreads that came with it, but not the peas (surprise surprise).

I did feel that they were quite conventional in comparison to the starters though.

Tipsy cake

Tipsy Cake (c.1830) – spit roast pineapple – $30
(1810 the English cookery book by J.H. Walsh)

Tipsy cake

Dessert was another sharing occasion. When we ordered our mains, we also ordered two Tipsy cakes as they take a while to make. We should’ve ordered three! The Tipsy Cake was sweet brioche with a caramelised cream, served with spit roasted pineapple.

It was pretty amazing and much more special and decadent than it sounds.

Cheese

Cheese Board – large – $30

We also shared a cheese board, because two Tipsy cakes was more than enough sugar for us.

To finish

And there was a little sweet treat to finish our lunch.

Place

As expected, the food at Dinner was really, really good.

Of course, being a completely different concept and restaurant, it’s nowhere near the crazy inventiveness of Fat Duck, though some of that did seem to seep into the entrees, which are dishes you wouldn’t see anywhere else in Melbourne.

Definitely worth a splurge for a special lunch (or for when your friends casually suggest having lunch at dinner).

Dinner by Heston
Crown Melbourne
Level 3, 8 Whiteman Street
Southbank
Phone: 03 9292 5777
Web: dinnerbyheston.com.au

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Amaru

Heirloom tomatoes cooked with Marron head sauce

You know how they say you should always say yes to an opportunity?

Well, on a smaller scale, you should also always say yes to “do you want to come to xx restaurant?” because even if you don’t know what on earth your friend is talking about, you’ll probably still have a good time.

Yes, that’s how we ended up at Amaru with Haz, Gaz and Thanh, several days after the restaurant opened. It took me a while after agreeing to lunch to join the dots – Amaru is the first restaurant of Clinton McIver, who had a stint serving degustations at the Clayton Bowls Club (and who also worked at Vue de Monde).

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Lume

Beef cheek

It’s been a while since I’ve had a meal like the one at Lume.

They opened in South Melbourne a few months ago, bucking the trend for casual, shared dish restaurants, instead serving a long (LONG) degustation filled with adventurous and unique dishes.

Alastair and I went to lunch at Lume with Haz and Gaz at the beginning of November. At the time of our visit, it was $140 for a 15 course meal (I believe it’s now $165). Upon arrival we were seated in the (covered) courtyard out the back, which was filled with natural light and had a wall of greenery.

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Cecconi’s

Table

Disclosure: I attended and dined courtesy of Cecconi and AMPR.

I suppose we’re officially in winter now, aren’t we? Well, let’s pretend that we’re still in autumn (I’d like to pretend that we’re not in winter anyway) as the other month I was invited to Cecconi’s for an autumn menu tasting.

Cecconi’s has been in the city for quite a long time now: apparently almost a decade, so it’s terrible that this was my first visit to the Flinders Lane location. I actually remember the Cecconi’s that was at Crown, quite a long time ago now – Alastair and I ate there with Annette and Terry not long after we moved to Melbourne.

They must be doing something right to have been around the Melbourne dining scene for so long and I was excited to finally pay them a visit.

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Taxi: Ducks in a Row luncheon

Taxi

Disclosure: I attended courtesy of Taxi and Little Big Marketing.

As part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Roast series, Taxi are holding a “Ducks in a Row” luncheon each Sunday in June. In case you haven’t figured out from the name, the theme is ducky duck duck, with a 5 course set menu for $85 per person.

Taxi uses free range ducks from a new producer, Great Ocean Ducks, in the Mornington Peninsula. We were told that the ducks are fed strawberries in the summer, and apples in the winter (mostly because that’s what is readily available rather than for flavour purposes). But – cute, right?

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Attica: Tuesday Night Chef’s Table

Attica

So Attica must be one of Melbourne’s most famous and awarded restaurants. And I finally made it there thanks to Kat, who booked us into dinner for their Tuesday night Chef’s Table.

Run by Chef Ben Shewry, Attica has consistently been recognised as one of Melbourne’s – and Australia’s – top restaurants. Located on a quiet street in Ripponlea (at least, on a Tuesday night), the restaurant inside is quite understated: white linen tablecloths, black walls, and bright spotlights over each table.

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Estelle Bar & Kitchen 2

DSC_6360

When my FIL visited over Christmas, one of the few things he requested to do was a degustation.

I mean – we could’ve taken him to see the Melbourne sights: the beautiful Yarra River as it glints brownly in the sun, the finger biting excitement of a hook turn in the city, the half finished Docklands wheel overlooking Costco and the cargo ports ** – but having a nice meal sounded much more fun to me.

(**I say all this in jest! I do love Melbourne, really.)

So we booked in dinner at the Estelle. You may remember that Alastair and I had lunch there in mid-2012.

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Moon Under Water

Moon Under Water is the latest offering by Andrew McConnell, who seems to be gradually taking over Melbourne with his restaurant empire: Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Golden Fields, and The Builders Arms.

Part of The Builders Arms, Moon Under Water is the more formal dining room, and I’m not sure if this is part of the formality but the room is white. It’s white white white. The floor is white, the walls are white, the ceiling is white, the linen is white. You wouldn’t think that white could make such a loud statement but it does. (I’m not sure what that statement is, except for: white!)

Foodwise, it’s a set menu – $75 for four courses (and a couple of additional nibbles) that changes weekly.

I am a big fan of Cumulus Inc and Cutler & Co, so was pretty keen to check it out, dragging along Alastair, Maztech, Dazzle, Bro and Bro’s gf (aka the usual suspects group 1).

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Meat Market

Another week, another visit to South Wharf.

Now that I’ve been down to the revamped area several times, I really think that South Wharf has been done well, particularly compared to other dining precincts (I’m looking at you Docklands and Southbank). I like that there’s a range of different price points and all the restaurants have a different feel, which makes me want to visit them all. So last Friday night Alastair and I headed down to Meat Market for a date night. (I say that jokingly… it was just dinner.)

Meat Market is mid-range in price, and was inspired by the Australian BBQ. Not too surprisingly, with a name like Meat Market, the menu has a focus on meat, meat, and more meat, with a few seafood items thrown in. And in keeping with the whole BBQ thing, there’s a large open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant where you can watch the chefs grill and cook your preferred protein.

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