A belated review of Trocadero

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This must be the world’s most belated review…. However, I really enjoyed myself at this restaurant, so I’m not going to let the fact that my reporting being a little overdue put me off.  Just be aware that some dishes may not be available now – but imagine how wonderfully surprised you will be by the new menu!!

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It was the restaurant opening that had everyone talking!  Not only was it another Van Haandel restaurant (from the restaurateurs who brought us The Stokehouse), it was part of the redevelopment of Melbourne’s amazing Concert Hall.

Exterior

Alas, on the opening night – the rain poured down à la Melbourne style, but spirits and enthusiasm have been far from dampened.  In fact, Trocadero has been warmly received by Melbourne, particularly by theatre goers who needed something fresh and new in Southbank.

I finally got around to visiting earlier this year and was blown away by the quality of the food – so much so, I’ve already been back!!   This first time, I was lucky enough to go with iMac and a close coterie of friends – we were off to the theatre, and it seemed like a brilliant opportunity to check out Trocadero’s offering.  So, without further ado… what did we have… ?

Cacciotore & salami

Berkshire Pork Cacciatore & Calbrese Salami

Gorgeous AT decided to go for some cured meats to start her day.  They were delicious – moist and flavoursome, and full of that unctuous meaty flavour we all love.

Chorizo & potato foam

Chorizo, Potato, Red Pepper Aioli

Shep decided to go with the chorizo and potato dish. This was an interesting composition – and I would argue it’s more of a share dish than a solo entrée.  The chorizo is quite firm, much firmer than I expected.  It’s served warm and covered with the potato foam which is a smooth and silky textural delight!  The trouble is that the difference in textures means that you’re left chewing on the chorizo long after that soft potato foam has disappeared.  In theory it looked like a great variation on the classic Movida dish (which uses Wagyu Carpaccio instead of chorizo) – alas, it doesn’t quite make it in translation.

Chicken liver parfait

Chicken Liver Parfait, Golden Raisin Puree, Apple & Chamomile Jelly

A delightful rendition of a classic.  We absolutely loved the presentation and the inclusion of some fruity diversions in the form of the puree and jelly to bring out the lusciousness of that parfait.

Hummus 

Hummus, Fried Chickpeas, Lavosh

The lovely Ms Frenchie, ordered the hummus.  Again, I would say it’s more of a sharing dish than a solo entrée. However, it’s a great version of hummus – gorgeous presentation, and good flavours.

Tartare 

Steak Tartare

For research purposes, I had to check out the steak tartare – you know I did!! This is a pretty good version – more on the artistic side than the traditional side.  Similarly to the Stokehouse, they use pickled shimenjis to add some tartness to the dish.  A nice move for a funghirl like me!  The steak tartare was lovely – But I still have to maintain that Ross Beeley’s version still has the edge for me.

Duck 

Burrawong Duck, Onion Tart, Burnt Orange Puree, Beetroots

Moving onto mains now, the gorgeous AT loves her duck – and so it didn’t take any vacillation for her to settle on this. What a visually stunning dish – with picture perfect hues of gold and pink. The duck looks the tiniest bit underdone – and it may have needed just that little bit more to make it a perfect dish. The onion tart and burnt orange puree were perfect foils to the richness of the duck. It was a gorgeous dish.

Rabbit

Rabbit - close up

Buttermilk Fried Rabbit, Coleslaw, Aioli

iMac went hard core – although I’m not sure she knew what to expect – but out it came. Kentucky fried rabbit!! Hello!!!  I mean… who doesn’t like a bit deep fried goodness.  The deep frying had the effect of keeping the moisture in the rabbit, and being cooked on the bone it was flavoursome and finger licking good.  It was beautifully complemented by a delicate coleslaw studded with the sweetness of sultanas and a gorgeously smooth aioli redolent with roasted garlic. Yum!

 Tuna

Sesame Tuna, Eggplant, Citrus Mayonnaise, Miso Crumbs

This was my main – I wanted to keep it relatively light, and this is another absolutely stunning dish. There is something so beautiful about raw tuna – and this is a perfect cut of sashimi grade tuna, just slightly seared on the outside and crusted with sesame, it is a silky delight on the tongue.  I love, love, love eggplant – so the eggplant puree was music to my palate and was a great smoky counterpoint to the clean, pure taste of the tuna.  It tasted as gorgeous as it looks! Unfortunately, I see the tuna has moved off the menu for winter… let’s hope it makes a summer comeback!

And now…. let’s move onto desserts…

Cooked caramel creme

Caramel Cooked Cream, Pear, Popcorn Crumble, Chocolate

This is THE dessert that has everyone talking, and probably one of the most photographed desserts of the last 12 months. Three of us ordered it on my recommendation, and no-one was disappointed… It is one heck of a rich dish, but freakingly delicious.  Essentially caramel pannacotta in a glass – but it has this gorgeous layer of chocolate caramel sauce, and is topped with fluffy crumbs of popcorn. The pannacotta has some poached pears to lighten the experience – although IMHO they’re not needed and detract from the dish a little (a very different texture and not that complementary to the existing flavours and feel of the dish).  Not to worry though – the dish is still very much a “must have” – because it’s just amazingly delicious!

Chocolate fondant 

Chocolate Pudding, Milk Toffee Ice cream

Our token male, Shep, decided to go with the chocolate pudding and he was not disappointed. A very well executed, soft centred fondant pudding is nothing to be ashamed of, and he enjoyed every last skerrick of that chocolate sauce and milk toffee ice-cream.

Dessert - special

Dessert special – Meringues, Berries & Cream

The alluring Ms Frenchie went for the dessert special… which was like a horizontal Eton mess. Baby meringues and fresh berries, drizzled with a berry sauce, and sitting proudly amongst it all was a quenelle of vanilla crème fraiche.  Delectable, elegant and composed.

So, Trocadero – an amazing newcomer to the south bank of Melbourne (although not so new now… we’re actually coming up on 12 months of operation). We welcome you with open arms. No doubt you have a ready audience of theatre goers – but you don’t treat them like captives.  You recognise they are discerning diners, and want good food – not just convenient food.  Thank you!  I look forward to many pre-theatre dinners with you.  But you know what – Trocadero is so good, you shouldn’t just wait til you need to go to the theatre. Just go to enjoy a great meal!

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