Thursday, 15 March 2012

THE BOTANICAL - Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

169 Domain Rd, South Yarra - ph: (03) 9820 7888

Restaurant express, Food and Wine festival, take 2.

Our second festival lunch special was at The Botanical in South Yarra.

If you missed my first festival post; a number of fine dining restaurants are offering a special lunch menu during the Melbourne Food and Wine festival where you get 2 courses + a glass of wine + tea and coffee for $35. Express lunches are a budget friendly way to try out new top rated Melbourne restaurants.

This was my first visit to The Botanical after their renovation early last year and under the new executive chef Cheong Liew.

Today, we were choosing dishes from their festival menu and ordered:

Entree of cold poached veal, confit tuna, radicchio and capers. I was a bit disappointed when the dish was served, as I was expecting a tuna steak instead of tuna paste.

Cold poached veal, confit tuna, radicchio and capers

Although I didn't like how this dish looked, I loved the taste. The finely sliced veal went well with the tuna paste and the capers added great texture and a touch of tang.

I chose cod fish with creamed silverbeet and butter sauce for main. Presentation was again a bit disappointing as I was expecting a nice tall cod fillet with firm flesh. The portion served was a tail fillet, which has more fat and softer meat.

Rock cod, creamed silverbeet, butter sauce

Again, the dish tasted better than it looked. The fish was cooked well, silverbeet was creamy and sweet and the butter sauce added some saltiness.

Hubby ordered crispy duck with thai salad for main.

Crispy duck, Thai salad, peanuts

I liked this dish. The duck was very well cooked, the sweet and sour thai flavours were nicely balanced in the salad and the peanuts added texture. I didn't really understand the creamy coconut rice in this dish. Don't think it went very well with the other ingredients on the plate.

We had our eyes on dessert (extra $10 for an extra course) and chose the chocolate mousse cake with blood orange terrine.

Balthazar and blood orange terrine

The menu described the chocolate cake as 'balthazar' - no idea where the name comes from.

The cake itself was delicious and definitely the highlight of our meal. Lighter than air layers or dark and milk chocolate just melted in the mouth. Both the blood orange terrine and yoghurt ice cream worked well to balance the sweetness of the cake and deliver a combination of flavours to every mouthful.

I enjoyed the meal overall. Every dish was tasty and well executed. It was clear though they were trying to save money on the ingredients used and I hope that was a reflection of the festival prices charged. The Botanical is meant to be a fine dining restaurant after all; I'd be very disappointed to see off-cuts on their full priced menu.

The Botanical on Urbanspoon

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