Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

Also, "a good day to you, sir/maam" for our American pals, "Ni Hao" to China, and "Здравствуй" to our Russian comrades, "etcetera etcetera and so forth"... (for Yul Brynner).

It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

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Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Point – Albert Park

The Point
Aquatic Drive
Albert Park Lake
03 9682 5566

Recently, I’ve found myself asking: “What is the point?”

Probably because:
a. I just watched ‘i♥huckabees’;
b. I’m self employed; and/or
c. I’m now forty and my hair is falling out.

Existentialist and hairy aspects of the question aside, I’ve found the answer: the Point is a two hat restaurant on Albert Park Lake (‘Thank you Kit, we got that from the heading to this blog,’ I hear you think in your usually sagacious and telepathic manner).

Jane and I found ourselves there last night as a result of our involvement with Les Toques Blanches (LTB), the Executive Chefs society in Victoria (we’re working on their website – shh!). The Executive chef at the Point (Justin Wise) – who is joining the illustrious ranks of LTB – was cooking up a demonstration dinner and we’d been invited.

See? Dreams really do come true.

The Point has received two hats from the Age Good Food Guide, an achievement they wear with pride, and the service and food was really very good. Perched in a two storey building on Albert Park Lake, the view wasn’t much at night, but on going back to retrieve my car this morning, I suspect this is a much better venue during daylight hours (go there for dinner in summer, lunch in winter). The venue itself feels a bit “receptiony”, if you know what I mean, but in the foyer I was floored by their cabinet, which had sides of meat hanging on the hook. They have their own meat ageing cellar, and all steaks have been aged something like 60 days before they are cooked and served (so if you’re asked, get the steak).

The event itself was a real eye opener. The level of knowledge about food around the table was staggering. I know that chefy secrets are being spewed out on TV at a million miles an hour, and you can’t move without being hit over the head with secrets of cooking that were only available to professionals fifteen years ago (a six year old could tell you to dehydrate the watermelon before you include it in the pile with your gravellax), but I was genuinely surprised at just how much there is to know about what can be crammed between your gums. Sitting down with qualified chefs for dinner is a genuine learning experience.

We had a tasting menu, the elements of which were explained by the charming and personable
general manager Bryan Lloyd (he’s English and wears a smart suit) in spectacular detail – including the geographical origins of each ingredient.

The menu we had included:

Pan seared Hervey Bay scallops, Beluga lentils (i.e. lentils with caviar in them) and sauce Madras
Murray cod, cuttlefish, oyster beignet, fat hen and tonburi seeds (from Jaan, as colloquially known as land caviar)
Glenloth pheasant, braised savoy cabbage, and Slippery Jack mushrooms
F1 Wagyu Rump Cap, 450+ days grain fed, Rangers Valley NSW,
truffle brûlée, beetroot and celeriac
Banana cake, bubble gum ice cream, warm chocolate and caramel sauce

Each dish was matched to a wine, four Frenchies (two white, two red) and then a sticky at the end; I’m afraid I don’t have the deets, but trust me, they were very good and the reason I had to leave the car behind at the end of the night.

From the look of the menu, you’d imagine that Jane would be in her own personal hell, with mushrooms, banana and seafood featured, but she ate everything and gave it two thumbs up (except the dessert, because she was too full).

If you’re into dessert, you would probably have had an orgasm over this one. It included moon/pop rocks, so it popped in your mouth as you shovelled in dark chocolate, ice cream and cake; kiddy lolly porn for adults.

You can see photos from the dinner here.

So all in all? C’est ce bon! I give the Point seven tentacles out of eight (go there in daylight)! Tell Bryan I sent you.