We decided to sit on the high chairs at the bar. Easier said than done as they were very high and I had to clamber to get onto it! There was another short wait to get served but when we were served it was again all very friendly. About ten minutes later a smiley hostess took us to our table. The main dining room is done very tastefully with high ceilings, white walls and then dark brown and grey furnishings including a huge wickerlike light fitting. The candlelight softened the harsh colours and I can imagine in the daytime it will look very airy and have a different atmosphere altogether so quite clever really!
We were seated next to the waiters station which isn't usually the best place as it's where you can see the wait staff looked stressed and whisper to one another about their customers and this did happen which I don't enjoy. At the end of the evening when the wait staff must have been winding down we saw then laugh and joke with one another, throwing srunched up napkins at each other and whilst I'm all for people having fun, I don't think a restaurant that calls itself fine dining should allow this. In my opinion, it's unprofessional.
We had a bit of a wait after the hostess saw us to the table and before our menus came. I think our server must have been somewhere else because the maitre d' saw that we had been waiting a while and he came over with the menus instead.
Initial impressions then before the food were that the dining room looked great, the staff were friendly when they served you but getting their attention in the first place wasn't easy. They're fine when they respond to the diner but they aren't very pro active with their service. This was probably the one criticism about the place.
The menu sounded delicious and we decided to go with the Chef's Dinner Menu which is effectively the Tasting Menu so we could cover all angles! 7 courses for $110 which I thought was a reasonable price for what was on offer. We had a bottle of Riesling from the local Macedon Ranges to accompany the food.
The fish were both cooked well to bring out the best of the produce. The tuna did lack the depth of flavour mushrooms can bring to a dish and the flavours did seem to dissipate quite quickly with no lingering aftertaste of mushroom or tuna. The salmon fared better and the soy salt provided that lingering savoury flavour hit we were seeking.
The duck was a highlight for me. The pink flesh and the sweet puree (I'm not sure it was the described sweetcorn though but more a pumpkin or butternut squash) and the grainy wheat and the tang of cherries was a winner. Duck and cherries always works much like the beetroot and goats cheese combo.
The next dessert was a Maze "Lamington". A Lamington is an Australian sponge covered in chocolate and coconut so this was a deconstructed version with rasperry jam. There was chocolate and coconut and coconut icecream with sponge and a tuile and some raspberry jam. Really a combination that goes great together although the jam was a bit too sweet for me. Steve enjoyed just smushing it altogether and eating it.
Our final little sweet morsel were white chocolate balls coating some strawberry ice cream. A nice finish to the meal.
In conclusion we had a lovely evening in spite of the slightly off service. I think we would return if we have friends who want to try it or if someone wanted to take us there! If we could choose I think we'd choose other places to return. I'm really glad we tried it and I'm open to trying Maze Grill too as this made us decide that we like Nobu all the more. Next one we want to try is Rockpool and the great thing about trying such restaurants as it really helps me re affirm what I like or what I don't like.
I get the impression that although the food can be good, it's just not an us kind of place. The offness of the wait staff, too many courses that weren't quite to our liking and the fact that the other diners around us are the type to spend all the time on their mobile phones means we are probably more comfortable elsewhere.