The Smith – Knickerbocker Glory

panda 4 rating

A and I were looking for a place where we could have some dessert after dinner and I stumbled across The Smith and its renowned dessert – The Knickerbocker. It was a Friday night and I knew that they would be busy so I called up to see if they would have space for the two of us to have dessert – they were very helpful and said to come and they would find a space for us. How nice of them! So we headed down and literally had the best seats in the house – at the bar counter overlooking the kitchen –we could actually watch as our desserts were being made.

The Smith is located in High Street, Prahran – one of the trendier suburbs in Melbourne and the venue matches. The owner is Scott Borg (former director of Taxi and Circa), and he has created this swanky, sophisticated and fun venue that offers all day dining.

From the outside it looks like a pub, but once you are inside you are welcomed by a fun and casual vibe. To the right is the bar and courtyard and to the right is the main dining area, which travels all along to the back room which is another dining area. Here is where the fantastic open kitchen resides, with the opportunity to sit at the bar overlooking the kitchen – best view in the house! The back dining room has high ceilings together with a combination of round, square and communal wooden tables. The fit out is classy, elegant all whilst staying casual and welcoming.

We were just there for desserts so we were given the dessert menu to peruse. Whilst tossing up what we wanted to have for dessert – we could see the other meals being prepared in the kitchen and being sent out to the diners. They looked amazingly delicious! It made us wish that we had come here for dinner as well! The menu is prepared by Michael Lambie (also ex Taxi and Circa). The Smith offers six-course and eight-course tasting menus at $70 and $85.

The menu is split into six sections – starting off with “Oysters” (there are three to choose from), moving onto “Mouthful”, then “Tastes”, followed by “Fish & Meat”, then “Sides” and ending on dessert dubbed “To End.” Mouthful includes morsels of food that ranges from pork croquettes, to tempura king prawns, soft shell crab, tofu and salmon tartare. There are a number of “Tastes” and “Fish & Meat” dishes to select from as well – the variety ensures that there really is a dish for everyone and every dietary requirement. The menu is a combination of many cuisines – from Mexican to Thai to Japanese and even Modern Australian Country.

There were four different desserts to choose from which included The Smith Carrot Cake with citrus cream cheese, Chocolate dulce de elce with blood orange foam and the two desserts we chose to have. What is great about the desserts here are not only do they sound good, but most of them are Gluten-Free, Nut-Free etc. The menu marks down what each dessert is, as well as suggesting what drink it would go well with. There is also a cheese selection if you are a cheese fan.

I ordered the The Smith Knickerbocker Glory (GF, EF, NF) – which was essentially like a trifle – it had layers and layers of sweet goodness. There are layers of macerated sweet tart fruit including pomegranate molasses, berries, strawberries topped with whipped cream, chocolate buttons, jelly squares and chunky bits of honeycomb. There were so many textures and flavours going on and it really was a fun dessert to have. I loved the combination of cream and berries any day so this dessert worked really well for me and was just what I craved and wanted.

A ordered the Raspberry Souffle with White Chocolate Ice Cream (GF) which was mighty impressive when it was placed in front of us. The overflow of the soufflé looked delightful and was topped with icing sugar; to the side was the white chocolate ice cream. The soufflé was literally melt in your mouth and the tanginess worked extremely well in contrast to the sweetness of the white chocolate ice cream. A winner!

Whilst we were eating our desserts we watched as The Smith Carrot cake was being made and boy did it look impressive! There were so many elements that were added – as you watch you think that it would be the last ingredient placed – but wait there’s more – more and more elements added – and the end result: spectacular. The dish was finished with petals, flowers and reminded me of a swan. Definitely wanting to try this out next time!

We also ordered tea to go with our dessert – and I tried the Russian Caravan tea for the first time! I have previously not heard of this flavour and was intrigued to try it out. This tea is a blended oolong, keemun and lapsang souchong tea and has a vibrant and strong aroma to match a nutty, malty and smoky flavouring. I might actually consider purchasing some of my own Russian Caravan tea!

The staff were really helpful and our waiter especially was really friendly! Customer service was really good and the staff looked like they were having a good time.

The Smith is great place be it for a casual catch up dinner or a celebration. The atmosphere is lively, fun and very friendly. The Smith also has two function rooms upstairs, with a separate bar and kitchen. One of the rooms is called “Mr Smith” which is the more masculine version complete with leather seats and can seat up to 40 people. The other room is aptly named “Mrs Smith” – complete with white walls and can seat up to 24 people. There is a wall between the two that can be opened up to create one larger space if needed.

The Smith serves a large variety of food in a venue that is stylish, elegant yet casual and relaxed – the staff are friendly and helpful and the food dishes not only look spectacular but taste great too! What more could you ask for really?

