Fine Dining

Vue De Monde – Personality on a Plate – Round 2

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The last time I had visited Vue De Monde I was crazy impressed to know that my belly could not eat the next morning. Maybe it was because we had devoured an entire degustation menu, who knows. I was so convinced this time round that I’d know the menu off by heart but I was entirely wrong.

The adventure begins

Flashbacks appeared when I walked into the restaurant and was welcomed with Melbourne’s CBD view, but this time the night sky. Photos don’t do this restaurant any justice!

That view

We were first greeted with the pumpkin and all. Simplicity was a key for this course. Texture was whipped to perfection like I was eating air with hidden gems of walnut pieces to bring you to the crunchy side of things. The dip had a creamy outcome with a whiff of Indian cuisine and a tinge of curry taste. It went pleasantly well with the bite-size house made naan bread.

Pumpkin and all

So this is what it feels like again using top notch fork and spoon. This was the only time I would appreciate and carefully use utensils as I was told by the waiter it costs hundreds and thousands of dollars. I did my Google research and yeah I can confirm I would need insurance if I ever snapped these babies…YIKES!

Them baller cutlery

For our second course we had turnips with fresh milk curd and emu which had a variation of Asian herbal flavours that was topped with a few petite pieces of chicken skin crisps. This dish had a heavy fragrant of turnips and blended so heavenly with the milk curd

Turnips with fresh milk curd and emu

The third dish had arrived in a raw manner that I thought we were eating beetroot but I was fooled by the looks and only discovered closely that the dish had charred seasonal greens and buried underneath raw squid with smoked chicken fat, and fermented Davidson plum as a intriguing sauce. It was fascinating munching on these strings of charred greens as it somehow reminded me eating those packets of Korean seaweed snacks and the noodle like squid played well with the plum dressing.

Raw squid with charred seasonal greens, smoked chicken fat, and fermented Davidson plum

Full speed ahead and VDM train brought us Western Australian marron. The three ingredients ran and swirl so well together, amplifying each other’s flavour of pine mushrooms, macadamia and glued so well with the tender piece of marron sure got my belly squealing for some more, I almost shouted out “ENCORE”.

Western Australian Marron with pine mushrooms and macadamia

Uncovered the Western Australian Marron with pine mushrooms and macadamia

The world is your oyster when our cleansing plate of moonlight flat rusty wire oyster with lemon myrtle had arrived. I was fueled by the tangy, sour and vinegar flavours on my taste buds.

Moonlight flat rusty wire oyster with lemon myrtle

One would weep just to touch the crusty curves of the beer and fennel bread as it was still warm, crunchy and brown. Sitting beside was a rolled up cultured butter that compliments so well with the bread. Ahhh….Breaking Bread.Haha.

Beer and fennel bread with cultured butter

Next up was the Mark Eather kingfish with spanner crab and beach herbs, which I personally wasn’t a fan of due the the acquired taste of the beach herbs that had overtaken the spanner crab. On a happy note I was amazed by the tiny froth bubbles surrounded the greens which seemed like this dish was living on the wild wild side.

Mark Eather Kingfish with spanner crab and beach herbs

By now you can almost hear my expandable dress burst it’s last stretch but the show must go on and we had the bright and beautiful Kohlrabi with Yarra Valley salmon roe and a mountain of marron coral. This was seasoned to savoury perfection and made good friends with the beer and fennel bread.

Kohlrabi with Yarra Valley salmon roe and marron coral

Close-up of Kohlrabi with Yarra Valley salmon roe and marron coral

My eyes fell instantly to the Davidson plum sorbet with sorrel and flowers. It sure was a promising delightful taste. Picking up my silver spoon, I spooned out a dollop of sweet, tangy plum sorbet which was bathed in liquid nitrogen. The pleasant smoothness of the sorbet blended perfectly with the bitter-sweet taste of sorrel and flowers.

Davidson plum sorbet with sorrel and flowers

A unique flavor experience was tasting the raw kangaroo with figs and muntari berries.It wasn’t a typical dish you’d have on the menu but an eye popping experience for your tastebuds. I felt the figs and muntari berries overpowered the chunky cube pieces of kangaroo meat, however it’s a taste you’ll need to try it yourself to explore.

Raw Kangaroo with figs and muntari berries

Just its aroma won me over was the sizzling wallaby snag and how can I not include the part where a chef comes out to greet us and cooks right on our table with a transferrable hot stone pot. We’re big fans of a good sausage (no sexual jokes intended ;P) but have you tried a wallaby snag before?

