Mister Jennings – Come & Meet the Great New Guy in Richmond

panda 4.5 rating

Menu:
Mister Jennings Menu Mister Jennings Dessert Menu

Mister Jennings is a newly opened restaurant located in Bridge Road in Richmond by owner and head chef Ryan Flaherty. Flaherty has previously worked at The Fat Duck (UK) and El Bulli (Spain), returning home to build up institution The Estelle (Northcote) before leaving last November. Fast forward to 2014 and Mister Jennings is Flaherty is his first solo project and he has enlisted the help of sous chef Jack Ingram in the kitchen, Malcolm Singh (Pei Modern) as restaurant manager and sommelier Lincoln Riley to create the spectacular wine list.

Mister Jennings – named after his favourite childhood author: Paul Jennings as well as his favourite school teacher – can seat 36 guests and additionally has a private dining room that can seat 16.
The venue itself has a Swedish minimalist feel to it complete with ash blonde tables together with key blue feature items on display in the form of wooden posable artists’ drawing models that cling to various places around the restaurant in cheeky positions, navy plumbing pipes, shelving and light blue plates on top of the tables. You can tell that during the day the space will be drenched with lots of natural light and would create a light and airy feeling. Two things I love – the random addition of a blue chair amongst the ash blonde chairs and the wooden bar above the main strip of seating that creates a trapeze like effect for the wooden posable models. Another feature highlight is the spectacular artwork by Mike Pelletier which features a man that looks like he has been carved out of gold.

The bar is visual spectacle complete with hexagonal mirror panels set against a navy blue backdrop in a honeycomb pattern, finished with stunning looking stools that have an ash coloured wooden top with dark metal rods forming the base (which were designed by local designer Lauren Garner).

The menu reads like one of experience and ingenuity- dish after dish of interesting and clever combinations, surprises and innovations. Essentially split into four sections – Starters, Entrees, Mains and Desserts – Mister Jennings wants you to be able to pick and choose what type of meal you want to have – be it drinks and snacks or a hearty meal of steak and chips. There is also the option to order the 5 course tasting menu ($80) if you want the chef to pick for you.
The Starters include dishes such as Oysters (there are two varieties to choose from – Coffin Bay or Cloudy Bay), Fuet Anis (which I learnt was a type of Salami) as well as the highly popular and known dish Boudin Blanc/Dagwood Dog.
The Entrée section is where the star dish from Mister Jennings can be found – Frozen Kangaroo, Wasabi, Nashi. Other dishes include Smoked Eel Parfait, Bread & Beets, Ocean Trout, Barley & capers, Foie, Rhubarb & Caraway Streusel.
The Mains include a Pasta dish, a Pork dish, a Duck dish, two selections of Fish dishes (Whole Baby Barramundi or Whole Sand Flathead) as well as two options of Sirloin (250g or 350g).
Dessert presents five options including a Cheese option – all of which sound extremely enticing.

We had organised one of our usual work catch-up dinners and had a booking for 8pm. Unfortunately due to a crazy busy work period going on I only arrived around 9:45pm – so I missed out on the “entrees” that the table had ordered.
They had ordered the Boudin Blanc/Dagwood Dog – a battered and deep fried boudin blanc (a white sausage made of pork liver and heart meat with pork rice dressing) served with homemade tomato ketchup with smoked paprika.

The Frozen Kangaroo, Wasabi, Nashi was another dish they had ordered. This dish is all about the mastery and ingeniousness – thinly sliced peppery kangaroo carpaccio is served frozen and only defrosts in the warmth of your mouth. It is served with Nashi pear, pickled onions, red wine, veal jelly together with an avocado and wasabi puree – creating hot and cold accents around your palate. My friends were left a little underwhelmed with this dish but did enjoy certain aspects of it.

The Leeks, Brown Butter Bechamel dish was also ordered. The roasted leek is hidden amongst the béchamel sauce which has the extra added flavouring of brown butter and topped with olives, parmesan and breadcrumbs. V said she really enjoyed this dish and the flavour combinations.

The last dish they ordered was the Snapper, Warrigal Greens, Tendons – the pan-seared snapper fillet sits at the base of the dish, amongst a soup of jus and covered with warrigal greens and finished with beef tendons that are reminiscent of a prawn cracker – as it has the same crispy coating and texture.

