150 EAST RIVERSIDE BAR & RESTAURANT, GREAT EASTERN HIGHWAY, ASCOT
I dine here regularly, so love the fact that the menu changes quarterly – it pretty much guarantees dishes made with fresh, in-season produce and there are always exciting, innovative new dishes to try, created by Executive Chef Dan Child and his international team of talented chefs – the various nationalities are reflected in the menu.
150 East Riverside is the restaurant in the small, privately-owned hotel Assured Ascot Quays. You can enjoy a casual drink and bar snacks in the cozy bar, fitted out with comfortable, snug booths and plush, high-backed chairs that you don’t want to get out of, or you can dine in the conservatory in a slightly more formal environment. The outdoor lower deck is a serene, peaceful spot with great river views – there are even a couple of very cheeky resident kookaburras who love to be hand-fed raw meat!
I ordered pumpkin gnocchi, rosemary foam and shaved Manjimup black truffles for my entrée – and I was so not expecting this!
The dish came out on a grey slate tile with a small pile of smoking rosemary leaves which left a pleasant, lingering aroma of woody rosemary through the air. I could not really see what was going on inside the jar, which made it all the more exciting – especially when I dug through the subtly-flavoured rosemary foam with my spoon and came across the smoothest pumpkin gnocchi, which tasted amazing. This was definitely my favourite dish of the night – such simple ingredients, but very cleverly executed. I adore truffles, so very happy with the generous shavings from the chef.
Gav ordered half spatchcock, white polenta and asparagus salad. I was a little bit envious actually, will be ordering this next time!
The pan-fried spatchcock was moist and the skin was nice and crisp, flavoured with thyme – delicious! I liked the use of less-common white polenta instead of yellow. It is a finer grain, so more creamy and delicate.
My main was cured duck breast, confit leg, Jerusalem artichoke purée, shallots and jus.
The breast was cured in a brine and then cooked sous vide. Nice and tender, but my favourite part was the confit leg – because I love fat and skin! There were some great flavours in the dish, I liked the vinegary bursts of shallot gel with the subtle artichoke purée.
Gav’s main course was Riverine black angus onglet (cooked medium rare), brisket, smoked eggplant purée, crushed potato and jus. The eggplants are burnt until black over an open flame and then blended with the skin on. This gives the purée an amazing smoky flavour which complimented both the steak and the brisket perfectly. It almost tasted like it was the meat that had the smoky flavour, very clever. The potatoes were well seasoned, flavoured with thyme and garlic.
With interesting flavours such as whisky ice cream, rhubarb crisps and saffron & mascarpone ice cream, dessert was the most difficult choice of the night. I decided on banana flambé, coffee caviar, orange, walnut crumble and banana ice cream.
I chose this dish because I like textures. I loved the feel of the glossy coffee caviar balls, and they looked great on the plate. I also really enjoyed the crunch of the walnut crumble. The bananas were cooked in a pan with rum; a bit retro – reminded me of when we use to wrap bananas in tin foil and put them on the BBQ or in the oven when we were children. The orange and strawberry gave the dish a bit of tartness which it did need, because the bananas were very sweet, and topped off with creamy house-made ice cream.
I have a menu envy moment most nights when I go out for dinner, and tonight was no exception – Gav’s dessert was awesome!! Semifreddo parfait, macadamia praline and dark chocolate.
Inspired by a Golden Gaytime, the sweet, toffee-flavoured praline, heavy on the macadamia nuts, was perfect with the creamy semifreddo. And the bitter, dark chocolate truffles added another element and flavour to the dish – yum. This dessert had not even made it onto my shortlist – why not!?
As if the chefs did not have enough to do already, cooking lovely meals for the table of 16 next to us – they all came out of the kitchen to sing one of the guests happy birthday when the floor staff came out with a birthday cake – a nice touch, and an entertaining finish to a delightful dining experience at 150 East Riverside. The service was attentive, but not intrusive and the waitress had a good knowledge of all the dishes, especially considering they were in the first week of their current new menu.
I already know what I’m ordering next time!
Dinner – Thursday 8 August 2013