Maze by Gordan Ramsay

As both of us aren’t much of Hell’s Kitchen people, we arrived with no expectations and weren’t sure of what the lunch would be like here but the beautiful light lunch we were served was a perfect way to end our stay in Melbourne. Maze located in the new Crown Metropol, was a little hard to find (the only entrance we could find was through the taxi arrivals).

Upon arrival we were served drinks while waiting in the cushy lounges while they readied our table. We opted for the 4 Course lunch for $49 and soon enough we were served complimentary bread with seaweed butter. I couldn’t really taste the seaweed but the salty butter was delicious with the bread – now I love my carbs so I always have to stop myself from eating too much bread.
Lunch was off to an amazing start, my Yellow fin tuna tartar was pretty to look at and was light and refreshing. I loved everything about this dish – the tuna was fresh, the radish gave it a crunch and yuzu how I’ve missed you. Bill’s Smoked eel and local green asparagus on a bed of pressed apple was lovely and subtle, I think I’m starting to have a taste for eel now.
The slow cooked octopus was tender and very flavorsome with the chorizo and grilled capcisum but paled in comparison to the “Tête de cochon” which Bill had for his next course. The Tête de cochon was a crispy on the outside and revealed a tender pork terrine inside which matched well with the watermelon it came atop. Both of our 3rd courses were equally amazing. I had the Pan roasted John Dory a beautiful piece of fish, the flesh was soft and flaked at the touch hidden underneath a super crispy skin. It also came with a pumpkin mash which I loved. My favourite dish of the lot though was the Crispy roast pork belly which Bill ordered. The tender pork surrounded by a beautiful dashi broth was the dish of our day. For dessert I couldn’t go past the pannacotta and chose the coconut and white chocolate pannacotta with black olive caramel which sounded unusual but I’ll give it a try. I really enjoyed eating the pannacotta with the black olive caramel and mango granita and felt the pannacotta was missing something when I finished all the caramel. It also came with a small olive and rosemary friand which I strangely enjoyed – I’ve only recently started to like olives.  The other dessert choice was the Madagascan chocolate "jaffa" which came with puffed rice YUM!

I loved the light lunch at Maze and were pleasantly surprised by the Japanese influences, which could be why it appealed to my tastes so much. Maze offers an affordable lunch in a relaxed atmosphere, an airy space with high ceilings and a lot of natural light. I’d definitely come back for lunch whenever I’m I happen to be in Melbourne next.  

 

 

 

 
complimentary bread with seaweed butter

 
Yellow fin tuna tartar
white radish, yuzu. enoki mushrooms, black garlic

 
Smoked eel and local green asparagus
orange and miso, pressed apple, crispy shallot

 
“Tête de cochon”
watermelon, kohlrabi and crispy pigs ear

 
Slow cooked octopus
chorizo, grilled capsicum, nasturtiums

 
Pan-roasted John Dory
pumpkin, piquillo pepper, spiced red wine

 
Crispy roast pork belly
calvalo nero, soybeans, dashi

 
Madagascan chocolate "jaffa"
bayleaf sherbet, mandarin marmalade, black rice

NOT AN EGG – ITS THE SHERBET

 
Coconut and white chocolate pannacotta
mango and black olive caramel

 
 

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Ms.G’s

Having to decline a lunch date with these girls and reading about the great food they had, I was all the more keen to try Ms.G’s as soon as I got back from my holiday, so I jumped at the opportunity to head there to celebrate a friends birthday. Well aware of Ms.G’s (155 Victoria St Potts Point) having a no bookings policy we arrived early at 630pm on a Saturday night and were seated immediately on the middle level with a view of the city lights across the water. Taking in the surroundings, the quirkyness of the restaurant catches my eyes, the graffiti on the walls, the hanging hessian ropes and I’m excited to hear Grease playing in the background – it’s going to be a fun night.