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu – Refer to http://www.thesmithprahran.com.au/the-food/ The drinks menu can be found here – http://www.thesmithprahran.com.au/the-drinks/
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Elegant, Stylish, Casual and Fun. There is an area for dining and an area for drinks, as well as a courtyard. There are also function rooms.
Service: Fantastic – very friendly and helpful!
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
www.thesmithprahran.com.au
213 High St, Prahran
Tel No: 9514 2444

Opening Hours
Monday to Sunday: 12:00 pm – 11:30 pm

The Smith on Urbanspoon

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Trocadero – Stunning Views and Food to Match

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Trocadero Kingfish Tartare, Pomelo, Lemongrass, Samphire Pot Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Grain Salad, Smoked Leek Squid Ink Taglioni, Crab, Chilli, Tomato Mains are served! Toasted Coconut Bavorois, Mango, Pineapple, Raspberry Sorbet Tiramasu, Mascarpone Ice Cream, Blackcurrant Jelly

In order from Left to Right:
Trocadero Menu
Kingfish Tartare, Swordfish, Pomelo, Lemongrass, Samphire
Pot Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Grain Salad, Smoked Leek
Squid Ink Tagliolini, Crab, Chilli, Tomato
Main Dishes together
Toasted Coconut Bavorois, Mango, Pineapple, Raspberry Sorbet
Tiramasu, Mascarpone Ice Cream, Blackcurrant Jelly

A and I headed to Trocadero for dinner one evening after work for one of our many catchups. I hadn’t heard too much about this newly opened restaurant and initially wasn’t sure where to find it. Trocadero is located along the Yarra River within Melbourne’s iconic Arts Centra at Hamer Hall, and has stunning view of the Melbourne City Skyline and river.
It is a brasserie style restaurant that is modern, sophisticated and has a very vibrant and energetic feel about the place. The staff are inviting and welcoming as is the decor such as the specially commissioned wall mural by Japanese Graffiti artist Jun Inoue. It is a great addition to the Arts Centre precinct and adds class to the Southbank area.

The modern European menu is created by Head Chef Nick Bennett and comprises of Appetisers, Entrees, Pasta & Risottos, Mains and Desserts & Cheeses. There are also four different sides to choose from. There is a Brassiere menu, a Prixe Fix Lunch Menu , Pre-Theatre, Snacks, Dinner and even a Supper Menu. Refer to Menu section below and check out the link for the Menu’s on their website.

We ordered the Kingfish Tartare to share as a starter and I ordered the Squid Ink Tagliolini, Crab, Chilli, Tomato and A ordered Pot Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Grain Salad, Smoked Leek. The Kingish Tartare was one of the best tartare’s that both A and I had tried. The dish was fresh and flavoursome and the combination of Pomelo and Samphire really made the dish. My main dish was the Tagliolini with Crab and Chilli. The dish might sound simple but sure does pack a punch and is delicious. There was the right amount of lemon and salt, but I could have used a bit more Chilli – but that’s just me..I LOVE my chilli. A did enjoy her Pot Roasted Lamb Shoulder but wasn’t a huge fan of the smoked leek, but enjoyed the texture and flavours of the grain salad (which compromised of lentils mostly). The lamb was soft and fell off easily when it was cut.

Dessert time was next up and I ordered the Toasted Coconut Bavorois, Mango, Pineapple, Raspberry Sorbet and A who loves her Tiramasu’s couldnt look past the Tiramasu, Mascarpone Ice Cream, Blackcurrant Jelly. I asked the waitress about my dessert before I ordered it, and to be honest she described it a lot better than it actually was. There was some popping candy on the top which was a nice addition and the flavours were fresh and nice but I wasn’t a huge fan of the texture of the casing of the bavorois. A was looking forward to the Mascarpone Ice Cream the most in the Tiramasu but said that the mixture of that (it wasn’t very flavoursome) together with the Blackcurrant Jelly didn’t work and the whole dessert was ruined. She said she would have preferred the dessert without the Blackcurrant Jelly. This was an interesting take on the Tiramasu and good on them for trying to put a spin on a traditional dessert.

Trocadeo is run by the Van Haandel group ( they are the team behind places such as Comme and Stokehouse) and is a great addition to the Melbourne dining scene. It allows you to enjoy great food together with having one of the best seats in the house to take in some of Melbourne’s icons such as Flinders St, St Pauls Cathedral, Yarra River and Southbank. Trocadero is definitely a place that I would recommend to friends, not just for its locality but for its food. Since I have been there, the dessert menu has changed and I am keen to go back and  try some different ones.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu – Brasserie Menu (http://trocadero.co/menu/brasserie/), Prixe Fix Lunch Menu (Monday to Friday only)- 2 courses and a glass of wine $29 – 2 courses and a glass of wine $39 (http://trocadero.co/menu/lunch/) and Bar Menu (http://trocadero.co/menu/bar/)
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Classy and Comfortable – overlooks the Melbourne City Skyline and Yarra River. Good for a celebration dinner or on date night.
Standout Dish: Kingfish Tartare, Swordfish, Pomelo, Lemongrass, Samphire
Service: Fantastic, Attentive and Friendly
Online Booking: Yes via website – http://trocadero.co/reservations/
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://trocadero.co/
Upper Riverside Terrace
Hammer Hall
100 St Kilda Rd
Tel No: 8698 8888

Opening Hours:
Seven Days & Nights: 11am till Late

Trocadero on Urbanspoon

Fitzrovia – Vintage and Funky Cafe

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Zucchini and halloumi fritters with poached eggs, spiced cauliflower salad, hazelnuts and our green tomato relish

20130102_125032Crème brûlée French toast with sliced banana, dulce de leche and marscapone


Fitzrovia is all about fine food and fresh local produce and it presents provincial-style Italian and French dishes in an artistic manner. Fitzrovia is an all day dining restaurant that comes to you from chefs Paul Jewson, his partner Gian Marco Pugnaloni and Liz Molroy. Paul and Gian Marco opened their first cafe – Outpost Cafe in South Yarra – in 2009 and was their first very successfully venture.

