Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Press Club experience

Press Club
The Age Good Food Guide 2010- 2 hats

Having secured a reservation for last November, we had to reschedule as a friend celebrated her birthday on that very day we booked in for. It was a 2 month-wait as we were told the next available Saturday was in January 2010. Truth be told, I wasn't very excited about the Press Club due to some bad reviews I've read. But it went from being a one-hat restaurant in 2009 to a two-hat (three hats being the best) restaurant in 2010- could this be due to George Calombaris' rising fame on Masterchef Australia? I read somewhere recently that George looked like an unwashed potato...and he really does! Haha, all good though- he smiled at me from the open kitchen when we were waiting to be seated.

Compulsory check before leaving the house (I got ready in superduper quicktime!). Loving the fluttery hearts on my dress. Inspired by this dress from Marc Jacobs- one of my favourite designers.

Ah, we made it in time!
Perusing the EXTENSIVE wine, beer and spirits list.

What he decided to get.
Yes he was greedy. This is Ouzo, which is widely consumed in Greece. Being in a Greek restaurant, we decided to give this a try. It tastes strongly like aniseed and reminded me of licorice. This sure took a while to get used to but I can see why people drink this as the taste slowly grows on you. An acquired taste, perhaps?

Complimentary bread with olive oil and black lava salt. I've had better bread AND olive oil. May I suggest trying the olive oils from Pukara Estate? They're simply devine. The black lava salt was interesting though- it's basically a blend of sea salt and activated charcoal.

Finally, onto our entrees. We told our waitress that we'd be sharing all our dishes and they kindly served our entrees on two separate plates. How thoughtful! This is zucchini flower stuffed with grapes and olives accompanied by a variety of tomatoes (yellow tomatoes, purple tomatoes which are specially engineered to have extra antioxidants and the good old cherry/grape tomatoes). The puree of grapes and olives nicely complimented the zucchini flower by giving it a hit of saltiness. The tomatoes were so fresh and juicy- they were close to perfect. I <3 zucchini flower and the only times they are in season is over the December-January period, so it's not often that I get to eat them. This was easily my favourite dish of the night.

This was one of our main dishes- roasted salmon infused with vanilla served with sweet corn skordalia, salted popcorn, sundried tomatoes and almonds. Skordalia is a blend of crushed garlic and sweet corn (depends on the mix you're after). The salmon was still pink and a little bit raw in the middle. I didn't particularly like this dish as I could neither taste the natural sweetness of the fish, nor the vanilla. I also thought this dish would taste better if it was roasted a little longer to give it a bit more taste and crispiness.

Our other main was a yoghurt roasted scotch fillet with a potato cooked in garlic butter, pinenuts, figs and dried sour cranberry with a vinaigrette. No wonder the meat had a hint of sourness to it. It was the yoghurt! This was done medium rare and each bite was delicious. The potato was my favourite- it was so creamy and yummy.

Our bread was topped up when we were close to finishing our mains, but no one topped up our water! This time they gave us some olive bread which I thought was scrumptious as you could really taste the olives.

My dessert, which was called 'My Breakfast at the Belvedere Club'. Hey I guess if I can't do Breakfast at Tiffany's, I'll settle for this :D. Clockwise from top left: A lolly of white chocolate coated vanilla ice-cream, breakfast bar of raisins and nuts, raisin and fig compote (my favourite out of the lot) and a sour berry sorbet. Mmm.
Bf opted for a tart of bitter chocolate, caramel and candied feta, pistachio and that orangey dollop you see there is pumpkin ice-cream. I really liked the tart- the chocolate was decadent but bf thought this was pretty average.
So how did the Press Club fare? I'll give it a 14/20- purely because the salmon could've been done better, and more dessert choices should be on the menu.

Till next time, keep eating the good stuff for me!

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