Degustation

Jacques Reymond

4/25/2014 04:38:00 PM

Late last year, we took our friend An for dinner at Jacques Reymond to celebrate his birthday. Jacques Reymond had been on our little group's "must-visit" list for years, but it was news of its imminent closure that spurred us into action. Chef Jacques Reymond left at the end of last year, and the restaurant has since re-opened as Woodland House, with Jacques' chefs Thomas Woods and Hayden McFarland in charge - another new restaurant to add to the list! I feel a bit naughty writing up a restaurant that has already closed (i.e. one that you guys can't visit anymore), but the meal was too good not to tell you about!

Two of us had the regular menu degustation ($185 without wine, $280 with matching wines), and one of us did the vegetarian menu ($140).

I'd actually visited Jacques Reymond once before this occasion - back in 1999, when I was a (very lucky) high school student, and a family friend took us. The menu had changed quite a lot since then (no more à la carte options, and the dishes were much more experimental and eclectic than fifteen years ago), but I certainly remembered these fabulous cheese gougères from my first visit!

Cheese gougères

The bread was amazing. Throughout the evening, waiters kept coming around with baskets of house-baked bread - white, wholemeal, baby epi...

Bread and butter

... and my favourite, the bacon and cheese rolls with spiced salt on top! Incredible. I know there were nine courses throughout the evening, but I couldn't help going back for more of these.

Bacon and cheese bread

Let's look at the courses! I'm going to try (try!) and let the photos speak for themselves - how many times do you need to read: "This was creative and delicious and perfectly executed!" Hehe. Enjoy!

First Course
Masterstock chicken, scallop ceviche, spiced peanuts, tofu
2011 Grosset 'Springvale' Riesling, Clare Valley, SA



Look how beautiful those scallops are! I loved the crunchy, snacky addition of crisp peanuts too.

Vegetarian Option
Rice and vegetable Noodle, king brown ceviche, spiced peanuts, tofu


Second Course
Yellow fin tuna, smoked salmon mousse, spiced nougatine, togarashi, lemon caviar
2011 Domaine Huet 'Clos du Bourg' Vouvray Sec, Loire, France


Vegetarian Option
Zucchini, brebis fromage, spiced nougatine, togarashi, lemon caviar


The nougatine (on both the omnivore and vegetarian) options, was like an incredibly thin layer of crisp caramel with togarashi mixed through. It was an unusual addition, but worked really well (with both the tuna, and the zucchini).

Third Course
Deep sea rockling and turmeric, samphire, spiced pineapple, fragrant coconut
2012 Toolangi 'Jacques Reymond Selection' Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Vic


Vegetarian Option
Palm heart and turmeric, samphire, spiced pineapple, fragrant coconut


I greatly enjoyed the third course, finding it like a very subtle, refined take on a South-East Asian curry with its fragrant coconut, turmeric and spiced pineapple. And the matching 'Jacques Reymond Selection' Chardonnay was one of my favourite wine matches of the night.

Fourth Course
Cuttlefish, pekin duck tucupi, crispy chicken skin
Domaine Jean Grivot, située à Nuits-Saint-Georges, Burgundy, France



The savoury broth on this dish was just magnificent!

Vegetarian Option
Bean shoots, swede and turnip, crispy zucchini flower


Fifth Course
Orange custard, asparagus, campari granita, sour enoki


I must admit that I thought that the "orange custard, asparagus, Campari granita and sour enoki", sounded strange, but it was a really beautiful combination - the creamy (not too sweet) custard and the bitter Campari granita were not only lovely in their own right, but also a great palate cleanser to prepare us for the heavier courses.

Sixth Course
Flinders Island wallaby, corn and shimeji, mountain bush pepperberries, sheep yoghurt
An older vintage of St Hallet 'Old Block' Shiraz, Barossa Valley, SA


This dish was quite simple and restrained, allowing the gorgeous wallaby to shine through.

