Monday, April 07, 2003

Snob of the Week

And the First Nominee Is ...

Monday, 7 April 2003

There really is a cultural divide between the inner cities and the outer suburbs (or inner country if you get outer suburban enough), at least when it comes to restaurants. The average trendy inner city restaurant is basically a portion-control purgatory, where lost souls in search of gastronomic salvation toy listlessly with a few morsels of beef, glazed with a so-called jus that has been simmering on the back of the kitchen stove long enough to qualify as a genuine biohazard, accompanied by a julienne of carrots, parsnips and celery - the last included I suspect to promote dental hygeine by making the whole meal "self-flossing". Out on the city fringes, value for money at a restaurant still means a good slap-up feed. As it should.

The Weekend Australian's restaurant critic, Alison Crosweller obviously hasn't been getting out of the city centres enough. Here's how her review of Eleonore's Restaurant in Saturday's Review section starts:

Maybe I have a warped imagination. Or perhaps I am just ignorant. But when my salmon arrives, I am dumbfounbded. The menu is detailed enough. I ordered shiitake scaled fillet of salmon with an oyster and pancetta tart on a bed of pureed spinach and red wine glaze.

The dish sitting in front of me looks nothing like I pictured. The salmon, which I imagined to be the centrepiece, is well hidden by mushroom scales and spinach. When I get to the tart I am even more surprised to find several oysters hiding under the pancetta. The tart itself is almost a meal rather than a delicate accompaniment.

The restaurant is named after a woman

... who was reputed to be a refined and sophisticated host.

I wish I could say the same for our hosts on this night. We're still removing our coats as the server reeels off pre-dinner drink options - beer, spirits or perhaps champagne.

The regulars aren't much chop either - basically they're rich-raff:

Across the room from us sits a table of six, three couples who are Chateau Yering's target clientele. It might be extremely rude to listen in on other people's conversations, but when the women at the table are speaking at the top of their voices, talking about "Mumsy" and the "brand-new Audi I got for Christmas ", it's hard to tune out. it goes without saying that in the winter some of Melbourne's more upwardly mobile types feel quite at home landing the helicopter on the back lawn for lunch before heading towards Mt Buller to ski.

There's really nothing I can add except it's a very fine entry and one which will be difficult to top.

No comments: