Tuesday, April 19, 2011
13-35 Drummond Street
After the gastronomes paradise of Beechworth, I find myself in Rutherglen which is the home of some cracker reds, arguably the worlds best fortified wines, three pubs and a restaurant. With the recent closure of Beaumonts Cafe, Tuileries has taken over as the place to go if you are after a parma free menu.
On the edge of the township, Tuileries restaurant is part of the greater Tuileries accommodation, conference and function centre. The restaurant itself is quite smart, good fitout, right amount of noise and nice comfy high backed seats.
It had been a few years, since my last visit to Tuileries and while it it looks like it is a bit smarter, it is good to see that the wine buffet was still a part of the fixture. Being a guest of the hotel, there is an option to package up dinner at Tuileries in to the accommodation which works out to be $50 per person for three courses, not a bad deal as long as the food is good of course.
Amuse bouche - Tomato, Fennel, Black licorice
While we reviewed the menu, we were presented with an amuse bouche which is always a nice touch. The gel of tomato with fennel and licorice was quite light and flavour wise was a good match.
The menu read as somewhat ambitious, the dishes looked quite complex with inspiration coming from France and Greece. We also went through the wine list and opted for the wine buffet which has 5 reds and 5 whites that are local and is a terrific value at $22.50 per person and a good way to sample a range of reds and whites from cellar doors that you may not make it to.
L: Galantine of myee quail stuffed with eurobin chestnuts, porcini and sage freekeh salad
R: Queensland prawns, Salad of watermelon, feta and pickled red onion, and traditional Tzatziki
Entrees arrived, the galantine of quail was well cooked, the stuffing was a bit pasty but overall had good flavour and the freekeh salad offered good texture. The prawn dish my wife had lots of detail, watermelon, red onion, feta, tzatiki, overall it was nice but looked like a very busy. Both were very generous and would pass for mains in a lot of places, but this is Rutherglen after all.
L: Braised Beef Rib & Brisket, Texan BBQ Sauce
R: Wine Buffet
For main course, it was impossible to go past the special which was a braise of beef rib & brisket served with texan bbq sauce and baked potato. I expected a generous meal, but not this generous. It was a monster serve of meat cooked to fall apart tender, this is the kind of dish I expect when I come to Rutherglen, big, strong flavour, no nonsense.
After working through this dish with the assistance of the wine buffet, I told the staff this should go on the menu full time, this is the kind of dish that has signature written all over it. The other diners in the restaurant who enjoyed the special agreed.
L: Lindt ecuador chocolate baklava, cocoa crumbs and madagascan vanilla bean ice cream
R: Textures of passionfruit; crisp ’cannelloni’ filled with passionfruit curd, passionfruit jelly and passionfruit marshmellow
Desserts were similar to the entrees, busy and ambitious. The chocolate baklava had a rich chocolate filling with a hint of spice added, perhaps just a bit large and with some elements that didn't bring much to the table like the cocoa crumbs. In the textures of passionfruit, the passionfruit curd and marshmallow stood out, the crisp cannelloni also helped to break things up, definitely one for the passionfruit lovers.
Overall Tuileries is almost, but not quite there. The restaurant is has a nice feel, the front of house were all friendly and attentive, however, the menu just seems too busy. This is highlighted by the way a well executed simple dish like the braised rib & brisket impresses more than a dish with lots of fiddly detail. That said, I would go back again if I was in town, it wasn't a bad experience, just one that could have been just that little bit better. With a new tapas bar going in to the restaurant, that could be the piece that elevates it, simple tapas paired with local reds, sounds good doesn't it?
Tuileries - 12.5/20
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