Number 8, Crown, Southbank

A2 had some friends over and mum wanted to give her some privacy, so the rest of us went out for dinner with a family friend. Mum changed her mind about the location a few times but finally decided on No. 8 in Crown. It’s a modern Australian restaurant that served mostly seafood. There was a bit of a wait for our food, but it got pretty busy soon after we were seated. Eventually there were a few groups of people waiting at the bar for a table.

The food we picked:
Me: Special of the day – John Dory fillet and scampi with tomato, orange and olive salsa ($42)
Mum: Smoked Patagonian toothfish fillet, Gruyère and thyme crust, truffled risotto, Madeira ($46)
Dad: Portland lamb rack, rosemary crust, sautéed squash, honey jus ($42)
Friend: Gippsland High Country beef rib eye 300 grams ($45)
Side: Rocket salad, Parmesan and lemon dressing ($8)

The complimentary bread was good; it was soft, had a crunchy crust and had been warmed. It was served with an eggplant dip and possibly a capsicum dip. I liked the eggplant one best, but I might be biased since I love eggplant.

Dad said his lamb was good; I didn’t try any.

Our friend’s rib eye looked really plain when it was put on the table. There was just dark sauce with the steak on top; no extra condiments or elements to enhance visual presentation. It looked much better when he put some of the side salad on his plate. He said that although it looked quite uninteresting, the beef was of good quality and was cooked well.

I was tossing up between the special of the day and the spanner crab tortellini. I’ve not eaten ‘expensive pasta’ yet, and crab tortellini sounded enticing. Because of my dietary restrictions in the evenings I decided to go with the John Dory in the end, especially because I’d already eaten quite a bit of bread. I expected my John Dory to be better. After ordering I noticed a few plates of it going to other tables and started regretting my decision. I’d heard that it’s one of the nicer fish to eat, but the way it was cooked wasn’t anything to write home about. The scampi was really small (enough for two small mouthfuls) and one of the halves was burnt. The John Dory texture was firm with large flakes, but other than salt on top and the salsa on the side, there wasn’t any flavour.

Mum’s fish was much better. Patagonian toothfish has a very fine texture. The more cooked parts of the fish are a bit like scallops, whilst the less cooked parts taste like…well I don’t really know how to describe it…maybe a mix between scallops and squid? The sauce and the crust really made the fish stand out over mine. The risotto was also very flavoursome, with a strong taste of garlic (perhaps too strong). There was truffle in it too, but because I’ve never eaten truffle before (and probably also because of the garlic) I couldn’t taste it.

I think mum wanted to try the porcini mushroom risotto ($8 for side-dish size) because she asked if anyone else wanted to (twice) but no one else did.

Most Impressive: Smoked Patagonian toothfish
Least Impressive:  John Dory fillet and scampi with tomato, orange and olive salsa.
Mediocre: John Dory fillet 
Remember:  Patagonian toothfish
Not Worth The Price: Probably everything. Though the toothfish dish was really good, there wasn’t that much of it. However, even though it was the most expensive dish, compared to the others it was the best value.

Number 8
8 Whiteman St
Southbank, VIC, 3006
(03) 9292 7899
Number 8 on Urbanspoon

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