J and I were invited to a milestone birthday dinner at Courgette. It had been years since I last dined there so I was really looking forward to it. As there were a few of us dining for dinner, we were seated in the wine cellar. A dangerous place to be in if you love wine.
Drink orders were taken and I asked whether a mocktail could be made. Our waitress informed us that any type of mocktail could be made – did I prefer something fruity? Yes, fruity would be wonderful. Another person at the table asked for something lemony. My raspberry mocktail came served in a wine glass and I was happy with the berry fizz like concoction. No photo sorry.
Courgette offers a four course dinner ($88) from an a la carte menu. I regretted looking at the menu online beforehand, as the printed menu that was in front of me was slightly different with my top picks completely gone. The menu changes seasonally so I must have been looking at the summer menu. Ah well. Our food orders were taken after everyone had been served their drinks.
Course 1 – salmon and scallop ceviche salad with baby beets, avocado, yuzu sesame seeds and puffed rice. Three beautiful slivers of raw salmon with the mild acidity from the lemon juice. The scallops were also fresh and tender.
J picked the flavours and textures of season corn with a croquette, puree, charred corn and nut snow. This dish looked a lot better than what I had imagined. The fat croquette had a gorgeous golden crumb which made a perfect crunch when sliced through. The inside was fluffy and delicious. I loved the different textures of corn from the light corn puree to the popped corn on the plate. This was definitely my favourite of the two first course choices. So far, a great start to dinner.
Course 2 – I couldn’t pass up the mushroom and duck wonton ravioli – two of my favourite ingredients wrapped together. It came with smoked duck, miso, Shiitake chips and spring onion oil. It wasn’t the prettiest looking dish but wow did it have flavour! Each individual ravioli came sitting on a leaf of spinach and were bigger than they look in the photo. The duck mince had been stuffed with herbs and spices and had been paired with a light hoisin sauce. I honestly wouldn’t have minded a bowl of these!
J and most of the others at the table picked the spatchcock confit leg with Morton Bay bug tail and pea puree. The portion was smaller than he was expecting as the whole bird wasn’t on the plate, but the bird had been cooked perfectly and was covered in a sticky flavoursome jus. The pea puree helped tie the whole dish together providing a lovely colour contrast and adding a creaminess to the dish.
Course 3 – Cowra grass fed lamb with sweet smoked eggplant, white bean puree, prune gel and rosemary jus. Tender pieces of pink lamb paired nicely with the sweet prune gel. A fantastic dish. No complaints.
J ordered the flathead and prawn sandwich with colcannon, mussel and a cherry tomato herb stew. The ‘sandwich’ was basically a spring roll stuffed with flathead. I loved all of the flavours of this dish. The bold seafood stew really helped tie everything together. A light dish with plenty of seafood flavour.
Some side dishes of potato mash, green beans and salad were also ordered. I loved the presentation of the mash – very pretty and it tasted great too.
Course 4 – baked hazelnut tart with coffee mascarpone mousse, raspberry gel, dulce de leche and praline dust. The tart was served warm and fresh out of the oven. It had been filled with a beautifully smooth and warm chocolate and hazelnut filling which wasn’t too sweet. The tart shell was buttery and I could taste the tiniest hint of salt which was a good contrast to offset any sweetness. The espresso mascarpone was quite strong and one of the other diners left it alone or she’d be up all night. I loved it’s creaminess and was happy to devour it, wishing there was more tart to go with the mousse. Just yum. I was very happy with my dessert choice.
J ordered the tangey passion fruit mousse with orange and mint sorbet, olive oil cake, white chocolate and candied clementine. Lots of different citrus textures and flavours on this dish. The sorbet was refreshing and I would have loved a couple of scoops of it, especially during summer. A nice dish but I preferred my hazelnut tart.
Service was friendly and polite. Our drink orders were taken early. Our courses were staggered within an appropriate amount of time. Most of the guys had matching wines with their dinner (taking it to about $150 per person) and were happy with the variety of wines offered. As we were dining at the only table in the wine cellar, it was a nice private room without much noise. I did find that the cellar was freezing but I guess it had to be! Courgette is well worth visiting for a special occasion or just because. Our 4 course dinner was $88, alternatively the restaurant also does a three course lunch at $66 per person.
Courgette can be found at 54 Marcus Clarke Street in Civic.
Value for money 8/10
FPJ score 25/30
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