9/10 on Tuesday 23 January 2018.
The Walrus: Finally, the over-hyped and ultimately disappointing Pei Modern has been replaced by the very cool late-night supper club and restaurant, The Mayfair. Great cocktails, live jazz, old school caviar service, the 1930's New York feel...whats not to like?
The Carpenter: A misleading location - The Mayfair has popped up in the base of Collins Place - replacing Pei Modern with a distinctly New Orleans feel. The only giveaway that you're in the base of a semi-modern building is the 5 meter ceiling with concrete and pipes - but the overall feel is great. From the bar stocked with decanted spirits in a range of crystal decanters through to the spacious dining area and, when you're really lucky, a little bit of live jazz. (we were really lucky - or was that good planning?).
W: The standard order of a Martin Miller martini, slightly dirty with a whole olive delivered on the promise. A great start to the evening. 9/10
C: Return to our baseline for a great martini - Martin Miller with a single olive. 9/10
W: We kicked of with a trip to offal-town with a serve of the duck liver parfait. Normally I am a big fan of all things pate-based, however, this was very strong and packed a huge iron rich punch. It was accompanied by very good toast (both in taste and texture) but ultimately, the parfait taste was bordering on off-putting. The follow on entree however, was a revelation. Home made crumpet (freshly cooked on the griddle) with sweet spanner crab, lemon aioli and a smidgen of mustard on top. Not a traditional combination, but you get the classic crumpet taste and texture you are familiar with, only freshly cooked (this was the first freshly cooked crumpet I have had in my 48 years and it was certainly the tastiest) setting off against the sweet and tangy crab mix. To be honest, I could have had 4 more serves and would have been happy! Something new and original for me. 8/10
C: Delicious crusty warm bread with light housemade butter. An extremely good duck parfait with perfectly crunchy and chewy (at the same time!) toast. and then a single serve of homemade crumpet (yes, that's right) with Yarra Valley roe and crab. there was a subtle use of fennel to give it a little kick, and a side garnish of a bitter green of some sort. All up it worked beautifully. the crumpet was about 1.3x the size we're used to as kids - and better in every way. An incredible dish that really stands out as one of my favorites of all time. 10/10
W: Roast duck on the crown, grilled radicchio with sweet and sour currants. The duck breasts were thickly sliced and then sat back on the crown for presentation. Exceptional taste and went very well with the currants. The skin was perfectly crisp and the fat rendered by just the right amount. One of the best duck dishes I have ever had. 9.5/10
C: Duck on the crown - roasted. Extremely tasty. Magnificently presented and easy to serve. A shared main. Added sides of charred radicchio with sherry prunes and cheese grits. The first sounds like it could be a meal at an old folks home - but it was fantastic. The cheese grits were perfect - having lived in the US south and been around the home of grits for over a decade I can attest that these were outstanding. And coupled with the duck was an inspired choice. 9.5/10
W: Valrhona chocolate, cherries and mascarpone. Nice healthy serve and beautifully delicate. The cherries were outstandingly sharp. A great way to finish off the meal. 8/10
C: The creme brulee - delicate with a hint of nutmeg. One of the best I've had. Certainly on par with Hell of the North. Nice little crunch on the surface. Nice sized serve. But there was a little dessert envy looking over the table at the parfait the Walrus was enjoying. 8.5/10
W: A nice glass of 'Friends of Punch Noble Riesling' went beautifully with dessert, one to try if you see it on a menu. 9/10
C: I'm sure there was a pairing done for us here, but the specifics are a little hazy! ?/10
W: Great service. We were never left waiting and staff provided excellent food and wine pairing recommendations. 9/10
C: Excellent service - great pairings with the meal that all worked exceptionally well. No complaints at all. 9/10
W: Fantastic reset for this site. Great food and feel with the layout both open and private when needed (go to the front bar to see what I mean). 8/10
C: I was initially skeptical of the "hotel restaurant" but this was a cracking meal in a wonderful environment. When the live jazz kicked in at 8 it lifted the whole place. Not too overdone, a tremendously enjoyable evening, right in the heart of the city, and with outstanding food. Plus I'm a sucker for grits, crumpets, and a New Orleans ambiance. 9.5/10
W: Tested out the bar staff by ordering a Boulevardier and they didnt bat an eyelid. Not a bad effort either. Great front bar to relax in after a meal or just to catch up with friends and have an old school cocktail. 7.5/10
C: a boulevardier from the in-house bar. Not quite up to Graeme's (see previous blogs) standard, but still very very good. banter with the bar staff a bit clumsy, but the distractions were impressive. 9/10
W: Tram home, not eventful.
C: The Walrus hopped a tram out the front - benefit of a handy city venue and the side effect of some back issues sadly unaided by the drinks. Uber home - An uneventful trip with their seamless service and app interface. Gotta love the Uber!