Sunday, July 14, 2013

Modern Australian Dining in Melbourne CBD

1. Henry and The Fox:

Chicken liver parfait, celery, apple and chive salad, croutons -- $16

Fried calamari, five spice, coriander puree -- $14

Roasted moreton bay bug tails, cauliflower puree, spiced cauliflower -- $24.90

Char-grilled rump cap, spinach puree, onion rings, boderlaise sauce -- $31.50

Pan-fried rock flathead, smoked eel, quail egg, potato, parsley -- $29.90

Poached chicken breast, chicken & veal sausage, broccoli, celeriac, sorrel -- $29.90

Spaghetti, blue swimmer crab, cherry tomato, chilli basil -- $26.50

Came here one night when my dear, dear friend Sally was over in Melbourne for a short trip. The dishes I had that night were the roasted moreton bay bug entree and the blue swimmer crab pasta.

The bay bugs were crunchy, yet delicate and sweet. Great. However, the spiced cauliflower were quite strong and overpowering the fresh bugs. Still, not a bad dish to eat. The pasta were just okay, nothing exciting. The sauce was quite bland, tasteless and rather watery for my liking. Maybe that was intentional to let the crabs shine through in the dish? I don't know. What I enjoyed was that there was crab in every bite that I had, so I found myself happily tucking away even though I wasn't particularly a fan of the taste overall.

All in all, not the most exciting dishes we've tasted. Still, good place to catchup. We've really missed our friend Sally so it was really good to be able to hangout like old times =)

Henry and the Fox on Urbanspoon

2. Hare & Grace:

I like the island/beach interior...

1/2 shelled scallops, garlic mayonnaise, herbed breadcrumbs -- $24

Roasted king mushroom, parmesan jam, coffee leaves -- $18

Yabbies, lemon, burnt cinnamon artichoke -- $18

Seared kingfish, roast cucumber, green almonds, almond curd, grapes -- $39

Grass fed premium black angus sirloin, 300grm, Clare Valley Gold, SA -- $39

French fries -- $9

Baby cos, anchovy curd, fried onions -- $10

Milk fed lamb rump, rhubarb, raspberries, sheep's curd, broken potato -- $38

Milawa roast duck, eggplant "faux gras", blood plum -- $38

Another meal that we came to earlier this year, when my other friend Carmen was visiting all the way from Perth just so we could go to the Big Day Out Festival together (which was EPIC).

Since she was here for only one weekend, it was my duty to pick a place to have dinner with her and 2 other friends of ours. And, as we all know, it is QUITE difficult to make a reservation for dinner on a Friday night at last minute. Choices being quite limited as it was Thursday night at the time, decided to try my luck at Hare & Grace. A place that I've been meaning to try but never got to until then.

First, I was really happy that they could take bookings for a Friday night in such short notice. Second, the interior was quite cool. Very island/resort-ey, felt very down to earth. Also, I noticed that it was actually really empty there that night. Although, I know that despite this, it is actually quite packed at lunch times due to the work crowd.

We gazed through the menu and there were a number of dishes that jumped out from the page. I must say that I was very, very happy with the Food that was served that night. The dishes here were WAY more interesting than the ones we had at Henry & The Fox. There were a much more creative play of flavours and ingredients, which we all found to be downright delicious. If we were paying for something more than we normally would for a meal, a little creativity wouldn't hurt. Plus, the portions were very generous IMO. For example, I've never seen that many scallops in an entree than that plate there and it was DELICIOUS.

My favourite has got to be the king mushroom entree (DIVINE) and I really enjoyed my roast duck main with the "faux gras" made of eggplant. Plus, the anchovy curd in the fried onion salad was AMAZING. I had a taste of all of my friends' dishes too and was thoroughly impressed. Even though it was slightly more expensive, I enjoyed my meal here WAY more than Henry & The Fox. 

Overall, we felt like even though the food was on the pricier end, it was still very value for money. It's not a meal I will bring myself to eat every day but I'm glad that if I had to pick a place for Modern Australian in the CBD, it would be Hare & Grace any day. No questions asked. Good food, good wine and great ambience to have a nice, quiet dinner with friends. Plus, it's easy to make bookings too. 

Hare & Grace on Urbanspoon

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