Vegetarian Option
Saltbush choko, corn and shimeji, mountain bush pepperberries, sheep yoghurt


Seventh Course
Western Plains suckling pig, chilli black bean and apple candied tomato
1995 Grosset Gaia, Cabernet Blend, Clare Valley, SA


I was looking forward to Western Plains suckling pig, and this course did not disappoint. The meat was soft and tender and just beautiful. And after such a long meal, I appreciated the petite portion!

Vegetarian Option
Young root vegetables, salsify, black salt pearls, sour cream and chive


As you have seen, most of the vegetarian courses offered mirrored the meat courses in appearance, and I loved that the final savoury course looked totally different - so fresh, vibrant and colourful.

Eighth Course
Memories of Australia: The Bush


The first dessert was a simple but delicious combination of roasted fruit (apricot, if my memory serves me correctly), a creamy parfait, sweet crumbs and a rich red berry sauce. I can't remember what the green bits were (sorry - it was a few months ago!), but I do remember really enjoying it!

Ninth Course
Memories of Brazil: The Amazon
2009 Sauternes Les Carmes de Rieussec 2ème vin du Château Rieussec, France


The second dessert, an homage to Chef's time in Brazil, was a playful and fun dessert - coconut pudim (pudding), passionfruit sorbet, caramelised pineapple, dark chocolate cashew and a lime/cachaca sphere.

Cafe Latte, Espresso

And as if we hadn't had enough food already, this plate of petits fours came out with our coffees. There were little cubes of tiramisu, pâte de fruit, marshmallow, a chocolate truffle, a macaron, a mini tart and a little almond cake.


We even got a bonus plate of crisp birthday churros for the birthday boy. These were freshly fried, super crisp on the outside and soft on the inside - perfect.

Churros

What a fun and delicious night! I was sad to hear that Chef Jacques was leaving, but I'm looking forward to seeing what he does for his next project, and to experiencing Woodland House one day. (Chef came out at the end of the evening to say hi to all the patrons, and he assured us he wasn't retiring, but simply moving on to a new project).

Have you visited Jacques Reymond or Woodland House? What were your thoughts? Do you like degustations or fancy restaurants for celebrations, or do you prefer simpler meals?

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8 comments

  1. Lovely meal! So nice to hear you've had such fond memories at Jacques. Very kind generous of your family friend to take you there and love that you can still remember it now even after all these years =). I've only had 2 degustation dinners (one was at Marque in Sydney and the other at PM24). It's still a little bit out of my comfort zone for me but maybe I should venture out to try more as I'm sure I would really appreciate the hardwork and creativity that they put in each dish

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  2. So glad to see you had a lovely time. My first visit was a few years ago, and very memorable (I had never had pine mushrooms before!).

    I went again late last year, on the understanding that vegan and gluten free requirements could be more than accommodated. Unfortunately, this time my experience was less than outstanding. The gluten free bread was extremely ordinary, cold sliced toast - I know from my own baking that it is possible to do much better than this, and I would have expected as much. I ended up feeling very deprived, in many ways, compared with my omnivore dining companion. Such a pity.

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  3. Awww, even though we can't visit anymore, it's always good to read up on your thoughts of the place!

    I wouldn't have expected any less on Jacques Reymond and glad to see you had a great time there! Love the vegetarian option dish - looks so pretty!

    Also the desert looks amazing!

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  4. Such an exquisite meal. Was to sad to read Jacques will be moving on but looking forward to seeing what lays ahead in the future!

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  5. Sad that it has closed. I never made it there! Here's hoping that another one isn't too far away though :)

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  6. So sad I never got to go. Looks like it was worth a visit for the cheese gougères alone!

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  7. I'm so sad! I never got to the chance to go to Jacques Reymond and he's already moved on :( everything looks superb and I'd definitely like to try Woodland House and love degustations too!

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  8. You're so right - those photos really speak for themselves!

    I like fancy degustations for super special occasions, but otherwise I'm a big fan of the <$30 per head cheap local!

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