Jacques Reymond Cuisine du Temps

Who haven't heard of Jacques Reymond?
It's 2010 The Age Good Food Guide's Restaurant of the Year. Even before that, it is usually mentioned during Melbournians foodism or restaurant conversation.

After a couple years of hearing about it and being on the lookout for the right occasion to check it out - the time is finally here. A bit over a month ago - I managed to book myself and Mr. in for dinner tonight (it wasn't easy - it's fully booked up till January for weekends!). The occasion? Celebrating a few things that have happened in our life recently; i.e. the sales of my city apartment way back in mid June, the new job which I started in late September, and Mr.'s thesis completion a couple weeks ago.

We arrived a bit later than our reservation time, just after half past seven because we drove past the place. It is rather hidden - amongst the other big houses along Williams Rd - but when we did find the place, we saw the big sign on the brick wall... Doh!

Walking in... we stroll past a nice little courtyard garden where some guests were dining at. It was a pretty scene.

We were then greeted by the delicious smell of food. I couldn't help but get rather excited. My expectations heightened! Then we arrived at the closed entrance door. It felt a bit weird to open the door ourselves, and even more so - when we had to hold the door for another couple. @.@ ???

Moving along... we were greeted and shown to our table for the night. We sat down and look around. It is well decorated with homey inviting colours which is glamorous at the same time. We were seated in the section with the wine bottles along the one side of the wall and the interesting 3 metal art pieces on the other side of the wall. As usual, ever the gentlemen and loving, Mr. let me get the comfy bench seat facing the hallway near the kitchen, which comes with added bonus of the glamorous dresses viewing by the lady guests and Jacques Reymond popping his head out every now and then... :P

The sommelier came and offered us a drink to start with. Out of the norm - I ordered a bubbly to start. I was offered 3 choices and cause I'm not very familiar with liquor - I just go with the first option. ;) I think it was Australian Croser 2006.

Then come the light and soft puff bread thing. It was yummy. Subtle flavour, a bit of cheesey taste with some gooeyness on the inside.

Right after I took the above photo, I was approached by a waiter and was advised that the chef doesn't like people taking photos of his food. She was very kind about it. She said it's best to save my camera for the other prettier dishes and try to take the photos sneakily. So I did. (I'm going to also use this as an excuse to pardon the quality of some of my photos...)

I have to admit that it was a really good practice. It means that I get to taste the food when they're still warm instead of my usual routine in a romantic lighting venue (taking 50 shots to try get one non blurry close up shot of the dish). It also means that my head and mind was present with my dinner companion instead of lost behind the camera peep hole.

We polish off the puff thing pretty quickly as soon as we skim through the menu. We decided on his 2 degustation menu (Vegetarian and non-Vegetarian). This allow both of us to try the best of both worlds. ;) Considering my being a cheap drunk - we decided that it is best for us not to get wine with every course. A quick chat with the sommelier got us a glass of smokey nice red wine which she advised will work well with the Quail dish of the non-vegetarian degustation menu.

The bread was the beginning of our introduction to Jacques Reymond's food. We both start with the white sourdough - which is crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. Good - but not comparable to the best bread I've had at Winterhaven restaurant in Falls Creek. In between our meals, we tried the skinny "Epi?" bread stick. I like it a lot. It is full of flavour, a bit harder and crustier than the white sourdough. Anyway - enough rambling - I'll let the images do the talking... (Apologies - just realised that I didn't take any shot of the bread!)

Our meals come and gone.
Interestingly, for most of the courses, the vegetarian and non-vegetarian meal are presented in "find the difference" manner, which is cute in a way. Have a closer look at the photos. I promise, they are not 2 shots of the same dish! ;)

PS: I didn't take two different shots of our first course because they look so much a like that it seems pointless to do.

I love the Wagyu dish most. It was the perfect end note. The sweetness of the flavouring in the meat was just divine and the mustard ice cream works a treat. I remember thinking "ah... luckily Mr. doesn't eat red meat! :P". By then I already have quite high expectation from the wallaby dish prior, which was very good. I nearly dig in and forgot to take a photo of the wagyu dish! But I didn't! It was really really really really good. I savour every mouthful. :)

The dishes were generally great (we share most of them except for the wallabi and wagyu which were both gladfully entirely mine! :P). The blend of favour he uses in each of the dishes were really good. The watermelon in the second course of the vegetarian meal was an interesting twist. The tang of the lime in the snapper was delightful. Mr. enjoyed most of the quail along with the recommended red wine which was probably "2008 Galli Estate Nebbiolo, Heathcote, Victoria". I did enjoy my vegetarian version. The cheese dressing on top makes that dish for me.

