While still on leave, I was trying to decide where to lunch and decided to try an oldie but a goodie – Rubicon at the Griffith shops. The last time I had dined at Rubicon was during my pre-blogging days. I remember a dinner degustation where the diner was able to choose any of the dishes from the menu as a DIY degustation. I also remember we chose too much meat / too many mains, that we were sickly full afterwards, and we never went back. I was glad to see the same degustation options were available – 4 courses from $65, 5 courses from $80 and 6 courses from $95. It was birthday month so I decided to treat myself to 6 courses. I had made a reservation but there were plenty of tables available that weekday. I was asked whether I wanted sparkling or still water and provided with a menu.
Well equipped from my previous experience, I knew not to go too hard with the mains/meats. Some sourdough bread and rosemary infused olive oil arrived on the table.
Course 1 – scallops with confit chicken, bacon jam, apple and calvados. The scallops had been perfectly cooked and slightly seared on the top and bottom, coated with what must have been the caramelisation of the brandy. Delicious! The confit chicken was juicy and succulent, with that crispy caramelisation and bacon jam on top. I liked how the apple provided a fresh and crunchy contrast. A well executed dish.
Course 2 – gruyere and chestnut twice cooked souffle with tomato kasundi and labneh. This was heaven in a magical cheesy soft cloud. The souffle was so fluffy, stuffed with a generous amount of cheese with each and every forkful enabling cheesy strings. One of my favourites during lunch. The small side salad was a nice accompaniment to the rich souffle, but the clear star of the course was the fluffy souffle.
Course 3 – herb gnocchi with swiss brown and oyster mushrooms, zucchini, basil and tallegio. The gnocchi came in large fat pieces, lightly browned from being pan fried, giving them a slightly crispy edge. I loved this entire dish – juicy mushrooms, some healthy greens, soft potato topped with cheese.
Course 4 – duck confit with King brown mushrooms, baby beetroots, leek and duck brick. This dish reminded me of home style cooking. I liked the crispy duck skin, while the duck meat was tender and tore apart easily with a fork. I would have liked a bit more sauce on the plate to mop the duck with, as the duck itself was a little bland. The small duck brick roll was flavoursome and delicious.
Course 5 – chargrilled wagyu rib eye with miso onions, boulangere potato, gentlemen’s relish and horseradish. This had been medium cooked and came out beautifully tender and full of natural beef flavour. The sticky BBQ marinade, I’m assuming this was the ‘gentlemen’s relish’ was excellent with the beef and I made sure I smeared as much of it as I could on each bite of beef. The potatoes cooked with rosemary and baked vegetables rounded out a popular roast dish. I could easily order this dish again! I was surprised with the portion sizes at Rubicon – much more generous portions compared to other degustations.
A delicious pear sorbet was provided as a palate cleanser – so refreshing.
Course 6 – butter puff doughnut with poached peach, sauternes mascarpone sorbet, buckwheat and hazelnuts. The peaches were syrupy sweet, reminding me of those canned peaches in syrup. The doughnut reminded me a little of a cronut with some yummy buttery flakey layers inside and topped with sugar. I loved the mascarpone sorbet and thought it really helped mellow out the other elements on the plate. A well balanced dish.
Service at Rubicon was excellent, professional and unobtrusive – from being greeted at the door, timing in between each course, replacing cutlery after each course, topping up my water to finding my neatly refolded napkin on the table after coming back from the bathroom. The ambiance in the restaurant was reserved and casual, with several friends getting together and business partners having a lunch meeting. The small dining area I was in had air vents at foot level so I found the air conditioning very cold on my feet. Another table across from me thought the same thing and asked to be moved to another area. I found a few spots to the side of the table where I could rest my feet with out it being too cold, so I stayed where I was.
The 6 courses took just over 2 hours, so it’s definitely not something you want to try if you are short on time. If a degustation is not your thing, you can also order off the a la carte menu, and there is a banquet option for larger groups. Overall, a lovely dining experience, generous portion sizes (I’m thinking I should stick with 4-5 courses next time) and great service.
Rubicon can be found at 6A Barker Street at the Griffith shops. Open lunch Monday to Friday, and dinner Monday to Saturday. Bookings are recommended.
Value for money 8/10
FPJ score 25/30
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