I've said it once, and I'll say it a thousand times... I LOVE my family dinners. I mean, my cousins and I all grew up together but ever since we moved to Australia, Life got in the way and we each become quite busy with our own lives. So, it's really nice when we intentionally make plans to catch up with one another from time to time... Especially for a special occasion, or when one of our parents are in town for a visit. In this case, it's both... Yayeee~
My cousin Janise was celebrating her 23rd birthday and my Aunt/Uncle Lok so happened to be in town for that. Being ever gracious and generous, Uncle Lok decided to treat the whole family (+ partners) to a 6-Course Dinner at PM24. One of the newer French Bistros to hit the Melbourne food scene and awarded a 1-Hat Accolade.
Priced at $125/pax, this was definitely a restaurant that I would've never gotten the chance to go if it weren't for my relos, so I'm really grateful...
Now, on to the food...
Nice, warm rolls with creamy unsalted butter to start the night...
Craiglee Shiraz 2008 -- $118 per bottle
Highly recommended. It's so light and smooth down the throat. It had the full body flavour of the Shiraz but it wasn't dry. I'm no wino but I really liked this.
Course No. 1: Amuse bouche of Pumpkin Veloute
Soup was absolutely SMASHING. It was sweet, flavourful and the taste lingers in your mouth. Thin but slightly viscous. The croutons were given in small shards, so you can't really see but can definitely taste it. Common soup but with outstanding flavours. YUM.
Course No. 2(a): Pan Seared Scallops
Panko crumbed, brown butter vinaigrette
My eyes literally lit up at the first bite. The crumbs were perfectly crispy without being too oily and I loved the garlic at the top. The quality of the scallops were top notch and it wasn't a minute over or underdone. Generous portions too! And to use brown butter in the vinaigrette... Clever and delicious!
Though to be honest, you can't blame us for feeling quite full already after some bread, soup and 4 fried scallops...
Course No. 2(b): Cured New Zealand King Salmon
Cucumber à la crème, horseradish cream
Fantastic texture with raw but chewy mouthfeel. The horseradish cream (which tasted more like fresh dill for some odd reason) and the cucumbers paired REALLY well with the salmon. Lovely.
Course No. 3(a): Rôtisserie 4 Point Rack of Lamb
Green olive crust, vegetables navarin
The fats in the lamb was rendered really well (thankfully) but I found the crumb a bit too intense with the meatiness of the lamb, which made the dish a bit richer than it ought to be. Still delicious and thankfully, the wine we had was sooo light and perfect to wash it down with.
Course No. 3(b): Barramundi
Wakamé potato boulangère, fish sauce reduction
Was a bit apprehensive that they served Barramundi (of all fishes) but wow, it was soooo fresh. You could taste the natural flavours and it was insanely moist and delicate but had a really crispy (and tasty) skin. Really surprised by how they took an ordinary fish to a whole new level like never before. It's great that they did this without dressing it up with fancy flavours and cooking methods but stayed so true to the fish. Amazing. I will remember this fish for a very long time...
Course No. 3(c): Sirloin
Sauce béarnaise, pomme frites
Really well cooked, moist and the charred flavour did shine through very well. The fats was rich but tasted so good. They served this with 3 sides, as shown below...
Again, we were soooooooo full by this point and unfortunate to say that some of us couldn't even finish the steak...
The pommes frites or French Fries were AMAZING. So flavourful because of the fried garlic chips and it tasted like it was drizzled in heavily scented oil. Super crunchy and fluffy on the inside. Despite how full I was, I couldn't stop eating these... Seriously
I actually do like Peas, so I enjoyed this...
Nice light feature...
Course No. 4: Palate Cleanser of Mint Sorbet
Some liked this, some didn't. I loved this, though. So refreshing and tasted quite sweet too. Didn't feel as full anymore after this.
Course No. 5: Selection of imported cheese from France
Didn't exactly get the name but there were 3 kinds of smelly cheeses (but none of them were blue). NOPE. Not for us. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE smelly cheeses and have had my fair share in the past. But behind the smell, I really didn't find there was much flavour to it. The fruit slice (with sweet, sticky figs) was okay, especially with the spiced jam. But the poppyseed lavoche wasn't crisp and a bit doughy.
Dessert plating station...
Course No. 6(a): French Crêpes
Raspberry espuma, caramel suzette
Crêpes were too tough. Hard to break into bite-sized pieces with the cutlery, let alone with our teeth. And the raspberry was waaaay too sweet...
Course No. 6(b): Lemon Curd Tart
Wuu wahh this dessert took me by surprise! The curd literally melted and the tart dissolved within seconds of putting it in my mouth. What an interesting sensation! Though, be warned that it was VERY sour (much more than usual), so if that's your thang, go nuts... Thankfully the chantilly cream was there to balance it out. Again, fascinating...
As you can tell, I definitely thought the food was good and quality was worth its 1-Hat Award. BUT, I feel I need to be honest about my dining experience as a whole and not just the food. 10 out of 10 of us found it TOO filling and the portions were too big. The worst thing is we were way over our limit and weren't able to finish a lot of our food. CRYING shame, especially cause we paid so much for it. I really didn't appreciate how it made us feel so bloated by the end of it and am wondering if any of the chefs actually tried eating through the entire set/degustation dinner for themselves to know how it made us, the customers, feel.
Personally, for the set menu/degustation, I highly recommend that they cut down the portions and also reduce the price per person. Otherwise, it's really hard for customers to enjoy the food...
Also, the entire dinner was waaaaaaay too long. Dinner was 4.5 hours and it ended at 12am, making us feel a bit impatient towards the end and our butts started to hurt from all the sitting. Just too much waiting in between dishes... For example, 1 whole hour of waiting for our Dessert to come. Really, guys...? I just felt bad because we were all so terribly tired by the end, and some of us even started our day as early as 6am. We didn't even get the chance to blow/cut a cake (that we brought to the restaurant) for my cousin because we were waaay too tired and waaay too full.
Basically, the whole experience would've been better if they hadn't stretched too long and planned the portions (hence, price) a bit better. That said, I really had a GREAT time chatting non-stop and taking photos with my Family that night. It's a warm feeling and true blessing every time we gather like this for a meal, especially in Melbourne. Again, I want to thank my Uncle for his never-ending love and generosity for all of us since young. I can't thank him enough for all the things he's done for us all these years. It was still a really good night.
You can check out one of our other Family Dinner that I blogged about at the Ibuki House Restaurant: here
Take care, all! =)