December 16th, 2009

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - La Grillade

Private school accents abound amidst the hubbub of polite conversation at this long established North Shore institution.

The food’s also unremittingly polite, with a fresh spring injection from recently appointed Head Chef Kevin Connors (Wildfire).

His Artichoke Salad with Kingfish, Wild Strawberries and Parmesan Cream ($17) reconceptualises artichokes enough to entice even a staunch opponent; it's possibly the most unique pairing I have seen in a while - and it worked!

Less successful was the Spanner Crab Soufflé ($20) landing a little set and eggy for my liking.

All was forgiven with the arrival of the Kobe Cuisine Rostbiff (400g) ($54) – a stunning piece of four hundred day grain fed Wagyu from the Darling Downs.

Damn my politics. Well informed staff were able to explain that they have no grass fed options because their supplier Anthony Puharich (Vic’s Meats) believes that Queensland produces our best beef and they’re presently in drought. Food for thought, but I’m still for grass, so I kept myself honest with a Crispy Skin Orange and Thyme Spatchcock with Radicchio, Blue Cheese and Walnut ($30) - well mostly honest... I stole bits of the steak, I just didn't order one for myself.

For sides it’d be hard to pass the excellent Tomato Salad ($11) full of lovely torn Buffalo Mozzarella.

Round off the palate and please all comers with a Dessert Tasting Plate ($30); or skip to the winner, a Summer Berry, Hazelnut Meringue Mille-Feuille ($16.50) and roll home. The honeycomb ice-cream (made in-house) is also superb; the only disappointment being the Blackberry and White Chocolate Parfait ($16.50) which read well but was hard and lacked definition in flavour.

La Grillade
118 Alexander Street, Crows Nest
Ph: (02) 9439 3707

La Grillade on Urbanspoon
Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Column...

Foodies’ Diary: Hot’n'Cold
Author: Jackie McMillan
Posted: Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Published: The City Hub

Eat Mex Daily

Not many fast food restaurants volunteer their product to be tested by the Australian Government National Measurement Institute – that’s how sure that Guzman Y Gomez are that their product is actually GOOD for you. In fact it’s more like “restaurant quality food served fast” with a nutritional profile that means you can eat it guilt free “every day because it is fresh, healthy food”! Now if your personal trainer looks at you askance, there are brochures in store that break it down into carb., fat and protein. Plus you can tell ‘em that chilli speeds up the metabolism, pico de gallo lowers cholesterol and their tasty guacamole (made fresh three times each day) is full of good fats too! With this information in, you can imagine the look on founder Steven Marks’ face when one of his Newtown customers asked if the “D.F.” stood for deep fried! Ouch.

(PS: D.F. actually means Distrito Federal which is Mexico City.)

Flavour of the Week

Now I’m sure you need another reason to visit Gelato Messina in Darlinghurst like a hole in the head, but by golly I’ve got one. This man (I’m dubbing him ‘the flavour maker’) is Donato Toce, an experienced chef who is brain-storming up new flavours with founder Nick Palumbo. Now while I’m personally still hooked on Nick’s Yoghurt Caramel, Donato’s Gingerbread and Peanut Butter has extraordinary depth of flavour. The intensity of the peanut butter only stops when a chunk of gingerbread melts on your tongue; it’s like communion, only better! They’re adding a (limited) flavour each week. Word on the street is this week it’s Black Forest made from milk chocolate gelato, kirsch mousse and Amarena cherries. Sigh.

Padrón Peppers
As the weather heats up, so do our palates as chilli fever spreads across the land. Get in fast for an order of my favourite Padrón Peppers, the Russian roulette of peppers (because you never know when you’ll strike a hot one). Grower Richard Mohan at Midyim Eco tells me they’re “in full harvest mode.” He also let slip there are some new chillis on the horizon. Expect to see the O Couto (pronounced oh kowtoe) a chilli with no heat, and the Gernika from the Basque region of Spain next year… for now we can but salivate at his tempting photo.

Christmas Cookies
For another excellent Aussie icy treat, rock on down to the Eveleigh Markets between 8am-1pm for a limited edition Pat & Stick’s Christmas Cookie. Their latest seasonal ice-cream sandwich features cassata ice cream and gingerbread cookies. I hear it’s delicious! I can of course vouch for their Expresso Lace personally – I’m an avid product tester!