The name itself is not just a play on the location (Fitzroy Street) but comes from a bohemian and artistic hub in central London, and has brought a new and much needed type of foodie place to the St Kilda area. You are welcomed by huge tall glass doors and a naturally light filled entryway which boasts crates that are filled with fresh produce and to the right a long counter which has a coffee machine and a selection of cheeses, sandwiches and cakes. It has a modern yet European and homely feel to it – when you go up the stairs (just off the entryway) to more seating – there is a cosy little area reminiscent of a provincial dining area complete with a wood burning fireplace. You can just sit and chat here for hours on end with good friends.

The key factor that Fitzrovia prides itself on is the locally sourced produced. For example Port Phillip organic mussels, free-range eggs from South Gippsland, non-homogenised milk from Jonesy’s, St Ali single estate coffees and fresh herbs from a community allotment in Caulfield.

My friends arrived for brunch and were seated in the cosy upstairs dining area (where the fireplace was situated) – with wooden tables and bentwood chairs. There is massive gold framed vintage mirror together with a wooden bookshelf. We order coffees – which are fantastic and sourced from St Ali – How could you possibly go wrong – and are given the menus. There are also a selection of freshly squeezed juice mixes – called fusion juices – which are said to provide “maximum nutrition with minimal oxidization.” I order the Clean and Green – which consists of Kiwi, Lime, Cucumber, Granny Smith Apple and Pear – and my friend orders the Immunity Boosters – consisting of Strawberry, Orange and Pear.  The juice is indeed not only clean and green, but refreshing and rejuvenating.

Fitzrovia serves all day breakfast till 3pm and its lunch menu kick starts at 12pm. The menu also has an Afternoon Delights section which is served from 3pm till dinner time and compromises of some of your smaller snack size dishes  – such as chicken wings, spring rolls or Aranchini balls etc as well as larger main sized dishes such as steak sandwich, BLT or salad.

Breakfast dishes consist of the normal eggs (any way you like) together with additional sides, bircher muesli, toast with house toppings to the dishes with a twist – for example Crème Brulee french toast to Zucchini and halloumi fritters and dishes that have asparagus, home made quinoa. I ordered the Zucchini and Halloumi fritters and made a mental note to get the Crème Brulee French toast later to share with the girls as a “dessert.” D ordered the fritters as well and A ordered scrambled eggs.

The fritter dish came out and was plated up beautifully – comfort food but with class and style. I have never encountered this combo of zucchini and halloumi in a fritter arrangement before but it worked! The flavours meshed well together and the fritter itself was the right consistency and crunch. Together with the spiced cauliflower and green tomato relish this dish was a sure winner. The hazelnuts added for texture and nutty flavour. Definitely try this dish out! The dish is well sized and it took me a while to finish the whole thing – after all you wouldn’t want to waste such a tasty dish.

We did order the Crème Brulee French toast to share and boy am I glad we did. With a combination of bananas, crème brulee toast and dulce de leche you would think that this dish was overly sweet – however it wasn’t. The banana that was sandwiched in between the french toast helped to balance out the flavour as did the unsweetened marscapone. I could have done without the berry compote, but it did add a sour flour amongst the sweetness. For lovers of french toast, definitely try this out and I’m sure you will be coming back for more. One thing that I saw on the menu that I have to come back and try are the famous truffled polenta chips.

Fitzrovia is stylish and sleek with its modern decor and natural lighting and all at the same time welcoming and hospitable.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner menus – Can be found at http://fitzrovia.com.au/menu/
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Modern, Provincial, Cosy and Comfortable. The indoors seating is so inviting and makes you want to just sit around for hours on end just chatting.
Standout Dish: Zucchini and halloumi fritters with poached eggs, spiced cauliflower salad, hazelnuts and our green tomato relish
Service: Fantastic and Friendly.
Online Booking: Yes via website – http://cms.dimmi.com.au/(S(jvxhfgois3mpnmqoqpj5kuns))/Widget/Widget.aspx?id=2561&location=http%3a//fitzrovia.com.au/
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://fitzrovia.com.au/
2/155 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Tel No: 9537 0001

Opening Hours:
Monday & Tuesday: 7am to 4pm
Wednesday to Friday: 7am to 11 pm
Saturday: 8am to 11pm
Sunday: 8am to 11pm

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