Noir

Last week on date night, D took me to Noir. It's a small French inspired, contemporary restaurant located on Swan Street in Richmond. The newly renovated premises has dimmed yet artistic decor to make it a perfect venue for a special occasion.




When D and I saw the menu, we had difficulty choosing so we opted for the tasting menu with a small change. We swapped the kangaroo for the mushroom pie; I am fond of french pastry so I had to try the pie. 

We were given complementary canapes while we waited for our tasting menu to be prepared. Small pastry cases with a filling of flavoured cauliflower, capsicum and pea puree. It was a nice touch and a good way to start the meal.

Our first course consisted of a few things to share. 

Beef tartare, waldolf salad and potato grits made up the first entree. The beef tartare was fillet mince with perfect seasoning and just enough onions in it. Waldorf salad was presented in a deconstructed manner that made it easy to pile the salad and beef onto the potato grits.

Cold smoked oysters were interesting. The oysters came in a ceramic oyster shell in a bed of salt water and in a glass cloche filled with smoke.

Next starter was the kingfish with vichyssoise, sugar snaps and potato crisp. The diced kingfish with the creamy vichyssoise (onion, potato, leak, chicken cream soup) worked wonders with the sugar snap and potato crisp. This dish was the perfect example of balanced textures and balanced flavours.

Final starter was crayfish tortellini on a heirloom tomato with pesto and basil. Crayfish flavors were delicate in an al dente pasta shell. The tomato and pesto, gave it that kick to elevate it from delicate and safe, to bold and refined. There isn't that much creative flare in this dish but it was still a good dish.

A pallet cleanser was next. This played on the gin and tonic concept. It was sweet tonic sorbet with cucumber pieces and the gin was served at the table. Of all the pallet cleansers I've tasted this stand outs above the rest. It was the perfect amount of gin to sorbet to cucumber. If this was a dessert option, I would have ordered it because I just wanted more. It was refreshing and a fun twist.

Our first main was duck with cherries and kohlrabi. The duck skin was crisp and together with the plump cherries on the plate, it made you want more. To add a more creamy flavour to the plate was the kohlarabi, it taste like a rough cauliflower puree and matched the duck well. It gives the diner a choice creamy duck, sweet duck or a bit of both.

Instead of kangaroo, we swapped it for the mushroom pie on the menu. It arrived on the table as mash and brocollini on the plate and the host removed the pastry of the pie and placed it over the mash so it became a bowl, before he proceed to spoon all the pie filling into the now pastry bowl. The mushroom pie had a creamy sauce and it is evident it uses a good strong stock base. Once you spoon the pie with a bit of mash, the sauce would drip onto the mash. I was extremely pleased with this dish. A classic but with a twist on how it's presented.



For dessert it was creme d'anjou with berries, honeycomb and raspberry sorbet. This was my first time having creme d'anjou so I wasn't sure what to expect. Once I had my first spoon, the velvety smooth texture that was creamy but not heavy made me fall in love. Along with the honeycomb and sorbet, it was just perfect.

Overall 18/20 I was extremely surprised and pleased with this visit. The menu didn't look too exciting when I first saw it and I almost went for the basic 3 course al la carte but lucky I was hungry. Where the dishes were typical classics, the presentation and creativity in plate up took it to that next level. Where it was creative, it was impressive. Paired with the attentive and knowledgeable service, it made the experience that extra bit special. I would recommend anybody who wants to impress a date to come here.


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