Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar – A Fantastic Experience!

Mr Hive Kitchen and Bar is located where the old Gordon Ramsay MAZE was – inside the Crown Entertainment Complex, in the new Crown Metropol section. As you walk in the interior is quite a feast for the eyes – there are high ceilings, with wooden light fittings that resemble bird cages, as well as modern wall art which consists of birds and branches, keeping with the similar theme. The tables are dark, wooden and sturdy and are fitted with comfortable and elegant chairs. There are also communal tables and a lively bar area which serves world class cocktails (and mocktails). The restaurant’s executive chef is John Lawson, and with his experience and expertise has created a menu that is formal yet homely, and brings together fresh and innovative dishes, some from the British background that Lawson shares.

From the moment we entered to the moment we left, the staff were friendly and attentive. We were shown to our table and given our menus. We were told that when it came around to Dessert time that we could go over to the Dessert bar area and watch as the chefs create our dishes in front of us. For entree I had Roasted Scallops with Wild Rice and Spice with Cauliflower Puree and Caramelised Kelp. The Scallops were perfectly roasted and together with the element of the toasted rice it gave an added crunch. The Caramelised Kelp was an additional nice touch. When we ordered our mains, our waiter suggested that we try out beetroot that were cooked in a casing of salted dough (it was a special side for the night). You can have a look at the photo above. When it came out it was just a rough shell of dough, and this was how it was cooked in an oven. Once it is cut open you can see the vibrant colours of the beetroot, and it had been cooked perfectly. The Beetroot were not too soft and not too hard, although as salt needed to be added to the dough to aid in the cooking, the beetroot was a bit on the salty side, but hand-able. It was great to this way of cooking as it was something different and something that I had never seen before.

For my main I ordered Marlborough King Salmon served with Crab and Sweet Corn and my friend ordered the Gippsland Duck Breast, Sweet Corn, Cherries and Foie Gras. The Salmon was the perfect shade of pink and moist, the added crab and sweet corn was creamy and meshed well with the salmon. Both the dishes were well presented, and the colours and tones of the dishes, matched that of the elements of the dish. The Duck Breast came with Cherries which I thought was an interesting addition.

Next we were taken to Mrs Hives Dessert Bar which is styled like an old school lolly store with different shaped bottles and lollies and candies filling them. Here you can see sou chefs make up the dessert in front of you. You can see them placing each element on the plate to create a wonderfully elegant dessert. It was a tough decision picking which dessert we wanted but I settled on the White Chocolate with Mango, Basil and Coconut and my friend had the Summer Berry Eton Mess. The White Chocolate dessert was superb – the Coconut mousse at the base of the dish was light and fluffy and the Basil Sorbet added a refreshing element and together with the Mango really tied the dish together.  The white chocolate underneath the Coconut Mousse was an additional surprise  It was a fresh, yet not too sweet dessert.  The Summer Berry Eton Mess was also fantastic. The berries were fresh and the meringue had the right amount of crunch and softness. To end the dessert extravaganza, we were given complimentary Chocolate Milkshakes in cute little milk bottles (together with a stripey red and white straw) with Salted Caramel Truffles. We were told that we had to eat the Truffle in one go and then follow it up with the deliciously smooth milkshake. The combination was awesome!

The experience that you receive at Mr Hive is fantastic and highly recommended, right from the waiter suggesting the sides that would match your main dishes to Mrs Hives Dessert Bar. The ambience is warm and inviting and John Lawson has created a menu filled with mouth watering dishes.

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu – Roasted Scallops with Wild Rice and Spice with Cauliflower Puree and Caremlised Kelp and White Chocolate with Mango, Basil and Coconut
Lunch: A la Carte Menu – http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/Assets/Files/Mr%20Hive%20Lunch%20Menu%202012.pdf  OR 2 course meal for $45 OR a 3 course meal for $55
Dinner: A la Carte Menu – http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/Assets/Files/Mr%20Hive%20Dinner%20Menu%202012.pdf OR 3 course meal for $70 ORa 4 course meal for $90
Signature Menu : http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/Assets/Files/Mr%20Hive%20Signature%20Menu.pdf
Bar Menu (Available from 6pm – 11pm)http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/Assets/Files/Mr%20Hive%20Evening%20Bar%20Menu%202012.pdf
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Stylish yet homely, comfortable and warm. Great for a special occasion for groups or even a date night.
Standout Dish:
Service: Fantastic, Attentive and Accomodating. Also as they were recently opened, they kept asking us what we would change in the dish if there needed any and were very open to ideas. Friendly and Vibrant as well.
Online Booking: Yes via website – http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/mr-hive-kitchen-and-bar
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/mr-hive-kitchen-and-bar
Crown Entertainment Complex
Level 1 Crown Metropol
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
Tel No: 9292 8300

Opening Hours:
Breakfast: 6:30am – 10:30am
All Day Dining: 11:00am – 11:00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm – 10:30pm

Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Spice Temple – Asian Fusion with Spice