Wallaby snag with wattleseed damper and condiments

Wattleseed damper being cooked

After all the condiments had arrived at our table and the snags and damper were cooked, we had the opportunity to get our hands dirty and participate in DIY snag roll. And if you’re wondering do we get to eat it? The answer is YESSSSS!!!!

Wallaby snag with wattleseed damper and condiments

It’s hard to dislike this Aussie fusion snag because well…I’m a sucker for theatrical presentation. I was quite intrigued with the flavours of the sausage and the damper bread.

The finished result of a Wallaby snag with wattleseed damper 

It wasn’t long the waitress returned to our table and greeted us with a very sharp knife to let us know the next course was about to arrive. Hmmmmm I wonder what do need this knife for?…

Have you seen this knife holder before?

Most desirable meat dish was the David Blackmore wagyu striploin. Each pain-steakingly selected ingredient contributed to the greatness of the dish. Wagyu melted in my mouth even before I could chew and the marron coral and cabbage puree had me salivating.

David Blackmore wagyu striploin with marron coral and cabbage

And oh did I mention during the entire degustation we had this spectacular 180 degree view of Melbourne CBD. Nothing special…haha.

Melbourne’s CBD Night View

What a way to start the dessert course was the moment a clay pot bursting with flames comes arriving at our table and I knew we’d be served with entertainment. I’ve got my fun goggle cap, have you?

Roasted marshmallows

You just could not go wrong with eating the roasted marshmallow with frozen pear hidden in the center. It tasted naturally sweet and matched so well with the warm fluffy marshmallow cover. The only sticky situation I had was it easily fell apart, but overall I was pleased with the flavours, it was pear-fect.

Roasted marshmallow

A tantalizing treat was the tea tree, mandarian, and desert limes. You cannot go wrong with something tangy towards the end of the degustation as it loosens up the bloated feeling I got after having a non-stop fulfilling meal.

Tea tree, mandarian, and desert limes

In between my desserts I got distracted by another roasted marshmallows but this time filled with cho cho choooc…you guessed it CHOCOLATE.

Roasted marshmallows filled with chocolate

The squiggly chocolate pieces were easy to crack into with my front teeth and the squishy soaked lime sponge cake had a refreshing taste, texture and fragrant of all things citrus.

Tea tree, mandarian, and desert limes

A chocolate treat guaranteed to make any chocolate lover beg for was the chocolate soufflé. You just can’t go wrong with chocolate especially if you are eating it in front of an amazing Melbourne view.

Chocolate soufflé

Couldn’t contain my excitement when the lamington and gumnuts had arrived. Oh I have missed my petite fours and there was no way on Earth I’d share this with anyone else besides me, myself and I. Each velvety bite of the lamington reveals chocolate mousse swirled with fresh raspberry compote.

Lamington and Gumnuts

It was a superb finish with the gumnuts as it was served frozen and it had a powerful minty flavour that was refreshing with every bite. This reminded me of an eclipse after every meal but a classier way to have it. Haha.

Gumnuts

Vud De Monde Lights

For the second time in a row the real star for the evening was when I was being farewelled with a paper bag of goodies called “For the next day”. I couldn’t contain my childish excitement when the waitress tried to explain what she’d be handing out to me at the very end. There’s a reason why this bag is called that because after we had exited the restaurant, we waddled back to the hotel in 9 inch heels. The bag contained freshly tea leaves, two fun-size croissants and muselli, which are all housemade from Vue De Monde.

Overall this was my second visit and again Vue De Monde is a very sophisticated theatrical fine dining restaurant with a sweet little price tag between $250 -$300 per person. Surprisingly this restaurant never ever ever fails to bore me and made me feel like a kid in an adult body. I have yet to visit other similar restaurants like VDM, but in the meantime I’d say it’s still my favourite fine dining place to eat in Melbourne.

“For the next day”

Photos by Vanny Tang

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Take 2: My Food Bag- Healthy Recipes‎ Made at Home

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What a surprise we are halfway through winter. With this cold season making feel a little insecure about my eating habits, we’ve become attached to My Food Bag, so that we can ease our way through to eating healthy again and reminding ourselves that there’s FRESH fruit and vegetables options for when we cook at home. 

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That healthy rainbow spread right at your door step.

