Monthly Archives: May 2018

Fitzroy: Smith & Daughters

Smith & Daughters
175 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
http://www.smithanddaughters.com/
Tel: (03) 9939 3293
Link to menu here
open table reservation link

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So Smith and Daughters is Italian fare, and known for its vegan and vegetarian options, but it does still have plenty of options for carnivores as well. Nice hip ambience.

So we started with the meatballs, this was cooked in napoli sauce with 2 cheeses – housemade fresh buffalo mozzarella & parmesan with toasted bread. The cheese is so tasty and morish, and the meatballs were not bad.

We then ordered the Cheesy Gratin which was slow braised Jerusalem artichokes, leek and fennel. This was okay, but not as cheesy and creamy as I would have hoped. It not badly seasoned, but probably fit the description of just  ‘braised artichokes’ rather than a ‘gratin’.

Next for the main we had the baked eggplant involtini described as – chargrilled eggplant filled with basil ricotta, topped with napoli, fresh buffalo mozzarella and parmesan. This dish was great. Again the fresh buffalo mozzarella and parmesan mix on the top is so salty and morish. The eggplant was well cooked, and with the basil ricotta and napoli, I enjoyed every mouthful. The crushed cashews in the sauce add another flavourful layer to the sauce.

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Lastly we had the Baked Vesuvius for dessert. This is Smith and Daughter’s take on a classic Bomb Alaska. It has Chocolate sable topped with whipped dark chocolate ganache, pureed poached spice quinces and black pepper vanilla ice cream, covered in amaretto and quince Italian meringue which is torched at your table. This was a nice dessert. It was a lovely touch that they torched it at your table. The amaretto and quince Italian meringue had good flavour and the amaretto came through. The vanilla and black pepper ice cream just tasted like good vanilla ice-cream, I couldn’t actually taste the black pepper. I did like the poached spice quince puree, this was rather delicious, and the biscuit base added a crunchy element and good contrast texture to the rest of the dish.

Food: 7.5/10
Value for money: 7.5/10
Ambience: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Overall Score: 30/40
$$

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Melbourne CBD: The Press Club

The Press Club
72 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Reservation via Open Table

So, I must admit that I wasn’t desperate to try The Press Club. After looking at some photos on the web, I wasn’t sure what to expect from ‘fine dining Greek cuisine’, I’d only experienced the home style, generous and delicious more casual Greek fare, and to be honest, my experience of Greek desserts have been a bit sickly sweet, and rice dessert doesn’t thrill me either.

Having said all this, I was very pleasantly surprised.

Along Flinders Street we walked passed The Press Club’s ‘experimental kitchen’ which is designed as a special experience with a private chef for a minimum of 8 guests and a maximum of 16 guest. The prices seem very reasonable – Weekday lunch is $95pp, 5 courses $125 pp. Dinner consists of 6 courses for $170pp or 8 courses for $195 pp. After walking past this, we then continued to walk and found the tucked away entrance, which opens to a curtained off little concave, where the Maitre D greets you and asks for your reservation. You then hand over your coats away from the cold of the Melbourne streets, and the curtain opens to reveals a small number of dimly lit private booths, which are quite cosy but well spaced. To my surprise there are only a very small number of tables.

On to the food. We ordered the 5 course degustation for $125pp. Very reasonable for the reputation The Press Club has. All degustations are chef’s choice each evening, you just let them know if you have any dietary requirements before hand.

So first off the rank came the appetizers, an array of little tasting bites. This alone was worth coming to The Press Club for.

  • Interpretation of Chicken Soup
  • Salt and Vinegar loukoumades with a (I think it was trout) dip with fish roe
  • Saganaki
  • Jalapenos with hummus
  • Lamb

The most impressive was their interpretation of chicken soup served in an eggshell cup. Wow. There was a clear consume jelly at the bottom, then a creamy flavourful creamier layer on top with crunchy bits of sage. Absolutely delightful on the tastebuds. We all scraped up every last drop. Second favourite was the salt and vinegar loukoumades with the salty (again I think it was trout) dip and fish roe. Very morish. The other three items were cooked very well too.

Now onto service. Great service. Interesting way to provide cutlery. They give you a ‘cutlery box’, and we’re told that they don’t want to dictate how diners enjoy their food, you are free to choose whatever cutlery you feel like using.
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First degustation tasting dish was a lasagne interpretation. Instead of pasta, they used thin sheets of daikon, creamy bechamel, a mushroom sauce, and crispy mushrooms on the top. So delicious, I could eat this dish over and over again.

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For the second dish, we were showed the technique of how eggplant was smoked in the olden days. The smoked eggplant was then the highlight in this dish, with wallaby tartare. Again so well cooked, another amazing dish.

The third dish was warm homemade bread with infused butter, served along-side octopus with lentils. Every element was lovely individually and then went so well together.

Prior to the fourth and last savoury dish, we were presented with a knife. Apparently the story is that George Calombaris was presented this knife by his friend as a present, and so he decided to purchase this for guests of his restaurant to demonstrate hospitality and friendship. Nice story. Obviously Greeks don’t have the same superstitions as Chinese. In Chinese culture, we never give knifes, scissors, or anything sharp, in Chinese culture it’s interpreted as severing ties and breaking a friendship. Not a great omen. So if you ever give a knife or pair of scissors, in Chinese custom we always ask the recipient to give us something in return, even it it’s a token $1 coin, so it’s not a ‘gift’ as such, it’s just a transaction. On to the food. The duck was absolutely perfectly cooked. There was a touch of citrus, the sauce was delicate and all paired well together on the plate.

The fifth and last dessert dish to the evening was the dessert. Little cakes which had an almond element to it, light delicious icecream with some other crunchy elements. Very good end to a great meal.

The Press Club chefs hard at work.
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I was definitely impressed by the experience, and will be back.

Food: 9/10
Value for money: 8.5/10
Ambience: 8.5/10
Service: 8.5/10
Overall Score: 34.5/40
$$$

The Press Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato