Was it ever going to be any wonder that I’d choose PM24 for a celebratory dinner? For me, it was ticking all of the boxes: Philippe Mouchel (back to wow me again), French Bistro-style cuisine, Pinot & Duck combinations and the promise of dessert later…heaven on a plate. The only problem was this: do I book it in for the celebration of getting certified (April) or my Birthday (June)? After a collegue of mine went back in March, I figured I couldn’t really hold back any longer.
And yes, I do believe that is PM himself at the counter there placing the finishing touches on some dishes! (My sister, ever the food-fangirl, got him to sign a menu at the end of the night. Typical)
And yes, it HAS taken me over a month to get my act together and blog about the experience. And for this gushing post I am truly, truly sorry. If the sight of warm sourdough makes you salivate like a puppy, look away now.
The menu for entrees is an incredible tour de force of the best that French cuisine has to offer: snails, French onion soup, tartare treats and vegetables given new life in mouth-watering combinations. I think I picked the best from an exceptional line-up: Jerusalem Artichoke Souffle ($21 entree; $36 main) which is ‘twice cooked, upside down comte cheese & jerusalem artichoke souffle’ and a melt-in-your-mouth, tastefully light dish. And eating bubbles (or foam, or ‘air’, whatever you want to call it) is always good fun.
The Carpaccio – has since disappeared from the menu – was probably the only low-point in the evening’s menu. We all had some of it (there certainly was quite a lot to go around) and pretty much agreed that while it was a little full-on, it was still tasty, if a bit unexpectedly huge.
The French Onion Soup ($18.50): classy, filling and beautifully presented in its little pot. It screams comfort food on a cold Winter’s night.
Naturally, I don’t want to keep you waiting. You’ve probably read about it already, this magical rotissoire Chicken that is some 10 notches above anything my Mum has ever cooked (sorry, Mum, but it is). The menu also lets you know that this chicken is take-away on weeknights – well, there goes my resolve to cook at home on a freezing cold night ever again. This chicken is top shelf stuff: Organic Milawa Chicken – rosemary and preserved lemon, sauteed potato ($37.50)
Here’s something you might not be willing to give a shot, but I highly recommend it if you’re a fan of some of the more obscure cuts of meat: Ox cheek in red wine, braised carrot, celeriac Dijonnaise ($34). VERY rich and extremely filling.
And, of course, last but not least! The duck! I wasn’t sure that this dish could actually live up to my lofty hopes, but it was indeed perfectly cooked, with kipfler potatoes (my favourite kind) and drizzled in its own delicious jus.
Our sides – the most traditional of French fare, mushy peas (I wouldn’t usually harp on about them, but they’re good! $8), Cauliflower gratin ($8) and mushrooms. You have to love it when you find it difficult to decide on side-dishes.
Most distressingly, when we’d stuffed ourselves full of the beautiful rich fare (and in my case, lots of Pinot and Duck!) we arrived at the dessert menu to find no brulee in sight. Luckily, like any exceptional French restaurant, they had stock in the fridge – haha! Ordering off the menu is a particular delight of mine. But despite the beautiful flame, it wasn’t anything truly amazing. I mean, it was creamy and all sorts of lovely cracking delight on top, but just a wee bit cold (from the fridge, I’m imagining).
Much more impressively (and my recommendation if you come here, EVEN over the brulee! Quelle horreur!) was the souffle. This is a passionfruit souffle with a white chocolate sorbet ($17) and an absolute crowning glory of this restaurant.
Needless to say, the service was exceptional, the wine was brilliant, the food was – well, you saw it, it was delicious! – and the bill wasn’t too epic. It was a perfect night out in my books. I just can’t wait to go back, to be honest.
Food: 9.5/10 (my own fault for not ordering everything on the menu)
Value for money: 9/10
Score (food is weighted double): 96% (as my piano teacher said, nobody can ever be perfect, but you can certainly come very close)