There has been some recent improvements that My Food Bag product and experience made. 

New Monday AM delivery time – Enjoy delivery while you sleep! My Food Bag now offers their foodies the added convenience of a NEW delivery window, Monday 2:00am – 7:00am. Win back your weekend and wake up to a delivery on your doorstep! It’s all part of continuing to offer a convenient service to suit the busy lives of their foodies.

New planet-friendly packaging – My Food Bag is committed to delivering their foodies only the freshest seasonal produce available, in packaging which is planet-friendly. They’re now delivering the goodness in their 100% recyclable Chilltainers and Brown Paper Boxes, all kept cool by their new recyclable ice bricks. This new packaging has replaced their traditional bags to continue to ensure the best quality delivery service.

New suppliers – My Food Bag has teamed up with a number of new local suppliers to continue to bring their foodies only the best! While of course remaining free-range, organic and sustainably sourced (wherever possible)

Reduced recipe times – A team of nutritionists and dietitians have been working hard to reduce their recipe preparation time, while retaining variation and a healthy balance of ingredients

My Food Bag 2016_Nessy Eater (2)

No kidding about freshest local Australian produce, meat and fish.

Let’s experience first-hand the following changes… 🙂 Excited (*Insert* happy dance)

Now let’s start with delivery…I must say My Food Bag does keep you informed through email and text, even days before your order, so that you are aware your groceries are coming. Thumb up for that top quality service. Whilst I was in bed dreaming about the things I’m going to cook for that week I did receive 2 alerts on my phone; one for when they deliver and the other saying my groceries are in front of my door.

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Delivery came on time just before I head to work. Many ticks for that!

Unpacked my goodies around 8am and they were still nice and chilled. I could smell all the ingredients even before I had opened the brown box. Now that’s another thumb up for quality food supplies.

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Didn’t need to waste time hitting the markets to find fresh meat. Thumbs up for that effort!

I dare you to take a peek at the latest scrumdiddlyumptious creations from Nadia Lim and her team for easy recipes cooked in your very own kitchen.

Day 1: MEXICAN FISH & SWEET POTATO NACHO BOWLS

Taste: An old-fashioned favorite made with the freshest of ingredients. Enjoyed tasting the blend of vegetables with the marinated spice mix fish. It seriously was fresh from the fields to my dinner table. My tastebuds could separately taste the cubes fresh fish and veggies. The only thing that bugged me was my sweet potato wasn’t cooked as I followed the recipe. Other than that this was an earth friendly meal.

Verdict: Let’s taco bout this recipe baby, it felt like a fun Friday night meal that was super perfect for my boring Monday night in. I spiced up my nacho bowls with edible Old El Paso Stand ‘n Stuff soft tortilla bowls instead of using the suggested homeware bowls. I mean life is easier when everything is edible, right? Muahahaha. Saved myself from cleaning more dishes by adding my own idea to this dish and yes I was completely stuffed with two nacho bowls.

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There’s something fishy about this dinner…haha.

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Mexican Fish & Sweet Potato Nacho Bowls

Day 2: PARMESAN & BASIL CHICKEN WITH LEMON POTATOES & CHARRED GREENS

Taste: Might I say fresh, generous, and prepared to perfection, this chicken stuffed with parmesan and basil will leave you wanting more. I was stunned that I made this all by myself. It truly had extraordinary flavours that I never knew it was possible. Don’t normally eat chicken breasts because it always turns out dry for me whenever I cook it, but nope not these breasts. Super juicy because of the parmesan. Loved the fragrant of the basil, garlic and red onion whilst it was cooking in the oven. Gold medal for the rich and hearty flavour.

Verdict: I’m really not sure what to say because I have never been in this kind of situation before, but HEAVENS YES I’d make this again, any day. First time stuffing these breasts with an intriguing filling that I could not have imagined. A delicious and easy-to-prepare chicken breasts that makes a great presentation and fills up any big stomach. Felt guilty (NOT) eating parmesan for a Tuesday night but when it’s mixed with red onion, basil and garlic, you know you have to let the guilty card slide. Thank the veggie gods for arriving on time to balance this meal. So far so good! I think this has become my signature dish for when friends come over to eat.

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There’s there’s THERE’S parmesan in this dish 😀

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This is new for me…parmesan, basil, garlic, lemon and red onion mixed together…

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 Using toothpicks for this recipe. Don’t pick on my breasts! Haha

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Just winged it. Teeheehee.

