First thing’s first. You are paying for the view.
The dishes served were OK. But hardly inspiring. Then again, why are you paying too much attention to the food when you should be looking at the stunning view? Meh. It’s Melbourne. I live here.
The cauliflower veloute was rich and velvety and a great contrast the smokiness of the mussels; however it, like a number of the dishes, lacked seasoning. And with no salt present on the table, this couldn’t be corrected. The accompanying Pinot Gris was a great match, as were the other wines throughout the night. Eureka 89 gets a big 10/10 for their wine selection and matching… particularly the 2006 Rolf Binder Veritas ‘Bulls Blood’ Shiraz – an absolute cracker of a wine! But more about that later.
The second course was a seared matchbox sized piece of snapper, with a smear of heavily scented vanilla puree, a nicely turned (but undercooked, in my opinion) Jerusalem artichoke and a few other bits and pieces, there to provide some texture, I assume. The vanilla puree picked up the vanilla notes in the accompanying Chardonnay, but it became a little overpowering. The snapper was well seasoned, however the other elements of the dish were not so lucky.
The third course was a ballotine chicken wing (the size of a football for hamsters, if hamsters played football), a petite 1/2 scotch (quail) egg, a matchstick filled with something (I forget) and a great blob of mushroom puree which overpowered the whole dish. Chicken (again, under seasoned) doesn’t really taste of much; the puree killed it. The least favourite dish of the night by a mile.
The second best dish of the night was the aged beef fillet, 36-hour braised cheek, suet pie – a carnivore’s wet dream and a vego’s worst nightmare. A cracking dish and the seasoning wasn’t too bad, although I realised that I wasn’t a great fan of suet pastry as it was a little too dumpling-y for me… kind of like eating undercooked pastry, but I think this was how it was meant to be(?). The Rolf Binder nectar of the heavens was very well received to the point where we were pretty close to getting up and doing a jig (the wine was slowly taking effect) when we found out that this wine would also the accompaniment to the next course, which turned out to be my favourite.
Goat’s curd panna cotta, quince jelly and an oat biscuit stick, which we were instructed to crumble or dunk. Now I usually get pissed off when I go to a restaurant and have a dish served to me that I could make at home, but this is one where I’m glad they did because it was a ripper! Simple. Tasty. Balanced. Inspiring. And of course, lashings of Rolf Binder to wash it down with.
The last dish was a bit of a let down. It was a fairly uninspiring: A cute, but undercooked pear with a chocolate soufflé and a quenelle of homemade mascarpone (see: hamsters playing football), which I thought was impressive, but I’ve just looked up how to make it, so I’m not that impressed anymore. Oh and there was some orange so it was meant to be like a Jaffa. Probably. The highlight was the accompanying Pedro Ximenez.
The service (a wonderful German girl) was extremely attentive; given we were one of only three tables dining, I guess you’d expect nothing less. At the very least, our server was friendly and seemed to genuinely respond to our banter.
If you can afford to spend $195 on a degustation in Melbourne, then I’d recommend stumping up an extra $70 and heading to Jacques Reymond. You won’t get that spectacular view, but in a culinary sense, Jacques is AFL to Eureka’s VFL; leagues apart. However, if you’re from out of town and you probably won’t be as picky (as me) because you’ll be too busy taking in Melbourne’s skyline.
Level 89, Eureka Tower, 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank 3006
(03) 9693 8889
Good for: the views, out-of-towners, wonderful German waitresses, goat’s curd panna cotta, Rolf Binder Veritas ‘Bulls Blood’ Shiraz… a cracker!
Not good for: acrophobes, cibophobes, chrematophobes