Monday, September 26, 2011

Restaurant Two @ Edward Street, Brisbane

Last year, I celebrated my birthday in Melbourne, jobless. Not exactly the best of conditions to call and make a reservation at a hatted restaurant and splurge on a degustation menu. However that being said, I had a quiet night with a few cousins and a home made birthday cake too.


This year, with a job, with a Wife that has a job, I was given liberty to choose a restaurant with no expenses spared (even though the menu and prices had to be pre-approved, to avoid any heart attack on the table). 


Always one up for a bargain, I took to the Entertainment Book and Restaurant II (or Two) popped up. Being a two hatted restaurant (however unlike Sydney and Melbourne, I couldn't find an official list online except for the Australian Good Food Guide which gave it a score of 16/20, meaning two hats), expectations were huge and the wallet was filled up enough to go for a 9 course meal. 


Walking into the restaurant on a weekday night, the first impression you get is the place is very serious. With the wooden flooring and a safe ambience, it is a place for a formal meal. I woudn't say I hated the layout but felt with all the space they had, they could have either space out the tables really far away from each other to give everyone alot of privacy vs. a dining space that was at one area, with the front housing the rather long bar. 


Formal or not, we sat down and got right into it. 


Before you start to ask why the pictures are not up to scratch, I resorted to the iPhone after deciding I wouldn't want to be taking pictures with a big camera at such a formal restaurant.


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Sourdough bread with good old butter and an amuse bouche in the form of a tuna tartare. Observe how uneven the portions were, a point that should be picked up before leaving the kitchen. 


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The Celeriac Soup, Pheasant, Wood Mushrooms and Chestnuts, Walnut Cream was poured table side which allowed you to have a glimpse of the treasures before a thick creamy soup covers it. The Wife not being the biggest fan of celery immediately found the familiar note and didn't exactly like it after that. For me, it was a good old creamy soup with the right accompaniments.

I must have missed out the picture for the salad of baby beetroot, fennel, goats curd, pistachio, toasted grains, orange, pomegranate, hone and chardonnay vinegar. It was alright but beautifully plate but otherwise the only flavour you get is from the goats curd. With two dishes that were slightly above average at best, the Wife and I were waiting to be wowed. 


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The Game Terrine of Pheasant, Guinea Fowl, Venison, Rabbit, Duck and Gooralie Pork, Truffle, Foie Gras and condiments being the third dish didn't do it . With so many animals and ingredients in the terrine, my palate seriously couldn't identify the elements. However as a whole, I wouldn't mind the dish, just not a dish that I would order. 


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The Moussaka of Seared XL Hervey Bay Scallops and Eggplant, Taramasalata, Smoked Tomato Butter, Crisp Onion Salad, I believe is a classic signature dish of Restaurant Two and I can identify with that. Every component worked except my scallop was seared on one side and to be honest, it was too rare for me. I contemplated probably twice to return it back before I let it go and polished off everything.


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Sauteed Gnocchi, Roasted Rannoch Farm Quail, Tombe of Sweetbreads and Mushrooms, Thyme Cream again was not the best we had. The quail could have done with more colour and the gnocchi wasn't as light as it could be. By this point, the Wife asked if she could take back her offer on paying for the meal and bring me to somewhere else instead. This was not heading in the right direction.


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The disaster continued with the Roast Corn Fed Duck Breast, Sweet Potato, Steamed Broccolini, Date and Tamarind Puree, Braised Shitake and Lentils, Honey Mandarin Sauce. The duck breast was cooked well, despite the small portion but the puree was over powering against the sauce. The sweet potato and broccolini looked and tasted ordinary and the lentils were just out of place. As much as I wanted to like the dish, I don't think I can.


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The Best End of "Milly Hill" Lamb and Spiced Boneless Shank, Buttered Cabbage, Red Vegetable Crumble, Peas, Rosemary Garlic Jus shot himself/herself on the foot. While the cutlet was impeccable, the shank tasted gamey. What made it worse in the eyes of the Wife was the "creativeness" they put into the plate i.e. buttered cabbage and peas. 

At this point, while I couldn't fault the portions because I was stuffed, I wasn't impressed at all. The Wife also revealed that she called to see if they could arrange a small birthday cake / dessert but was rejected. In the end, the compromise was we will write it somewhere on the dessert plate. 


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This by the way is not on the degustation menu. We requested to forgo the cheese and the dessert course for this dessert platter to share and lets just say it was probably the best moment of the night. Note the promise of the happy birthday note was missing (although to clarify, I was greeted Happy Birthday at the door).

6 different kind of desserts; if I can remember correctly, one was a sticky date pudding, a corn theme dessert, a chocolate fondant, creme brulee, a deconstructed tiramisu and a cucumber stripe with something else or rather. I could write a whole page about this but in summary, this was faultless except maybe by the time we ooh and aahed and finished the dessert one by one, the ice-cream was close to melting. 

Each was beautifully constructed with different textures, modern in taste and all painted out like a masterpiece. What we failed to understand is how come the way they approach desserts is not replicated across their rather boring and mundane menu. 


A closer look at their August menu (which has not been updated on their website) reveals the same protein and cooking style with slight tweaks here and there on their degustation menu. The produce used was no doubt one of the best around town but I think in our meal, it was in some cases not executed perfectly and in others it was too safe.


 I can very understand the theory of don't fix anything that is not broken with Restaurant Two successfully being awarded the hats year in and out but I think it is about time they think about conceptualise their menu the same way they approach their modern dessert platter. 

Address and contact details:

Restaurant Two on Urbanspoon

Verdict: 3 stars out of 5 stars. A very formal dining environment making it the perfect scene to seal a deal but the safe and rather boring menu did not do it for us. At AUD 140 per pax for the 9 course degustation menu (we got 25% off from our Entertainment Card), we can safely say though, we won't be back soon.

11 comments:

Baby Sumo said...

The dessert platter looks good, but a bit too crowded?

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

babysumo: 6 desserts, i guess they could it might have done better with a long and wide rectangle plate but the plate it was presented on was pretty darn big, dont know if they come any bigger!

Sean said...

wow, that's six different animals in one terrine! that must be a record of some sort! :D

Michelle Chin said...

it was like this during my birthday meal too. things were looking great and then went downhill. thus, i can totally relate to this.

i think sometimes, restaurants try too hard to impress. i wish that they should just do what they are good at and stop gathering inspirations from noma and the likes.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

mchin: well dont think restaurant II falls under the category you are describing, its obvious they have stuck to a formula they know best and it seems abit stale compared to the slightly more modern approach to food available.

sean: sceptically, i say it was a mix of all the leftovers..haha..

msihua said...

That dessert platter looks sooooo amazing!!!!!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

msihua: wouldnt look out of place in melbourne eh? haha

Leahbug said...

Hi Joe. Nice to meet you last night too. Sorry to hear you had such a disappointing birthday meal - I'm interested to read your review of Esquire (if you do one) as your wife said it was much more impressive.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

leah: hey its somewhere on the blog, dine there a while ago. heres the link:

http://www.lotsofcravings.com/2011/08/esquire-brisbane.html

Brisbane Devoured said...

The mains look a bit boring dont they.
We went to Alchemy last night, have you been there? our meals were pretty good, definitely recommend it.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

brisbanedevoured: yeah it is quite boring..no havent been to alchemy but the view def looks good!