Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Nuevo 37, Melbourne

So we’re at this restaurant, 7:30pm on Friday night, in the 5 star Hilton that has the name of a 2 star Michelin chef (Ramon Frexia) plastered all over it. Yet it felt like being in the Great Southern Stand at a 50 overs match. Why? Could it be that the trek to the ass end… I mean still developing… South Wharf be too much? Is the feeling of being surrounded by tree off putting? These queries were answered on the plate, and more so in the leather bill folder at the end.

Begin with the complementary 3 kinds of olives and bread.

Amuse Bouche #1 - Crushed tomato is painted on bread, accompanied by an intriguing Boost Juice (chilled raspberry) with wasabi dropped into it. On top, a foam of the stuff the Irish were raised on, Guinness. In essence, minted fruit puree but the thought of the Japanese sushi condiment won’t sit well with everyone.

Amuse Bouche #2 – Rabbit pieces are stewed in carrot, with a wicked rabbit cutlet on top. More please.

Lobster terrine comes with toasted bread ice cream and salmon roe. Playful, but probably not in the way Ramon intended. We thought Vietnamese Roll and pate.

Two chips of crispy skinned John Dory, in a puddle of parsley jus and triple onion – caramelised, toasted and fried. A nice, clean dish.

The signature dish, a deconstructed duck burger wears a caramelised onion wig. There’s a generous amount of manchego cheese floss, an oblong of toasted sourdough, a yummy splodge of homemade ketchup and oh-no-he-didn’t Predator blood green mustard ice-cream. Vision: check. Result: salty combined with salt. Unfortunately that green stuff can’t cut through the strong flavours.

Star anise spiced cherry and sweet red wine poached pear with roasted pork a combo that can’t go wrong. Lifted by cooking the piggy in duck fat and the interesting pistachio and coffee salt.

A homage to the end of meal beverages, coffee, tea and milk: toasted brioche and miniature jubes, milk ice-cream on coffee powder, coffee cream rolled crepe. These I get, but don’t feel guilty if you thought the lemon and milk foam was first Lemsip and milk then Yakult.

A price tag that doesn’t quite live up to the expectations. Maybe a rejig and reconsidering the value proposition will bring in a Twenty20 crowd.

2 / 5 yums!
Where? 2 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf, Melbourne, VIC
What? Degustation $120

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