It seems every time I am locked in to meet up with KB1 and KB2 it absolutely buckets with rain. Why is this? It also seems that KB1 keeps disappearing overseas and misses our catch ups. Is she trying to avoid us?
So it was, on a wet windy night I drove into Fitzroy to meet KB2 for dinner. Our destination was the Town Hall Hotel on Johnstone street.
We were early for our 6pm booking so decided to have a drink in the bar first. I had a very overwhelming and full-on few days at work on a new project so decided to treat myself to a glass of Billecart Salmon (not that I need any excuse!).
KB2 was in the mood for a merlot, but none were listed by the glass. The gentleman serving us suggested a cabernet merlot and said he would pour a taste for KB2 to try first. She disliked it (to put it mildly). She actually says this is the first time she has said no to a wine! Our waiter was not concerned, he made KB2’s day when he said something along the lines of ‘your happiness is my desire’! She asked about an Italian drop, the Caldora Montepulciano I believe, and after a taste of this she was happy and a full glass was poured. I do like the practice of offering a taste before a customer makes a decision, and also that wine by the glass is poured at the table.
We sat and chatted and watched the rain out the window until it was close to our booking time. We then moved into the dining area.
It was early so we were the first patrons.
Bread was provided and another round was offered later on. I am pretty sure I have said this before, but restaurants really need to look at the number of diners and assign the number of pieces of bread accordingly. Three pieces, which we got both time, doesn’t go between two. Either two or four pieces would have been more appropriate. But really, I am nitpicking, and of course, KB1 and I are ladies so there was no fighting over the last piece!
More wine was required and I left it to the waiter (a different one) to make my selection. I ended up with a 2012 Whistle Post Chardonnay from Coonawarra.
The Town Hall Hotel’s menu has an Italian influence and many a tempting dish. It took a while to make a decision.
We decided to share something off the small plates section and it came down to two dishes. I asked the waiter for his recommendation and we ended up with the steamed asparagus, poached egg, waygu bresaola, parmesan.
Eggs and asparagus are such a classic combination, and one I will be eating more of as asparagus season fully kicks in. The addition of the parmesan and bresaola lifted this simple dish to something more sophisticated. And of course the egg was perfectly poached.
For main course, KB2 had the 250g grain fed eye fillet. All steaks are served with potato gratin, macerated onion and a choice of red wine jus, salsa verde or garlic butter. I think KB2 chose the jus.
Gotta admit, I had steak envy! The steak was cooked exactly how KB2 requested, and I love how the sauce was served separately in a jug.
I had been planning on ordering a steak all day, but the osso bucco milanese, saffron risotto, gremolata tempted me too much.
I did not need a knife for this perfect-for-a-winter’s-day dish, though I would have liked a tad more flavour from the sauce, it wasn’t as ballsy as I was expecting.
To be healthy we had a side dish of wilted spinach, garlic, lemon.
One of KB2’s pet dining peeves is when a diner’s dish is cleared before their companions have finished eating. We both noticed that the staff discretely checked how we were doing, but did not clear the table until we were both done and dusted.
We decided to share two desserts.
The first was the tiramisu (sponge soaked in strega, kahlua and coffee, mascarpone).
I am slowly getting into tiramisus after a bad experience at the residential college where I lived while attending uni. We thought this would be a good ‘un and we weren’t wrong. We could taste the separate flavours, but none dominated and it was lighter than others I have tried.
While we enjoyed the tiramisu, the winner of the evening was the hot chocolate pudding, citrus compote, malted ice cream.
Another perfectly cooked dish, with the right amount of oozy liquid inside the pudding, and lovely complementing flavours from the fruit and ice cream.