Saturday, 6 August 2011

Salix Restaurant, Merrick's North.

The gorgeous view from our window.

Today was the first rainy day in Melbourne for almost a week. During the week, we had a burst of warm weather which made it feel almost like spring was upon us... alas, today reminded us that spring was still about a month away. Anyway, we choose to go to Salix restaurant today because we are generally fans of winery / country type restaurants, and also because Salix was featured in the Entertainment book (with a 25% discount). As we are saving money for our future home, we felt it was only reasonable to try and make the most of our Entertainment book!

We arrived more than half an hour early for our 1230 booking. The restaurant only opened at 12, so we were left standing around checking out the winery and bistro whilst the wait staff made last minute preparations before opening. We were the first to arrive and were seated in front of a giant window which overlooked the vineyard. It was a gorgeous and relaxing view.

As we were the first to arrive, we were served fairly promptly. We were offered sparkling or still (tap) water. We always pick still water as I don't believe in paying for water, and I don't like sparkling water anyway. We were offered beautiful, "baked on site" bread - soft, warm & tasty with a hint of cheese. It is one of the best breads I've had offered to me at restaurants in a while. The only other place where I may have had better bread was possibly Vue de monde (more on that later).

Mr HSH's entree "Assiette of charcuterie" which had duck pate, terrine, candied cherries and apple chutney (amongst other things which I cannot name). Overall, he felt the entree was good value - with plenty of variety in texture and flavor on the plate. The candied cherries & apple chutney gave a nice sharp, sweet edge to the rich, creamy meats... However, it was a bit short on the crispbread... Had to finish the last bits with no bread left!

Mr HSH's main - "Lamb done 3 ways". This one was a bit hit & miss. The lamb neck on the left was nice, but very "tarty". It certainly needed some tang and acidity to cut through - which was partially provided by the vinaigrette veggies on top (not sure exactly what these were)... There was just not quite enough of them. The cutlets were fantastic, and the "heroes" of the dish... The Shoulder Pull on the right was unremarkable, but not bad.

My entree- "Fennel & chilli pressed pork belly, seared local scallops, piquillo peppers & sweet pickled cucumber". A decent start for the meal for me, although I felt two main elements of the meal, the scallops and pork belly were a bit bland, whilst the veges were too acidic. I suppose the purpose of the dish was for them to be eaten together to find the right balance.

My main was one of the specials of the day. A "grade 7" Wagyu rump (medium rare) with baby beetroots, parsnip and potato.It was a beautiful, well balanced and hearty dish which i thoroughly enjoyed. I even enjoyed the parsnip which I wouldn't have usually. The potatoes were cooked to perfection, crispy on the outside and tasted really creamy overall. The wagyu rump was delicious, although if you asked me, I wouldn't be able to tell you the difference between this piece of Wagyu and any other type of beef.(Shows how much of a food critic i am huh?)

Nice fries, nothing special. An extra nice touch could have been if they offered us some tomato sauce. Mr HSH, however, thought these were great - "It's a shame that not many fine dining places have simple fries on the menu" he said. "Sure they're simple and boring, but sometimes they're just a perfect side dish to a fine dining meal." Full credit here to Salix for having them on the menu.

Mr HSH and I shared the"Assiette of desserts" which was a pleasure to the eyes. It had many different degustation size desserts from their dessert menu, including the creme brulee, warm gingerbread with quince, Belgium chocolate tart, pistachio & cinnamon doughnuts, and a variety of house made sweets and ice cream. We stuffed ourselves trying to finish this. Suitable for 2-3 people.

The front of the restaurant.
The McCormick house-for private functions.

Salix Restaurant at Willow Creek Winery on Urbanspoon

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