I’ve always been impressed by Gordon Ramsay from those early years when you could flick to SBS and catch a glimpse of him doing what he does best. Having become more of a fan over the years I’d been waiting with anticipation to see when he would bring his brand to Australia. As much as I’d hoped he would choose to set up shop in Sydney instead of Melbourne, deep down I knew Melbourne would win this battle. Anyway it’s not like Melbourne is ‘that’ far from Sydney.
Chef’s Dinner Menu with Premium Wine matching
Chef’s menu – a selection of 7 courses, with below being the final menu for both Lex & I on the night.
- Marinated beetroot with goats curd, Cabernet Sauvignon vinaigrette, toasted pine nuts (Drappier Brut Rose, NV France)
- Seared yellow fin tuna, white radish, yuzu, enoki mushrooms, black garlic (Prager Riesling Steinriegl Federspiel 2008)
- Applewood smoked kingfish, fennel purée, pickled celery, globe artichoke, Californian caviar (Prager Riesling Steinriegl Federspiel 2008)
- Pan seared scallop, caramelised kelp, sugar snap peas, mussels, Champagne foam (Clonakilla Viognier 2008)
- Roasted quail with sage, slow cooked quince and glazed turnips (Felettig Chambolle-Musigny ‘Clos Le Village’ 2006)
- Pan roasted barramundi, butternut squash, compressed cucumber, pumpkin seeds (Benjamin Leroux Bourgogne Blanc 2008)
- Roast “First Light” venison loin, red cabbage, kohlrabi gratin (Luke Lambert Nebiollo 2009)
- Époisses de Bourgogne with pickled fennel and walnuts
- Brillat-Savarin with shaved Black truffle and Truffle Honey
- Exotic fruit vacherin, passion fruit and banana sorbet (Mt Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2009)
- maze “lamington”, rosella jam (Navazos Casa del Inca Pedro Ximénez Sherry NV)
Marinated beetroot with goats curd, Cabernet Sauvignon vinaigrette, toasted pine nuts (Drappier Brut Rose, NV France).
Even though Lex is not beetroot’s biggest fan we were both eager to get on with our maiden Gordon Ramsay experience. What a way to start off a meal. Visually the first course is stunning, on looks alone this is a winner. The sharp goats curd is soothed by the earthy and sweet beetroot and the pine nuts seal the deal with their creamy texture. Lex and I both agreed that this was a brilliant start to the Chef’s Dinner Menu.
Seared yellow fin tuna, white radish, yuzu, enoki mushrooms, black garlic (Prager Riesling Steinriegl Federspiel 2008).
Once more the presentation is impeccable, wonderfully spread across the plate with superb precision. The tuna was seared perfectly with an even level on every side. Unable to resist I tried the tuna just on its own to really admire what was the softest melt in your mouth tuna I had ever eaten. Combining the remaining elements just shot the dish to another level. The subtle tartness of the yuzu, the warm peppery radish and the delicate mushroom with just a hum of garlic left me in awe.
Applewood smoked kingfish, fennel purée, pickled celery, globe artichoke, California caviar (Prager Riesling Steinriegl Federspiel 2008).
Kingfish is a favourite of mine when it comes to sashimi, and even when pan fried it keeps that firm fresh taste. The smoking from Applewood would not have crossed my mind as anything special, but I was completely wrong about that. All other elements aside I was amazed at the complexity in the fish, it was an eye opening experience and one I won’t soon forget. Being Lex’s dish I didn’t get to try nearly as much as I would like but it left a lasting impression from the small sample I had.
Pan seared scallop, caramelised kelp, sugar snap peas, mussels, Champagne foam (Clonakilla Viognier 2008).
Almost anywhere I dine scallops always seem to make it into my menu selection. Maybe it is something about the texture, or just the creamy seafood taste they offer but I have grown to love scallops. Gladly Josh Emmet and his team did not let us down, seared with a wonderfully brown crust and yet delicate with a hint of translucent flesh. After savouring the first bite I made my way to the kelp which was surprisingly firm but not tough, and the sweetness of the snap peas helped the salty kelp from being too prominent.
