Monday, 18 July 2011

Le Gourmet

Thursday 14 July 2011

366 Albert Street
East Melbourne VIC 3002
(03) 9416 3744

Le Gourmet on Urbanspoon

French Restaurant
Food 9/10
Service 9/10
Atmosphere 7/10
Cost Entrees $10-20, Mains $30+ea


Snails on a bed of Spinach with Garlic & Paprika
(oven Baked)

Aged eye fillet of beef with fondant potato and carrot puree onion jam and red wine glace

Rack of spring lamb with parmesan crust served on ratatouille mashed potato and green beans

Brillat Savarin triple cream, Pyengana Clothbound CheddarQueso Val Deon blue Pont L“ Eveque washed rind
(Served with Apricot, Prune and Apple)

“Salzburger Nockerl”: Hot Austrian soufflĂ© with hazelnuts and chocolate chips, served with ice cream, fruit salad and hot chocolate sauce

2009 Hiedler Gruner Veltliner “Spiegel” (Austria)
2009 Domaine Gobelsburg Riesling (Austria)
2006 Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvee (Desert – Austria)

Summary: This was a magnificent find. After leaving St Vincent’s Hospital in the City, we were yet to decide where to eat. In the spirit of it being Bastille Day, I suggested French. The ‘Gold Dining’ section of our entertainment book advised a French restaurant within walking distance, and we thought we would give it a go. Le Gourmet is found across the street from the Fitzroy gardens, in a rather obscure location.

We arrived upon our location only to find it completely deserted. Not one patron to speak of. We were warmly greeted, and took our seat by the window. The service throughout the evening was fantastic. Our host, Erich Mohr was kind, enthusiastic, attentive, courteous and generous. He provided exceptional guidance, information, education and assistance with both our food and wine selections, even offering additional complementary glasses of wine. He showed a strong vested interest in the cuisine which made it all the more enjoyable.

The food itself was delicious. Le Gourmet’s menu offers a rich cultured variety of culinary delights of French & Austrian influence. The first point of call was to select wines. With too many to choose from, we elected to choose different wines by the glass. With the informative guidance of Mr Mohr, we picked two Austrian whites to try which were both most impressive. Such was our hosts confidence in the quality of these wines, he offered complimentary glasses of a Marlbourough Sauvignon Blanc in comparison. The Austrian wines offered such greater character and flavour!

Our entree was snails with a difference. From previous experience, the satisfaction of snails comes almost exclusively from the garlic. These oven baked snails were different. The texture was slightly different, the paprika gave it spark, and it complimented particularly well with the spinach leaves. Next the mains, were not to disappoint. My choice was an eye fillet; done medium rare, slightly on the rarer side, cooked to perfection. The accompanying potato fontant and carrot puree added a delicious touch to the meal. The portion was just right, quality over quantity, filling, but not overflowing.

We followed up with cheeses; four varieties, accompanied by a glass of Austrian desert wine which again, complimented the cheeses beautifully. My order of preference would have been; 4th: CheddarQueso Val Deon blue; plenty of character, but overpowering and too intense for my taste, 3rd: Brillat Savarin triple cream; Brie-like, soft and tasty, but nothing different to what I’ve had before, 2nd: Pyengana Clothbound: Cheddar-like, very tasty, and 1st: Pont L“ Eveque washed rind; delicious, hard, savoury and tangy. This was followed up by desert: a custom-made soufflĂ©, apparently designed and served to represent the Salzburg mountains (shown below). Topped off with chocolate sauce, this was a great finish to our meal.

The fact that we were fortunate enough to have the whole restaurant to ourselves, made this a really special dining experience. Each morsel of food, glass of wine, was specifically tailored and prepared to perfection. The service was magnificent, delivered exclusively to us for pretty much the entire evening. The decor inside was appreciated, very European, everything hand-crafted, a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. It was eerily quiet at first, before some pleasant French ambiance was introduced (apart from a few periods of the soundtrack slipping here and there). I highly recommend this restaurant. It’s a real dining experience. It’s not the cheapest place around, but you really get what you pay for. Not just a meal, but an enjoyable experience. If you can find it, prepare your taste buds for an adventure, you won’t be disappointed.

1 comment:

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