Sunday, October 08, 2006
A couple of weeks ago when I heard that Fifteen was opening for reservations I suggested to Michael that it would be great if he could get us a booking there, you know a nice surprise seeing as how I'm normally the one doing all of the organising for the 2 of us. I thought the booking line might be a bit busy but had no idea that within a matter of days they would be booked solid until the end of January next year, amazing what a tv show can do for you. Anyway Michael being the fantastic hubbie that he is, got on the line & waited for 1.5 hours (on speaker phone while he was working so it was bearable!) & got us a booking for a Saturday night no less, very impressive.
There have been a lot mof mixed feelings out there about Fifteen so I was quite curious to see exactly what it would be like. I love the idea of what Fifteen stands for, helping those in need but at the same time providing us with a (hopefully) great experience in oder to achieve that goal. At the same time I think that for $90.00 a head for the 6 course tasting menu which is your only option for dinner, the food has to be bloody good & stand up to other great Melbourne restaurants.
I had very high expectactions for the food, a few months ago I did a Queen Vic Market cooking night with Tobi Puttock & the food was to die for so I was hoping for more of the same.
Ok so now down to last night. On the decor, I loved it & it was totally different to the 'artist impressions' as seen on tv. The colorful bar area which Jamie knocked looked great & the colors were much more toned down, oranges, reds, very warm & filled with wine very subtle too. The place is split into 3 areas, the private dining room which I spied a corner of, looked very dark & gothic from what I could see, would be nice having a private party there with some friends, I believe it seats 10. Then onto the main area, on entering you walk down some stairs where you can see straight into the kitchen, then around the corner the bar area with more casual looking dining area in front, light wooden seats & tables, etc. this is split down the middle where you go into the second dining area which is where we were seated. I loved this area, all dark wood furniture, dark wood floors, black walls & ceilings, a purplish couch forming the back seat for the tables on the side & back walls & long mirrors along the walls too & some very funky globe light fittings hanging here & there. Ask Michael, I love black & the trend seems to be now to have everything all nice & light so this darkess worked well for me.
Now onto the food, as mentioned it is a six course set menu, soup, seafood, pasta, main, dessert & cheese platter with a choice of 2 dishes offered for the pasta & main course.
First course was Borlotti bean & pasta soup with fresh grated parmesan & Fifteen olive oil.
This was really nice, though needed a bit of salt, luckily there was a dish of Pink Murray River salt flakes on each table - nice touch - which did the job. As you can see it was a very thick, hearty, warm & homey soup which I would love to replicate at home.
Next was fried whitebait, sage salt, lemon & aioli.
As you can see a very small serve but dont be put off, by the end of the night we were well satisified & if the courses were any biggger we would have struggled to fit them in. The fish was cooked perfectly, nice & light & the salt/aioli combo went very well with it.
For the Pasta course I opted for the Fifteen ravioli with biodynamic riccotta, free-range egg yolk, served with white asparagus & butter broth.
Yummo, nothing beats home made pasta & the runy egg filling was quite unusual, quite a big ravioli too as you can see. Michael went for the Risotto of calamari, squid ink, celery, chilli & fifteen olive oil which he reallay enjoyed too.
For the main we both had the Slow roast Bachus Marsh grass fed beef, Nicola potato & fennel al forno, braised greens & salsa verde. The other choice was Tasmanian Salmon. The beef dish smelled divine which I think was mainly due to the whole clove of roast garlic hidden amongst the greens which I happily devoured. The beef was very tasty though mine was a bit on the cold side which is obviously a bit dissapointing. Mine pictured was cooked a little extra as I'm not supposed to be eating any raw or underdone meat at the moment, Michaels was as per the menu & pretty bloody which is a good thing, nothing worse than an overdone piece of cow.
Dessert was Vialono Nano Tiramasu, little twist on the traditional with crostoli.
The twist was rice instead of sponge/biscuits in the tiramasu, I have to say that this & the crostoli were fantastic & by far by favourite course of the night.
Lastly, the cheese course. pear, quince paste, muscatels, grissinei, some fruit bread & of course the cheeses, sorry have forgotten what they were except tto say that one was lovely & oozy & the other was as bitey spanish crumbly one, both fantastic, in fact the whole cheese course was really great.
Overall the whole experince was enjoyable, the staff were very friendly & helpful, extensive wine list to choose from, fast servce though not too fast that you had no time between courses & the food was good, presentation & tatse. For 2 weeks of opening & a bunch of kids that a couple of months ago had no idea it is pretty amazing to see how far they have come though I would like to see them improve some more & lift the food from being just pretty good to being fabulous!
115-117 Collins Street
1300 799 415 www.fifteenmelbourne.com.au