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– Chinese Year Themed Drinks Menu
– Jasmine and Green Tea
– Ox – Buttermilk Yoghurt with Fresh Mango and Rose Petal
– Rat – Lavender Tea Soda with Hand Picked Mint
– Fried Salt and Pepper Silken Tofu with Spicy Coriander Salad
– Kung Pao Chicken – Sichuan peppercorn, heaven facing chillies and cashews
– Fish Drowned in Heaven Facing Chillies and Sichuan Peppercorns, Leatherjacket Sichuan Style
– Fish drowned in Heaven Facing Chillies and Sichuan Peppercorns, Leatherjacket Sichuan Style without the Chillies
– Hot and Numbing Crispy Duck
– Hot Pot of Fresh Shitake, Oyster, Enoki and wild Chinese Mushrooms, Yunna style
– Hunan Style Crisp Pork Belly with Fresh and Dried Chillies and Mushroom Soy
-Stir Fried Grass Fed Beef Fillet with Wok Blistered Peppers and Black Bean
– Stir Fried Spinach Sichuan Style
– Rose Granita with Fresh Lychees and Strawberries and Almond Milk Jelly
– Almond Milk infused Rice Pudding with Candied Fruit
– Caramel Chocolate and Peanut Parfait

SpiceTemple is Neil Perry’s foray into Asian cuisine. SpiceTemple has two branches – the first of which was opened in Sydney and later in Melbourne. The Melbourne venue resides at the Crown Entertainment Complex and has taken over from where Bistro Guillaume used to be. The look and feel of the restaurant is very dark, exotic and has hues of red and gold. Together with this there are solid dark wooden tables and low lantern like lights hanging over the tables. It gives a somewhat classy underground den like feel.

I went here for a group dinner with some friends and we got a variety of dishes to share – this is how the menu is designed – to share. We were impressed initially by the drinks menu – there was a100 wine menu list and they explain in 100 words why they have this many wines – innovative! There are also drinks created for each animal in the Chinese Year (refer to picture above). Being born in the year of the Rat – I had to try out the Year of the Rat drink of course. The drinks consisted of Lavender Tea Soda with Hand Picked Mint which was fresh and flowery. Another drink I tried was the Ox – Buttermilk yoghurt with Fresh Mango and Rose Petal. The Ox drink was absolutely amazing especially because I love mangoes – the creaminess of the buttermilk mixed with the mango definitely works! The only negative is the glass is half full and you want so much more. I guess this is their trick to keep you ordering more.

Prior to coming to eat at Spice Temple, I had read a review where the Fish drowned in Heaven Facing Chillies was mentioned as a must try and wanted to try it out. When the dish came out, all you could see was the heaven facing chilli’s just covering the whole dish (as you can see from the picture above). The waitress then removed these chillis, of which the fish had been “drowned” in to reveal the fish. The fish was spicy and the added peppercorns added the extra zing that you are made to feel on your tongue and your lips. It was a flavoursome dish and we all quite enjoyed it.

In fact, most dishes here at SpiceTemple include these peppercorns which give you that feeling. The initial reaction is “wow – this is quite an interesting experience,” however, once you get over that, to keep having that tingling sensation is a bit over whelming and annoying. You sometimes simply just want to eat your food and enjoy the flavours.
The Hot pot of Fresh Shitake, Oyster, Enoki and Wild Chinese Mushrooms, Yunna style was delicious. The mushrooms come out on a plate pre-cooked and you are shown by your waitress the different types of mushrooms, before they put it into the hot pot to cook in front of you. The broth had an added spice which meshed well with the mushrooms.

Dessert time consisted of Rose Granita with Fresh Lychees and Strawberries and Almond Milk Jelly, Almond Milk infused Rice Pudding with Candied Fruit and Caramel Chocolate and Peanut Parfait. The Rose Granita I had was fantastic. It had just the right amount of Granita to fruits and jelly. The combination of lychees and strawberries was unique and mixed well with the almond milk jelly. The flavours of rose and almond together gave you a creamy dreamy after-taste  The Caramel Chocolate and Peanut Parfait was like a circular snickers bar, and the parfait had the right amount of sweetness and consistency.

Overall, the atmosphere and environment were fantastic, although it could use a little bit more light. The dishes were good but not great and for the pricing is a bit on the high side. If you are a spice lover this would be the restaurant for you, however like I said before the tingling sensation of the peppercorns was a bit overwhelming . The drinks and the desserts were the winners here, but being a Neil Perry restaurant you would expect a bit more.

Rating : 2.5 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu – A la carte – http://www.spicetemplemelbourne.com/wp-content/uploads/Main-Menu.pdf and Yumcha Menu – http://www.spicetemplemelbourne.com/wp-content/uploads/Yum-Cha-Menu1.pdf
Fullness: 80%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Dark, cosy and intimate.
Standout Dish: The Hot pot of Fresh Shitake, Oyster, Enoki and Wild Chinese Mushrooms, Yunna style
Service: Good Service and the wait staff were happy to assist with any questions we had. They also can recommend which dishes work well together according to the spice tolerance of people.
Online Booking:
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.spicetemplemelbourne.com/
Crown Complex,
Ground Floor, Shop 7
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
Tel No: 8679 1888

Opening Hours:
Lunch (Yumcha)
Monday to Sunday:  12pm to 3pm

Dinner:
Monday to Sunday:  6pm to 11pm

Spice Temple on Urbanspoon