Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cumulus Inc - Sunday 23 March 2014

Zoe, Liz and Gaby

It was breakfast this time, our first.

I think ... Liz had the toasted honey granola and berries with vanilla yogurt, Zoe had the smoked bacon bap and I had waffle that is no longer on the menu. I did also have a madeleine filled with lemon curd - yum.

Diggers Cafe at Heronswood - Sunday 1 December 2013

Liz, Andrew & Hillary, Zoe, Hugh & Eleanor, Barry and Gaby

It was a warm day and we had a lovely lunch at the Diggers cafe outside. It's a lovely place to enjoy lunch that it made from much of what is grown on site. Unfortunately the cafe was burnt down in January but from the Diggers website it looks as though they're operating the cafe from within Heronswood House.

I can't remember anything about what we ate but I did enjoy it.

France Soir - Saturday 10 August 2013

Liz, Zoe and Gaby

Hmm, it was a while ago now. French champagne was drunk. I think I had the goat cheese salad and the duck breast (maybe), and I'm pretty sure the creme brûlée. My memory is that we all really enjoyed it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Commoner - 28 February 2013

Peter, Liz, Gaby, Barry, Miriam and James.

Peter's back! (Well, he was back, for a little while.)

This was cause for celebration and over discussion last week about Negronis (a favoured drink of Gaby and Peter) we planned a dinner at The Commoner for that Thursday with as many of the Posh Dinner Society members and affiliates as possible. Unfortunately, Zoe was unable to make it as she had a grant proposal due the next day and a lack of baby-sitting options, but James, Miriam and Barry rounded out the 'meeting' and the Negronis were enjoyed - with The Commoner's signature addition of wood roasted orange. Fabulous! These things are waaaay too drinkable. Other wine that was enjoyed included a Central Otago pinot gris, and multiple sherries including some pedro ximenez.

I was my usual organised (read bossy) self and commandeered the ordering of starters, which we shared. In the end we ended up with a great array of tastes:
  • stuffed zucchini flowers
  • stuffed baby calamari 
  • cheese and onion croquettes
  • bread with cumin sesame seeds, and
  • heirloom tomato, olive and fresh cheese salad
I didn't have the calamari (Addendum: the others didn't like the calamari all that much) but everything else I tried was lovely. The apparent simplicity of some of the dishes at The Commoner doesn't do justice to the great flavours. The tomato salad might have been my favourite.

For mains, we had:
  • Miriam - beef (char-grilled?)
  • James - spatchcock
  • Barry - Spanish mackerel
  • Peter - Spanish mackerel
  • Liz & Gaby (shared) - beef & roast heirloom carrots and quinoa salad
We got sides of the chicken skin roasted potatoes (big thumbs up) and the baby iceberg.
I'm glad Liz and I shared - getting a taste of the lovely charred beef (perfectly cooked) and the carrot salad which was sweet from the roasted vegetables, and nutty from the quinoa. I think everyone else enjoyed their meals, though the reports were that the fish was nice, just not exceptional.

Desserts (with lots of sharing):
  • Liz - sorrel icecream with blackberries and meringue
  • Barry, Peter & Miriam - chocolate ganache with poached strawberries
  • James - lecce merengada
  • Gaby - plum filled beignets with cream
Liz's icecream was a really interesting flavour. I was less convinced that everyone else but I guess the telling factor was that the plates (of all dishes throughout the night) were eaten clean.

I've enjoyed every meal I've had at The Commoner and would go back any time. Hopefully we can have a return visit from Peter again soon.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Grossi Florentino - 29 September 12

Andrew, Liz, Zoe, Gaby

We scheduled our latest posh dinner to be before Liz gives birth and Zoe goes back to work after having Eleanor. After we scheduled it Zoe extended her maternity leave and will take an extra few months before going back.

Grossi Florentino (upstairs in the restaurant) has been on our 'to do' list for a while now. Although we could have chosen one of the degustation menus (5 course or 8 course, meat or vegetarian) but decided to go with a la carte - Liz's pregnancy and Andrew's dairy intolerance may have complicated things a bit.

