Some of you might know that it was Yuye and I’s 8 year anniversary a few weeks ago since we first started dating. It’s really been a long and hectic ride at times but we passed the ’7 year myth’ so hopefully we’ll be blessed from now on. The 7 year myth was passed on from a few friends of mine who claimed that there was this myth when it came to long term dating. Apparently the 7 year mark is a very significant one and if you and your partner are able to get past that mark, you’ll live happily ever after (or get married or something). I have no idea how this so called myth came about (perhaps from personal experience or a lot of statistics?) but I’m glad we did manage to get past that hurdle.
This year was a special one. We finally went to a fine dining restaurant for our anniversary. We’re both not that type of people to spend a huge amount of money on one single meal. We’d rather spread the happiness and enjoyment over a few meals but he wanted to treat me to something nice so I said ok. As we lived in the suburbs, Jacques Reymond was an easier choice than Vue De Monde (the only two 3 hatted restaurants in Victoria) which would be harder to park for.
Set in a Victorian mansion dating back to the 1880s, the ambiance of the restaurant is hard to beat. Head chef and owner Jacques Reymond has won many awards and as recently on Masterchef Australia, showing off his years of experience and talent.
I was expecting that Jacques Reymond would be mostly French influenced but I was quite surprised to find the big numbers of Asian infused flavours in their dishes.
I’m glad the date fell on a Monday because I would have hated the task of booking for a place like this on a busy Friday/Saturday night, which would often be a few weeks on the waiting list. Even on a Monday night, Jacques Reymond welcomed quite a few patrons, most of them very dressed up and classy looking. I felt out of place with my DSLR and felt almost embarrassed when some of them turned around with a questioning face as my camera made the “clicky” noise when the shutter went off.
The service was excellent as expected. We were offered wines as soon as we sat down. As I was in no way an expert in the field, the sommelier recommended the 2009 Croser Vintage, a pinot noir chardonnay which was sweet and easy to drink. That kept me alcoholically happy for the entire night believe it or not, as I really wasn’t a big drinker.
Yuye ordered a 2010 Trousseau Singulier Stephane Tissot, an imported red wine made in the popular wine region Arbois in Jura, France. It was such a aromatic and delicious red wine that it was even palatable for a non-wine lover like myself. It was very easy to drink and went well with a lot of the dishes. This was also Yuye’s only alcoholic drink for the night. I know, we’re a bit pathetic in this department.
We were also offered a complimentary warm cheese profiterole each. Although no gooey cheesy centre, the subtle cheesy flavours throughout the profiterole was quite enjoyable.
There was only 2 options for dinner, one was to order from the a la carte menu where you could choose 4, 5 or 6 courses for a set price, or the choice that we went for which was the degustation option at $190 per person for 9 courses plus coffees and petit fours.
Course 1: Contrast of Ocean Trout, slow cooked and smoked.
This dish came with 2 different textures and tastes of the ocean trout and was a very beautifully presented dish. I quite liked the combination of flavours and refreshing feeling which had me smacking my lips in anticipation for the dishes to follow. The smoked trout came with tasty savoury jelly in the little pot which surprisingly tasted a bit Asian.
Course 2: Moreton Bay bugs, fresh soba noodles, wild succulents and caramelised black vinegar.
Yuye loved this dish, he said it was probably his favourite of the night. I disagreed. I love eating crustaceans for their yummy oceany taste and slightly chewy textures, however the way the bug was cooked had made it lose most of that chewy texture. The soba noodles were also slightly overcooked and lost its bounce. However, it had well balanced and rounded flavours which I found appealing, if only the textural elements were there too.
Course 3: John Dory, Szhechuan pepper and smoked palm sugar, lemon and black olive. Are you starting to see the Asian influences yet?
This was one of my favourite dishes of the night, which is quite rare for someone like me who would claim meat wins over seafood any day. The John dory was perfectly cooked with a slightly crispy surface, tender and juicy flesh and perfect balance of flavours. The Schechuan peppers didn’t overpower, in fact, I couldn’t taste it much. I wasn’t a huge fan of the espuma though, it didn’t taste like much and by the time I was done with the photos, most of the bubbles were gone already anyway.
Yes I was just going to call it foam but Yuye corrected me and said there’s a fundamental difference in espuma and foam, so there you go. He’s a perfectionist when it comes to these things!
Course 4: Flinders Island Wallaby, lamb dumpling, natural cooking juices
This was probably my most favourite dish of the night. I wouldn’t say I usually like eating game meats because they have tended to be tough and dry in the past. Game meats often don’t have as much fat in them but this wallaby has been cooked so well I would have been satisfied with eating just a whole wallaby steak! It was perfectly rare and very very tender. So tender that the piece of meat disappeared in my mouth before I could savour the taste. The dumpling was quite nice as well, although the skin was a bit thicker than what I was used to. Sorry, the dumpling was hidden beneath the meat so you can’t see it in the photo.
I loved all their serving plates/bowls. This one was served in a plate like bowl, if such a thing exists.