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Parmesan & Basil Chicken with Lemon Potatoes & Charred Greens

Day 3: GARAM MASALSA BEEF WITH MUSHROOMS RAGOUT SPINCH & FLATBREADS

Taste: Sadly this dish was my least favourite (insert sad face) because it didn’t blend so well together. I wasn’t a huge fan of the sourness taste of the tomato base dish, then moving on to the creamy mayo flavour from the spinach and finally the garam masala beef strips. Don’t get me wrong, all 3 dishes had a full burst of flavour, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. On a much happier note I enjoyed dipping my Lebanese slice bread into the mushroom ragout.

Verdict: It’s a great destination meal for those who heart mushroom and cherry tomatoes. Would suggest to substitute the spinach with cos lettuce so it would marry so well with the garam masala beef strips. I had plenty of leftovers and decided to mix the mushroom ragout with brown rice and as for the gram masalsa beef it turned out to be a kebab using the bread and adding with spinach.

My Food Bag 2016_Nessy Eater (12)

Garam Masalsa Beef with Mushrooms Ragout Spinch & Flatbreads

Day 4: LAMB LEG STEAKS WITH CORIANDER PESTO LEMON KALE & RICE

Taste: Silver medal for this dish as there was no game smell of the lamb and who knew you could cook kale. I was shocked you could mix lamb with sweet chilli sauce. It was a great steak that was so juicy that you accidentally bursted the water pipe…well almost. Loved the subtle hints of sweet, chilli from the lamb and as for the kale…OH MY! Incredible flavour that I wished I found this sooner. As for the rice I totally forgot about that being there because I was so distracted by that lamb leg and veggies.

Verdict: I am very like VERY sensitive to wanting to cook lamb  in my own kitchen and eating kale during dinner time because both don’t mix so well in my books, but I was wrong. A winning pair of kale and lamb leg bursted intense flavors and alluring aromas. Loved the serving of solider carrots and mountains of kale.

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There’s lamb leg and kale on the menu…first time cooking these ingredients.

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Lamb Leg Steaks with Coriander Pesto Lemon Kale & Rice

Day 5: BACON & ZUCCHINI RISOTTO WITH PEAR & PARMESAN SALAD

Taste: This dish didn’t go bacon my heart…thank the food gods, instead it was warming my heart. This risotto covered in a decadent creamy texture and dusted with parmesan made me lick my plate clean. A healthy pile of greens with the added pear fruit as a side salad offered a bright crunch when paired with the risotto.

Verdict: I must say I’m surprised with this recipe. Risotto is something I don’t normally whip up in the kitchen because rice doesn’t cook properly, but it turned out very smooth and creamy.  As for a salad that has slices of pear in it, impressive. I do like pear salad now, thanks to My Food Bag!

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It’s so hot inside, I’m bacon!

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Bacon & Zucchini Risotto with Pear & Parmesan Salad

Thoughts about My Food Bag

Regards to the following changes that was mentioned at the beginning of this post, let’s see if it approved on the Nessy Eater radar.

  1. Delivery time – Spot on with timing and they text you before and after to confirm delivery to your home 
  2. Packaging – Can’t blame if it’s recyclable and helping the environment 
  3. Food Products – Still impressed with the high quality and fresh ingredients. I’m still intrigued with lamb leg steaks! YUM! 
  4. Reduced recipe times – 4 out of 5 recipes was super easy to assemble as it only required chopping and assembling the ingredients into one pot, so yes it did reduce 5-15 minutes. 

Other notes

  • My Food Bag menus use only fresh seasonal produce, so there’s nothing frozen and they choose free-range and sustainably farmed products
  • Nutritionally balanced meals for all 5 nights
  • Read more here

When it comes to purchasing a week’s worth of groceries, it’s frightening to try new things for example purchasing new meat parts, spices or vegetables because it’s very costly and it takes so much of your time thinking about what to make out of it, but with My Food Bag they’ve done the dirty work for you.

Overall my view on My Food Bag hasn’t changed even for my previous review. My Food Bag does an excellent job with providing fresh ingredients and delicious recipes that can cater for those who cannot cook (that’s me).

My Food Bag 2016_Nessy Eater (17)

Photos by Vanny Tang

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater received a trial of My Food Bag-Classic, thanks to My Food Bag.

