MAZE, Southbank (Melbourne)

And so begins a series of posts of my Melbourne food safari. Be prepared to be wowed! We’ll start with a blast from Maze – or more famously known as Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant. And wait for it… Lunch menu, three sets for only $42.o0! The best advice I’ve had going to Melbourne is that if you want to enjoy all the fine dining restaurants, eat your heart out during the weekdays as the lunch sets are the best value!

Complimentary butter with seaweed butter

One of the best complimentary breads ever! So soft with the perfect amount of salt seasoning and interesting butter as well.

Yellow fin tuna tartar white radish, yuzu, black garlic

Loved this dish – a wonderful combination of little delicate ingredients with a variety of textures especially those teeny enoki mushrooms.

Foie gras and chicken liver parfait Madeira, mulberries, toasted sourdough

Foie gras (French for “fat liver”) was so nice and smooth it spread like thick gooey peanut butter! Another one of my Maze favourites…Yum!

Charred leek salad truffle mayonnaise, pickled mushrooms

I’ve never been a huge fan of leek but I found this dish quite pleasant. The leek was soft and thoroughly cooked and the chopped shallots added a nice crunchy taste with the rest of the dish.

“ Tête de cochon” watermelon, kohlrabi, crispy pigs ear

I don’t recall ever having pigs ear before but I didn’t really prefer this dish in particular. But once again, I absolutely absolutely love how Maze plates their dishes so elegantly. The dishes are petite but not to the point where you would feel completely ripped off from the usual fine dining meals.

Crispy roast pork belly calvalo nero, soybeans, dashi

This dish was sooo nice! The pork was super crispy even when the lovely and light dashi (Japanese cooking stock) was poured over the dish when served.

Gisbourne duck leg Sweet corn, cracked wheat, fig jam

Wasn’t too ken on the cracked wheat but regardless, juicy tender duck meat with some sweet corn puree – need I say more?

And to top it all off, some random Melbourne graffitti… Everything in Melbourne is awesome!

Maze Melbourne
8 Whiteman St Crown Metropol Level 1
Melbourne. 3006
T: (03) 9292 8300

Maze Melbourne on Urbanspoon

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A La Façon de Shimizu, Willoughby

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I somehow came across this little gem about one and a half years ago. It is situated right on the main road, yet the banner draws little attention and unless you were looking for it, would probably walk right by without noticing.
It is a fusion of Japanese and European cuisine cooked to perfection. This little shop has a chic decore with a warm glow about it, and the Japanese waiter greets you readily as you enter the door.

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You are given a jug of tap water which has been purified by bamboo charcol, and even manages to remove the taste of ‘tap’ from the water.

null Sour-dough bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
You get free sour dough bread after your orders have been placed; it comes warm, with a crunchy crust with firm yet spongey dough. It is not overly sour like many other sour doughs that I’ve been served at other restaurants. This hits the spot, and you really have to try it to believe how good it really is. It’s also good if you have whiney bfs who cant seem to have an empty stomach for anything more than 1 minute.

null Scallops & Kiwifruit Carppaccio, $17
Sliced fresh Scallops and kiwi fruit served with grapefruit dressing.

nullFresh Salmon Tartare, $17
Fresh salmon and avocado tartare with dill, caper and olive. Served with wasabi-mayonnaise and bread.

Grilled Lamb cutlet with Miso Sauce, $27
Lamb cutlet marinated with garlic and herb-oil. Served with Shimizu’s original miso sauce. I thought that the miso sauce had a very strong taste, and the lamb very fatty, but it went perfectly with the buckwheat salad which really helped to balance the strong flavours of the rest of the dish.

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Beef Asparagus Roll, $27
Asparagus and carrot rolled with thinly sliced scotch fillet, grilled with teriyaki sauce. When this long dish comes out of the kitchen it always manages to hush some of the chatter in the restaurant.

null Home made chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream (served warm), $8
But there was no ice cream T__T It was sad, but I made do. I love this cake, and always regret it if I leave the restaurant without having ordered it. It’s spongey and moist and not too sweet. Or maybe because its such a good portion that I don’t mind that it’s a bit sweet.

nullCreme brulee, $9
I love how Shimizu presents their desserts :) mostly coz I love blueberries, and its always nice to be surprised by little pieces of fruit when all I expected was the dessert I ordered :) I managed to shovel in way more than my fair share of dessert. Both of them were so good that I couldn’t help myself. So lucky that I shared my lamb earlier pre-emptively so he would be full, and I would get more dessert

I would say if you’re in the area, definitely give Shimizu a try. They have also a $35 banquet menu, for their anniversary, as well as blackboard specials (if you’re lucky the snapper salsa will be on the board; its SO good).

A La Façon de Shimizu
537 Willoughby Road
Willoughby NSW 2068
T: (02) 9958 8785
A la Fason de Shimizu on Urbanspoon