J’s cousin, H, was in town and we caught up for dinner at The Grand in Richmond. The Grand is a true gastro pub, and has two dining options; the bar/lounge or the dining room. We have eaten in the bar many a time as both J and I used to work down the road, and we still have friends that work nearby.
The quality of the food in the bar is superb, the chicken parma has to be one of the best in Melbourne, however this time we decided to go a bit fancier and booked a table in the dining room. According to the website, www.grandrichmond.com.au, the dining room “serves up simple, authentic Italian food with an emphasis on both quality ingredients and value”.
I had only eaten in the dining room once before but had enjoyed it, and had always been keen to go back. J had eaten in the dining room a few times, and admitted that he was keen for the bar area this time until he looked at the dining room menu!
I like the décor of the Dining room, a bit dark and a little bit gothic. It was just under half full, which is pretty decent for a freezing Monday night.
We started with a beer for J, and H and I had a glass of Domaine Chandon ZD sparkling. The ZD stands for zero dosage, which means no sugar and results in a crisp dry sparkling. I have always been a fan of this wine.
We were brought some bread, and were asked later on if we wanted this topped up. I always appreciate a restaurant that is generous with bread. The olives were good too.
You will have to excuse the quality of the photos. I try to be quick and discreet when taking photos of food, and no matter what angle I had the camera there was always shadow, and I didn’t want to take all night mucking around with this.
We ordered entrees. J had steamed mussels in a white wine, tomato, garlic and chilli sauce. He loved them, and wiped the bowl clean with bread.
No pic of the mussels or any of J’s dishes tonight, he was on the opposite side of the table and it was too much effort, sorry guys.
H had the potato gnocchi with a brown butter and sage sauce. It must have been good as she also left nothing on her plate.
I had the Risotto Milanese. Now, I don’t normally order risotto in a restaurant, as it can be very hit and miss, and if I want a risotto I will get J to cook one for dinner. However, I was craving risotto and it seemed like a perfect dish to combat the elements. It was a good decision. The risotto was everything a good risotto should be, it was perfect. I too used bread to wipe the dish clean.
We ordered a bottle of Coldstream Hills Chardonnay to have with our mains.
OK, I can’t remember what J had for his main. I am pretty sure it was the fish of the day, whatever it was he enjoyed it. This is why I need to take photos!
H had the Western plains pork cutlet with savoy cabbage and truffled polenta.
I had the char-grilled rib-eye with salsa emiliana, cooked medium rare. I was asked if I wanted mustard and when I replied in the affirmative was presented with a dish and four options; wholegrain, French, English and Hot English. I went with wholegrain.
This would be one of the best rib-eyes I have had. It had an amazing amount of flavour, and very little fat in comparison to other rib-eyes I have had. It was huge but I did it justice.
We had ordered chips to share with our mains, and this was the only fault in the service, these did not arrive until we were almost half way through our dishes. Other than that the staff were really good, friendly and chatty but not overbearing. One of them commented that she was happy to have customers who were eating three courses, and having a wine or two on a Monday night, as she had people in earlier who were on mineral water and salads.
We were all pretty full by this stage but dessert beckoned. J was disappointed that there wasn’t any gelato or sorbet on the menu as he wanted something lighter, so as he was going to have a coffee anyway, he decided to combine the two and ordered the affagato with liqour home made vanilla bean ice cream, served with espresso and frangelico.
H had the pistachio panna cotta with winter fruits and violet jelly.
And I had the dark chocolate tart with orange mousse and candied walnuts. It was very rich and you definitely needed the orange flavours to offset the richness. It was nice but didn’t wow me.
Overall, it was a very good meal and a great way to catch up. I would go back to either the dining room or the bar in a flash.