During lockdown we assured ourselves we wouldn’t get back into a cycle of frequent fine dining. We broke that resolution on New Year’s Eve with a long lunch at Recreation here in North Fitzroy. And since then we’ve had many fine meals there; both lunches and dinners. This is their wonderful version of the dessert Bombe Alaska. If it’s on the menu I recommend it. They also do wonderful things with ducks, pithviers and tarte tatins.
On the 10th of January we were introduced to Bistrot Plume in Geelong. Traditional French, wonderful ambience and even better food. A great wine list as well. It’s in the backblocks somewhat – in Belmont. We were there on a stinking hot day on our way back from Aireys Inlet. We’ve since recommended it to others who’ve also enjoyed it a lot. Here’s the website.
We were in Canberra in February and I didn’t take any photographs of the food we had at the restaurant Raku in Civic. It’s fantastic – very modern Japanese. Better than anything we have in Melbourne I reckon. Here’s a link to its website. We also had a lovely meal at Italian & Sons in Lonsdale Street. Although our favourite restaurant in that city is Pilot in Ainslie but we didn’t get there this time. In the absence of any food pictures I’ll include this one, of the newly cleaned Blue Poles.
In March, on my birthday we were in Birregurra at the wonderful Brae. It’s our second time here and once again we had wonderful food and wine. Staff were very generous with the wine! It is a lovely room and everything about the night was perfect. Our AirBnB host took us to the restaurant and organised a taxi driver to come from Colac to take us back. I didn’t take any photographs of the food, but here is the menu. Of which the high points for me were the Pork jowl barbequed with smoked eel (unrecognisable as jowl but in a good way), the Murray cod grilled with southern calamari (the calamari soft as pasta), Mal’s beans with butter and potato (and I normally don’t like beans!) and the Pumpkin baked like a tarte tatin (which I swore was tomato!) A great meal.
In April we were in Sydney and on a friend’s recommendation found our way – by an unnecessarily circuitous route – never rely on Google – to Dear Sainte Eloise in Potts Point where our first course was Grana Padano Croquettes – here’s a shocking photo. Delicious – as you can see very creamy.
There was no choice of dishes. You have to sign up when booking to one of two set menus; the slightly dearer one delivering an extra two courses. Our second small course was Angelachu anchovy, brioche, pickles – a wonderful combination. As you can see I was only remembering the camera after the first bite – not conducive to attractive pictures.
And this is the Mafaldine (which is the crinkly pasta), saffron, zucchini squash which was nice but we liked the Cassoulet, oyster mushroom, pangrattato (not pictured) better.
After that we had the whole roasted NZ flounder in brown butter and capers. It was really the best flounder I’ve had for ages. But by then we were getting very full. The smaller menu would have suited. We did get a wonderful dessert – which was a plum concoction and delicious.
Dear Sainte Eloise is a bar, small, dark and with music playing, quite loud. But the ambience is really nice. The staff were great. We were trying different wines and swapped when I didn’t like mine. The waiter offered to change Joe’s if he didn’t like it. Very good service. It’s in a great location too. Here it is.
We walked through Kings Cross to get a taxi back to the CBD – not as lively as it used to be. I stayed in Potts Point when I came up to Sydney while working for the ACTU. So it was a familiar walk.
The night before we’d eaten at Bloodwood which I’ve talked about in this blog. I liked it but it seemed less adventurous; maybe because we were a large party and just ordered the chef’s selection. The place was really buzzing though; King Street is the place to be, not Kings Cross. During the same trip Joe and I visited Barangaroo which I’ve talked about in this blog. Construction of the Crown Casino building is now complete. Stunning.
We went back to Cirrus where I’d been before – recommended by Gourmet Traveller – and had a wonderful meal. I had the marron, which was quite as good as the marron at Attica. And we finished up with this rather wonderful cake. Fantastic to look at. Fantastic to eat.