Tag Archives: Fine Dining

Catalina

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Catalina is a family business that run a beautifully located one chef hat restaurant on the site of Rose Bay. Opened since 1994, Catalina’s menu is inspired by French, Italian, Spanish and Mediterranean cuisines  and also provide an extensive wine list that has won 3 goblets at the Australian Wine List of the Year Awards 2013. Located within close walking distance from the Rose Bay ferry wharf, diners can find themselves arriving at Catalina in more ways than one. For a special night, diners may arrive by seaplane or by ferry which in many ways reflects Catalina’s amazing panoramic view of the Sydney water-scape. We dined here for Valentines Day for a 5:30pm reservation, this was our experience:

View from our table…

View from our table

ENTREE

PorkBelly

Crispy skin pork belly with apple remoulade, baby vegetables, smoked celeriac puree and port wine jus
Jessica: Crackling was perfectly cripsy and had an amazing crunch! Pork was tender and so soft. My favourite element of the dish was the wine jus, tasted amazing and worked so well with the pork. Apple was cooked well and added a needed sweetness to the dish. The puree was nice, a bit too smoked for my liking but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. 8/10

Scallops

Pan seared sea scallops with lemon emulsion, chorizo, cuttlefish and piquillo pepper coulis
Jimmy: Catalina is known for it’s beautiful seafood, so what better way to start the night with the pan seared sea scallops. Visually stunning with the vibrancy coming from the colour of the seared scallops and the cuttlefish and piquillo peppers. Scallops were cooked well, tender and not dry at all. The chorizo combination gave it a real boost of flavour with the lemon and emulsion and pepper coulis binding the dish well but flavouring could have been a little stronger. The cuttlefish was interesting and something I was not expecting at all, which gave the dish a little something. 7.5/10

MAIN

SmokedDuck

Smoked duck breast with confit duck Maryland, rhubarb tart and sauteed kale
Jessica: Smoked duck breast was cooked very well, I loved the salty skin on it! The confit duck was okay, it was a little too bland for me. To my surprise I really enjoyed the sauteed kale! I felt like it went so well with the duck. The rhubarb tart was delicious, I loved the pastry. It was nice and crumbly and perfect amount of flavour. Now.. although most elements of this dish was cooked well, I honestly did not fancy the flavour combination of the rhubarb tart with the duck. The pastry of the tart just didn’t go well with the duck. I think if they had taken away the pastry and just left the rhubarb there then it may have paired better together. If I were to rate the smoked duck, confit duck and the sauteed kale as a separate dish from the rhubarb tart, then I would give them a 7.5/10 each. However, for the dish as a whole.. a 6.5/10.

LambLoin

Herb crusted lamb loin with carrot puree, sauteed kipfler potato and zucchini
Jimmy: The presentation was sophisticated and highlighted the lamb loin in a wonderful light. The herb crust was packed with flavour and crunchy in texture. The lamb was cooked well, however not consistent which made it difficult to cut on some occasions. The carrot puree was beautiful and the kipfler potatoes were nice, personally I would have liked them more softer! The complimentary sides of the chips and salad were indeed a nice touch, and well needed to accompany the lamb loin. 6.5/10

Sides

Complimentary sides: Chips and Garden Salad

DESSERT

Banana

Banana and salted peanut butter parfait with caramel sauce
Jessica: The dish tasted exactly like what it was described as in the menu. All you peanut butter fans out there would love this dessert!! Peanut butter parfait was delicious. Banana and peanut butter pair sooooo nicely together and the sauce made it a little more special. Loved the combination of flavours! The only thing missing that would’ve made the dish complete was a little more texture, would’ve loved to hear a crunch in the base of the parfait. Favourite dish of the night. 8/10

