It’s that time of the year again. The time when I turn a year older and get to choose where to go for my birthday with Ant. It’s particularly hard when there are so many restaurants out there to try; for me whenever I cross one off the list, another 3 or so pop onto it. With the buzz going on at the moment with Heston’s Feast being showed on SBS (that man is a God to me), the choice was pretty easy for me as I wanted to check out Tomislav. Chef Tomislav Martinovic has worked with Matt Moran, Guillaume Brahimi and Heston Blumenthal.
Molecular gastronomy. I love those words; it combines my two passions in life together in an edible form. Although you won’t see Tomislav using liquid nitrogen, dry ice or various gases in his kitchen like Heston. Molecular gastronomy is the study of the chemical and physical aspects that occurs during the cooking process. It involves transforming culinary experiences into something new and unheard/unthought of and dealing with the sensory phenomena associated with the pleasure of eating.
We start the night off with some Grilled Tasmanian Salmon on wafer-thin toast served with wasabi crumbs ($12 for 4 pieces). The salmon pieces were lightly grilled and simply melted in your mouth. Although it may look like a lot of wasabi crumbs, don’t be alarmed as the taste of wasabi (thankfully) was very subtle; the interesting thing with these crumbs was they fact that they initially looked crumbly but after a while, they kinda melted into a foamy and creamy mixture.
We couldn’t pass up having the freshly shucked Sydney Rock Oysters served with lemon ice and soy dressing ($24/dozen). The feature of the lemon ice was light and refreshing and a perfect accompaniment to these plump oysters.
When we finished off the oysters, Ant thought that the white stuff sitting underneath the oysters was the lemon ice so what did he do? He scooped up a chunk of the “lemon ice” (I don’t know why I didn’t stop him) and he placed that into his mouth… The look on his face was hilarious! Mmmm.. he said a few times. It took him a good 30 seconds to swallow the salt. Poor thing..
It’s always nice to go to a place that offers complimentary bread. However, Tomislav took it a step further as we were told that the kitchen freshly churned their own butter, which was good to hear as this was the first time I’ve ever come across a place that does it, and I think all places should start doing so because it’s amazing. The butter was so soft and the addition of onion powder had me intrigued, the onion actually tasted of onion and had a smoky/roasted taste to it.
For our entrees, Ant ordered the basmati rice risotto with poached Yamba prawns, chives and lemon zest ($19). It may not look like much but it was surprisingly filling. The prawns were cooked to perfection and very tender. This is not your traditional italian risotto where you expect the dish to be al dente and creamy; as it was made with basmati rice the result was a lighter dish. The little black squares are pieces of dried seaweed. An enjoyable dish to start off the night.
I’m so used to having quail either deep fried or over the BBQ and I rarely see quail being offered on menus as it is fiddly and a pain to eat sometimes but I decided to order the roast Red Gate Farm quail with chilli, coriander and roasted pineapple ($19). I was very pleased to discover that it was de-boned and that the flesh was so succulent and tender. The glaze on the quail was scrumptious; it was your typical balanced asian flavours of sweet, sour and hot (well not too hot). The addition of a creamy element, a pinenut and yoghurt sauce, complimented this dish exceptionally.
Ant has chosen the pasture-fed Angus scotch fillet with roasted bone marrow and horseradish cream ($32) as he overheard someone near our table raving on about how good it was when he had to wait about 30 minutes in the restaurant for me to arrive. The meat was cooked perfectly to a wonderful medium rare and it comes pre-sliced; this was complimented with the subtle horseradish cream, however Ant couldn’t handle too much of it as he isn’t a big fan. This was the first time he had bone marrow and he wasn’t too fond of it.
I don’t know why we didn’t order the triple-cooked crinkle cut fries as it would have matched perfectly with the streak but I guess I’ll have to get it when I come here next time.
I settled for the braised Murry Valley pork belly with carrots, broad beans and savoy cabbage ($32). Each slice of succulent pork belly had a thin layer of wonderful crackling and I enjoyed the cabbage as it appears to be cooked in a nice, sweet and flavoursome broth. A comforting but light dish.
I had a bit of dessert envy when Ant had the apple crumble with macadamia sponge and clotted cream ice cream ($15). You see, the crumble features pop rock candy and upon every biteful the sounds of crackling would escape which would send us both into giggling fits. What a fun and delicious dessert!
The dark chocolate and coconut bar with coconut milk ice and chocolate sorbet ($15) reminded me of a Bounty bar however the coconut filling was not as sickening sweet though and instead of being covered with melted chocolate, chocolate was sprayed onto it. The chocolate sorbet was so smooth and creamy that it was like eating a chilled mousse and it hardly melted as well. A streak of strawberry puree and a sprinkle of biscuit crumble provided a nice contrast of flavours and texture.
My experience at Tomislav was very enjoyable. The staff was easy-going, knowledgeable and extremely helpful. The food was comforting and exciting. I would definitely be back to try more of Tomislav’s wonderful creations.