Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fenix, Richmond by Bureaucrat

I was excited with the express lunch deals that were offered as part of the MFWF. Prix fixe menus are common in London, and I really liked them! They're usually good value - and sometimes you stumble across one that was really, really good value.

After perusing the menus (of the restaurants that actually had their menus online... as an aside, Aussie restaurants are pitifully behind the rest of the world. Would it kill them to have an up-to-date menu and info online or even offer an online booking system that actually works?!), I chose to take Mother Hen and Mr Strong to Fenix.

It wasn't until after I booked the lunch, that I realised that the chef at Fenix is one of them 'celebrity' chefs that's on MasterChef. To me, that's not really a big deal. However, after reading the reviews of Fenix, I was slightly worried - there were rather negative reviews of the service.

Anyhoo, on the appointed day, we rocked up to lunch at Fenix. There's free parking if you dine there. Fenix is situated over the Yarra river. It has a lovely, relaxed and smart-casual atmosphere. There's outdoor seating for those wanting a coffee and lingering over the weekend papers. While inside, it's light and airy and smartly appointed - funky without being try-hard.

For starters, I encouraged Mother Hen to get the watermelon, Persian fetta and mint (a flavour combo which she hadn't tried before) with crab cakes. This was the stand out dish of the day. Sweet melon (delightfully presented in cubes) melded well with the creamy fetta and fragrant mint. The crab cakes had a crispy thin shell with the tender crab inside - it was not at all oily. Perfect.

Mr Strong went for the slow-cooked beef ribs served with celeriac remoulade. A very generous serve of melt-in-your-mouth beef, which had a rich beefy (but not gamey) flavour.

For mains, Mother Hen went for the fish pie. A lovely crispy crust, and underneath lots of piping hot pink and white fish. The white sauce was creamy without being overladen with cream and butter.

Mr Strong went for the roast pork belly, with squash and pinenuts. For Mr Strong, it turned to be a rather meaty meal. Another generous serve of protein. The pork was tender and flavoursome. And yes, I know it's pork belly, but for me, it was a tad bit fatty for me. The crackling was mostly crispy but it was a wee bit chewy in places.

I went for the remaining option on the MFWF prix fixe menu - the gnocchi with tahini yoghurt, fresh peas and mint. I'm not usually a fan of gnocchi. I find it's too much like eating an over-stuffed cushion. This gnocchi were nicely pan-fried and well, were as light as it could have possibly been for a dense nugget of pure carbs. I felt the tahini yoghurt/pea/mint dressing was kinda bland for something that was kinda bland itself.... bland meets bland.

For dessert, I had to get the hot doughnuts with lemon curd and lemon syrup. So childishly simple and delightful! Why anyone wants to eat Krispy Kremes is beyond me. These hot doughnuts were light and fluffy (not at all oily), with the crunchiness from the sugar. The perfectly balanced lemon curd helped cut through the richness. I'd go back ther eagain just to eat this dish again (and also the watermelon, fetta and mint w crabcakes).

Food – 8.5
Service – 9
Ambience – 9
Price – 8

I had no complaints about the service - our waitress was friendly and prompt. I liked her so much that I even gave a tip. All the dishes had a nice balance to it (except the gnocchi). It was rich and/or strong flavoured dishes, but didn't make you feel bloated afterwards (that's not to say that we didn't leave with rather full bellies!).

I love the vibe there - would love to see what it looks at night. I note that Fenix has an ongoing $35 express lunch. The menu is quite varied - I'd definitely be back another time to try more delicious dishes.

680 Victoria Street
Richmond 3121
Phone: 9427 8500

Fenix on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

katy_em said...

thanks for getting rid of the spam.

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