 
We decided to each choose a dish to share amongst ourselves but first we need drinks – one of the main reasons we decided to come here. Ah yes, the asian in me could not resist the packaged Pina ‘pearls’ Colada – you can’t go wrong with alcohol and pearls. The boys both went for Ms.G’s Famous Yuzu Slushee which we found it best to drink it fast or it melts and you’re left with a strong taste of vodka.
The Mini bánh mì were the first to arrive filled with crisp pork belly, a tangy sauce and fresh herbs they were deliciously moreish! Surprisingly we were served a very generous amount of plump sea scallops with guacamole. I liked the braised wagyu beef shin the least, though the beef was very tender I found it lacked some oomph and was a bit bland for me. My favourite dish of the night looked the simplest – the egg noodles with XO sauce and braised duck. The XO sauce was flavoursome and I especially loved breaking the egg yolk and mixing the ooze into the noodles which brought it all together. I also really enjoyed the fried baby chicken though when it first arrived I was a little shocked at small they were, but I pushed it to the back of my mind so I could enjoy it and enjoy it I did, amazingly the skin was really crispy, the meat was succulent and it was not oily at all!!
For dessert I chose the "Stoner’s Delight" which arrived as a hot mess of all things sweet. I loved scraping every last bit of the peanut brittle and had to fight Bill off the doughnut ice cream, but it all got a little too sweet for us in the end. I also found the marshmallows were light but had a more wet consistency which was an interesting texture to eat. The others were more sensible and chose the Pandan chiffon cake, had I known it came atop a mountain of sago I probably would have ordered this too as it was refreshing with the sorbet and strawberries.

Not surprisingly the fun theme continued into the bathrooms with huge metal buckets as sinks and vintage taps and where the walls were plastered with old brown newspaper clippings and even recipes…I recall reading a Japanese Egg Salad recipe while I was there. I loved the vibe of Ms.G’s and it would be a great place to catch up with friends, just make sure you arrive early because as we left we found it was a super full house.

Ms G’s
  
Asian mothers are the best mothers

  
  
  

Pina ‘Pearls’ Colada – Appleton VX & Havana Club Blanco rum, pineapple, coconut, yogurt sorbet, green pearls
Ms.G’s Famous Yuzu Slushee – Limoncello, Russian Standard vodka, yuzu juice, Regan’s orange bitter
teehee…anyone else find it dirty stabbing her mouth with a straw as indicated?

  
Mini bánh mì with crisp pork belly

  
Sea scallop, jícama, guacamole, finger lime

  
Egg noodles with XO sauce, braised duck, soft poached egg – YUMYUMYUM

  
Braised Wagyu beef shin “Hue Style”, konnyaku noodles, lemongrass, chilli broth

  
Fried baby chicken (whole) and Kimchi Mayonnaise

  
“Stoner’s Delight” doughnut ice cream, chocolate, rice bubble, pretzel, peanut brittle, marshmallow

  
Pandan chiffon cake, strawberries, coconut sorbet

  
  
 

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Greenhouse by Joost

On gorgeous days such as today I find myself craving, fresh, light and simple foods much like the beautiful lunch we had at Greenhouse by Joost. Sadly Greenhouse by Joost has moved and is no longer situated on Campbells Cove against the backdrop of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. It was a pop-up restaurant within a shipping container which aims to create no waste. An interesting idea and a great concept – the chairs are made from aluminum irrigation pipes and leather off cuts, drinks are served in recycled jars and water in wine bottles, sustainable using fresh produce and waste is composted. Reflecting on the service we received at Quay also reminded me of the sincere apology we received when we dined at Greenhouse by Joost earlier in the year, which made a huge difference in our mood.

We find the huge orange building covered in greenery at 1030am and find that the restaurant is already a buzz with the lively chatter of customers. We’re promptly seated where we have a view of the Harbour Bridge and where we receive plenty of natural light. I especially loved the flower in the glass jars with our table number written on it. There are no menus when we arrive, however the walls are littered with words from the dinner menu. Our waitress kindly explains to us what’s on offer for breakfast this morning as all foods are made on the premises including breads. I choose the cinnamon donut and a cappuccino and Bill goes for the breakfast bar and a "jar" of freshly squeezed orange juice. Not long after our drinks arrive, however after 45 minutes our drinks were empty and we were still waiting for our food. We feel pretty guilty as we sat at our table for nearly an hour with no food on the table, while a line forms outside the restaurant in the rain as they huddle under their umbrellas. After an hour of waiting our waitress comes to our table, kneels down talking to us at eye level, sincerely apologised and explained our order got lost and never went through so she would try and get our food to us asap. It seems as thought we weren’t the only people who’s orders were forgotten as she starts to make the rounds around the restaurant – the table next to us chuck a tantrum, devour the food and leave. Finally our waitress brings out our food and offers me another cappuccino and advises that our breakfast this morning would be complimentary.
Since it was nearing the lunch service we ask the waitress if we could just stay for the lunch service and she was more than happy to accomodate for us and our lunch is served soon after we place our orders. I ordered the seared mullet where the skin was perfectly crisp and the flesh was soft and moist served with sweet, juicy tomatoes on a plank of wood. Bill went for a lighter lunch ordering the wood roasted baby carrots, beetroots and pistachios with some labne. The carrots and beetroots were caramelised bringing out the sweetness of the vegetables, while the labne gave it a touch of sourness and the pistachios added texture.
 