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

Check out other My Food Bag post I did. Click here.

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Crazy for Candeloris |Smithfield

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The Candelori’s restaurant has operated for the past 36 years, and recently been reviewed by Gault & Millau 2015. Since opening in 1999, the restaurant has gained a reputation for providing delicious Italian food including house-made pasta made from scratch and with an atmosphere that feels extravagant and classy that suits both social and business occasions. Candelori’s is a true dining destination for all foodies who love Italian cuisine from the Western suburbs and beyond.

Candeloris_Nessy Eater (0)What a lovely restaurant to dine at.

We are off to a great start with these tall, fluffy garlic bread sticks ($9?) with the obvious ingredient…minced garlic. We sure took our time with these as it seemed so great to dunk these solider boys into the entree and pasta base.

Candeloris_Nessy Eater (1)Garlic Bread Sticks ($9?) 

I was a fool to think the pan seared scallops ($27) could be shared between two people along with Jerusalem artichokes, nduja and watercress. I was not trustworthy to evenly distribute the scallops as it turned out I had 3/4 quarters of this entree. Whoopsh!

Candeloris_Nessy Eater (1)
Pan Seared Scallops ($27)

There is no reason not to become a vegetarian anymore because the crumbed eggplant ($27) with Buffalo mozzarella served with pormodoro sure disguised itself as a BIG piece of steak. It’s extraordinary how the texture of this eggplant can almost, I mean ALMOST fit into the meat category. I was fooled by the presentation and AGAIN fooled by the texture. It really knew how to show-off that tomato surrounding.

Candeloris_Nessy Eater (2)
Crumbed Eggplant ($27)

Look what do we have here! Hand cut pappardelle osso buco ragu($29) – The ribbon egg pasta is made fresh daily at the restaurant and provides the perfect consistency of texture and flavour. A lot of muscle work goes out to these pastas and marinating the veal shank ragu, so make sure you lick your bowls clean, CLEAN I TELL YOU.

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Hand cut pappardelle osso buco ragu ($29)

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Only ribbons I’d eat!

We couldn’t miss the opportunity to give the squid ink tagliolini with scampi and scallops ($36) a try with baby calamari and cherry tomatoes. This ex-SQUID-ite dish may be a hit or a miss, depending how madly in love you are with having squid ink as your main ingredient. It certainly is a tad saltier than other pasta dishes, but married so well with the seafood.

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Squid Ink Tagliolini with Scampi and Scallops ($36)

Candeloris_Nessy Eater (9)Dive right into those tentacles…I mean tagliolini.

Candeloris_Nessy Eater (7)Hmmm fresh seafood in my belly.

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I think I wouldn’t mind having a few glasses of wine, please…

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Dining area at Candelori’s

Listen up kids. I turned into GODZILLA when the san valentino ($18) arrived. This dish took me to a HAPPY PLACE with the white chocolate mousseraspberry jelly and biscotti. My claws came out when there was only…

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That presentation of the San Valentino ($18)

Candeloris_Nessy Eater (14)Where do I even begin?!?!

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That inner photo…you like?

There may have been a little tension between me and my partner in crime when the indulgence ($18) had magically appeared at the table. With a total of 70% dark chocolate, passionfruit curd served with a chocolate moist biscuit it’s no wonder stacks were high.

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There’s a reason why this is called indulgence ($18)

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Ready for the next photo?

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OH BOY! Come to me baby!

What do we have here…12 hours baked meringue ($18) – Yes I slowly became vulnerable when snow white crisp shell vanished into thin air along with vanilla cream, rhubarb jam, poached apple, lemon powder and a zesty sorbet.

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12 Hours Baked Meringue ($18)

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I have a lot of explaining to do…but this was just SPECTACULAR! 12 Hours and not a single sign of sunburn.

If you don’t know already Candelori’s was named in the Gault & Millau Australia in 2015. That’s incredible especially when the deserve points for their quality of freshness of produce, the creativity and professionalism of presentation and can’t forget the harmony of the menu.

Candeloris_Nessy Eater (22)Well done Candelori’s!

Till next time Candelori’s and I will have that squid ink tagliolini with scampi and scallops to myself AND each of the desserts I order too.
Candeloris_Nessy Eater (23)Photos by Vanny Tang

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater attended Candeloris, thanks to Candeloris.

Please note: Nessy Eater visited in on November 2015. Desserts change seasonally. 

