Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tapastry at Windows Restaurant (by invitation), Albert Park by Bureaucrat

Tapastry is where art and food intertwine.  Launched last week, the Tapastry menu is available across all Pullman hotels in Australia (it’s Accor’s five-star hotel brand).  Ruby Grapefruit and I were lucky enough to be among a select group of people to try Tapastry at Pullman Albert Park.
 
The set of 10 tapas dishes are designed by Pullman’s culinary ambassador, chef Justin North.  As a Sydney based chef, Justin has won numerous awards, including two coveted chefs’ hats for more than eight years.  This will be the first time Justin’s food will be available in Melbourne on an ongoing basis.
 
Chef Justin North spoke about designing Tapastry
 
While Justin has designed the 10 dishes, each of the Pullman hotel’s Executive Chefs have created four additional dishes that highlights the region’s best produce in which each hotel is located. Justin spoke of wanting to create a menu of dishes that could be adapted that allow diners to experience many different regions in the one sitting.
 
Each dish is matched with an accompanying wine, beer, cocktail and mocktail
 
The range of dishes are classic pairings of tastes and textures.  However, it’s Pullman’s commitment to use high quality regional produce and products that lift the dishes—they lets the ingredients take centre stage without it being overshadowed by gimmicky flourishes.  We got to try all 10 dishes but presented as canap├ęs.
 
The Meredith ashed goats cheese, marinated beetroot and red sorrel.  If you haven't already tried Meredith goats cheese than you're in the minority!  I never liked goats cheese until I had Meredith goats cheese (made in Victoria).  It's creamy with a hint of pungency but it's not overwhelming. Gorgeously smooth it contrasted well with the earthy beetroot and chewy bread.
 
A selection of Byron Bay artisan salumi, pickles and quince paste. 
 
One of my favourite dishes was the fig, Binnorie labna and caramelised onion flatbread.  Served warm, the flat bread was soft and just how freshly baked bread should taste like.  The savoury sweetness coming from the squishy fig and onions paired well with the creamy labna - very moreish, indeed.
 
A classic appetizer – Pacific oysters w eschallot vinegar and lemon. 
 
My favourite dish was the grass-fed steak tartare.  Finely diced tender beef with lots of capers mixed through to cut through the richness.  It was topped with a creamy oyster mayo and a crispy chip made from sapphire potato.  Rich in flavor and texture - wonderful.
 
I liked the roasted Northern Rivers pork belly w slow cooked octopus and miso eggplant because of the unusual combination of ingredients.  Each ingredient is 'meaty' in its own right but it all went together really well.  Both the pork and octopus were tender and full of flavor and the eggplant lent a softness to the dish. 
 
We also got to try the tiger prawn cocktail; fried fillets of whiting w calamari, chilli salt and lime aioli; heirloom tomato w Yellingbo olives (from Victoria) and Vanella buffalo mozzarella. 
 
Chef Greg Greenfield creating our dessert
 
Ruby Grapefruit and I had a nice chat with Chef Greg Greenfield who was the artiste for the night.  He was chosen to create the special dessert for the launch – a painting that depicted the flora around Albert Park on white chocolate and rice paper.
 
For dessert, we couldn't resist trying the earl grey ice cream w Zokoko chocolate and salted caramel.  While I liked the combination of flavours, the chocolate and caramel was rich, decadent and a wee bit sweet for my liking.  And I would have liked a stronger earl grey flavour in the ice cream (it’s my favourite tea).
 
Verdict
Food – 7.5
Ambience – 7.5*
Service – 8.5*
Price – 7*
*Scores are notional as we were guests of Pullman Albert Park and this was a launch event.
 
Overall
Tapastry delivers what it set out to achieve – a range of small dishes featuring great regional produce.  I really like the balance of meat-based and vegetarian options, and also between lighter and heavier dishes – as this gives diners a choice. 
 
It’s also very thoughtful that they not only include wine, beer and cocktail matching but also have a few mocktails on the menu – definitely there is something to suit everyone.
 
The staff are friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic about what Tapastry offers.  As this is dining at a five-star hotel restaurant the prices for the tapas are on the high side.  While Tapastry may not be for an everyday meal, it’s certainly an option for a special occasion or when you want to treat yourself. 
 
Address
Windows Restaurant
Pullman Albert Park
65 Queens Road
Albert Park 3004
Telephone: 9529 4300
 
Windows Restaurant on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Impressive !
must try!!

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