Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kenzan Japanese Restaurant Collins st Melbourne

I was in Melbourne with some Japanese business colleagues who had just flown in from Japan and they suggested we go and eat some Japanese food which is unusual for these gentlemen as they normally want a good old Australian steak or some delicious seafood. They booked Kenzan in Collins st with a private room.I was very surprised at how busy they were on a Monday night but I now understand why. They ordered and the following was delivered.

Sushi dinner (or Deluxe Sushi Dinner)$75.00

- A small appetizer
Sunomono - Seafood and vegetables in sweet vinegar
Sashimi - Thinly sliced fresh pieces of raw fish
Chawanmushi - Steamed egg custard with shrimp and vegetables
Ebi Shumai - Steamed prawn dumplings
Sushi - Vinegared rice, topped with varieties of fresh fish
Miroshiru - Soya bean soup
Kudamono - Fresh fruits in season

The food was excellent ans we washed it down with a Cloudy Bay Sav Blanc. The interesting dish for me was the Chawanmushi ( Steamed egg custard with shrimp and vegetables) which was sensational, hot and tasty. The word basically means teacup steamed  which is how they cook it. Believe it or not we also ordered a tempura plate as they were still a bit hungry.

During dinner I found out some interesting facts about Japan eg fruit like Rock Melon sells for about $90 each as does most tropical fruits. If you are visiting Melbourne I can recommend you try Kenzan (meaning Mountain) and try and book the private room to complete the experience. I have rated this an 8/10 for food and service.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Etch Restaurant - Intercontinental Sydney

The first thing I will say is boy was it hard to find the restaurant inside the hotel. We walked around for about 15 minutes going from one floor to another before one of the hotel staff pointed us in the right direction. What we found was a small quaint private dinning type of place. The lighting was very low and I would put this place in the romantic category. Unfortunately I was dinning with a male business associate, oh well. The good news was that it was very quiet and therefore we were able to have a good discussion without the excess noise which you get at most restaurants today.

Now the food. Being a Justin North restaurant I was looking forward to the menu. The menu was small but had excellent choices for all courses. For entree they had caramelised pigs head, scallops and a Kingfish Tartare. I had a mushroom ragout with a slow cooked soft hens egg with parmesan cheese. Absolutely delightful and the only complaint was that there was not enough. My guest had the Duck terrine with pickled cherries and coffee reduction. The terrine was a bit too salty but the cherries were sensational. For a main we both had the slow cooked blue eye trevalla, spanner crab scallop ravioli with sweet corn & roasted spring onion. This was very tasty however it looked quite untidy on the plate which is not what you would expect at one of Justin's restaurants. The sauce was probably a little creamy for me but I still enjoyed the dish. Other mains included Pumpkin Lasagne and smoked eel risotto.

To accompany the food we had a Petaluma Grosset Riesling which was beautiful. Neither of us had sweets but they all looked delicious. The service was a little over the top and overall I would rate this a 6.5/10. This is definitely somewhere you would go with romance in mind. Not a business lunch or dinner. The cost is mid to high so expect to pay about $160 per couple plus wine. They also have a Degustation  menu for $90 without wine and $135 with wine which is good value.

There are no photographs as it didn't seem right.