Tag Archives: Prahan

Woodland House

Developing a sense of creativity.

Woodland House looks and feels like a teenager forced to walk their parents’ career path. The website notes ‘a playful sense of adventure and whimsy’, but walking through the austere entrance, and greeted with a somber welcoming, playful and whimsy seem as foreign as words as you could imagine. Glancing through the multiple dining rooms, the clientele are the well-dressed Armadale set, most likely bankers or, judging by the conversation at the adjoining table, data processors.

Not exactly Alice in Wonderland.

 

So we settle in, straight backs, and elbows off tables, lest we be chastised by the staff.

 

Once the ball starts rolling, you being to understand the whimsy and wonder. The dishes hit mid scores on creativity, as demonstrated by a puffed quinoa crusted flathead that tried but failed to add the texture it was likely designed for, but the balance of flavours, technique and execution of each dish was beyond fault.

Still, you feel as though they are trying to push the boundaries, but being held back, by what I’m not sure. The surroundings? The memory of Jacque Reymond? Take the pork belly, slow roasted and melting away at the touch of a fork, is pulled too left field by a sweet caramel topping that didn’t really hit the mark. You can see they wanted to take this dish to an exciting new level, but for whatever reason, it felt half-baked.

The six course degustation finishes with a crowd favourite – Bomb Alaska. Honeycomb icecream, layered with Italian meringue and dollops of caramel, it encompassed neither wonder nor playfulness, but for a classic dessert, it was pure perfection.

 

WOODLAND HOUSE

78 Williams Road, Prahran, VIC 3181

03 9525 2178

info@woodlandhouse.com.au

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L’Hotel Gitan

L’Hotel GItan

The last place you’d look.

Dirty Commercial Road is not the first place you think of when searching for authentic French cuisine in Melbourne, but it is here that Jacques Reymond has successfully merged gastro pub and French bistro with L’Hotel Gitan.

From a gastro pub perspective, it is charmingly relaxed, but with white-papered table clothes and dark wood furniture, it feels fancy without stuffy. In terms of bistro, the dishes are simple and honest, without fancy technique, but also without the overbearing richness with which much French food is associated. Each dish is fresh, and clean, and sauces, the trademark of the French, are designed to compliment rather than outshine the principle.

The ballontine of duck starter is chunky and textured, and although not to everyone’s liking (it can be difficult managing the fatty, gelatinous sensation) left me wanting more, with my girl generously obliging. The cassolette was standout, delicately balanced with champagne and saffron foam, the perfectly cooked medley of prawns, mussels and squid was flawless, and a reminder of how amazing Australian seafood can get. The barramundi en croute shone brightly and built upon the seafood theme of the previous dish. Tender and juicy fillet of cod, layered with a salmon mousse that didn’t really add anything other than a protective layer separating the barramundi and the lusciously flaky puff pastry ceiling.

However, the dish on which all French bistros are so often (and rightly) judged, the steak and frites, was unexceptional, although pleasant enough. A well-executed dish that failed to live up to the standard that preceded it, it was the only dish that failed to leave a memorable impression.

Jacques Reymond is a true gentleman of Melbourne’s French scene, presenting dishes both classical, and classy, much like the man himself who greeted each and every diner once the kitchen and closed up. A class act all the way.

 

L’Hotel Gitan

32 Commercial Road, Prahran

+61 3 9999 0990

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