It was my Bro’s birthday earlier this month, and we took him out for a spontaneous birthday lunch to celebrate.
I have eaten at the St Kilda Road version of Café Vue a couple of times for breakfast/brunch, but have never ordered off their menu de jour. So a a birthday was the perfect excuse for an indulgent Sunday lunch.
I’m not sure why, but the bread at Cafe Vue comes in a bag. Strange, but cute. It was pretty good bread too. (more…)
During the week of eating that we had while my in laws, Annette and Terry, were in town, we went to the Ron Mueck exhibition at the NGV. (My posts are all out of order, but never mind). Has anyone gone to see the exhibition? Wasn’t it fantastic? And if you haven’t gone, it’s closing this weekend, so quick sticks!
I’m so glad we went, as I loved it. My favourite sculpture was the little old ladies above. Dead Dad (photo at the top) was also fantastic, and I also loved Drift below).
If you have time this weekend – go go go.
After the exhibition, we had lunch at Persimmon. It was Annette and Terry’s last day in Melbourne, so we were hoping for a good last meal with them. I was pretty confident that Persimmon wouldn’t disappoint.
We were given some warm rolls while we decided what to eat. On the board was a selection – brioche, caramelised shallot and pumpkin seed rolls.
For starters, Bro ordered a serve of the soft shell school prawns, with garlic and herb aioli ($15), intending to share it with the table. Everyone else ordered their own starter… and then we ordered ANOTHER serve of the prawns. Greedy, but to be fair, the prawns were great – crunchy, and intensely prawny flavoured.
I had the olive oil poached veal carpaccio, with quail’s eggs, sweetbreads and rocket ($18). The meat was very tender and rare, and I loved the little fried quail’s eggs and sweetbreads.
Alastair had the salmon “mi cuit” with avocado, beetroot & horseradish ($17). Thank goodness for internet enabled phones, we had to google “mi cuit” (which means half/semi cooked). This looked really good, and I loved the teeny little beetroot pieces.
Annette had the chicken liver parfait, apples, pears, raisins & capers and toasted brioche ($26). I didn’t try any, but it sounded like it was a good dish.
Terry ordered the snail’s tempura with pearl barley risotto, parsley and garlic ($17). This was the most interesting dish out of all of them! I tried a bit of a snail, and while it was good, I’m not sure this is a dish I would ever order.
Time for mains. Terry and I both had the lamb’s loin, lamb shoulder, vegetables Provencale and jus gras ($30). Underneath the leaning tower of lamb’s loin slices was a crumbed square of braised lamb shoulder, which I swear tasted almost like something Bro and I used to eat back in New Zealand (a lasagna square for any kiwis out there who remember them!). Oh the memories! Even without the food flashback, I really enjoyed my dish. A fair bit of meat, but it was done well with great flavour.
Alastair and Bro had the scotch fillet, which came with broccoli, white onion & garlic jam, potato crisps and smoked salt ($35). The broccoli was actually pureed – that green bit on the plate. The crisps were behind the greenery, but I think the white onion and garlic jam hadn’t made an appearance on their plates. That, or it was in disguise.
Annette had the butternut pumpkin gnocchi with onions, macadamias, capers and bontazola ($26). This looked absolutely delicious.
It was recommended that we order sides, so we selected a salad and green beans. I particularly loved the beans which still had a bit of firm crunch but weren’t squeaky.
was fantastic. And this was true even before the story I’ll tell you in the next paragraph. Our waitress was happy and cheery, and friendly without being OTT. One example – we looked at the dessert menu after our mains, and noticed that some of the desserts had pop rocks. And we discovered that Annette and Terry had never tried pop rocks before (I know, we couldn’t believe it either!). When our waitress come back, we decided not to order dessert but made a passing comment about Annette and Terry’s lack of pop rock experience. And so she insisted that we HAD to try some and came back with a little bowl of pop rocks for us! The left hand side had honey flavoured pop rocks, and the right had chocolate covered ones. Pop rocks go posh!
Okay, so here’s my story. We had a lovely bottle of wine with our mains, a Stefano Lubiana Merlot 2005, and I only remember this because when the sommelier (I believe) came to the table to refill our glasses with the bottle, Annette and Terry requested that I take a photograph of it. And somehow that lead to them outing me as a food blogger (facepalm).
So it may have been due to the blog that we received the following…. complimentary dessert! Which was a peanut butter parfait, with caramelised banana, marshmallow and pistachio ice cream. And chocolate pop rocks – I can’t forget the pop rocks! I have a deep, enduring love affair with peanut butter so it’s no surprise that I loved dessert.
We had such a lovely meal and it was the perfect finale to Annette and Terry’s visit.
The other week, Alastair, Benisa and I went to the NGV to see the Andreas Gursky exhibition.
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.
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.
Persimmon Café/Bistro Ground Level NGV International 180 St Kilda Road Melbourne