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

Like to know more about Nessy Eater food adventures?

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Candelori's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gypsy Dining Experience at The Emporium |Parramatta

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This year Parramatta has transformed typical quiet urban spaces into a magical vibrant world of colours, sounds and tastes. The Emporium is one of many restaurants that invite people to experience unique nightlife and for food lovers enjoy everything from European inspired delicacies to Middle Eastern flavours. The vibe is rustic style eatery and has a classy edge – draped in greenery and filled with natural light. With three separate dining areas including two alfresco spaces, a coffee roaster and a bakery, this place caters for all guests.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (1)This is what I call enchanting courtyard party at The Emporium.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (2)You’ll notice handmade furniture imported from Venice.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (3)People of Parramatta you better strap yourselves in to get a glimpse of the Mediterranean Feel.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (4)Born in Italy, raised in Australia, the Purezza sparkling water

To start we had albacore tuna tartare with miso, corn and a generous spread of avocado with squid ink puffed rice paired with St Clair Gruner Veltliner 2012, Marlborough NZ. To satisfy the omega 3 lovers this may have been ridiculously addictive, we just kept dunking the puffed rice into that gloriously fragrant smell of corn and miso. I took great delight in seeing who could grab the biggest piece of tuna. Teehee.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (5)Albacore Tuna Tartare

General manager Dominic Borel (ex-Gazebo and the Local Taphouse) shares his tales of how he was contacted by the owners John and Sam Ayoub, who are also behind the successful chain The Coffee Emporium.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (6)Domonic Borel

Next we have waygu beef tartare that’s finely plated with kohl rabi, eggplant, black garlic, salt and vinegar tapioca puffs paired with Soumah Savarro Savagnin 2014, Yarra Valley Vic. To add that extra texture egg yolk puree was in the house. This was a pretty entree and had a perfect rare centre. The egg yolk had me swiping the plate clean of that precious liquid puree. What surprised most guests was the droplets of black garlic that seemed to twist a lot of people’s taste buds.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (7)Waygu Beef Tartare

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (8)Stunning Italian-villa inspired garden.

How could I resist Petuna ocean trout with a healthier option that includes thin slices of fennel, radish, apple and raspberry matched with a glass of Chateau Riotor Cote du Provence Rose, Provence FR. It is clear the highlight of this dish was the splash of pink salad. Yeah I don’t know how that happened on the one plate but I’m sure I enjoyed this. This has got to be the perfect spring colour dish. The trout was reasonably cooked and the salad married so well with the flavours. I loved the crunchy bits of the fennel and apple. It made this plate more exciting!

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (9)Petuna Ocean Trout

On a heavier side we were served with pork hock that was slow cooked for hours and HOURS in secret master stock and matched with a glass of Jed Malbec 2013, Mendoza ARG. The pork was juicy enough that it didn’t really need anything else.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (10)Pork Hock

That GLORIOUS side view of the pork hock had my heart skip a beat. My god how GOOD was the skin?! That fat could quietly kill me. The hock was so satisfying with the candied chilli and green paw paw salad but me thinks it was missing something. Coming from an Asian background I felt like I needed to order a bowl of plain white rice. Perhaps it was the salad taste that got me wanting rice. It was evident that I enjoyed this dish because I scraped the plate clean.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (11)There’s a hulk in my pork.

The menu, in the hands of Head Chef Robert Cannon (ex-Pony Lounge & Dining) is contemporary Australian with a Mediterranean taste. Trained in the UK mastering classic English dishes, Rob brings a wealth of experience and skills to The Emporium.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (12)Rob Cannon 

In addition to the mouth-watering savoury menu, The Emporium has a range of cheeses to get you into the mood for the cheesy side of you. The delice de cremier had a rich, indulgent triple cream cow’s milk texutre with a soft, sweet and buttery flavour. To accompaniment there was quince paste, dried sultans, granny apple slices and gourmet wafers. The refreshing and clean taste of Walnut Block Pinot Noir 2010, Marlborough NZ was epic.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (13)Delice De Cremier

Dessert time and we had chocolate cremeaux paired with a lovely glass of Piggs Peake Suckling Pig Sticky Shiraz 2014, Hunter Valley NSW. We were SUPER cheerful to see this sweet treat however none of us wanted to share. I believe I fell in love with the honeycomb ice cream or maybe it was the chocolate soildulce de leche and espresso gel. Every spoonful I ate had a much more intense flavour and that espresso aroma was intoxicating in a good way.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (14)Chocolate Cremeaux

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (15)Front Entrance of The Emporium

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (16)Parramatta’s European inspired restaurant.

