24 Russell St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
There is little one can write about Phillipe Mouchel that hasn't been written already. The man is a legend of the Melbourne restaurant scene having arrived 20 odd years ago. I first came across his skills at Langton's which left me very impressed and his move to The Brasserie at Crown was always a safe bet for great food. So when I heard that he had signed up to join the Calombaris empire I was concerned that we might have style over substance, naff dish names and expensive food.
Fortunately my concerns as it turns out were all wrong, initial impressions of PM24 are great. There is a good energy about the place, the open kitchen and bistro arrangement is relaxed but not too informal, there were bonus points from the ladies on our table who loved the Eiffel Tower adorned clip on hand bag holders.
What impressed me though is that the man who lends his name to the restaurant is there himself running the pass. Friday night and Phillipe Mouchel is there inspecting dishes, making minor corrections and crossing off the tickets. This makes a change from most restaurants where the chef who put it on the map is spruiking a grocery chain, processed stocks or is hosting a reality TV show.
The menu at PM24 is classic French bistro fare, however, there is a big focus around rotisserie. It is good to see that the rotisserie is being reclaimed as a legitimate form of cooking rather than just something that you see at charcoal chicken shops and Greek family get together's.
It was hard to resist ordering the "Dish of 2011" and fortunately I was not disappointed. Cooked perfectly with loads of flavour and generously portioned I'd happily have it again. However, When looking at some of the dishes my neighbours had I think they looked and tasted a bit more interesting. It is about as good as chicken gets.
WIN - French Crêpe Sàl a Minute (Lemon curd, raspberry, caramel suzette)
If the rotisserie is centre stage at PM24 then the Crêpe station separated from the main kitchen is like the backup singer, on stage, but won't upstage the star. That's not to say that crêpe's are lacking, light, chewy rather than crispy in texture with a lemon curd filling was mouth puckering sharp, it had been a long time since I enjoyed a crêpe as much as this. Sourness was balanced by the caramel sauce and raspberry sorbet. Would have this again in a flash.
So PM24 continues the trend for Phillipe Mouchel, another winner restaurant (not that I am surprised). I should also mention the range of good quality, well priced French reds by the carafe and the glass. The reasonably priced wine saw us leave full and well relaxed under $100 per head.
PM24 - Well priced Winner