Note: (No.8 By John Lawson has been reverted back to its original name No.8. Executive Chef John Lawson has departed from the restaurant to explore new opportunities)
I had been looking forward to visiting the food and shopping capitol of Australia. It’s a special time as the whole family has flown down to Melbourne for my cousin’s wedding. Our hotel is across the road from the Casino so we decided to dine at No.8 by John Lawson with the view of the Yarra River.
The restaurant looked simple and smart. Our waiter was extremely attentive and refilled our glasses throughout the night. We enjoyed sparkling water led by a bottle of Torbreck The Struie Shiraz from the Barossa Valley. The wine was smooth and silky with beautiful sweet notes. Look at the size of the wine glasses!
One hour ticked by and we were still waiting for our food. After complaining to the waiter, he assures us that it will be ready in ten minutes. We wait another half an hour and finally dinner is served however the bread has filled us up. We are informed that sides and desserts are compliments of the chef. The bread is fresh and served with butter whipped with seaweed jam. Who would of guessed this unusual flavour?
I chose the Milawa duck breast with shallot puree, asparagus and peas. My meat was superb however the strong flavour of the puree overpowered the meal.
A side of hand cut chips was a favourite amongst all. Crisp and perfect for my little nephew to munch on. The cauliflower and almond cheese gratin as well as the baby cos, rocket, parsley and radish salad was bland. The salad was not restaurant quality with little or no dressing. My duck worked nicely with the warm kipfler potato and sprout salad.
Mum’s pork belly was delicious with a crunchy crackling whilst the tomato risotto looked like slop on a plate. The rack of lamb was fatty and the presentation of the rib eye with the garlic did not meet the eye. Prices also exceeded portion sizes- lucky desserts were on the house!
Six desserts arrived for the nine of us without a choice! The Eaton Mess consisted of sweet berry meringues with a tangy fruit sauce. A banana split was presented on a thin chewy sponge and coated in nuts, vanilla ice cream and cream. My spoonful of chocolate fondant was tasteless and not worth the extra calories. This was also said about the yogurt honey mousse with the lychee syrup. Although the fresh lychees were puncheon with flavour, the mousse was a bit too airy-fairy.
My first taste of Melbourne was disappointing. Maybe they forgot our order or there were not enough chefs in the kitchen. Looking forward to my next dining experience- Vue de Monde!