Thursday, May 24, 2012

Embrasse Sunday Lunch

For Mothers' Day this year, we celebrated with a Sunday lunch at Embrasse.  You may remember that we visited Embrasse last year and loved their incredible eight-course degustation, so I was very much looking forward to bringing my parents! Mothers' Day this year happened to coincide with my dad's birthday, so it was a double celebration!

Embrasse offers a four-course lunch on Sundays, served family style, from the centre of the table.  At $62 per person, it represents excellent value.  I'm particularly impressed that they didn't increase the price for Mothers' Day - it seems that practically all other restaurants, florists and high teas do it!

Yarra Valley Shiraz - $19 for 500ml
As part of the Sunday lunch, half-litre carafes of wine are available at $19 - on the day of our visit, it was a lovely Yarra Valley Shiraz.  I really like this idea; it makes choosing the wine so much easier and adds to the casual, convivial nature of the lunch.  (Of course the full wine list is available too).

Butter

Sourdough
The dishes, as expected, were a lot more casual than the evening fare, but still had the finesse and thoughtful presentation that seem to characterise Chef Nic Poelaert's cooking.

It happened to be a freezing day, with lots of rain and wind, so we were very happy to see that the first course was a big pot of warming pumpkin soup.
French pumpkin soup with creme fraiche
I was pleased to find that the soup itself wasn't overly creamy, and that the taste of the pumpkin really shone through.  Accompanying the soup were crisp little croutons made from olive bread.

Croutons
I had expected the second course - chicken and lentil terrine with brioche - to be a heavy, rich affair, and was pleasantly surprised to see the mass of salad and greenery that was brought out.
Chicken lentil terrine with French breakfast radishes, lettuce, parsley
Four thick slices of terrine, wrapped in cabbage leaves, were arranged amongst a salad of lettuce leaves, flat-leaf parsley and thin slices of French breakfast radishes.  The terrine itself was quite meaty for a terrine, and not fatty at all.  Lovely!

I enjoyed the thick slices of toasted brioche that came with the terrine, and my dad especially loved the Piccalilli, comprising cauliflower, cucumber and onions that had been lightly pickled and still retained their crunch.  (It actually reminded me a bit of achar, one of my favourite Malaysian dishes.)
Piccalilli and toasted brioche

And now, the mains. What Sunday lunch would be complete without a roast?  The roast in question was a slow-roast wagyu rump cap, served with peas, purple carrots, sweet potato, green beans and onions.

Slow-roast wagyu rump cap with peas and heirloom carrots
The slow roasting process resulted in soft, tender meat.  I think going the slow-roast route was a great way to please everyone across the rare-medium-well-done divide!  (Y'all will remember we all like our beef cooked differently, and when I heard the main was beef, I was a little concerned that one or more of us would end up not liking it. Luckily none of that occurred!)

I'd never had such dark purple carrots before, and I wasn't hugely enamoured of them - it felt like it was more about the novelty factor than the taste.  I did think it was quite cool that we ended up with purple tongues though!
Sweet potatoes, beans, roasted onions
Dessert was a lovely, homestyle frangipane tart, contrasted with a cheffy topping of quince puree, apple jelly and rhubarb!  I'd actually spied the tarts being prepared when walking past the kitchen earlier on during the meal, and was very excited for this dessert!
Frangipane tart with apple jelly, rhubarb, quince puree

Creme chantilly, rhubarb puree


I love frangipane, I love pastry, so this was dessert heaven for me.  The toppings looked a little alien-like and futuristic, hehe, but provided a wonderful bright and fruity contrast to the sweet cakey almond base. The only potentially negative aspect I could mention is that the slices were gigantic - we could only manage about half a slice each, and it felt like such a waste of a lovely dessert!

Overall though, we loved the Sunday lunch - it's such high-quality food at excellent value, in a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere.  I'd highly recommend it for a lovely afternoon!

Embrasse Restaurant on Urbanspoon

5 comments:

Michelle Chin said...

Looks like there's jelly sitting on top of the fragipane. hehehehe

Nic@diningwithastud said...

Everything looks delicious :D so hard to decide!

Hannah said...

Oh my gosh! At our mother's day lunch at Lark Hill Winery, we started with an amuse bouche of pumpkin soup, then my mum had terrine, my charcuterie plate had pickles... and that's where the similarities end. But that's enough to get me excited. Mother's Day twinsies!

Iron Chef Shellie said...

One day I will get here! Looks fantastic!

Agnes said...

Oooh I so want to go to Embrasse for their Sunday lunch. It looks really good.