It seemed like a bad start to the 2012 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival on the Saturday when the weather gods decided to absolutely soak the city with all manners of rain.
Sunday, however, proved to be a 360 degree turnaround and provided us with a glorious sunny day. And luckily it was the day we chosed to kick off our Melbourne Food and Wine Festival with an express lunch at Embrasse.
I like the idea of express lunches at this point in my life. Having a one-year-old toddler drastically cuts down your eating out time (sometimes, I honestly wonder how people with more than one child manage to go out at all when I barely do with just one) plus its affordability helps you decide whether you want to come back and try the restaurant’s proper menu. The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s Restaurant Express’s menu at Embrasse include two choices of entrees, mains and dessert, served with a glass of wine and a tea or coffee. You choose two of the courses for $35. Bargain.
(Squid cooked in red wine, parsley, zucchini and family, lemon, bergamot oil)
For the first time in a long time, I was running on time to a lunch date. Naturally, I had to encounter an accident on the Freeway and so ended up being twenty minutes late. This took a lot of eating time out of the 1.5 hour sitting that we were allocated for the express lunch. Oops. And I also forgot my camera and so had to make do with my phone camera.
(Black pudding croquette with garden peas, dried bay leaf oil, pickled beetroots)
After having a really brief glance at the menu, I quickly ordered as the others already have. Our entrees arrived not five minutes later. One of my favourite things about express lunches is that your courses arrive snappily. The croquette was crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside but didn’t taste much like black pudding that I was expecting. But the pile of lovely garden peas and pickled beetroot made lift the dish. The vegetables are really the stars here. Poor Agnes (aka the Pea Hater) who ordered the same dish without realising that the dish would be full of peas left the sweet, delicious, delicious peas uneaten. Sigh.
(Fish of the day poached in brown butter, burnt onion, chive, carrot, grape, cucumber, cauliflower custard)
For main, I went for the fish option. The menu description seemed confusingly long to me and I didn’t associate many of the dish’s elements with its description. But nevertheless, the fish was lovelyserved on a bed of carrot and apple cucumber. Strange but in a good way.
(Roasted corn fed chicken, eggs, stone fruit, our own rooftop honey, baked onion)
And the chicken option wasn’t bad either.
Neither were the desserts. Though at this point, I had serious dessert envy. Though I’m pretty sure that if I had opted for dessert instead of entree, I would have had serious entree envy too.
(Coconut mousse, frangipane, passionfruit, corn, orange blossom)
We finished the meal with coffee. I had asked for a piccolo but ended up with a macchiato instead. It was pleasant enough and we were able to linger a bit longer than we should have until the next sitting was starting.
A very pleasant express Sunday lunch. I look forward to going back and try Embrasse’s bigger menu.
Address: 312 Drummond St, Carlton, VIC 3053
Phone number: 03 9347 3312