Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Brasserie

8 Whiteman Street
Southbank, VIC, 3006

The Brasserie (formerly "The Brasserie by Philippe Mouchel") has been a favourite of mine over the past few years. It is a quiet achiever going about serving polished uncomplicated brasserie food at good prices.

Today was my first visit where Philippe Mouchel's name has been erased from all signs, menus and web sites, so I was interested to see what else may have changed other than the name.

Initial impressions were not a lot. Interior is still the same and we were seated outside on a nice sunny day looking out over the Yarra, a perfect occasion to get in the mood with a bottle of Pol Roger whilst perusing the menu. While it is not quite the Seine, it was still a pleasant place to be.

It became clear quite quickly that it was impossible to go past the menu du déjeuner of 3 courses for $50.00. There were some restrictions but fortunately there were more than sufficient choices to satisfy anyone's tastes.

As we sipped our champagne and deliberated, it was becoming apparent that the downside to being a quite achiever and offering a great value lunch is that The Brasserie may also be struggling to attract first class experienced waiters. There seemed to be a lot of inexperienced waiting staff, fortunately we were in no rush and once orders were placed we relaxed in anticipation of the gallic dining experience that lay ahead of us.

L: Whole roast tiger prawns with garlic butter, lemon and tarragon
R: Seared scallops with pancetta, peas,confit tomato and vanilla, mint veloute

Entrees arrived and we were all suitably impressed, despite ordering off the heavily discounted menu, there appeared to be no lowering of standards. The three seared scallops came out perfectly cooked with peas, pancetta and mint veloute. This is a classic flavour combination presented and executed really well, bursting the confit tomoto added a nice acidity to the dish, overall brilliant.

The roast tiger prawns were again presented and executed well, perhaps a fraction overcooked but still had a great sweetness that went well with the garlic and tarragon seasoning.

Beef tenderloin - sauce bourguignon

The main arrived and again, no drop off in presentation standards in the post-Mouchel Brasserie. The 200g tenderloin arrived with chunks of slow cooked beef, mushrooms, baby pickled onions & carrots. The tenderloin was cooked perfectly - medium rare and matched well with the rich, viscous burgundy sauce that brought the elements together. This matched really well with the 2009 Sorrenberg Gamay from Beechworth ($85)

DESERT TASTING PLATE (front to back)
Crème brûlée traditional vanilla flavour with sesame tuile
Burnt honey and orange panna cotta lemon curd and orange sorbet
Chocolate and caramel tart
Raspberry Sorbet
White chocolate mousse with mango and raspberries

After a break we decided to go with the desert tasting plate which is a greatest hits of all the deserts and a great way to finish. All five tastes were enjoyable and overall quite light which is a good way to finish off a rich meal. The crème brûlée stood out, but would be happy with any of them individually if need by

Four hours after we sat down we stood up to leave after a very enjoyable lunch. It is clear that Crown has not allowed the food standards to drop, no one had a bad thing to say about the food that was served. The service though was a bit of a let down, but certainly not bad enough to say that it ruined the experience and when the food is such excellent value it is easy to turn a blind eye to this. In the post-Mouchel era, The Brasserie is still recommended

The Brasserie - 14/20
The Brasserie on Urbanspoon

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