Normally we would have been pretty pissed that we had to wait an hour for breakfast to arrive, but for some strange reason we both felt pretty calm, content and at peace. I’m not sure whether that could be attributed to the positive concept that Greenhouse by Joost promotes or whether the simple and gorgeous dishes just made us super super happy. Nevertheless we had an enjoyable morning together. If only Greenhouse by Joost was a permanent addition to our harbour, it would be a great place to bring friends visiting from overseas and also bringing a positive awareness to the community.

Greenhouse by Joost
  

  

Fresh squeezed orange juice $5

  
Cinnamon donut & Breakfast Bar

  
Wood roasted baby carrots, beetroots and pistachio $16

  
Seared mullet and mixed tomato salad $26
  
 

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Quay

"If the lingual nerve is damaged, there is a risk of altered taste sensation" I read in the list of Possible Complications of Surgery. This was enough to make me quietly ask Bill whether we could go to Quay before I possibly lose my taste sensations and he agreed it was a good idea WOOHOO! But he also went one step further and offered to take me again after my surgery for the tasting menu "just to see if my taste did change" – best bf ever. 
 
Quay is located on the Overseas Passenger Terminal (Circular Quay West) with an amazing view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House all lit up. It’s currently ranked 26th Best Restaurant in the World in the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Upon entering Quay we were greeted by friendly staff offering to take our bags and led us to our table. The crisp white linen against the dark furnishings and candle lights gave it a very elegant atmosphere.
 
We were both very excited about our dinner at Quay, we had even discussed what we would each be ordering before hand so we could try most of the dishes we wanted by sharing. Unfortunately the night did not go swimmingly due to the actions of one waitress below but moving forward. After ordering we were served an Amuse Bouche of Smoked eel jelly in white carrot cream with caraway crumbs, whilst I was a bit hesitant of the smoked eel, it was very subtle and enough to whet our appetites as we readied ourselves for the rest of the evening. We were also served bread of our choice with unsalted butter – I chose the polenta and sunflower seed bread which turned out to be quite a heavy bread and Bill chose the rye.
 
For Course One Bill chose the Mud crab congee which wasn’t the traditional type of Chinese congee we were used to but I loved it nonetheless, the flavour of the crab was subtle and I loved the clean broth and the egg emulsion added a creaminess and thickness to the dish. Me on the other hand could not go past the Sea Pearls presented so beautifully I almost didn’t want to eat it…almost. Four perfect and delicate pearls placed in front of me, resisting the urge to pop them into my mouth whole, instead dissecting each one to savour the uniqueness and complexity of each pearl and also giving Bill a little taste too. My favourite was the crab pearl with a silver foil and the octopus came at a close second but they were all so delicious I’m definitely ordering these babies again next time.

Our Second Course arrived, and the alarm bells started ringing in my head because what was served in front of me was not the dish I ordered, the Black lipped abalone, pearl oyster, shiitake, ginger scented milk curd, earth and sea consommé was placed in front of me. Though it was not the dish I ordered, I decided to go along with it anyway and it was beautiful and I especially loved the ginger scented milk curd where the ginger was not overpowering but complemented the rest of the broth. Bill ordered the Butter poached coturnix quail breast which deceptively looked like it had a liver texture, was tender and very earthy with the mixture of walnuts, chestnuts and ethical foie gras pudding. It was definitely the richest of flavours we have had so far this evening and the crunch of quinoa made it a very interesting dish.

Our Fourth Course came out and we found that this time it was not the dish Bill had ordered, quite taken aback Bill kindly told the waiter that he had ordered the Berkshire pig jowl. The waiter apologised and headed back to the kitchen and promptly informed us that the chef would be making the pig jowl now and there would be a 6 minute delay, which didn’t bother us at all. My Poached Wagyu Beef was tender, the morel gave it a deep flavour and a hint of sweetness from the black pudding made this a delicious dish. However the dish of the night was hands down the Berkshire pig jowl which filled the air with the sweet aroma of caramel. We’re told jowl is the lower part of the cheek, a delicacy which was incredibly tender and melted in our mouths, the prune balanced the sweetness and the maltose crackling was different and not what we’re used to but we loved it. The portion looks quite small but it definitely fills you up. We were also served a mixed green salad with sauvignon dressing which helped balance the heaviness of our meals. 

