02 Oct Jacques Reymond, Prahran
Jacques Reymond will be closing down at the end of the year, so mum and I decided to celebrate both my parent’s birthdays and their wedding anniversary there. Set-up inside a mansion, the restaurant had a relaxed and homely feel. I specifically requested a booth seat for extra privacy and also one next to a window, which gave a nice view of the fountain. Being a house meant it had a number of different rooms, each with a slightly different ambience.
Since it’s their last hurrah, it seemed fitting to have their degustation menu ($185), which was as follows:
- Clear broth of shiitake, fragrant lemon balm, clams
- Yellow fin tuna, smoked salmon mousse, spiced nougatine, togarashi, lemon caviar
- King George whiting, acidities of pickles Japanese style, yuzu
- Cuttlefish, pork and crispy chicken skin
- Parmesan custard, green peas, macerated grapes, wasabi and apple granita
- Salad of Flinders Island lamb, smoked eucalyptus scallop, scampi, masterstock jelly
- Sher wagyu a la plancha, burnt onion and coffee
- Camargue organic red rice, apricot and sencha sorbet, champagne
- Chocolate and chestnut mont blanc, bay leaf and cassis, bourbon chantilly
- Coffee and petits fours
To start, we were served with freshly baked gougères – warm, light and crispy choux pastry laced with Gruyère cheese. These were well received.
Throughout the night we were offered three types of bread: white roll, multigrain roll with a touch of honey and an Epi topped with poppy seeds. The best one by far was the multigrain, with its warm and crusty exterior and light and tasty interior – one of the best breads I’ve ever had, especially when eaten with their creamy butter.
Clear broth of shiitake, fragrant lemon balm, clams
The cleanly-flavoured broth came with slices of shiitake and a piece of sea cucumber. Also on the plate was a delicate and sweet piece of chicken, which came off the bone with very little effort, and slivers of zucchini and salsify.
Yellow fin tuna, smoked salmon mousse, spiced nougatine, togarashi, lemon caviar
The lemon caviar provided a nice contrast to the creamy savoury sauce, which tasted a bit like miso. Smoked salmon mousse was embraced within the crispy nougatine, which was spiced with togarashi. I think I made an audible exclamatory noise when the nougatine cracked under my spoon. Found underneath the mousse, the slice of yellowfin tuna was tender and tasty despite being thin. Other components on the dish included seaweed and small balls of melon. The rice balls with shredded coconut provided some contrast to the rest of the dish with its chewy, granular texture.
King George whiting, acidities of pickles Japanese style, yuzu
The next dish was quite an interesting experience. There was a mix of sourness from the yuzu sauce and pomelo and sweetness from the fish and vegetables. The red stringy ingredient was dense and had a texture similar to wakame and there were also two small pieces of crackling to provide an additional textural counterpoint. The ball of zucchini and tiny cauliflower florets balanced out the savoury sauce. The light and tangy yuzu sauce went nicely with the fish and the variety of ingredients on the side gave the dish great textual complexity.
Cuttlefish, pork and crispy chicken skin
This dish was one of the best of the night, showcasing multiple cooking techniques and with the broth containing all the residual juices from the cooking of the different meats. It had a distinctly Asian flavour with the chilli, tamarind and pandan oil. Though the kaffir lime was sliced very finely, it still imparted a strong flavour. The crispy chicken skin had all the fat removed, helping it to maintain its crunch, and it went very well with the pork belly. The thin slices of cuttlefish were also very tender.
Parmesan custard, green peas, macerated grapes, wasabi and apple granita
Our palate cleanser for the night was parmesan custard and apple granita – an unusual combination of cold and warm components. Thankfully the parmesan custard was not very cheesy, though it had a slightly curdled texture. Also on top was a very crispy slice of pancetta, which complemented the custard very well. The apple granita was lovely and refreshing, though I couldn’t pick out any wasabi.
Salad of Flinders Island lamb, smoked eucalyptus scallop, scampi, masterstock jelly
My favourite dish from today. The sweet scampi was accompanied with a mustard sauce and the eucalyptus-smoked scallop was cooked perfectly. Much to our surprise, the lamb backstrap did not have a gamey smell or taste at all, and it was so rare it was almost like beef. The flavourful lamb was definitely the best lamb dish I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. The white sauce on the side had a slightly acidic flavour that made it like an upmarket tartar sauce, and it was very good with the seafood. The masterstock jelly had a strong aniseed taste, pairing with the lamb.
Sher wagyu a la plancha, burnt onion and coffee
The indulgent texture of the wagyu was quite an experience; I don’t think I’ve eaten wagyu in this form before so I was excited to try it. The mushrooms were slightly sour, helping to cut through the fattiness of the wagyu. There were two different sauces provided with the beef. The radish sauce was creamy and slightly tart, whilst the coffee and burnt onion sauce was buttery and a bit sweet. I preferred the radish sauce.
Camargue organic red rice, apricot and sencha sorbet, champagne
This was our ‘pre-dessert’. Looking at the dish from the angle it was first placed in front of me, it didn’t look that complex, but going through the ingredients I was pleased to find a variety of different textures. When I read the menu description I thought the red rice would be served more like a topping for the sorbet, or something on the side. Instead, it came in the form of a dense and chewy pudding. The champagne flavour of the foam was very strong. It was pleasing to see that the foam had more body than a lot of foams I’ve had in the past. Hidden underneath, the apricot sorbet was lovely and light. Also beneath the foam was a dehydrated raspberry, a few pieces of poached pear and a small piece of biscotti. These were all paired with a hawthorn berry flavoured brown syrup.
Chocolate and chestnut mont blanc, bay leaf and cassis, bourbon chantilly
This was Jacques Reymond’s take on a classic mont blanc. Presented on the side was a collection of spices, including bay leaf, wrapped and warmed in paperbark. The idea was to have a sniff of the spices, which would enhance the flavours of the dessert. A spread of bourbon chantilly was layered on top of the hazelnut cream and I was lucky enough to find a sliver of hazelnut in my dish.
The brownie slice had a nice fudge-like texture and a slightly crispy base and it tasted nice with the spiced figs. Also going well with the brownie, the cassis sauce and the sorbet were very flavoursome and moreish.
Coffee and petits fours
Being a table of four, we were given a larger selection than the people dining as a couple. Tonight’s selection included: a banana and passionfruit macaron, raspberry and cassis jelly, lemon and thyme marshmallow, chocolate truffles, toffee with pistachios and almonds, a piece of gateaux, lemon curd tart and a Grand Marnier and mint macaron. The truffle had a very intense chocolate flavour and was lovely and dense – almost like eating gooey chocolate. I enjoyed this petit four the most. Also included were churros with some very good, melted dark chocolate. It was a bit of a shame that there weren’t enough churros to mop it all up.
I was happy to hear they offered decaf as part of their hot drink offerings, so I ordered a decaf cappuccino. A2 had peppermint tea, which came in a very sleek-looking teapot. The coffee was OK, but would have been better if it had been hotter.
Service was impeccable; all of the staff were pleasant, friendly, very knowledgeable and incredibly attentive without being smothering. In between one of the courses there was an accident with a water glass and a waitress promptly arrived, armed with a small foil-lined table cloth to place on top.
Whilst this is the most expensive dining outing I’ve had so far, it was quite the culinary adventure and I feel privileged to have dined at Jacques Reymond’s restaurant before his well-deserved retirement.
78 Williams Rd
Prahran, VIC, 3181
(03) 9525 2178