To round out my recent two week break between jobs I decided I’d use another voucher for an eating experience that I’d purchased and headed along to 150 East Bar and River Restaurant for a bite to eat with GG. The deal allowed us both to select a cocktail on arrival, which was slightly different to others which were usually more wine or beer focused. Ordinarily this offer would have had more appeal but given we’d only recently arrived back from Bali were cocktails were the order of the day, it was a less attractive offer to us and a good glass of vino would have been a whole lot better. But such is life and I ordered a passionfruit mojito while GG went for another fruity sounding concoction, 150 east of queen – cardamom infused mandarin vodka, guava juice & passionfruit. They were both nice enough.
With the deal we could then each order any entrée, main and dessert off the menu and there were some really delicious sounding options. We both couldn’t go past the pork belly and scallop entrée – Seared scallops, crispy pork belly, truffle emulsion, micro herbs ($24.50) then GG went the Grilled Pemberton marron, summer watermelon & persian feta salad, grilled lemon ($41.00) for mains, while I decided to further indulge my 2011 duck fetish.
While we waited for our entrees I looked around the restaurant. The décor was fairly standard, given that the restaurant was situated at the bottom of a hotl (Ascot Quays) and it was basically split into two main sections, inside near the bar, then outside, but still enclosed and with a better view of the river. From where we sat we could also see that there was a little area were you could go outside for drinks. The weather wasn’t the warmest but there was a crowd braving the elements and huddling around the outdoor heaters for what looked like a sundowner. Seemed to be the evening for it because a group that had been drinking near the bar when we arrived joined us in the outdoor eating section at a large group table – tis the season I suppose.
It didn’t take long for our entrées to arrive and they were on the generous side – 3 pieces of pork belly, matched with 3 large scallops creatively presented on the plate. While you couldn’t fault the size, flavour wise it didn’t really me blow me away, perhaps just lacked a little seasoning was all. A sprinkle of salt did help.
Onto mains, GG definitely won this round. His marron, which he kindly let me sample, was perfectly cooked and had a nice lightness to it and the lemon was a zesty and welcome addition. The only questionable item on his plate was the watermelon and fetta sandwich he was given. We had both envisaged that the watermelon and fetta combination would be a nice cubed watermelon pieces with a light sprinkling of crumbled fetta. This was not what he got… it seriously was two slices of watermelon with a crazy serve of fetta sandwiches between. While taste wise it was pleasant enough, it was incredibly rich and the balance between the fruit and cheese was well out of wack. Focusing on the marron though the course was a winner and GG even tackled the legs with the nut crackers provided.
My course was less impressive – Duo of duck, confit leg, duck, pear & cognac sausage, truffle mash, swiss chard, star anise poached pear ($39.50) I’m not sure whether it was that I’d found the entrée quite filling, but I found the highlight of my course was the truffle mashed potato and while the duck breast was well cooked, the sausage was far too dense and had a really strong cinnamon flavour that didn’t hold much appeal for me…. I guess that could have been a cognac flavour, but it tasted more like cinnamon to me. This dish sadly would not be making the duck dish highlight reel for 2011.
The desserts were fine. GG barely had room for one, but went with Trio of house made ices, raspberry & white chocolate ice cream, kaffir lime sorbet, burnt honey ice cream, rose persian fairy floss ($14) and managed to put a respectable dent in each. They were each very interesting and strong flavours, particularly the lime sorbet, talk about zap!
And I went for the Passionfruit & blueberry meringue sandwich, vanilla & elderflower ice cream ($14), which I did enjoy with its fruity freshness.
In all, while the voucher had provided me with an excuse to give 150 East a go I wouldn’t find myself rushing back despite the deal including membership and a 15% discount on further dining. The service had been great and while there were some highs, it just didn’t quite do it for me as an overall experience on this visit.