Now for the piece de resistance – dessert! Bill chose Quay’s eight textured chocolate cake which only had seven textures when placed in front of us, with a waitress bringing out the eighth texture – a chocolate sauce in a copper pot and ladled upon the cake creating a sexy dent. Bill isn’t really a chocolate person but he devoured it. The chocolate cake was rich, bitter and sweet all in one and was sinfully good. I chose the Guava and custard apple snow egg which was absolutely divine, from the crack of the shell revealing a soft, airy meringue and a gooey custard to the very last spoon of guava granita. It was so fruity and refreshing, I could have had another one and was a delightful way to finish the night.

Unfortunately our dining experience was dampened by what I felt was a slack waitress. She was quite lovely at first, but we were concerned as she took our orders:
For my Second Course I had ordered the Gently poached southern squid & rock lobster to which she replied "yes, the abalone is a good choice" which left both Bill and I confused and I just assumed she knew better and that the squid and rock lobster dish also contained abalone. However what was placed in front of me was a completely different dish, believing it was partly my fault for not confirming with her I happily had the abalone dish which indeed was lovely.

For our Fourth Course I had ordered the Poached Wagyu Beef and Bill ordered the Berkshire Pig Jowl to which she replied "ohh great the pig jowl as well for you" which had Bill and I looking at each other as we had ordered different dishes. I shook it off thinking she had a brain fart when what you say is not what she wanted to say. However, when the time came disappointingly we were both served the Wagyu Beef which was quickly rectified by the friendly waiter. Unfortunately the original waitress who had taken our order brought the correct dishes back with a side of nasty attitude as she said "Sorry about that. I do this for a living you’d think I wouldn’t make these mistakes but anyhoo" which I perceived as passive aggressive and yes she really did say "anyhoo". If you know Bill, he is not one to get angry at little things but this really infuriated him as he did say he wanted the pig jowl, and the waitress also did not look at us as she "apologised" nor did she look at us for the rest of the evening, which we found very insincere, rude and disappointing service.
On the other hand the waiter who had brought out two Wagyu beefs came back at the end of our meal to apologise for the mix up and was very sincere and friendly about the situation and we felt that it was a very lovely gesture on his part.

Admittedly we were quite daft as we felt pangs of concern as she was taking our order, yet we didn’t press her to read and confirm the order out to us. However, I don’t feel as if it was fault on our part and in no way did Bill deserve her nasty remarks. Sadly this dampened our spirits and poor Bill felt uneasy for the rest of the night.
 
Nevertheless dining at Quay was a culinary experience, we were left amazed at how beautiful each dish was presented and I especially loved the sexy curves of the ceramics. I don’t believe my photos captured the delicateness, uniqueness and complexity of each dish placed before us and how amazed we were. It was also an enjoyable evening learning more about foods such as the divine jowl, the edible palm hearts and the freshly sprouted grains making ezekiel bread. Though our evening was somewhat ruined by the actions of one waitress, we will definitely be heading back there for another exquisite meal.

Quay
  

  
Amuse Bouche Smoked eel jelly, white carrot cream and caraway crumbs

  
Mud crab congee, fresh palm heart,
Hand shelled mud crab, Chinese inspired split rice porridge

  
Sea Pearls
Crab and tapioca, smoked eel octopus, sea scallop and sashimi tuna with aquaculture caviar 
 
  
Gentle braise of black lipped abalone
pearl oyster, rare breed pig, shiitake, ginger scented milk curd, earth and sea consommé 

  
Butter poached coturnix quail breast
pumpernickel & ethical foie gras pudding, walnuts, quinoa, truffle, chestnuts, milk skin

  
Poached Wagyu beef
 oxtail, morel, black pudding, farro, buckwheat, hazelnut, ezekiel

  
Berkshire pig jowl
maltose crackling, prunes, cauliflower cream, perfumed with prune kernel oil

  
Quay’s eight texture chocolate cake

  
Guava and custard apple snow egg

  
Latte in a cute cup

  
Petit Fours Milk chocolate praline and dark chocolate puff
 

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