Monday, March 19, 2007

RESTAURANT: the brasserie by Philippe Mouchel

Type: Traditional French
Location: Crown Casino, Southbank
Booking Required: yes

About a year ago I started working at the Casino in a restaurant and wine bar called Number 8. Allegedly, this was supposed to be Crown's flagship Australian restaurant which doesn't really say much as it was pretty much the only Australian restaurant in the whole complex. However, it was next door to the brasserie by Philippe Mouchel. Now, most of the restaurants in crown are either entirely owned by Crown or fully leased out. Neil Perry's Rockpool is one such example of a restaurant leasing some of Crown's prime territory. However Philippe has arranged a deal where he's in 'partnership' with Crown. Which gives him all the access to crowns facilities (in terms of staffing and logistics this is pretty handy) but he doesn't face the same pressure from the number crunchers to make enormous profits, as well as enjoying a prime location on the Yarra river with a nice view of the city.

I have been here before as I am I friends with quite a few of the staff, which will skew my review in terms of service because I got looked after very very well, although it's fair to say the the standard is generally top notch. Proficient, relaxed and passionate knowledge about the food and wine.

Philippe Mouchel was spotted by legendary French chef Paul Bocuse at age 22 and worked under him for many years and has subsequently become a bit of a star in his own right. He's been hanging around Melbourne for a while now and has relatively recently settled in at Crown. A few years back they received a hat or two in The Age good food guide and recently have made a comeback, earning a hat last year.

Enough shit, here's what I ate/drank.

Started off with a glass of Bollinger NV. Very nice as per usual.

then to share:
the brasserie’s assorted duck charcuterie
Assortiment de charcuterie maison, saucisson, proscuitto, rillette, parfait.

This was nothing short of awesome. I'm a big duck fan in all it's forms and that's pretty much how it came out. The duck prosciutto was great and the parfait went really well with the little patch of greens. Great start to the night.

Confit of Jurassic quail, gribiche condiment, mesclun salad and beetroot vinaigrette.
With a glass of the 2002 La Bastide, St Dominique, Côtes du Rhône, France

As far as I can remember this is the first time I've had quail and it was done pretty well. The flavours were fairly subtle and the gribiche condiment with the beetroot vinaigrette provided a really nice texture, complimenting the quail nicely. Although I'm fairly ignorant in terms of french wine generally, I realised last night that it works beautifully with the right food.

Between entrees and mains we were given a small scoop each of a red wine, vanilla and cinnamon sorbet to refresh the palette. Had a really crisp black current flavour and did the job just right.

Fillet of John Dory larded with chorizo, pumpkin and boulangère potatoes, onion jus
with the 2004 Lamblin et Fils Chablis, Burgundy, France
sides: Sautéed mushrooms with garlic and parsley and Sauté kipfler potatoes with rosemary

Really enjoyed this. It's been a while since I've gone out and eaten fish as I usually get caught up in things like duck or steaks. It came with two big portions of John Dory and the chorizo, pumpkin and boulangère potatoes came in a kind of layered cake. The onion jus had a bit of spice which went beautifully with the gamey flavour of the John Dory. The chablis added a really nice floral touch and overall worked very well. I love the sauteed mushrooms at this place and subsequently feasted on those afterwards while my friend ate the kipfler potatoes.

The brasserie dessert tasting plate
with a 2001 Château Pinson, Sauternes, Bordeaux

This consisted of Two panacottas, a forest fruit berry tart, a crepe, two scoops of sorbet (raspberry and mango), a crème brûlée and some stewed prunes. The highlight for me was definitely the brûlée and the crepe. All round it was a great way to finish the night. The Sauternes was divine. Not overly sticky, just crisp and long and was a great way to finish the night.

Apologies for the length of this post.

I highly recommend this to anyone visiting Melbourne (despite it being in the evil Casino) and I will definitely try to return. It's pretty easy to rack up a bill as the wine markups are pretty hefty, however it's well worth it every once in a while.


Jobe said...

That sounds mega tasty.

Mr. Mitch said...

Both times I have eaten at this restaurant it has been sublime.