Friday, 8 June 2012

4 Venues in just 1 night

To wash our blues away with the depressing Melbourne winter weather, Agenda City put together a Progressive dinner where you travel through the city to 4 different venues (2 new comers in the city and 2 of Melbourne top recognised venues).

Agenda city (www.agenda.com/) is an email magazine that searches for the the newest recommended restaurants in either Melbourne, Sydney or Perth. From small cafes to top dollar venues they always provide you with the latest of the culinary world and searches for the best deals and exclusive offers available. Not only are they able to give you great insight to these bustling places but they guarantee that they've tested it out first before they announce that you should check out the deals or venues.

Starting our evening off at a rustic French inspired restaurant 'Mr Mason', decked with a roaring brick fire place, low hanging copper lights and luscious black leather and wooden chairs and nestled in the 530 Collins building, CBD.  With it's produce driven cuisine we were served with a King Fish Ceviche to get out palate going and served with a perfectly matching Nepenthe Sav Blanc.

This Caviche was luscious in flavours and so delicately cured in lime that it melted away. Served with an avocado puree, seaweed jelly, heirloom carrots and sliced radish, this dish was a perfect started for the evening.  The sweetness of the dish was well balanced with the French oak barrelled 2011 Nepenthe Sav Blanc which had the aromas of gooseberries and grass and subtle flavours of citrus and crisp acidity. A perfect beginning to this culinary evening that's for sure.

Only a stone throw away or a brisk walk two doors up we head to the new and fabulous 'Henry and the Fox'.  With it's slightly more relaxed environment and laid out in cooler toning, open kitchen and long bench seating this is a modern tasteful venue. Nothing is over the top, simplistic is always the key. An alternate main or Mulloway and Pork belly was served with a 2010 Nepenthe Shiraz.

Let me talk about the Pork belly first I think, the one sure to have won my heart over. A very slow 12 hour roasted Pork belly that just tore away when cutting on a bed of Fennel pure, fresh fennel, orange, dill and artichoke. The crackling melted away after your teeth sink into it's crisp coat perfectly salted to add the final touches.

The Mulloway was a sweat and fleshy fish and served succulently with chorizo and chick pea salsa which was combined with an avocado pure and a red pepper dressing. Mulloway is not a fish I have had to often but after tasting this I want more. It's not a common dish you sea at seafood restaurants either and i have to ask why? It was flavoursome and fresh, perfectly cooked where the flesh just melted away and with the combination it was served with it is not one to pass up.

The deep crimson coloured Shiraz served with these dishes expanded the flavours with its full bodied spice and vanilla tones with winter berries such as raspberry, back berry and plums. A perfect match to enjoy both these dishes which are currently on there menu at the moment if you wish to venture and try.

A wintry walk to fed square and time to chat with others about what we've already experienced we make our way to Taxi Dining room with it's and take in the breathless views of the lite up city. A perfect place to enjoy dessert and take in the views and meet a new round of people. I've been to Taxi a couple of times before and it always delivers, and it wasn't without fail that they delivered again.

A tasteful white chocolate mousse with salted peanut caramel and meringue, was the perfect size and not over indulgent to ruin what we had already enjoyed. The meringue was silky like Italian meringue and just toasted once put on the plate and surrounded by basil seeds which cut into the sweetness of the dish. The salty caramel was outstanding and a perfect accompaniment to the sweat white chocolate. Served with a 2008 Tempus Two Botrytis Semillon it was a rich opponent with it's essence of apricots and honey and citrus toning.

To complete our evening we head to Longrain a well established restaurant in both Melbourne and Sydney and it is of course the Melbourne venue where we enjoy cocktails as the finishing touch to the night. Some of the cocktails enjoyed this evening have been on the menu since it opened it's doors and will remain there for years to come. Bar tenders infuse there own vodkas such as the one used in the Chilli coconut martini. Infused for 36 hours with birds eye chilli's then finished of with a long chilli it's sure to be a heart started in this winters weather. It's a clear fresh Martini but if you are not the chilli fan, and don't like your hear go to another choice.

The Ping Pong with an explosion of passionfruit and lychee, is a little bit difficult to drink with the seeds getting stuck in the straw but all the same it was a pleasant finish to the evening. The long life cocktail on the venue it is one of there more famous sellers from the bar.

The third and final choice we had was the Soho la. Now this is a winner if you want something light and refreshing. Served in a tall glass and flavours of watermelon and lychee with a splash of apple juice for even more sweetness it was enjoyable and the perfect finisher for my night.

What a grand night and well organised for it's first Progressive dinner by Agenda. Price wise too it was fantastic at only $105.00 pp it was amazing that you were topped up with drinks through out the night and had actual meals and not samples of the menu. It was fantastic that chef's came out to speak about there dishes or like Longrain there head bar tender came out and spoke about the creations of there drinks. It's great to see others taking pride in there produce and representing the restaurants and supporting the industry.

Restaurants in order of visits

Mr Mason on Urbanspoon Henry and the Fox on Urbanspoon Taxi Dining Room on Urbanspoon Longrain Melbourne on Urbanspoon