On Bastille Day last week, we joined Benisa for dinner at the brasserie by Philippe Mouchel. A four course set menu was being served in celebration of all things French (or so the promotional email stated!). When we arrived, the first thing we saw was a guy in a beret playing the accordion. Is an accordion particularly French? I don't know! It was kind of funny though and fortunately he was pretty good (insert disparaging accordion joke here), since he played the entire evening.
The first course were snails wrapped in cabbage, on top of a poached liquorice bouillon. The snails were diced and mixed with finely cut vegetables inside the cabbage leaf. I think that even people who would normally have issues with snails would have no problems with this dish. I couldn't really taste the liquorice in the bouillon, but the broth was very nice and worked well with the sweetness of the cabbage. The snail meat reminded me of the texture of paua/abalone - which wikipedia says is a sea snail. That would explain the similarity!
For the second course we received sautéed scallops with couscous and vegetables and Argan oil vinaigrette. Look at those scallops - they were lovely, perfectly cooked and flavoured with ginger and chives. A small amount of cous cous and a couple of little vegetables were on the plate, but the scallops were really the star.
Next course was a slow-braised wagyu ox cheek with carrots and mashed potatoes. I've had a larger version of this dish before, when Alastair and I went to the brasserie for lunch a while back, and was happy to eat it again. The meat was very, very tender and braised in that dark, rich sauce. It was on the verge of being too salty, but when eaten with a bit of the smooth mashed potato it was fantastic.
Dessert was chocolate fondant with vanilla anglaise and pistachio ice cream. Hard to go wrong with chocolate fondant, especially when it was -
And finally some petit fours to finish off. Bro and I made everyone wait while we had a cup of tea (served in a very cute little teapot) and finished our petit fours. Yum.
Read about a previous visit to the brasserie here.
the brasserie by Philippe Mouchel
Riverside at Crown,
8 Whiteman Street,
Phone: (03) 9292 7808