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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bites: Red Cabbage @ South Perth

Having missed our meal at Red Cabbage before only meant that the secrets of its success remains a mystery.  But it was without a doubt that the day to taste what chef’s Adam Sayles and Scott O’Sullivan had in store is not too far away.  After much planning, the little darling and I finally had a chance to dine at the restaurant.  Red Cabbage has a list of food to offer in their menu but to me, the hassle of deciding what to order is unnecessary as there is no better way of appreciating a restaurant’s food other than trying their degustation menu.
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The customary set of matching cutleries carefully laid out on each side of the table.

The free appetizer was a warm bun with sesame seeds with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Unlike Rockpool, the bun had a slight crust on the outside with a very nice and fluffy inside.  Pretty good stuff!
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The Amuse Bouche that  night was thinly sliced meat topped with Mozzarella.  I would not say that this was horrible but it just did not pack enough punch to start of my meal.  Yes, the cheese was faultless and so was the beef.  But in comparison to my recent visits to Jackson’s where I had gazpacho sorbet in a cornet or in Joel Robuchon’s the chestnut soup with chestnut foam and truffle oil, this did not quite meet my expectations.
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Shaved meat with Mozarella

Crispy Pork with Seared Scallop and Pineapple on Coconut Mousse
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The first appetizer was an interesting one. Arranged on top of a coconut mousse layer is a neat little cube of crispy pork, pineapple and seared scallops. The crispy pork to me was not as expected. Deviating from the normal pork belly and scallop classic pairing, this reinterpretation seems to have hit the mark, but merely. Everything was ok on the plate but I cannot help but feel that the pork itself felt rather lost. Yes it was crispy as described but it was not tasty. Inside it was shredded pork that was shaped, battered and fried. Its only salvation would have came from the chilli jam which did not taste any better than your everyday sweet chilli sauce.

Marron on squid ink crumbs with homemade bacon and stone fruit.
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While the few courses before were mediocre, this one was visual excitement on the first sight.  Seriously, a juicy half marron on a transparent plate circled by what seemed to me like coloured iced balls with black crumbs in the middle. If that is not visual excitation, I am not sure what is.  As good as it looks, it was equally matching in taste.  The saltiness of the homemade bacon was complemented by the sweetness of the melon and the marron.  Texture wise, it was really nice too.  The slight chewiness of the bacon, crunchiness of the greens and sweetness of the marron all mellowed nicely with the help of the melon.  Definitely a major highlight for the night.

Wagyu Corned Beef
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While the name sounded promising, I found that the main focus of the dish which was the corned beef did not really benefit from the Wagyu.  Melt in your mouth feeling was non-existent.  It was tasty but unfortunately not moist enough.  Definitely did not seem like it was overcooked so I am not sure what happened there.  Mash and the jus was flawless.  To bring them all together, the crumbled Ricotta was super nice.  It was one of the things I wished was slightly more generous in content.  It would have really brought more moisture to the dish giving the Corned Wagyu Beef a better chance to shine.

Crispy skin barramundi with an coconut and tamarind sauce
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The crispy skin barramundi was another dish which I though was presented beautifully that night.  A large prawn sat on top of  the fish with both almost matching in size.  As darling is allergic to prawns,  I happily had hers.  It was seriously yums!  As for the fish, its skin was crispy unlike the horrible salmon I had at Barrolo’s!   But what darling was not too happy about was the sauce.  To me it tasted fine.  Somewhat Asian but really tasty.  However, darling did not like coconut so I guess this sauce is really not for her.

Nitro cleanser! Passionfruit mousse dipped in nitrogen with a strawberry coulis.
Mousse dipped in liquid nitrogen serve on strawberry coulis? I will definitely take it.  The fancy name added to the simplicity of its presentation, and I was sold.  However, I was not the most satisfied customer when the nitro carried a slightly bitterish taste.  Nevertheless, it had what it needed to refresh one’s taste buds before moving on to the main.  But the problem you see, was that it was never really served to us before our main. I asked for it after noticing that a course was missing from our degustation. Hmmmmm… fine dining is definitely about presentation and its food.  But the hospitality industry as its name suggests means to be hospitable.  Not quite what I expected.

Nordic Brie (I think) With Blood Plums and Date Jam
For me, this was another course which I truly enjoy.  The runny medium in the brie was orgasmic.  Plums with date jam along with the brie on cracker was a party which my mouth would gladly host.  I really enjoyed this.  Perhaps I can now better understand why one would order cheese platter for dessert.  It is very very good IMHO!

Meringue, Trifle and Dehydrated Raspberry with an Amerato Gelato
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The dessert which is a mixture of chocolate, gelato, fruit and meringue was the final course of the night.  Despite finding myself disliking meringue for most of my life, this one was simply superb.  Probably another “yay” for me.  The slightly bitter trifle worked well with the raspberry which had the acidity and the sweetness of the meringue just creates the right chemistry. What did not work for me is that the meringue was impossible to break through.  This made it difficult to proportion the taste altogether.    Breaking one would send all the bits of trifle and raspberries out of the plate.  While it might have looked ugly, I would not mind if it had in fact been crushed or broken apart before it was served.  That is unless, each element was to shine by itself and if it was so, I think they do not do well.  Anyways, this is in fact something I see Jackson do when they served a mixture of brulee, honey comb and macaron together. All broken up and freely sprinkled on each other.  The balance was right.  See this link.

Ok peeps, it 2am way past my old man bed time.  Today has been a busy one.  To sum it up, my visit to this restaurant has had its merits and faults.  Service is definitely going to be my main complain here.  Acknowledging that the restaurant felt slightly short handed does not mean that such imperfections can be compromised when you have customers paying such money for their food.  While the staff was friendly and willing to explain each dish sent to the table, it was evident that their presentation was rather unpolished and very rush.  Luckily enough though was that the waiter himself apologised for the rush he had while presenting to us our dishes.  The food had a large variance in terms of likes and dislikes.  Some made me like to so much that it was worth hyping about while some was just lacklustre.  For all its worth, I do believe that the establishment still carries the value that make it worth a return.  Perhaps some improvements could be done for the better good.

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