Last Saturday was my first meeting with a Meet Up group that does Fine Dining. Sitting for a meal with a bunch of strangers might not be people's cup of tea but I only ever had great experiences so far, including my other Meet Up group and The Gastronaut Dinner. Finding a carpark near Restaurant II was proving to be a challenge though. I was reluctant to go to one of those parking buildings cause I got a good hunch. 15 - 20 minutes later, I found one at George St after almost giving up.
After we were all present, we started the Degustation.
First up, we got the tart and sourdough bread. The butter is passable but the bread and tart were tasty.
Scallop, Moreton Bay Bug, Prawns with Basil Cream
Scallop, Moreton Bay Bug, Prawns with Basil Cream with the Light Sri Lankan Spiced Pumpkin Broth
HHHmmm... It tasted a bit like laksa without the heat. The first spoonful in my mouth and it was just delicious. Yummy...
Warm Salad of Organic Carrots, Cauliflower, Chickpeas, Hazelnuts, Pomegranite and Barberries, Almond Cream, Goats Curd and Garden Leaves
This was a bit odd. It was presented very well though. I just thought there wasn't enough oomph. Just seemed like boiled veggies on a plate.
Tempura Soft Shell Crab, Lime Mayonnaise, Crushed Avocados, Tomatoes
I supposed to get the Terrine as pictured below but I told the waitress I don't eat rabbit so she swapped it with this Tempura dish. This could be one of the best Soft Shell Crabs I ever ate. The batter is not too thick. The crab was quite meaty. The crushed avocado on top of tomatoes looked nothing special but so good together.
Terrine “Connaught” C1981, Pheasant, Duck, Rabbit and Truffle with Condiments
Here's the pic of the terrine I took from the person next to me. The consensus on the table is that they can't really differentiate the taste of different components.
Seared Xl Hervey Bay Scallops, Miso Eggplant, Smoked Tomato and Garlic Butter, Oregano Scented Cherry Tomatoes, Crispy Onion Salad
If I could pick my favourite dish, it would probably this Scallop dish. So so good. The scallops are cooked the way I like it. The miso eggplant was delicious, if only there's more. *thumbs up*
Rannoch Farm Quail, Grilled Breast, Confit Leg, Scotch Egg, Celeriac Cream, Oyster Mushrooms, Braised Lentils, Leek, Mille Feuille, Madeira Sauce
Was starting to get full at this point. I remember it was an okay dish.
Roast Duck Breast, Hoisin Glaze, Broccolini, Sweet Potato, Mandarin, Shitake Mushrooms, Duck Jus
Yum yum yum!!! The duck was gooooddddd... Cooked really well. If you see underneath one of the duck slices was sweet potato crouquette and it was delish!!! So creamy.
Chinese Spice Crusted “Cervena” Venison, Beetroot, Fig, Pickled Rhubarb, Boudin Noir, Cavalo Nero, Intense Chocolate Sauce
Second best dish of the night. Delicious!! I was full but I polished the whole thing off the place. I normally don't like gamey meat but this was well cooked. The combo of beetroot and fig.. hhmm... *salivating*
Cheese course - Brique D’affinois (Fr) and Cabot’s Creamery Cloth Cheddar (USA)
Aaaahh.. Cheese, for you all who know me would know I am a soft cheese lover and this Brique D'affinois did not disappoint. So soft, so creamy.
Blood Orange Mousse, Granola Muesli, Vanilla Yoghurt, Blood Orange Granita
I'm partial with this dessert. The presentation was great (the white cup under the granita cup was dry ice), everyone seemed to like it a lot but while I liked the taste, I didn't like the texture of the muesli with the granita, mousse in one cup. I guess it's because I'm not a 'mix-it-all-together' kinda gal.
Salted Chocolate Ganache, Toasted Peanuts, Glazed Banana and Banana Bread, Banana Yoghurt Ice Cream
Now this is more like it.. Separation, yeah! And wow, this was an awesome dessert. If I do come back to Restaurant II, I'd definitely picked this dessert again. Love the salted choc ganache. The glazed banana is just.. a sugar banana but the banana yogurt ice cream was delicious!!!
Restaurant II service was attentive and accommodating. When I first arrived, I ordered Lemon Lime Bitters with extra lime slices. After I finished it, the waitress came and asked if I would like another one. I declined but she offered if I would like lime slices with water, instead. I was wowed and took up her offer. They also swapped my terrine with the crab.
The only downside was the time between the courses was too long in my opinion. We finished around 11.40ish PM, which was waaayyy too late. I normally don't eat past 8 so my belly was complaining the way I was still stuffing myself while it was closing down shop. Also, when they asked me if I wanted tea or coffee, I asked what tea they had. It was green tea, mint, etc etc.. Get it? Twinings? Bingo. So in that respect, Restaurant II needs to step up their tea game.
That said, it was a great night and I'd come back for ala carte rather than degustation. My suggestion is do the degustation during lunch so you got plenty of time to recuperate.
Riini, over and out!