It was a good choice as we got to eat some really yummy food. For entree, Andrew had a couple of oysters, Zoe had octopus, Liz had the quail and I had the celeric soup with crab and a jerusalem artichoke foam. For me it was my favourite meal of the evening.

For mains Andrew went with the duck breast and confit duck leg. My Cape Grim beef short rib was nice, but very 'beefy'. Zoe and Liz had the pigeon and goat special, respectively. All beautifully presented.

Andrew's dairy intolerance may have resulted in the best dessert. When he asked for 'just some fruit' he was presented with a plate of melon balls in a ginger and mint syrup. Liz and I agreed to share our desserts. She had a deeply bitter warm chocolate mousse (with cherries). I had the Mt Etna, a pistachio semifreddo with meringue and chocolate crumble. Zoe's Lemon, Lime and Bitters (a lemon panna cotta) was a bit disappointing.

Grossi Florentino was probably one of our most expensive dinners ever. We did enjoy it. Our next meal plans will involve Liz and Andrew's new baby and Eleanor will probably be crawling. We're thinking of a Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula winery lunch. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Commoner - 17 June 12

Hugh, Andrew, Barry, Zoe, Liz, Gaby

So, for a while we've wanted to do the 'Sunday roast' at The Commoner. Zoe and Hugh now have Eleanor and we wanted to do something during the day that would mean that baby Eleanor and all of our partners could come too. The Commoner was the easy solution. Unfortunately on the day Liz was sick so she missed out. We'll just have to go again another time!

The big decision to make was which meat to aim for, and as a result which dates would work. I've never like roast pork - neither of my parents like roast pork so we didn't eat it growing up and - and I agree with Andrew that we wanted a meat that we were less likely to do at home which ruled out chicken. Overall we had a preference for a really well cooked roast of beef, and by well cooked we wanted rare.

So, beef it was and although Hugh and Barry found the beef a little bit too rare for their tastes but the rest of us really loved it. It was proceeded by a plate of beautiful charcuterie. Salami, prosciutto, cured duck (I think). Yum!

Barry enjoyed a Glenmorangie whiskey from their extensive collection of whiskeys, followed later by a sherry. Andrew had Gentiane, an aperitif. I had a great non-alcoholic drink (involving mint and pomegranate juice/molasses) before some wine.

I can't remember what Zoe had but my dessert was so yum - The Commoner's now famous brown ale chocolate pudding with salted caramel. It was surprisingly un-sweet but definitely felt like a dessert none-the-less. Hugh and Barry both enjoyed their beignet and I did too.

Ezard - 12 November 12

Zoe, Liz, Gaby

Again, I've left it too long to remember what we ate at Ezard. It's been almost a year.

From the beginning they were very helpful in accommodating Zoe's pregnancy and the associated dietary restrictions.

I think we took the 3 courses a la carte for $98 option, rather than the degustation. I'm sure it would have been great but in the end we had great food. On looking at the online menu, to jog the memory, the only things that I know we ate were:
  • open wagyu beef burger, toasted brioche, quail egg, onion jam, gruyere cheese, pickled cucumber and pork crisp (Zoe)
  • steamed blue swimmer crab dumplings with yarra valley salmon roe, celery cress and tom kha (Liz?)
  • red roasted barossa chicken, zucchini and mint fritters, chang kiang caramel, garlic jam and fried sambal (Gaby?)
  • local john dory with warm celeriac salad, broad beans, apple, radish and chive oil (Zoe)
  • Sides: green beans, korean chilli and roasted peanuts, fried kipfler potatoes with roasted garlic and rosemary
  • salted caramel parfait, chocolate peanut butter crunch, pressed paw paw and blackberry syrup (Gaby)
 I do remember that I drank a red wine from the Jura region on the French/Swiss border. The reason that this has stayed with me is that, to the surprise of the sommelier, I was knew the Jura from my time at CERN.

So, despite not remembering what we ate, I do remember that we had a lovely night with great food.