Here's an extract of the menu from Jacques Reymond website for those who are interested.

Menu VegetarianA Taste of our Degustation Menu
* Delicate tofu chakin, broth of parsnip and Jerusalem artichoke, a subtle taste of Stilton blue cheese
* Compressed watermelon and Thai oil, daikon with spiced nougatine and peanuts, warm leeks and chilli gherkin dressing
* Asparagus and salsify with four peppers, fennel and white balsamic, sencha and lime emulsion
* Butternut pumpkin and tempura of cauliflower, tajine flavours, organic natural black rice, whipped Persian fetta
* Witlof a l’ orange and kombu swede cooked in salt crust, lemon myrtle and apple jelly, cider vinaigrette
* Delice soufflé of cottage cheese and aged comté, a stinging nettle and watercress sauce
* Delicate rock lobster chakin, broth of parsnip and Jerusalem artichoke,
a subtle taste of Stilton blue cheese
* Hiramasa kingfish and our own ponzu, Hervey Bay scallop, spiced nougatine with peanuts, warm leek and chilli gherkin dressing
* Snapper with four peppers, fennel and white balsamic,
sencha and lime emulsion
* Crispy quail breast, tajine flavours, organic natural black rice, whipped Persian fetta
* Flinders Island wallaby and kombu swede cooked in salt crust dashi and apple jelly, cider vinaigrette
* Wagyu beef rump, oyster sauce and condiments, ravioli of daikon and spicy celery,
mustard ice cream
$130.00 without wine
$220.00 with wine
$165.00 without wine
$255.00 with wine's

When the time come for my favorite part of any meal - desserts! - I got a bit worried. I saw other tables getting the Chocolate Mousse martini which I have sampled in Taste Festivals 2009.
Oh no! I want to try something different!!! But what can one do?
The "Martini of bittersweet chocolate, whisky and espresso granita, bourbon vanilla chantilly" was served and... it was savoured! :P LOL. Of course! I had to - I love chocolate! And... It tasted much better in the cold glass!

The disappointment quickly evaporate into the air when the second dessert was served. (I didn't know we are going to get 2 desserts! YAY!!!)
Of the 2nd dessert course - I like the "broken Pedro Ximenez" (2 pieces jelly looking thing on the right side) most.
The pear pieces in "pear and caramel" was really good - but the caramel creamy bit was a bit common.
The "earl grey and orange tea ice cream" has an interesting taste.

The last pretty thing that we received was a giant tea pot with my peppermint tea in it and the petits fours (pictured above).
Mr. sneakily gobbled the raspberry blueberry tart and the truffle which both looks gorgeous (!!!!) so unfortunately I can't testify for the taste.
The green macaroon was sweet but have not much other taste to it. The mini profiterole was good and I enjoyed the fudge (though the nuts were a bit stale).

Our verdict? Well - how do we look?
Haha... :)
OK - on a more serious review note - the food was pretty good, not memorably amazing.
The price is not too bad (especially with the 50$ off from the Entertainment Book Gold Card).
The setting and decoration of the place is nice.
The service is probably what I'm not sure about. Some of the waiters don't come across genuinely friendly (almost snobby) and that affects my dining experience.

I am happy to have tried it out and I enjoyed the meals. I also love that it left me feeling satiated in the belly, not stuffed.
But it isn't drawing me back anytime soon. I'd rather spend my money at Vue de Monde which offers the whole package in a better way.

I was a bit surprised to stumble upon Taste Buds Galore: Jacques Reymond blog post and see that he hasn't change the menu since June.
I mean, the heading for the degustation meal was "Jacques Reymond has designed a unique menu featuring the finest of Australian produce to reflect the flavours of the season".
Wouldn't the Australian produce which reflect flavours of the winter season and the spring season be different? Hmmm?

Enough rambling for me.
Have a lovely nite, peeps.

PS: Check out the posts at Eat (almost) Anything at Least Once on Les Boucheries Parisiennes. That's the next intriguing restaurant to try! ;)

2 Response to "Jacques Reymond Cuisine du Temps"

Rilsta Says:

I have wanted to come for some time but never gotten the chance to yet. There are other cheaper places on my list!

I had heard that they don't like photos, but you still managed to get lots! The photos came out really well too - do you use an SLR?

ms s loveridge Says:

Hmmm - if you haven't tried Vue de Monde - I would recommend trying that out instead of Jacques Reymond. I think it's money better spent there.
Yeah - I was told that Jacques doesn't like people photographing his food - but I just brave it and quickly take the photos. :P
Ah.. Thanks! :) Yup - I brought along my Nikon D60 ;)

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