The Emporium is the perfect addition to Parramatta’s thriving food and cultural scene and might I add it’s a must-visit food destination with an enchanting courtyard party full of gypsy swing tunes, sights and scents of thriving romance! The menu is designed to be shared amongst friends so you better bring your angel side along.

In other news The Emporium will be celebrating Melbourne Cup in style on Tuesday 3rd November with surprise guests, best dressed awards, sweeps, screens, hats, heels and many more. Spoil yourself with canapes and champagne in Erby Place for $50 per head or champagne and sit down lunch in The Emporium and garden courtyard for $75 per head.

The Emporium_Nessy Eater (18)Now that is what I call food styling.

Disclaimer: Nessy Eater attended Gypsy Dining Experience at The Emporium, thanks to Stellar.

Opinions are however, Nessy Eater’s own.

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The Emporium Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Made it to Muse Restaurant | Pokolbin

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Having just earned Two Chef Hats recently in this year’s Good Food Guide, Muse Restaurant is the creation of Husband and Wife team Troy and Megan Rhoades Brown. Not only has this Australian Restaurant held onto one chef hat for a consecutive three years, it has also earned catering industry awards five years straight in the Hunter Region.

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Worth the road trip to Muse Restaurant.

Though this award winning restaurant is a bit of a trek since it’s two hours drive out of Sydney to the entrance to Pokolbin in the iconic Hungerford Hill Winery, Muse Restaurant does offer a season driven contemporary Australian menu that is truly unforgettable.

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Glass door entrance to Muse Restaurant.

As with anything labeled “chef hat”, you’d first question the price tag and it’s unimaginable how worthwhile this place is. It’s reasonably worth it at $95 per person considering it’s fine-dining also for three courses. I finally understand why this is repeatedly labeled Hunter Region, and often Australia’s best in Sydney Morning Herald. Arriving 12:25pm and still begging the girls that I want to continue earning my SingStar points in the car for karaoking two hours straight, we safely arrived to our destination all thanks to the Birthday Girl Almighty Princess who turns twenty-one (?). Teehee.

With a view of the green grass and vineyard like no other, I sense a mother nature vibe. It’s the kind of atmosphere where you don’t have to wear fancy outfits and you could just walk in with denim jeans and cow boy leather boots as the the staff understands that you have travelled a long way. We had one of the earliest seatings and when we entered the restaurant it was three quarters packed already.

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There seems to be a bit of confusion going around when we noticed the fermented garlic butter. It was soft and squishy. You can clearly tell this butter is rich and complex. At first I thought it was exquisite mustard but when the waitress confirmed we were amused and questioned ourselves how to it eat. But luckily a waitress came over with a basket of hot bread!

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Fermented Garlic Butter

We were offered bread and there were only two options so I picked one of each- light rye sourdough and a very eye-catching swirl of the caramelised onion brioche served extremely warm. These were an excellent carb filler for our tummies.

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Light Rye Sourdough and Caramelised Onion Brioche 

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Cross-section of the caramelised onion brioche

At this point, we received three complimentary canapes, which was a huge surprise for us. We start off with the spiced macaron that is filled with a house made labna. The outer shell is a crunch-tastic delight on the palate with a dust of curry powder to add that little kick to my tastebuds.

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Spiced Macaron

Make no mistake, this tea is quite dense and almost leveled with a soup texture with the aroma of shitake mushroom, lemongrass and ginger. It’s great stuff even for my attitude towards mushrooms that I had before as I was growing up as a kid. I’ve never had liquid served quirky like this before, have you? I giggled sipping this as it instantly reminded me one of those smoking pipes in the UK back in the 1980’s. Like how would I know that…#awkward 😛

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Shitake Mushroom, Lemongrass and Ginger Tea

Rouding out the last of the savoury canapes is the mushroom wafer. It has now become my new favourite vegetable companion to almost anything. The paper thin crunch is most welcome on my plate and generous powered flavour of mushroom is rewarding.

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Mushroom wafer

Other than not having enough of this magnificent savoury wafer, I was intrigued how powerful the flavour was. It was weird trying to bite into the wafer, as it quickly melted on my tongue. I had to make a lot of effort not to look like a clown trying to nom nom nom it.

