637-641 Chapel Street
South Yarra, VIC 3141
03 9040 1333
Disclosure: I dined here courtesy of The Art Series Hotels
The marketing people behind the Art Series Hotels very kindly sent me a voucher for myself and a guest to try the Laurent Perrier 6-course tasting menu at Spoonbill. Fakegf and I set a date one Friday evening for this discovery. The restaurant is situated inside The Olsen hotel along Chapel Street, South Yarra. Fit out is casual modern with a particularly smart looking bar section.
We sort of went there as ‘mystery diners’, in that I did not announce the media voucher right at the start so as to see how service was like. But of course, the game was pretty much up once my dSLR appeared beside my lap. All that said, we received very good service from our Irish waiter, Aaron, who remained chatty, attentive and affable right through our meal.
The Laurent Perrier sharing menu involves choosing 6 dishes from a special menu, it can be from any section in any combination you wish. It’s priced at $65 per person and you get a complimentary glass of Laurent Perrier champagne with it. We went sensible by ordering 2 starters, 2 mains, 2 desserts, but you can just as easily order 6 mains or 6 desserts if you’re crazy enough.
Chimchurri, cauliflower puree, red pepper salsa
Aaron did warn us that we’d be rolling out of the restaurant, but I still went crazy with the breads, mainly because our dinner booking was late at 8pm (we were starving!), plus the accompanying olive oil was delightfully fruity. After stupidly tanking up, we started with seared scallops that came with an curiously tart purée.
Pork, fennel, chilli, grilled scamorza, pine mushrooms
Our next entrée turned out to be the dish of the night. The pork and fennel sausages came strong and spicy, it went very well with the bed of mushrooms and relish. We also loved the smoky, milky scamorza cheese, which was reminiscent of good haloumi. I’d totally have this dish again for brunch!
Seared duck breast, wild mushroom, confit leg, Spiced Za’a Tar liver, spinach
The next dish did us in. Duck breast, duck liver and duck leg… I really shouldn’t have eaten so much bread at the start! Halfway through it we were just about defeated by the generous serves of meat. And this was only course number three!
John Olsen’s Famous Paella
Broccoli, smoked almond sea salt | Witlof, grilled pear, roast walnuts, blue cheese
There was quite a long wait before the paella came out, but either way, we struggled with the remaining dishes. I enjoyed the flavour of saffron in the paella, the rice had a nice bite and the broth was balanced nicely. Pieces of chorizo helped give the dish a nice lift, but I thought the seafood could’ve been fresher. This dish was accompanied with blanched broccoli and a pear salad that had very good blue cheese in it.
Passionfruit Crème, poppy seed tuille, crunchy matcha cake, vanilla bean ice cream
Poached Pear, ginger spice crumble, honey brittle, burnt honey cream, ginger & pear ice cream
Thankfully, the last two dishes weren’t too big. However, neither Fakegf nor myself are fans of deconstructed desserts… our rationale being – by the end of the meal, we don’t want to go intellectual with our food, we just want something straightforward! So we ate through both dishes slowly but were too full to appreciate them.
Although we only had enough stomach space for half of the food served to us that night, Fakegf and I had a fun meal here. I think the bubbly and alcohol (Fakgf had 3-4 half glasses of matched wines) also played a part in making us full so quick. The menu is decent, generously portioned, and if it doesn’t change, it’d be great for those amongst us who have bigger appetites. I’d like to thank The Art Series Hotels for having us in, and Aaron (our kind waiter) who gave us good service and entertained us nicely throughout the meal.