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We headed to Embrasse to celebrate a very special milestone – Mr M’s thirtieth!

We had heard very good things about chef Nicolas Poelaert’s food and he has an impressive background, including working at Michelin starred Bras Restaurant in Laguiole, France.

Embrasse is located in Drummond Street, Carlton in a space that was previously occupied by three, one,  two, Mrs Jones and prior to that, Donninis.  The restaurant opened in early 2009. Our party of 7 was seated in the upstairs room- fun fact, Princess Mary and Prince Frederick ate in this room when the restaurant was three, one, two.

At Embrasse you can choose from the a la carte menu or degustation, 5 course degustation is $90 per person (or $145 with matched wines) and 8 course degustation is $120 per person (or $215 with matched wines). We decided on the 5 course degustation and opted to choose our own wines.

It is at this point, dear reader, that I need to make a confession. We went to Embrasse quite a while ago, but I did take notes! Apologies if any of my comments are somewhat vague…

First off, an amuse bouche of tasting spoons:

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Next up was kingfish, steamed for a little bit:

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The foam was made from chorizo and mussels and had a salty and smokey flavour. There was a hint of lemon from the wood sorrel and saltiness from the seagreens. The kingfish was incredibly delicate.

Next was the meli melo of vegetables, emulsions and purees, with home grown herbs and flowers:

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Doesn’t that just look like a work of art on the plate? The meli melo has become somewhat a signature dish for Embrasse (insofar as it competes with the other ‘signature’ dish of the forest floor dessert) and loosely translates to ‘bit of this and that’ or a jumble.

The plate consisted of a range of perfectly cooked and seasoned vegetables, some of which came from producers in Donvale and Warrandyte. Some of the more interesting vegetables included black radish and coloured carrots, and there was also baby parsnip, zucchini and squash. On the outer perimeters were a couple of sauces – pea puree, beetroot and mushroom.  Then the edible flowers and herbs on top. It was quite a fun dish to eat, I tried all the bits individually and then mixed bits and pieces together.

Next was a palate cleanser of celery, apple and wasabi granita:

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This had a slight heat from the wasabi and was very refreshing.

On to the meat course, we had the Australian pink veal, Daylesford old style vegetables, sprouting seeds, hazelnut, radish:

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Despite appearances, the emulsion was actually carrot. The meat was rich and tender. I enjoyed the toasty and earthy crunch of the seeds.

Saskia’s meat free version was quite similar:

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The ‘main’ dishes were served with a simply dressed (but very tasty) salad of green leaves:

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Next was the cheese platter, consisting of a washed rind, a Daylesford cheddar and Roquefort:

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Everyone seemed to have a favourite here, Saskia monopolised the Roquefort, I adored the washed rind and Mr M focused on the cheddar.

Finally, the much lauded ‘forest floor’ dessert:

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The dessert consists of chocolate mushrooms cleverly made out of meringue with a hazelnut parfait dome. The ‘forest floor’ is dehydrated flourless chocolate cake. Other foresty accents include the sorrel mint granita and herbs. As an additional bonus, asides from the chocolate tuile, the dessert is gluten free. Win!

I really liked the whimsy of this dessert. As with many of the dishes, I also enjoyed the sense of discovery, tasting bits and pieces and then putting them together. Yum.

All in all, a wonderful night. At Embrasse there is a focus on the quality of the ingredients and a light touch. Service was friendly and relaxed. We unwittingly were the last customers to leave (we didn’t notice as we were in the upstairs room) but we were not hurried at all. An excellent meal and highly recommended – it was a lovely birthday celebration for Mr M.

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Lots of other bloggers have enjoyed Embrasse too. Check out reviews from Melbourne Gastronome, Essjay Eats and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

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Details

Embrasse
312 Drummond Street, Carlton, Vic
Ph: (03) 9347 3312

Embrasse Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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9 Responses to “Embrasse: fabulous modern French fare”

  1. Oooh I love the mushroom dessert! Looks very fairy-tale-ish. And I own the same tasting spoons as the amuse bouche – perhaps I should start doing a bit more haute cuisine cooking.

    Jetsetting Joyce

  2. claire says:

    Ah, voila your Embrasse post is finally up! Good stuff.
    I’m wildly jealous of how fabulous your photos turned out – the lighting in that upstairs room is brilliant for food blogging. May have to request to be seated there next time!

    • Mr M says:

      Claire,
      As per Em’s post, the room is reserved for Danish and/or Food Blogger royalty. Perhaps you’re a chance then after all? 🙂
      Mr M

  3. Ashley says:

    Ah, I was so hoping to go here for a special occasion with the boy but family commitments came up! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous and everything looks so delish! 🙂

  4. Embrasse is on my wishlist – hopefully I’ll get around to it before the year is out!

  5. That mushroom dessert is amazingly enchanting. As are the spoons from the amuse bouche.

    I’ve been wanting to go to Embrasse for awhile. Looks like I really should hurry up and get there. The food looks amazing!

  6. I’m a little concerned about “pee puree”.

    Photos look amazing and I can’t wait to get there myself!

  7. Ali-k says:

    Wow, great photos. We saw Nicholas Poleart at Taste and he was so engaging. Love the mushroom.

  8. Emily says:

    Joyce: yes you should get more into the ‘haute cuisine’! I loved that mushroom dessert, so pretty. I was at a party recently and they had mushroom meringues, very cute (and slightly easier to make than a mushroom top of hazelnut parfait!)

    Claire: I’m sure your new camera would do it justice! These are from my old camera and still turned out ok, though you are right, the light was my friend!

    Ashley and Celeste: you should give it a try! Plus they have a new menu now as well – and the mushroom dessert is still on it!

    Voracious grazer: typo fixed. Thanks for the heads up, not a very good connotation!

    Ali-K: glad you like the photos. Nicolas came and said hello after the meal, he was really nice.

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