ChampagneJelly

Champagne jelly with fresh raspberries and pomegranate; raspberry ripple ice cream
Jimmy: BAM dessert time and what better way to finish with a little bit of raspberry and ice cream. For those that do not enjoy the taste of champagne, the jelly is probably not for you, as it really is dry and the palette and has a strong aroma in it’s flavour. The raspberry ripple ice cream was a great contrast in temperature and I really wished there could have been more. Speaking of more, the pomegranate syrup was probably the best part of the dessert. Amazing flavour and I would have had a paid extra to have more! The base of the dessert was very interesting and one way that I could describe it would be that of Uncle Toby’s roll-ups. Overall the dessert was full of flavour and I enjoyed thoroughly, however the balancing of elements were the only problems I had with the dessert, besides that it was fun to dig into this. 6.5/10

PETIT FOURS

PetitFours

Final Thoughts

Jessica: Although the main was a bit of a let down.. Catalina is still one of my top 3 fine dining restaurants! Their staff are professional, attentive and most of them are friendly. We had an outdoor seating and the breeze outside was coming off a little strong.. the hostess was so kind to leave a scarf with me for when I did get cold! A gesture like that just shows that they actually care and they would do that extra bit more than just guide you to your table or serve you your dishes. I also love the fact that it is a family run business, you definitely feel warm and cozy and very welcome from the moment you walk in. I always recommend Catalina to my friends.. and I would still recommend it now, but maybe choose a different main from what I had.

SERVICE: 8.5/10
ATMOSPHERE: 9/10
PRESENTATION: 8/10

Jimmy: Having previously taken Jessica here a very long time ago, it really became an instant favourite of ours. The view we have on the balcony table is stunning and peaceful. There’s no question that Catalina’s service is top notch from the last time we were here and with our most recent visit. It is a family business and you feel like you’re served with great care. Catalina is one of those places that couples can enjoy for any special occasion. The food is fresh in it’s produce and plated beautifully. Really do recommend Catalina, maybe we’ll try the seaplane next time we dine.

SERVICE: 8.5/10
ATMOSPHERE: 8/10
PRESENTATION: 8/10

View from Rose Bay Ferry Wharf

Exterior

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Catalina’s website

Restaurant Trading Hours:

Monday – Saturday: 12 noon til midnight. (Restaurant remains open all afternoon. They do not close between lunch and dinner)

Sunday lunch: 12 noon til 6:00 pm (Closed Sunday dinner)

Catalina on Urbanspoon

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Vue de Monde

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Australian chef, Shannon Bennet’s three chef hat restaurant situated on the 55th floor of the Rialto building offers an amazing dining experience looking over the Melbourne city landscape. With an Australiana theme and some French influence, Vue de Monde offers an A la Carte or Degustation menu worth going for. This restaurant was booked in advanced for Jimmy’s 21st birthday and we had such a great night that we decided to post up a few extra pictures for you! Now we didn’t upload every picture we had taken that night just to preserve the experience for those going for the first time, as it makes it much more memorable. This was our experience at Vue de Monde:

Table view

APPETISERS:

Potato CrispsWallabyEmu JerkyTruffle MarshmellowsSmoked EelENTREE:

EntreePORK
Greenvale farm Pork, marron, wild herb cream
Jessica: The detail on the presentation is just amazing, look at the way that radish is curled!! The pork and marron tasted as good as they looked. Pork was soo tender, it melted in my mouth. Flavours of the pork and marron together were just meant to be, flavours weren’t overpowering – making it the perfect entree. 9/10

Jimmy: If you can’t decide what to get for your entree, this is a must. It’s like magic on the plate, visually beautiful and amazing on the taste buds. Perfectly portioned for an entree personally, with something that gets you excited for the next dish. First off the marron was cooked so beautifully that I could of had more. Pork melts in your mouth and the combination with the wild herb cream gave it a little more punch. I rate this entree highly. 9/10

entreeDUCK

Duck, apple, pine mushrooms, Gascony butter
Jessica: Again, just amazing presentation. Duck was cooked well and surprisingly the apple paired nicely with the duck. The mushrooms were okay, they had some subtle flavours but they weren’t anything amazing. However, the Gascony butter definitely brought the dish together. The saltiness balanced out the sweetness from the duck and apple. 7/10

entreeKANGAROO

Kangaroo, charcoal, onion
Jimmy: This was my second entree, and take nothing away from the amazing gastronomic experience you receive from the get go, this was a simple enough dish that was unique in many aspects. My first time eating kangaroo, I’ve heard in many cases that kangaroo meat can be tough, but in this case the kangaroo slices were cooked on some sort of heated piece of log, just seared on the one side that gave the meat a textual contrast. Onions were nice and soft, the onion cream eaten with the meat gives you a little extra kick.  6.5/10

Palate Cleanser:

Cucumber Sorbet with microherbs

MAIN:

MAINjessica
Smoked eggplant, onions, thyme
Jessica: Oh my god, this dish was amazing. It arrived to me with a glass cloche over it, it looked very foggy inside. When the cloche was lifted, it revealed a trail of smoke coming from a piece of burning bark. It definitely added a sense of smokiness before I even started eating the eggplant! Now the eggplant itself was amazing, it was soft and salty, the beetroot and onion complimented the eggplant so well. While eating this, I couldn’t get over how amazing it was. I honestly never thought that one of my favourite dishes of all time would be an eggplant dish. 10/10

MAINjimmy

Mark’s catch, leek, black cabbage, oyster, tarragon
Jimmy: If I can recall, this meal was the kingfish, and just by looking at it, it may seem like it’s just a piece of fish with some greens. The leek and oysters gives this dish something special. The fish was cooked for the Gods! Perfectly cooked and it was a really nice piece of fish. If you like a beautifully cooked fish then don’t hesitate to order this. 7.5/10

DESSERT:

DESSERTjessica
Chocolate Souffle
Jessica: The texture was light and fluffy, and unlike the one Jimmy had at Guillaume at Bennalong, this one actually had a good amount of chocolate flavour! Actually, the flavour of chocolate seemed to grow the more you ate it. It was an above average chocolate souffle, but nothing amazing. It didn’t disappoint, but it didn’t blow my mind either. 7/10

DESSERTjimmy

Passionfruit, white chocolate
Jimmy: When you look at the menu and you see “Passionfruit, white chocolate” you probably wouldn’t imagine a dessert looking like this. I felt like I was in a science lab when the waitress brought this out and I was actually taking my time looking at each element on the dish. How do you even start digging into it and what do you use to eat it. Well i ended up eating everything with my hands which I don’t usually like doing, but this was an exception. This was a really fun dessert and if your after something different, you’ve got to try this. You can’t go wrong with passionfruit..or chocolate. 8/10

PETIT FOURS:

Petit Fours (Pennys)Petit Fours (shells)Petit Fours (Gumballs)Petit Fours (Lamington)

Final Thoughts
Jessica: All I can say is that this is by far the best fine dining restaurant I have been to. It’s hard to describe my experience, as I can’t seem to find the words to describe it! I had my clutch on the table, then a couple of minutes later a waiter brought me a stool so that my personal belongings had a seat too! The service is amazing from the moment you are greeted on ground floor. Once we reached the higher levels, the lift opened and there was someone waiting there to guide us to our table. When we reached our seats the table had some random pebbles on it.. as the night progressed we slowly found out what each pebble was for. I don’t want to reveal too much about this experience.. it is unique and I don’t think another restaurant can ever replicate this. It is something where you just have to experience it to understand where I am coming from. I guarantee you will not be disappointed, this is a restaurant that NEEDS to be on your bucket list!!!!!! Ps. book in advance!