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Paper thin mushroom wafer

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Lemongrass stuck inside the sipping tunnel.

Not long after our first course arrived. Almighty Princess was served a theatrical dish, sashimi of hiramasa kingfish served with fennel, apple, Muse’s very own verjuice and liquid nitrogen Coppersfolly wasabi yoghurt. OMGEEEEE! There’s LIQUID NITROGEN in this dish.

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Sashimi of Hiramasa Kingfish

My only issue was that I didn’t order this for myself, however Almighty Princess was kind enough to give away a few tiny pieces for me taste and provide a verdict. Oh, I don’t mind welcoming the thick slices of kingfish and the refreshing taste of fennel, apple and verjuice again. And of course the wasabi yoghurt involved some sort of crazy taste.

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How does this taste?

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Portion size for entree is ridiculously generous.

For Miss S. the cuttlefish and king brown mushroom ‘noodles’ suitably impresses a lively gothic look, with the dark cuttlefish crackle, and deliciously soft and delicate ‘noodle’. Miss S. and I were 110% fooled by the menu name ‘noodles’. Sweetness is induced by the fresh herbs which acts as a balancer.

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Cuttlefish and King Brown Mushroom ‘Noodles’ 

As for me and Billy, we both couldn’t resist the confit of berkshire pork jowl – presented with smoked mussels, pickled cauliflower, black garlic and buttermilk. This was quite a heavy dish considering it to be entree. The fat slice of pork jowl was at the right level of saltiness and creaminess, with a perfectly tender meat throughout.

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Confit of Berkshire Pork Jowl

So far the dishes at Muse have unconditionally pleased us four girls. Next a waiter serves us the palate cleanser that contains an apple sorbet served on a rhubarb jelly and shiso. I can confidently say this was nice and breeze on the palate.

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Palate Cleanser

I’m always a sucker for fish and the confit petuna ocean trout did not disappoint. Muse shared another sensational dish and it was clearly noticeable because the girls enjoyed licking their plates clean. The trout is gently cooked to retain its bright orange colour and soft silky texture. To finish a bed of seaweed risotto with pickled daikon and broccolini perfectly marries all the ingredients together.

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Confit Petuna Ocean Trout

A meatier choice is the milly hill lamb. It is the classic red meat dish and pleasantly ‘served pink’. Aside is salt baked sweet potato, cultured goats milk, lentils and garden herbs. I had to make a lot of effort sawing each piece of lamb but that didn’t matter because the result of the texture is a level of softness that beyond what I have eaten for a very long time when it comes to lamb.

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Milly Hill Lamb 

The signature dessert is what us four girls came here for, isn’t it? For those who don’t actually know what the fuss is, the “Muse Coconut” is a dessert of legend at Muse Restaurant, one of its jaw-dropping desserts and it’s OUT OF THIS WORLD! If ever there is a moment of silence at the table, this is the reason for it. The thin edible coconut husk is made of dark chocolate and is sitting in a bed of raw shaved coconut. Inside, you have to witness yourself this coconut cloud mousse as light as air, filled with vanilla bean and coconut thick water.

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Muse Coconut

To eat, you must tap it with power ranger force to crack open the husk, revealing the liquid water, and the fun really begins by stirring  it all together to eat. This textural and flavour sensation elicits memories of a real coconut, but BETTER. There is NO BORING BITS in this dish!

This dessert blew its way onto everyone’s radar and it’s the BEST COCONUT DESSERT tasted to date. Raise my wine glass to the chefs who have to make many of these on a daily basis.

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Under the coconut tree you dance with me.

When you think dessert is over and then comes house made chocolates filled with a malt custard. The sweetness of the chocolate, balanced out by the creaminess of the custard is essentially perfect.

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Petit fours

It is incredible Muse Restaurant provides such exquisite dishes that I think the confit petuna ocean trout and Muse coconut has already secured a special place in my heart. It’s TOP NOTCH STUFF! It is clearly evident the chef’s devotion to each dish is an eye-opening display of the finest technique. Oh it really gives some city fine diners a run for their money.

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There’s definitely a Hunter Region feel at Muse Restaurant.

Photos by Vanny Tang

Like to know more about Nessy Eater food adventures?

You can follow Nessy Eater on Instagram / Facebook / Twitter or feel free to leave a YUMMY comment 😀

Muse Restaurant and Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato