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:
Next up was kingfish, steamed for a little bit:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Next was the cheese platter, consisting of a washed rind, a Daylesford cheddar and Roquefort:
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:
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.
312 Drummond Street, Carlton, Vic
Ph: (03) 9347 3312