SERVICE: 10/10
ATMOSPHERE: 9/10
PRESENTATION: 9/10

Jimmy: Me personally, I had very high expectations for this restaurant considering the price and great reviews that I have read about. There aren’t many restaurants that I can really say impressed me from the start, middle and end, however Vue de Monde is truly a wonderful experience. Their fine attention to detail in their presentation, food and even their decor and furniture offer the diner a memorable evening. Our experience at Vue de Monde was second to none. The dishes were fun and enjoyable and the service was at the most professional and skilled. This place is up there with the best places I have eaten at so far and will most likely stay there for some time. A unique and fun experience that truly offers so much more than expected.

SERVICE: 9/10
ATMOSPHERE: 8.5/10
PRESENTATION: 9/10


Open Kitchen

Level 55, Rialto
525 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
T: +61 3 9691 3888
E: vuedemonde@vuedemonde.com.au

Lunch:
Tuesday to Friday and Sunday
Reservations from midday to 2pm

Dinner:
Monday to Saturday
Reservations from 6pm to 9pm
Reservations are essential

TheView

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Vu de Monde Website

Vue de Monde on Urbanspoon

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Rosetta

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Rosetta is Neil Perry’s third Crown restaurant. As it is Perry’s first stand alone Italian restaurant, the many visitors of Crown in Melbourne are fortunate to have Rosetta in such close proximity. With a beautiful location off Crown Towers in Southbank, amazing decor that takes you back in time with the sophisticated backdrop of chandeliers, framed black and white photographs of Italian celebrities that in Rosetta’s design gives you a little taste of Italy. The food boasts a wide variety that celebrates the many regions of Italy with an impressive wine list to match. This was our experience:

exterior
ENTREE:

squid
Calamari – Fried Squid and Zucchini: $32
Jessica: As you can see, this is a fairly large portion for an entree! I was expecting to get 3/4 of this plate max. The fried squid was cooked well, however I do wish they were a bit crunchier. The zucchini was cooked perfectly, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The herbs added a light flavour, nothing too overpowering. To be honest, this large portion was starting to fill up my tummy! 7/10

seafood

Grigliata Mista di Mare – Charcoal grilled prawns, calamari, baby octopus, and mussels with extra virgin olive oil and lemon :$45
Jimmy: When this meal came out, it looked amazing. The portions seemed very generous and the first thing I thought was shit, this could get messy, as the prawns seemed to still be in their shell. So I started with the calamari and the flavour you get from the first bite really packs a punch. Really tasty and everything was so well cooked. Thankfully i could get through everything without having to use my fingers. The extra virgin olive oil and lemon gave the seafood something different from the charcoal grill and I’m happy that they had enough of the dressing as I feel the dish could’ve lost something as I ate more. 7/10

MAIN:

pasta
Spaghetti – with zucchini, chilli and prosciutto :$32
Jessica: My favourite dish of the night! I wish I took a photo of the pasta before the waiter put parmesan cheese on it! Of course, I requested for a lot of cheese. The spaghetti was cooked so well, everything in this dish was cooked perfectly! I’m usually not a massive fan of chilli, but this added another element to the dish and took it to a whole new level. As you can see from the picture, the spaghetti was drenched in quite a lot of olive oil.. the dish was delicious but it would’ve been perfect without. It’s hard to believe that I would say this but I prefer this pasta over my beloved bosciaola or carbonara sauce pastas! The problem with those heavier pasta sauces is that you can get sick of it easily, but this didn’t give that feeling at all. 8.5/10

duck

Anarta – Wood fire roasted duck, mattone style with saffron roasted apricots, pinenuts and raisins :$45
Jimmy:  There’s something about apricots that doesn’t really appeal to me, so whilst ordering this dish I was kinda hoping that it would give me something to convince me. To be honest, that duck was cooked so nicely, with the apricot and the pine nuts and raisins, this was an enjoyable meal. I really enjoyed the raisins with the duck and I wished there was a little more. Though nothing too special with this meal, the duck was really well cooked though I felt something was missing. 6.5/10

