Montrachet has been open in Brisbane for quite a few years, but our budget didn’t allow us to indulge in such food until more recently. And even now this was a treat for a special occasion…
We booked at table on Tuesday night – one month ahead and we still had to change times slightly so we could get an inside table. Phew. Upon arriving I noticed that it was a very intimate restaurant – as in the tables are so close to one another that the waiter has to pull out the table for one diner to get in, then push the table back. Mr Ana was trapped there until he asked to be let out to use the loo! The narrow restaurant was set up with tables along one side and the other side had a long bar.
We ordered the degustation menu to try a variety of dishes and was surprised to find that there was no wine matching available. So instead we started with a glass of French Sav Blanc – which I really liked.
The amuse bouche (hor d’oeuvre starter) was a Roquefort Brule – a sheep milk blue cheese concoction that had been torched on top. It was extremely rich and creamy – perhaps a tad too heavy for me. The blue cheese flavour was strong, so it may not be to everyone’s taste, but it was enjoyable in a small portion. Not a bad start.
The first course was a rabbit terrine with a small salad and French pickled gherkins. The terrine was delicious – delicate in flavour, not to fatty but packed with fresh herbs and a touch of pepper. I really enjoyed this. The salad was drizzled with a homemade mayonnaise that went very well with the terrine. I was happy with this dish – it was one of the better terrines I have tasted.
The second course was cured salmon served with scallops, prawns, and calamari. The salmon was very fresh and tasty, and the scallop was slightly sweet (but small in size). The tangy dressing complimented the seafood as well. However I think they could have been more generous with the prawns (they actually served a prawn sliced in half lengthways – why couldn’t they serve the entire prawn?!) and calamari. While the salmon was fresh and pleasant, overall I found this dish unmemorable.
The third course was gnocchi with seared prawns and chorizo, served with a chilli and beurre monte sauce. Sure it’s just gnocchi, however it was perfectly cooked and I could taste the freshness (this gnocchi was not prepared the day before and cooked) of the pasta, right down to the slight grain. The prawns were cooked perfectly and they had a hint of that ‘fire’ taste from the pan. The saltiness of the chorizo went well with the prawns. But the absolute star was the sauce. Lovely and buttery and creamy, with a hint of chilli, it was delicious. I wondered whether they also added a reduction of prawn jus, but I’m not entirely sure. This dish was one of the highlights for me.
The fourth course was young chicken with red wine jus, served with potato gratin and snow peas. The peas were lightly cooked, crunchy and very enjoyable to eat with the jus. The chicken, while small in portion, was perfectly cooked – slightly crisp on the outside, but ridiculously juicy on the inside. Yummy. The red wine jus was reduced to a good consistency, however I would have preferred it reduced a teeny bit more to make it sticky. A very nice main.
For our cheese platter, we had some morbier and buche d’affinois. This was served with an apple and pear compote. The morbier had a slight layer of ash in the middle, and the flavour of the cheese was strong – my kind of cheese! It went perfectly on a thin slice of bread and topped with a bit of the compote. The compote was slightly sweet and cinnamon-y and complemented the cheese well. The buche d’affinois – or brie – was soooo creamy and a delight to eat. Thankfully we just had a small slice, and it was very rich (I shudder to think how much fat was in that one!).
I chose the dark chocolate and brandy ganache with raspberry coulis for my dessert. Now, I love dark chocolate ganache – a slightly bitter taste that isn’t too sweet. However whoever made the ganache was heavy handed with the brandy and I found it too strong for my liking. I was disappointed with my dessert and couldn’t finish it (a first for me).
Mr Ana chose the chestnut bavarois with nougatine, strawberry salad and creme anglais. A much better dessert – the bavarois was lovely and creamy and left a hint of chestnut flavour in your mouth. We loved the nougatine mixed in with the strawberries – a lovely nutty crunch with the sweet fresh taste of the strawberries. I wish I had chosen this for my dessert!
Overall we had a pleasant experience in Montrachet. The service was excellent and the setting casual. The food was a bit hit and miss, however I appreciated the techniques that went into creating each course (it wasn’t just meat on a plate like some restaurants). Does Montrachet remind me dining in a good quality bistro in France? Kind of – it would have been more so if all the dishes were more memorable. That being said, not all bistros in France are great either. The cost of the degustation would prevent me from returning often, but it is somewhere to keep in mind for a special occasion.