Roasted quail with sage, slow cooked quince and glazed turnips (Felettig Chambolle-Musigny ‘Clos Le Village’ 2006).
Ever since I had my first taste of quail at the Sydney Good Food & Wine Show I have been addicted. The option of quail or barramundi wasn’t really an option, I was getting the quail before I even noticed there was another choice. The little morsels where cooked just right, so tender and juicy with a nice crispy caramelized skin. The quince and quail combination were a match made in culinary heaven. I found it hard to sit and savour this dish because it was so good and I couldn’t help but go at it with such fervor.
Pan roasted barramundi, butternut squash, compressed cucumber, pumpkin seeds (Benjamin Leroux Bourgogne Blanc 2008).
Lex’s favourite fish coupled with Lex’s favourite vegetable cucumber, I am sure that as with my quail Lex had no real decision to make for this course. The impeccably roasted piece of fish was plated beautifully nestled on a smear of butternut squash and surrounded by a trio of impeccably garnished cucumber pieces and a ball of pumpkin seeds . I was taken aback by the cucumber, such an intense flavour, the compression made it quite dense and crunchy which was nice with the soft flakey flesh of the barramundi. A really enjoyable course from start to finish.
Roast “First Light” venison loin, red cabbage, kohlrabi gratin (Luke Lambert Nebiollo 2009).
Up until this point I was a ‘venison virgin’, never having ordered it for fear of being disappointed. The plate arrived and I knew this was going to be my style of food. Cooked rare and wonderfully presented my first taste of venison was a triumph of the taste buds. The leaner meat of venison reminded me of good quality grass fed beef with a richer flavour and firmer bite to it. The kohlrabi was soft and mellow and the red cabbage carried a nice earthy note to it. The wine, a Luke Lambert Nebiollo completed the dish in a way I wish all wines that are matched could do, the partnering of this wine to this dish was fantastic.
Époisses de Bourgogne with pickled fennel and walnuts.
Normally at this point in the evening the next course is dessert, however being offered a cheese course we couldn’t resist. Given two options we did the only smart thing possible, we got one of each. The first came with a little story; the smell was so strong the cheese was actually banned on public transport in France. The cheese was of course Époisses de Bourgogne, known to be one of the more pungent cheeses available.
Brillat-Savarin with shaved Black Truffle and Truffled Honey.
A softer brie like cheese is the second of the two, sitting on a drizzle of truffled honey and hidden under a plie of shaved black truffle. The delicate cheese seemed to lose the battle of taste; not to the shaved black truffle that is marvellous and indulgent as always but to the truffled honey that much like truffle oil can overpower a dish so easily. Lex however loved the truffled honey and didn’t mind the cheese sitting in the background.
Exotic fruit vacherin, passion fruit and banana sorbet (Mt Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2009).
Light and inviting like a freshly cut fruit salad we were both ready to take a break from the heavy hitting dishes we’d enjoyed so far. Fruity with two melt in your mouth miniature meringues this dessert was able to give us the best it could muster which worked as a nice palate cleanser, though it wouldn’t stand up as a dessert on its own.
maze “lamington”, rosella jam (Navazos Casa del Inca Pedro Ximénez Sherry NV).
Having an interpretation of an Australian cuisine ‘icon’ on the menu definitely leaves the chef’s delivery ready for heavy criticism. I was impressed with the visuals of the maze ‘lamington’ deconstructed yet still distinctive enough to know what it was without needing your imagination help out. Sadly though this dessert missed the spot. The rosella jam just dominated and was relentless in making sure it was the only thing you were going to taste. Even a small amount overpowered the delicate ‘cake’ and the chocolate and coconut base. The dessert was also paired with a wine neither Lex or I have ever enjoyed, and as a classic British wine, we found it completely out of place with an Aussie icon.
Crown Metropol Room Service by Maze Grill.
Just a quick side note regarding the room service of the Crown Metropol that comes from the maze kitchen… I had the maze grill burger and I have to say it is possibly the best burger I have ever eaten, the meat was out of this world. Delicious.
Level 1, Crown Metropol
Corner of Whiteman and Clarendon Streets
Southbank VIC 3006
(03) 9292 8300
maze Melbourne Website