Pei Modern has been on my list of must visits ever since it opened… but for some reason, I had never got around to visiting. Still… its presence haunted me, and it lingered on the list. But, dear reader, you know what the restaurant scene is like in Melbourne… that list kept growing and Pei Modern found itself jostling for position with the latest and greatest!! Finally, after a couple of false starts, I managed to get there to catch up with long lost friend, the Divine Ms M.
One of the great things that Pei Modern does is a few twists on the negroni – there’s 3 different versions to try. I can’t remember which one this is – but if it’s a negroni, it’s good. And this was good!
Celeriac Soup, Chestnuts and Caraway Toast
The Divine Ms M ordered the soup – stating that the test of a restaurant is whether or not it can do soup well. Can I tell you … this soup rocked our worlds?? Ah-mazing! It was so rich, full of flavour, creamy, and delicious. I was lucky enough to score a taste – and ever since then, I’ve been craving this soup! People, this is mind blowingly great soup… it boded well!
Grass Fed Steak Tartare
I, on the other hand, think a great steak tartare is a great indicator of a restaurant. My dish arrived with a lovely quenelle of well-seasoned, high grade, hand minced beef, crowned with a shiny orb of egg yolk. The accompaniment in this case was crunchy home-made potato chips. It was a lovely dish – perhaps just a tad over-seasoned, but delicious. However, I have to admit – I had a case of bowl envy! That soup was soooo good!
Braised Beef Short Rib & Organic Carrots
For the Divine Ms M, braised beef short rib which barely needed a nudge with the fork to fall apart. It had silky, gelatinous seams threading through the unctuous, tender meat. Incredible. The carrots added a lovely sweetness to the dish and helped to counterpoint the richness of the meat.
Suckling Pig, Savoy Cabbage & Young Walnuts
The suckling pig was too hard to resist and what a combo this came with. The suckling pig itself was well seasoned and tender, with an amazing, crispy crackling. The wedge of savoy cabbage was cooked to perfection and was a gorgeous foil to the intensity of the pork. And the walnuts added a beautiful textural contrast to the whole dish. Amazing.
Hand Cut Dobson’s Chips and Garlic Kale
The Divine Ms M will be the first to admit that she loves her food, and so sides had to be had to make sure that we got our 3 serves of veg!! Again – these were very good quality sides that complemented our experience and did not go to waste.
White Chocolate Ganache, Mandarin & Sorrel Sorbet
Finally, the dessert course. I chose this rather avant garde composition of white chocolate, mandarin and sorrel. The sorrel sorbet was fantastic in contrasting with the richness of the white chocolate ganache, while the mandarin segments and dust added a delicate, floral overtone. It was a beautiful, complex dish – but again – I had plate envy.
Sauternes Custard & Crostoli
The Divine Ms M again trumped me with this dish that made our whole bodies swoon. Oh my freaking goodness… how can custard taste so good??? This custard is no ordinary custard – it melts away into ethereal rich creaminess on the tongue, with beautiful accents of caramel caressing your palate! Partner this with the still-warm crostoli which has been sprinkled with lemon infused icing sugar. We were in raptures… this was definitely a case of the elusive dining nirvana…
You know what… we loved it so much we ordered another one!!! Ooohhh la la!!
Pei Modern is a fantastic restaurant – the food is brilliant, and the service was fabulous. I would not hesitate to recommend it to you, and can’t wait to find myself there again. I’m very happy Mr Best found his way to Melbourne – may his Sauterne custard forever stay on the menu! Delicious – just go!