DESSERT:

ice cream
Torrone al Cioccolato – Frozen chocolate, peanut and coconut semi freddo :$21
Jessica: The frozen chocolate was quite nice, I feel like you could taste the chocolate more as you continued to eat it. There was a dark chocolate base under the frozen chocolate which added a nice bitter flavour to the sweetness of the entire dish. The semi freddo was a nice consistency, you could really taste the peanut flavour in it, not so much the coconut though! 6.5/10

panacotta

Panna Cotta – with rhubarb and strawberry compote :$21
Jimmy: This was the dish that really made my day. Panna Cotta! Let me tell you this vanilla panna cotta was by far the best one I’ve had so far. On it’s own the consistency was silky smooth and soft as a feather. The rhubarb and strawberry compote provided such a lift to the dessert, that I wish I had a second round. I have had a few panna cotta’s at Melbourne and this is the standout. 8/10

interior

Final Thoughts

Jessica: I had booked this restaurant to celebrate Jimmy’s 21st, and honestly this restaurant couldn’t have been more perfect. The service was great, staff were professional and friendly. The music was perfect (for Jimmy’s taste), they played his favourite music which went well with the atmosphere of the restaurant. Be aware that sunlight can come through to the outdoor seatings quite strong, so be aware of the time you are booking if you wish to be seated outdoors. Overall, this restaurant put up service and food that was a lot better than I had anticipated, highly recommend this restaurant!

SERVICE: 7.5/10
ATMOSPHERE: 7.5/10
PRESENTATION: 7/10

Jimmy: I was actually meaning to take Jessica to this restaurant the last time we were at Melbourne but I overlooked it. But since we were here and Jessica booked it on a New Years Eve I was really excited to experience it. Rosetta is a place that when you look through the windows, you see a space inside that makes you feel like you will be dining at a sophisticated European fine dining restaurant. Though we sat outside in the terrace, the design was a little more modern but take nothing away from the beautiful fresh air! The service was friendly but professional from the moment we walked in to the moment we left. Most of the waiters/waitresses spoke Italian so that was something great to hear when you’re dining at an Italian restaurant. Pavarotti was playing in the background, three really enjoyable meals, especially the dessert and the occasion made the day that much more special. Although the food may be a little pricey, it could be a restaurant you consider when trying to decide on a place to dine while you’re walking along the Crown complex.

SERVICE: 7.5/10
ATMOSPHERE: 7/10
PRESENTATION: 7/10

Rosetta Ristorante

Opening Hours

Lunch Tuesday to Sunday 12.00pm-3.00pm

Dinner 7 days from 6.00pm

Reservations

+ 61 3 8648 1999

Crown Complex
Southbank VIC 3006
Australia

Rosetta on Urbanspoon

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Guillaume at Bennelong


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Guillaume (pronounced Ghee-ahm) at Bennelong has a proud reputation that has as recently regained three chef hats at the Good Food Guide 2014 awards. Guillaume at Bennelong is situated in the southern most shell of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Serving contemporary Australian cuisine with a classical French influence, with head chef Guillaume Brahimi himself, we found this a must for a special occasion for Jessica’s 21st birthday! This was our experience:

ENTREE

Pumpkin Velouté
Jessica: A small appetiser to start our taste buds running. It had a lovely smooth texture which was the perfect way to begin the night.

Jimmy: This appetiser I believe was called the Pumpkin Velouté. It was light and creamy as it should be with the foie gras complementing well.

Royale
Jessica: Royale was a quite interesting dish, the contrasting texture of the smooth pea puree and the crispy croutons kept me coming back for more. The flavours were quite subtle, I wish it had more of a kick to it because the last spoonfuls got a bit boring. However, it was a good entree to start off with because the flavours weren’t too overpowering.

