Courgette

It has been a while since I’ve been to Courgette but they now no longer have an a la carte menu, no more amuse bouche or petits fours with teas/coffee or palette cleansers. What they still do have is fabulous food, a romantic setting and attentive wait staff.

I had looked at my calendar well in advance before Valentine’s day and when I realised that it was a Friday and I had shopping plans with girlfriends, I asked TimmyC if we could celebrate fabulous food over a romantic evening on the Saturday instead. When he asked me where I’d like to go, my first thought was Courgette.

Four course set menu ($80.00 pp).20140216-085242.jpgThey have new cutlery since I’ve last been, I love their knives.20140216-085253.jpgComplimentary bread~ 

They serve beautiful warm bread with smoky butter.20140216-085314.jpgWhipped smoked butter – It was amazingly light and airy but with great smoky flavour.20140216-085303.jpgFirst course~

Alaskan king crab tortellini, oyster sauce creme, cucumber, baby radish, chilli straw, black salt and parmesan crumble. I absolutely adored the oyster sauce creme! A beautiful stunning dish; I had complete dish envy.IMG_9224A cross-section of the tortellini.20140216-085357.jpgLightly smoked duck breast, corn and polenta croquette, cucumber, apple and pomegranate salad. Punctuation matters! I thought the duck would be inside the croquette rather than the thin cold slices that were placed under it.  Overall I wasn’t impressed with this dish, I found the croquette filling a bit dry and all the plate elements seemed disconnected from each other. IMG_9219 A crisp croquette on top of thinly sliced duck.IMG_9221Second course~

Wagyu beef (8pt score) with fried eggplant, sherry marinated pimento, chilled potato and leek foam, guinness scratchings, herb salad. This was a tad over seasoned with salt but the beef was fabulous and tender.                             IMG_9226 I love this plate.IMG_9227Roast quail breast and twice cooked golden plains pork belly, asian slaw, soy pearls, mint and coriander. I’m not the keenest on quail and I expected more flavour from the skin and tender breast meat (I have to remember it isn’t like duck meat). My favourite part to this dish was the juicy fatty pork but the skin was not crispy, although it did have a little crackling ‘hat’.IMG_9228 The fat in the pork belly was so delicate and soft that if I sneezed, I’m sure it would have blown away.IMG_9231Third course~

Organic Inglewood chicken, smoked cauliflower puree, seared scallops, sugar cured speck, fermented black garlic. For someone who doesn’t eat that much chicken meat without a bone, I really appreciated the flavour and soft texture to the chicken. My favourite part of the dish (with the smoked cauliflower puree coming a close second) was the seared scallops, they were so sweet and juicy.IMG_9232 It was a very juicy scallop and huge may I add.IMG_9234Potato and parmesan gnocchi, asparagus, truffle, wild mushroom ragout, petite herbs. I’m not one to usually order vegetarian but I love love LOVE a good gnocchi and these were the softest pillows I have ever eaten. The parmesan could have been a smidge thinner but everything else was perfect, the asparagus was perfect, the mushroom was perfect, the gnocchi was… Perfect.

IMG_9238Sides~ 

Asparagus with eschalot and ginger ($9.00). Cooked perfectly al dente and the subtle ginger flavour really infused through the whole dish.20140216-085336.jpgParis mash ($9.00). I don’t know if TimmyC’s mashed potato has been spoiling me, but I didn’t think this ‘wow’ed me as much as it used to.IMG_9237Fourth course~ I was surprised to see that no typical crowd pleasers with chocolate/salted caramel/panna cotta something for the fourth course. We naturally went with the last two remaining options on the menu as TimmyC does not enjoy the combination of chocolate and orange, nor would he indulge with me in some fromage.

Fresh watermelon and fetta melange pistachio brittle, pickled cucumber, pressed watermelon, marshmallow. I didn’t enjoy the pistachio brittle after eating sweet meringues from the other dessert as it left a taste of bi-carb soda in my mouth. The rest of the dish was exotic and refreshing, I wouldn’t think to put these flavours together.       IMG_9241 The light was escaping fast, lucky it was the last course.IMG_9243Sticky meringue and lemon curd chiboust, fresh raspberries, elderflower sponge, basil infused milk sorbet. The meringues were soft and chewy and went perfectly well with a delicate fresh raspberry. IMG_9245 I never understood why Courgette no longer gets a mention in ‘Canberra’s top restaurants’ while places like A.baker, Aubergine and Sage get more press. I could have eaten another meal after dining at Sage, the menu didn’t thrill me at A.baker or Aubergine, while at Courgette I’ve never been disappointed nor have I left hungry. The only reason why it didn’t make it into my list last year was because I didn’t dine there in the year of 2013 but it would definitely make it into my 2014 list.