When I arrived the waitress we had was very helpful and talked me through the menu as well as answering any questions that I had. She even gave me suggestions as to what dishes she would recommend. As I was starving I ordered both an entrée and a main – she was nice enough to get me the entrée in quick time to ensure that my main came out at the same time everyone else at the table did. Love the service!

For the Entrée I ordered the Crab, Salmorejo, Chilli, Black Pepper to start. When the dish appears you can’t help but utter “oohs” and “ahhs”. There is vibrant orange colour of the Salmorejo that your eyes are immediately drawn to with a fresh green leaf placed delicately on top. Under this leafy green is the hidden mound of crab goodness. The crab was fresh mixed with celery and a mayonnaise type sauce. The Salmorejo was a brilliant mix of pepper, tomato and creaminess and together with the crab was one delicious dish. A must try.
For my main I ordered the Cavatelli, Pumpkin, Goats Cheese on recommendation from our friendly waitress – and am I glad she did. I had asked her what Cavatelli was and she replied with the perfect description – “If gnocchi and a tortellini had a baby – cavatelli is what you would get” – and she was entirely correct. The flavours of this dish were simply divine – the creamy pumpkin sauce with a hint of spice coupled with the silky goats cheese and the crunchy texture of the pine nuts. The cavatelli was not entirely soft but added the perfect addition to the smoothness of the other ingredients. This was my first cavatelli experience and boy was it an enjoyable one!

C ordered the Pork, Lime Pickle, Silverbeet dish. When the dish arrives you are greeted with a shroud of fresh green silverbeet and the anticipation builds up of what is underneath. Once you peek under you are greeted first by the bright orange baby carrots which sit atop of the pork. The nettle puree acts as the base together with the lime pickle. C got thru his dish in a ridiculous amount of time – clearly enjoying the dish A LOT!

V ordered the Whole Baby Barramundi, Lemon Parsley and H the Whole Sand Flathead, Caper Beurre Noisette. Both dishes were simply presented – allowing the fish and their flavours to speak for themselves. The fish was placed on the plate alongside half a lemon and topped with parsley and capers respectively. They both enjoyed the freshness and simplicity of the flavours which allowed the natural fish flavours to shine.

L ordered the Duck, Satay, Turnips. Once again the element of surprise was used in the plating up of this dish – with thin slices of turnip topped with peanuts, providing cover for the duck that was shielded underneath, sitting in a satay flavoured sauce. L thought this dish was average – and found that the overall flavouring of the dish somewhat masked the flavours of the duck.

A few of us still had room for dessert. I ordered the Jaggery Cake, Apricots, Double Cream. The dish came out looking nothing like what I had imagined. My first thoughts was that it looked like something I would find at the beach – sea sponge with green dustings of seaweed. However once you start eating this dessert your mind will be blown –the jaggery cake is crunchy and fluffy billows of sponge made with prune sugar, topped with cream. But wait there’s more – semi dried apricots appear hidden underneath added additional sweetness and tang to the dish. A unique dessert that you definitely won’t find anywhere else.

C ordered the Chocolate, Cardamon, Crunch – which was described to us “Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate” – and that is exactly what it was. The dessert is presented to you and then followed by rich chocolate sauce being drizzled out of a copper pot. There are bursts of citrus through the chocolate biscuit and creamy yet light chocolate moussed with a mix of hot and cold sensations – pure awesomeness!

The staff are superb – friendly and very helpful – they make the running of a restaurant despite the crowds look easy. The menu is a mix of adventurous and simple dishes – both of which are simply done well. The look and feel of the place is cheeky whilst maintaining a welcoming and relaxed vibe. Mister Jennings is definitely a place that I would recommend to anyone looking for a great food and flavour journey – and one that I will be returning to!

Rating : 4.5 Pandas
Price: $$$
Menu – Refer to picture
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience:
Standout Dish: Cavatelli, Pumpkin, Goats Cheese
Service: Fantastic! Super friendly, helpful and knowledgeable as well as being relaxed, warm and welcoming.
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
www.misterjennings.com.au
142 Bridge Road, Richmond
Tel No: 9078 0113

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Thursday: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Friday & Saturday: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Mister Jennings on Urbanspoon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MisterJenningsRichmond
Twitter: @_MisterJennings
Instagram:_misterjennings

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Tall Timber – Great Courtyard to Enjoy the Sunshine

panda 4 rating

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Menu:
Tall Timber Menu

The guys behind Armadale’s Coin Laundry and Port Melbourne’s Station Street Trading Co. have recently opened Tall Timbers, serving a versatile breakfast and lunch menu sourced with local produce.

