Heston Blumethal – where does one start? When I first heard that The Fat Duck was opening in Melbourne, I was at least twice as excited as the next person to eat at the three Michelin Star wonder. The price however made me quail ($550pp), and I had to comfort myself with the fact that after The Fat Duck closes, it will be permanently replaced with Dinner By Heston. The extraordinary experience starts at the entrance, where you walk down a long, dark corridor towards a light sculpture, only to reach what seems to be a dead end. After a couple of confused blinks, the black reflective panel to your right slides silently open and voilà, you have arrived!
Teppanyaki is not for me. Call me a traditionalist, but the spectacle of having my food thrown onto my plate – or into my mouth – isn’t exactly incentive to lure me away from a more easy-going (and less messy) dining experience. And all the smoke from the hot plate infusing itself into my clothes? No thanks. Miyako Japanese Cuisine and Teppanyaki – the name gives it away doesn’t it – is a Southgate restaurant that thankfully offers both traditional cooking as well as teppanyaki. In fact, walking into the table-laden entrance, you might well forget that they serve teppanyaki at all. But walk in a little further, past the tatami room and the large stone-carved Buddha face on the…
Still feeling rather full, we left for The Deck to have some dessert. Instead of the extravagant spaciousness of the last two restaurants, The Deck was a comfortable little cranny, cosy and perfect for cake and coffee. We didn’t get matching wines with this course, which was just as well, because I was getting sleepy. Instead we had a couple of hot drinks – a pot of Chamomile Tea, and a cup of Hot Chocolate. Regrettably, neither was very good. The chamomile tea had an odd mustiness to it, whilst the hot chocolate was essentially hot milk with an afterthought of cocoa powder.
Our next meal led us to the glittering Waterfront Seafood Restaurant, its luscious display of crustaceans tempting me every time I walk past. Decked out elegantly in the classic European style, just walking into the restaurant felt deliciously glamorous. We were seated in the al fresco section, warmed by the blazing heaters and free to enjoy the lights and ambience of Southbank at night. Already feeling more than a bit tipsy after my half glass of wine, I decided to skip the drinks and go straight to the food. The selections here were much less inspired compared to Pure South, but Chris’ eyes alighted on the Braised Beef Cheek.
Three courses at three restaurants, with matching wines, for $65-$85pp? I must be joking! Except if you’ve heard about the Southgate Movable Feasts, you’ll know that I’m not. For those who like to wine and dine, but find that there is never enough time to try all the up and coming restaurants, this is your answer. For the price of a full tank of petrol, you’ll be led on a merry 3-restaurant-hopping trip through Southgate, visiting each restaurant for one course before leaving for the next.
Happy birthday to me! I thought this was going to be the first year in yonks that I would be able to celebrate my birthday on my actual birthday (which is in May), as I’d finally escaped exams. And once again, I was out of luck, as I had ended up with wisdom teeth surgery scheduled 2 days before the happy occasion of my birthday. However I was not to be deterred from the opportunity for an indulgent meal, and finally in mid-June, after my tooth sockets had healed over sufficiently, we took ourselves to Spice Temple for a long lunch. Belonging to Neil Perry (who by this point owns about half of the Crown Complex), Spice Temple is a…