Friday, April 1, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mobius Bacon!

Lordy... If it's bacon, is a surface with only one side and has only one boundary component, it must be Mobius Bacon. From here. I don't know who you are, peeping monster, or where you come from, but you've done me a power of good Sir; a power of good.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cheese Club - Obey!!

So Cheese Club has returned for the year, and despite having rested well over the southern Summer is struggling to get any momentum going and get back into the groove. This Cheese Club was a modest, lightweight affair, well suited to watching a cricket match on the telly or smoking a few bongs with some old friends while watching Thunderbirds (or so I imagine).

You know what this is
This Cheese Club started with a trip to the comfort of the Lactic Vault; warm, moist and dimly lit, like returning to the womb, or at least a nightclub in Darwin. And although not as comforting as the womb, there was a greater choice of company and the wine list was longer.

And so to the cheese:
  • Graindorge Calvados Camembert - If I had a dollar for every Cheese Club that started with a French white-moulder, I'd almost be able to buy lunch. Not with a glass of wine perhaps, but certainly a Saigon pork and salad roll. This is a small and fairly stock-standard Camembert with a good depth of flavour - as always the French ones are more salty and intense than the locals - with the bonus of some added interesting brassica smells. They're apparently washed in Calvados, which is something I'm proudly francophilic about, but I can't say it left much of an impression. Nice enough.
  • Kefalograviera - This stretched curd, sheep's milk cheese from Greece is a favourite for saganaki, a favourite starter for Melbourne's Greek restaurants whether good or bad. Eaten uncooked and warmed to room temperature it had a strong, thin and unpleasant grip on my tastebuds that was, well, bad. In a word, "don't". I'll have a go at saganaki with it and report back.

Tomme de Chevre
  • Tomme de Chevre - Some firm, goaty joy from the Poitou-Charentes region of France. Tart, firm and with an intensity and depth of flavour that was like a wake-up call from an angry ungulate. Intense and pointed, with a narrow nuttiness and a lemon-tart, almost caramel rich finish; this was the highlight, at least as far as complexity theory goes.
  • Roccolo - a semi-hard cow's milk cheese from Lombardy. Despite its bovine origins, it has the acid, citrus hints of a firmer, older goat cheese. Its texture was firm and crumbly in the middle, moving to a softer ripened edge, while an earthy, damp, soft richness was balanced with a local tang. Not earth shattering, but definitely something to make a glass of sangiovese modestly fantastic.
  • Nashua - Oooooh, this is a bit of alright. A bit more than a bit, perhaps. A cute, perky washed rind cheese from New South Wales the size of a small Camembert with the orange tint that tells of its stinky race. Not too orange - the colour of a Neighbours starlet whose publicist knows when to say "enough" to the tanning spray. Unlike a Neighbours starlet, however, this is a meaty and lusciously fat cheese, with enough orange mould to let you know who's boss, but not enough to scare the children. A small step up from a beginner washed-rinder, but not a cheese that could be readily weaponized.

Gippsland Blue - a playful trifle, but that's all.
  • Gippsland Blue - A soft, buttery and very mild blue that would have been a good end to Dr Johnson's famous dinner that was "...a good dinner enough, to be sure; but it was not a dinner to ask a man to." Mild. Soft. Buttery. A dessert cheese perhaps, but not a soul-wrenching, life-changing alternative cheese from a neighboring yet threatening universe. More a familiar uncle with a cream cardigan, leather patches and a packet of Craven A. A polite blue cheese, which frankly, is too much of a contradiction in terms for me.

Friday, February 25, 2011

St Peter's

Saint Peter's is tucked away in a tiny alley not far from work (the Spring Street end) and next door to the Kelvin Club, one of the city's nineteenth century gentleman's clubs. Being named after Lord Kelvin, I've always imagined it full of aged, bearded men arguing the merits of Darwin over the cheese course while recruiting drinks bearers for an expedition to Lake Titicaca. Don't tell me it's now genteel lunches with academics, lawyers and politicians - I don't want to know.

St Peter's is, not surprisingly, a seafood restaurant named after the Bible's most famous fisherman. By the time we'd found it I'd already used the name of the Bible's most famous carpenter once or twice in frustration, but it is there and it can be found. Fishing has always been a great source of metaphor, whether it's fishing for fish or souls. "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day; teach him how to fish and he'll eat forever" is a great one, although better is "Light a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day; set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."

Seafood, white tablecloths and a interior style best described as "soft industrial" are the dominant themes, back up by attentive, knowledgeable staff and a lovely wine list. There are some decent wines by the glass (a lunchtime necessity) and a chaise lounge in the toilet. Joined by companions M and R, we tried one or two or three of the glassed wines and all proved a jolly addition to our luncheonette.

John Dory and his inexplicable disk of crab

Entree was relatively quick. R's quail was served with its sweet little ankles crossed and wrapped in pancetta, while M's yabby gyoza were more tortellini than gyoza, but not at all bad for it (albeit with a salt deficit). I had kingfish carpaccio which was more sashimi with a vin santo dressing - it was lovely but came with superfluous pink grapefruit micro-chunks that were just a bit too much for the fish.

M described her steak as good enough, but definitely flavour over texture, while R's seafood risotto
was disarmingly inoffensive. I had pan fried Dory fillets with asparagus and a disk of crab meat. The fish was nicely cooked and the crab meat was, well, to paraphrase Tom Lehrer speaking of Gilbert and Sullivan, "full of words and music and signifying ... nothing."

Saint Peter's offers bistro food
in a discrete environment. All in all it was rated a big, fat Illusion of Lunch "OK", and that OK is seasonally adjusted to take into account their "50% off in February" promotion, which saw the food bill cut in half. The food was good without being great and at half price was just good value.

Wonderfully, walking back to work we met some colleagues escaping the annual fire drill. No point going back straight away to climb the many stairs - time for a palette cleansing ale perchance?