As I walked into Tall Timber on this Saturday arvo I was greeted by the sweet smell of coffee together with the sounds of many conversations and laughter – it really seemed like the place to be! The main room is filled with sunlight thanks to the massive windows on two of the walls and the main feature is the back wall which houses timber planter like boxes and shelves which stores things like glasses, jars and teapots– a real rustic feel. The front counter has an array of sweets to choose from as well housing one of the most important pieces of equipment in a café – the coffee machine. The tables are wooden and there is one communal table to the right. The front room was quite full so I was told to venture to the outside sheltered courtyard. The courtyard was a real winner for me – it was a HUGE communal table with umbrellas over the top for protection – from rain or sun. What was the real difference of this table was that in the centre there was a herb garden accentuated with little spades – almost inviting you to pick your own herbs to add to your dishes – not that you need to as the food is delicious all on its own – but more on that later.  This courtyard area is great on a summer’s day – you get to enjoy the sunshine in the surrounds away from the main road – and would suit anyone from mothers with bubs to catch-up’s with friends or even a brunch date.

Breakfast is served all day and there is a lunch menu from 12pm. There are also options available for people who need gluten free or vegetarian options. What caught my eye on the menu was the Breaky Board – which comes with a poached egg on pumpkin loaf with beeroot relish & goat’s chese, muesli with natural yoghurt and fresh berries as well as a small OJ – all for just $14.50. Bargain! Little sets like these I think are a great idea and allow you to experience a bit of variety of what the café has to offer. The Breakfast menu consists of the usual favourites such as selection of toast with jams, bircher muesli, eggs and toast and smashed avocado. There are also other diverse combinations such as smashed peas served with pumpkin loaf as well as sautéed kale, asparagus, beans on a quinoa loaf.

As good as the Breaky Board sounded I couldn’t resist trying the pumpkin fritters (followers will know I do love my corn fritters – so trying a different type of fritters was highly appealing). I also love anything to do with or has pomegranate – it is one of my favourites fruits so when I saw that the fritters came with pomegranate labneh I was sold. Whilst deciding on my food order I ordered a freshly squeezed OJ – which comes with a stripey straw.

The pumpkin fritters formed the base of the dish, avocado on the next layer and lastly the poached egg finished with a dusting of fetta and herbs. The poached egg was cooked perfectly (refer to pick) and had oozing running yellow yolk. The fritters were cooked perfectly showing off the orangey colour of the pumpkin and was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside – and flavoured just right. The combination of the four elements – the fritters, egg, avocado and fetta was great – with the fetta adding a texture and sour element to the dish which complemented the sweetness of the pumpkin fritters. Another winner was the pomegranate labneh which was found under the fritters – a hidden treasure almost – which acted like a dressing to the fritters. It was an overall really great dish.

The staff are friendly and helpful and always not without a smile, wearing navy blue and canvas aprons. Despite being really busy they do remember all their customers from the front room to the courtyard. When we were initially seated we were told to take a seat in the courtyard and someone would be us and I was a bit sceptical as they were really busy but low and behold within 5 mins someone was out there.

The coffee is from NIccolo and will be roasted on site. I was tempted by the sweet selection at the counter as I went to pay but resisted – they really do look good and the staff are quite knowledgeable in what everything is.

I love the use of wooden timber furniture and the brightness of Tall Timber – the outside courtyard is fantastic for the summer to bask in the sun and enjoy some really great wholesome and tasty food. Try it out for yourself!

Rating : 4 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – There is an all day breakfast menu as well as a lunch menu from 12pm. Refer to picture above for breakfast menu.
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Casual, Relaxed and Fun! The courtyard out the back is an awesome place to hang out and chat the afternoon away!
Standout Dish: Roast Pumpkin Fritters with Avocado, Pinenut and Cranberry Salsa, Pomegranate Labneh & Poached Egg
Service: Friendly, Funny and Welcoming –  but sometime it is hard to get the attention of staff.
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
60 Commercial Road, Prahran
Tel No: 9676 9333

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:00 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday to Sunday: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm

Tall Timber on Urbanspoon