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Attica

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Attica
74 Glen Eira Rd
Ripponlea
(03) 9530 0111
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February marked the departure of one of my very good friends, so to send him off, we decided to take him out for one last supper. He chose the Age Good Food Guide’s Restaurant of the year for 2009, Attica.

Located on the quiet end of a high street in Ripponlea, it’s very easy to to pass this place without realising the magic that happens behind the doors. In fact, our guest of honour parked right in front of it and spent a good ten minutes looking for the place. The dining room is cosy and comfortable, we were seated in the quiet side room next to the entrance.

First to come out was the complementary bread accompanied with;

house-cured butter, tomato relish, almonds and olives.

The relish was delightful. Very addictive, the perfect accompaniment to the house-made bread.  In fact, it was probably a little too nice as some of our dining party struggled to get through some of the ensuing dinner. Great presentation.

We were brought out a petite amuse bouche, of carrots.

amuse bouche with carrot

It  was a very pretty dish but did little to whet the appetite. It didn’t taste of much apart from carrot.

Our first dish, described on the menu simply as ‘snow crab.’

snow crab

snow crab closeup

Threads of blue swimmer crab, dotted with puffed rice and salmon roe resting underneath a liberal dusting of horse-radish snow. Well, not so much dusting, perhaps a better description would be an avalanche of snow.

This dish was delicious;  a real texture and flavour explosion; the delicate tender pieces of snow crab contrasted with the cool, punchy horseradish snow, the puffed rice adding texture and then finished off with little explosions as the salmon roe popped in your mouths.

Peas entailed..

young peas, grains and natural pea juices

A couple of dining companions didn’t quite get this dish, they thought it was strange to have a dish of just peas. But my, when you can make peas into peas, you can really impress me. To take something so simple, but make it into something so refined, with a wonderful mini-explosion of textures and flavours, this dish is a tribute to good produce. I can’t remember exactly what else was in the dish, but there were quinoa grains.

Our next vegetable dish; potato.

a simple dish of potato cooked in the earth it was grown

The potato had been slow-cooked for 13 hours in a combination of roasting and steaming, it sat on a dollop of sour cream and a pile of salt-bush leaves and coconut husk ash.

This dish again divided our party. Some really liked it, whilst I didn’t. It sounded and looked impressive, an smelt amazing. We all raised our eyebrows knowing that this potato had been slow-cooked for thirteen hours. I think this dish showed me that potato did not need to be cooked for thirteen hours. It made the texture somewhat chewy and gluggy.

Moving away from the vegetables into the ocean..

bass groper, garlic, rosemary

A beautifully cooked fillet of fish, as with all the other dishes of the night presented beautifully, but also smelt amazing due to the liberal use of garlic chips and sprinkling of rosemary. Perfect. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life. This was one of my favourites of the night

And then onto some meat..

beef, sour milk jam, dandelion salt, witlof

I can’t remember what cut of beef this was, I think it was rump? It was slow roasted, and cooked to medium. I loved the witlof in this dish, it was beautifully caramelised. It was also accompanied by some  mushrooms. Another favourite of the party.

Pork followed,

pork loin, morcilla, wild fennel pollen

A fillet of slow cooked pork loin, sprinkled with fennel seeds and pollen ? There were so many components of this dish (as with all the other dishes), the black ball in the front was a delicious black pudding; encased in a delicious crust, the insides melting in your mouth. Very mild for a black pudding. This was accompanied by a shelled out cucumber filled with some greenery, which was ok. Dotted in the middle was a delicious apple cider gel produced from pink lady apples. A fantastic dish.

The next dish tied the savoury dishes to the sweet dishes.

terroir

Terroir, or French for “earth bridged the salty to the sweets with the combination of a carefully chosen range of mild flavours from the sweet and savoury spectrum.

The “soil” was composed of fresh and dehydrated berries and beetroot, with the “leaves” composed of a granita of sorrel leaves.

smashed terroir

Underneath the soil, was a citrusy fromage frais sorbet and I believe some of the other components were avocado oil jelly, kiwi fruit and white pepper. A bizarre combination, our waitress advised us that eating the dish in parts was not advised; they really need to be combined together for the full effect. So we ‘smashed’ our terroir and mushed it together.

A cool, refreshing dish, lovely to refresh the palette tempting the taste buds for more sugary delights to come. I really liked this dish, definately different, but well thought out with each element carefully selected to excite the taste-buds.

Our final dish, our dessert, the violet crumble.

violet crumble

A triumphant end to a stunning meal, in the centre a delightful ball of ice-cream literally made with violet flowers. It sits above a pile of smashed honeycomb and a river of caramel, then dusted with a chocolate powder. Brilliant, each component unique in flavour, but lovely as it is mashed together, with the chocolate powder melting through to lift the other flavours through. Love it.

Taste: 9/10. Wonderfully thought out dishes, each one obviously with extreme care and effort. Some flavour combinations did not work, but most were stunning.

Value: 7/10. Tricky one to score. It was a very expensive meal, and I certainly wouldn’t be going there if you were starving. The food was filling, but it wasn’t the type of food to stuff you. It was more about the experience, the tastes, rather that to sate.
Ambiance: 8/10. Nice fine dining restaurant.
Service: 9/10. Attentive and friendly. The dishes came slowly, but were well timed.
Overall: 9/10. A dining experience. Brilliant.


This post’s for you Jason. Miss you already. xo

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Written by glutamatejess

February 28, 2010 at 11:42 am

3 Responses

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  1. I thought the potato was a bit over-rated. A potato is a potato, and I don’t think it was improved by 13 hours of cooking. If you’d told me it’d taken 1 hour I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.

    I loved the violet crumble too!

    Jetsetting Joyce

  2. Joyce – I totally didn’t get the potato. The texture of the potato to me felt like it was cooked .. *too* long 🙂 it smelt great though!!

    I could so go another violet crumble right now.
    I know they do something cheaper on a tuesday when the chef experiments a lot.. would love to check it out, esp since it’s *somewhat* easier on the wallet 🙂

    Jess

    glutamatejess

    March 3, 2010 at 3:06 pm

  3. […] Onto our next course – the house black pudding. Black pudding is one of those things that can be hit or miss, being a sausage made out of blood it is very easy for this dish to be overpowering. Black pudding is something I very rarely order because it can often have a very strong ‘iron-y’ flavour to it, though I am always game to try it, particularly at good eateries because when done well it can be fantastic as it was at Attica. […]


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