Our first Press Club experience was great and we revisited with friends Kirsty and Marty and once again sat at chef's table.
General Manager George was there as was the ever charming Gary who looked after us during the evening. We befriended pastry chef Olivier, a new addition to the team from Perth and the Spanish sommelier. The team really made our experience a memorable one.
We were lucky enough to have George cook our whole meal for us (except for dessert) and he was there in the kitchen working away for us four. And he even served us so this was really a privilege. There was no menu so were at his mercy.
So the question is, is he all TV and not substance?
The answer is he's great on TV and a likeable personality but the kitchen is truly his craft.
Crab and potato puree with toasted rice came next. Sweet sweet crab, soft creamy potato, crispy toasty rice and so much butter!
George served us this dish and informed us, with a cheeky smile, he called this Sh!t I Dropped My Ice cream! We loved this creativity and fun.
Next came the rabbit lollipop in a pistachio crumb. Gamey rabbit with a sweet crunch on a stick.
The liver and heart were pushing the boundaries for me as I'm not really an offal fan but I loved the concept of eating the whole rabbit and part of me thinks food should be an adventure so mustering up courage to try new things is part of that.
This was a new concept and it was fun to see the waitstaff and George take pictures of it for their collections. So what veggies did we have?
There was black garlic, broccoli, crispy potato skins, fried Jerusalem artichoke, swede, turnip, garlic shoot, little mushrooms, ceps, golden beetroot, candied beetroot, tiny sugar peas, carrot, broad beans...I need one more...oh yeah parsnip! And if that wasn't enough we had plates of beautiful Kobe beef (which I forgot to take a picture of as the veggies were too exciting) to go with it. I loved it when Steve turned to George as his beef was being served and said, "I'm usually a meat and two veg man!"
The beautiful refresher of blackcurrant meringue, lime gel, lychee sorbet and freeze dried lychees. This is a tonic and cuts through all the rich food and makes you ready to eat again. It's just perfect!
At the end of the evening Kirsty spied an uncooked souffle! A smile and a touch of sweet talking meant it was her's! So we all enjoyed a spoonful of the date souffle with rum and raisin ice cream which came with two small spheres of coffee mousse resting on some tobacco. I preferred the passionfruit souffle from our first visit more but that shouldn't detract from the the sweet goodness of this variation.
Post dessert drinks meant espresso martinis all round except for Steve who had a glass of wine. Quoting Gary, it was a "cracking martini".
We were there for about 4 hours and every minute was great. Steve and I have been lucky enough to experience some pretty awesome dining adventures and this is definitely one to remember. The combination of food, the way we were looked after by George and his great team really made it and we were so happy that our friends enjoyed it too. So much so they rebooked for another date to bring their parents.
What we paid is probably quite insignificant as a contributor to George's income and because of that we admire the fact that in spite of the book deals, the high profile, the TV work he returns to where his career began, in the kitchen and does it superbly.
I don't care what other reviewers and customers say. We've had two wonderful experiences there and we will continue to revisit. I'm sure it's not perfect and yes people will have less favourable experiences but the times we have gone, we have loved and George can do no wrong in my book! I confess I am biased now but I will be honest and upfront about it and tell you that!