Spring Vegetables
Jimmy: My entree “Spring Vegetables with heirloom carrots, fennel, leek, asparagus and kale.” First off, amazing presentation with the colours bouncing off the black ceramic. For those who are expecting something out of this world, this entree will disappoint. Nevertheless these seasonal vegetables are cooked to perfection. Having never tried kale, it really brought this dish together for me.

Scallops
Jessica: This was definitely my dish of the night! My favourite element on the dish was definitely the scallops, they were cooked to perfection. My second favourite was the crispy crackling! It’s so disappointing when you bite into soft crackling, however this one did not disappoint at all. For the lovers of crackling or anything crispy, I highly recommend this dish because the crackling makes it so worthwhile. All the flavours worked well together.

Mushroom Consomme
Jimmy: My dish “Mushroom Consomme, Morels, shiitake, oyster, truffle, gnocci.” For lovers of mushroom, you would expect to find a well rounded meal. There was no particular punch to the dish and it began to get less interesting with each spoonful. The gnocci was beautiful and soft and the flavours worked well in combination. It was clean and the mushroom added to the consomme. Was just expecting something a little more from this dish.

MAIN

Chicken
Jessica: The chicken was cooked well, but to my surprise I actually liked the yabbies too (I’m not a big fan of seafood). The corn puree was velvety soft and worked well with the chicken. I honestly don’t have much to say about this dish, I enjoyed it but it didn’t have any wow factor to it.

Mulloway
Jimmy: My main “Mulloway with prawn, mussel, clam, capsicum, leek, potato, rouille.” Even though it did not meet my expectations, this was a very enjoyable dish. It was my stand out for the night. For me, Mulloway will always catch my eye on the menu. It tasted fresh straight from Palmer Island. The rouille does it’s job, complementing the mulloway, mussel and clam well. The prawn, with it’s head surprisingly is important in giving this dish an overall appeasing look.

DESSERT

Granita
Jessica: The granita and cream was something different, it definitely needed the cream as the granita was too overpowering on its own.

Jimmy: The Champagne grapefruit granita was amazing. Really got me looking forward to my dessert. It may be due to the flavour of the champagne/grapefruit that may put many people off but tasted with the creme chantilly together, you can’t go wrong.

Nougat
Jessica: My second favourite dish of the night! The caramel ice cream was a bit of a disappointment, it didn’t have that much flavour to it. However, the caramelised bananas was the winning element. I’ve never seen any dessert with caramelised bananas before, I didn’t expect much from it. You could still taste the sweetness of the banana and having it caramelised just brought it to life! I would order this dish again just to have those caramelised bananas!

Souffle
Jimmy: My dessert “Chocolate souffle w/ cherry ripple ice-cream.” Was never a fan of souffle’s however I took a gamble by choosing this dessert. With the waiter dunking in the scoop of the cherry ripple ice-cream, I was ready to “dig in.” There were many things that disappointed me with this dessert and i guess it was my high expectations that played a large part. It lacked in the sweet department, the souffle was very light but I was hoping for a little more flavour. So i needed to try it with the cherry ripple ice-cream. Now, if there were a little more of the cherry ripple ice-cream, this dessert would be great. It was a let down and needed a little more in my opinion.

JESSICA
SERVICE: 6/10
FOOD: 6.5/10
ATMOSPHERE: 7/10
PRESENTATION: 7.5/10

JIMMY
SERVICE: 6.5/10
FOOD: 6.5/10
ATMOSPHERE:6.5/10
PRESENTATION: 7/10

Expectations were high due to the reputation of this restaurant and the occasion. From the dining experience –as we could both agree on– was a let down. There were many great aspects, the service was professional (excluding the sommelier that took my drink order and gave me an odd look when i ordered cognac) the view was amazing and the produce was of high standard. By the end of our mains we felt a little tired and felt the wait time was longer than expected and that effected our dining experience a lot.
Guillaume at Bennelong has announced that it will be closing down by the year’s end. We were happy to have experienced this iconic three hat restaurant.

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