Monday, April 22, 2013

Manhattan - Mornington, Mornington Peninsula

There is a new kid on the block. As of December 2012 a new (and yet another) restaurant opened in Mornington. Tucked behind the “Champs Elysees” in Mornington and wedged between the Cheese Cake Shop and the old church is Manhattan. Expect something new and fresh in modern decor and open dining area and a mezzanine floor if you like the elevation. Expect something new in fine food and relaxed fine dining. Expect something new in a great night out, great service and delicious food. That’s Manhattan.

Of course you can’t call yourself Manhattan and not serve the famous drink. Most restaurants and bars will serve this drink with a cheap bourbon. Not Manhattan. Here a Manhattan is rich and complex in flavour it should be they travelled all over America looking for the perfect Manhattan.

The mains are mouth watering, of generous size and there are many to choose from. I’m a big eater but two dozen chilli mussels (entree) and a huge and scrumptious wild mushroom risotto left me full. In fact I couldn’t finish the risotto. My wife was the same she had to leave part of her main. I had the local house white which was excellent and there is a good selection of local and inter-state wines. Also there are various products and goods displayed sparingly around the restaurant for purchase, a nice distraction.

What is there to hate about Manhattan. Nothing! Easy parking, fresh and modern decor, prompt and friendly service, world class food, good wine selection, large meals and a Manhattan night-cap to live for. One minor comment: if like me you have a skinny bum you may find the wooden seats a little hard. Thankfully this didn’t affect my appetite.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bistro Guillaume - South Bank, Melbourne City

Bistro Guillaume is in the heart of South Bank and just minutes work from Crown or Crown Promenade Hotel. Should you be staying at South Bank this makes for quick and easy access to the restaurant  without having to brave the elements, catch trams or cabs or walk ‘till you drop. Bistro Guillaume is one of the Crown’s premium restaurants. Crown has $100 meal deals with this and several other restaurants nearby when you stay with them. What you get is dinning to the value of $100 but Crown throw in valet parking, itself worth $30.

The decor is modern with a touch of Europe. Dine in, sit at the bar (very colourful) or outside under the large awning. In the cooler weather heating is provided. Service is first class and meals appear reasonably priced. I dinned on a Monday night so the restaurant was very quiet but book ahead.  There is plenty to choose from on the menu and the Steak Tartare and John Dory were excellent.  The house wine, a sav. blanc, was also very good.

Bistro Guillaume is definitely a restaurant I will be re-visiting. Though there is plenty of excellent dining establishments on South Bank this is one I would recommend from the bottom of my stomach.   Choose a warm night and sit outside. The view is great as you watch others go past while you graze away on fine food and wine in a fine eatery. Find the time to visit soon.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Hare and Grace - 525 Collins Street, Melbourne City

Finding a good place to eat steak in the heart of Melbourne is not difficult. If you are like me, a creature of habit, once your fav. steak haunt is secured you go back again and again. Trying a new restaurant can be more exciting than feasting at your tried and true eatery. An ex-work colleague (Jackie) and I catch-up regularly for a steak meal and every time we visit the same premises. Time to get adventurous.

Not working in the city and trusting Jackie with my stomach I left the “surprise eat” up to her. I had no idea where we were going but fortunately we were booked at the Hare and Grace. Yes they serve many other dishes outside of steak but when I saw “250 GRM GRAIN FED BLACK PREMIUM ANGUS EYE FILLET, CLARE VALLEY GOLD, SA” (long title small serve) I had to try it. On service I was disappointed by what I saw.

After cooking massive rib eyes at home and dinning on 1kg steaks at other restaurants, to see a palm size meat portion arrive with a tuft of greens even an anorexic rabbit wouldn’t touch, you feel cheated. Then I cut into the meat and took my first mouthful. The meat was divine, perfectly cooked but next time I’ll ask “medium-rare”.  Fries were served in a small terracotta flower pot, novel. I would prefer full size chips but they did provide wasabi to go with the fries on request.

The decor is fresh with a rustic feel. Service is excellent and friendly and wines are decantered on request. There are plenty of sides to go with your meal and dessert to follow. An outdoor area for after work and plenty of quiet window seats for a relaxed meal are all conveniently provided. Hare and Grace is certainly a place you should try. I could find little to complain about and none of it worth mentioning.