Course 5: Highland venison tataki and spanner crab, fresh Tasmanian wasabi
After tasting the wallaby dish, the difference in taste was clear between this venison. Although still quite tender, the taste wasn’t quite as deep and delicious as the wallaby. I also didn’t quite understand why the crab was on the same dish, as they’re obviously not meant to be eaten together. The crab was tasty and juicy though, but I definitely wasn’t a fan of the wasabi jelly like thing as it wasn’t strong enough. Perhaps a stronger wasabi sauce would have been a better option here.
I actually quite enjoyed this dish, although Yuye wasn’t as big of a fan. The cherry looked like just a regular cherry doesn’t it? But it was actually well spiced and full of flavour, much to the surprise of my deceived eyes. It went very well with the glazed duck, although again it was Asian flavours here.
I wasn’t taken by the barbajuan (pastry) as it wasn’t salted at all. The bok choy also just made the dish a bit too ‘homey’ for my liking. I did pay a lot of money for this meal so eating veggies that I eat nearly everyday at home seemed a bit not value for money.
Course 7: Veal fillet dolce forte, sea urchin butter and lard potatoes
At the start of the meal, we were offered a gourmet addition to this veal dish. For an extra $28 per person, we could add a few pieces of this recently harvested black truffle from Tasmania. As it was truffle season, I’ve been seeing truffles on the menus of restaurants a lot so was keen to give it a try. I’ve had a lot of truffle flavoured foods before but were mostly from truffle oils and salts which are significantly different in smell and taste.
When the dish came, I was surprised that I couldn’t really smell anything from the truffles. In fact, they hardly had any taste at all! I was very disappointed. The pieces were very thin and if I really had to pin a taste to it, it would be ‘earthy’. Not particularly pungent like the oils and salt varieties, it just had an interesting texture and earthy taste. That was about it. If all truffles taste like this, I don’t think I will be ordering it again any time soon. Perhaps cooking truffles makes them produce more taste/smell?
The dish itself was a tad on the salty and oily side. Apart from that it was a well rounded dish, although most of my attention went to the truffles so I didn’t pay it as much attention as I should have.
Course 8: White chocolate mojito, apricot, pineapple and strawberry
This was an enjoyable dessert which cleansed my palate after having so many meat dishes. There were quite a few elements and textures in this seemingly simple dessert which I liked. It also wasn’t overly sweet which meant I could have eaten a lot more of what was given to us. The little blob on the top was like a meringue foam but wasn’t that sweet.
Course 9: Venezuela origine rare chocolate and Mt Buffalo hazelnuts, passionfruit, infusion of tonk a bean and Tahitian vanilla
Yuye and I both didn’t quite like this dish that much. It provided entertainment more than anything else. The round sphere on top of the passionfruit mousse/cake was a huge caviar type thing that had undergone chemical treatment. When I put it in my mouth and broke the outer membrane, a burst of vanilla flavoured juice flowed out. That was quite interesting. The chocolate tart was a bit too rich for us.
We ordered coffees to go with the petit fours and just as I expected, they didn’t have latte art (maybe they tried but it didn’t quite get there). Because of that I won a bet with Yuye who thought they would have it. I did find photos of latte art from previous patrons so maybe we had a different barista. They weren’t the best coffees we’ve had either, being not as aromatic and strong which was a shame. But I guess people don’t go to Jacques Reymond just to drink coffees.
We didn’t like the petit fours either. They did look quite cute and nicely presented, but everything was just too heavy for us. Even the coffees didn’t help cut the richness and sweetness.
We didn’t expect to be getting anything else but a plate of Spanish churros were also provided. I think it would have been a better idea that they didn’t as we found the churros weren’t even properly cooked in the centre. The dough was still gooey and unappetising, although the chocolate sauce was quite tasty. If I wasn’t so full and on sugar overdose already, I would have consumed a few spoons of that chocolate sauce alone.
Service after dinner was impeccable as well. As they had taken our jackets for us at the start, the waiters were standing in the corridor with our jackets all open and ready to pop on. These moments always make me feel like a princess. After putting on my jacket, I asked to take some photos of the interior to which the waiter answered ‘take as many as you like!’ which was probably the most happy response I’ve heard when popping such a question.
I happily snapped away as I walked through the now almost empty dining rooms and admired the vintage meets modern decor.
They also had a lovely garden out the front which would have been lovely to sit at during a sunny afternoon.
I didn’t actually take photos of all the breads we were offered throughout the meal which I should mention. The breads came around maybe about 4 times in total and we were tempted to take one every time. The whole meal and white bread rolls were both very lovely and airy, but we didn’t quite like the last one which was more like a hard bread stick. Eating a lot of bread was probably what filled us right up though so I would probably try not to eat as much bread next time.
Although I probably wouldn’t be going back to Jacques Reymond anytime in the near future as going to such an establishment requires more than just a very special occasion, we did quite enjoy our meal. The service was impeccable, wines were lovely and the dishes (apart from a few minor details) were all quite tasty and very beautifully presented. However, the dishes were frankly quite Asian influenced and although pretty and tasty, they didn’t quite wow me like I would expect for such a hefty price tag. I expected slightly more creativity and wow factor than this. I also expected a better sweets selection as well which was a slight let down.
It was also a shame that I didn’t get to see the great chef in action.
Phone: (03) 9525 2178
78 Williams Rd, Prahran, VIC 3181