My gorgeous boyfriend surprised me by taking me out to Etch for dinner on Valentine’s Day. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Etch is a sister restaurant to Bécasse, since a good friend of mine and I have a booking to visit there next month.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into Etch was how beautiful this restaurant was. I pass a vase full of enormous silky-looking gorgeous black feathers on my way to our table. We are seated near an old fashioned fireplace in quite a spacious room with plenty of room for the waiters to move effusively between tables. I love the wallpaper near our table – flowery with a background of pale green, so delicately pretty. Art covers all the walls. Everything is a mixture of old fashioned and modern – I love it!
For Valentine’s Day, Etch were serving a V-day tasting menu – 5 courses for $110 per head.
Before we begin, my boyfriend and I mention to our waiter that neither of us eat any shellfish (we don’t eat pork either, but saw no point in mentioning this as it didn’t make an appearance on the set menu.) The second course is seared yellow fin tuna with smoked Queensland scallop. The waiter said that we could either skip on the scallops or get an alternative vegetarian option or take one of each to share. We opted for the sharing option.
The first course was chilled sweet corn soup with iced basil and a spiced corn fritter.
The corn fritter comes skewered on a little bamboo skewer. M tastes it first. “This is sooo good,” he comments. Spurred on, I take a teensy bite… He is right. “Do we dunk it in the soup?” we wonder. It seems like the most logical step to do, so we do and it is wonderful. The crispy spiced fritter in the cool sweet corn soup is delightfully good and we are sad when it disappears in a few bites, but delight in drinking the rest of the soup which is wonderful as it is alone.
Our mocktails arrive. (Left) “Apple Beer” (Apples, lime and ginger beer) is my favourite of the evening. The crisp flavour of the ginger melds beautifully with the lime and apples. (Right) Grapes, cranberry, rosemary, lemonade. I could definitely taste the cranberry and lemonade in this, but not the rosemary. It is quite good, but the ginger mocktail is the real winner.
Second course arrives. I used to hate sashimi, but since Tetsuya’s, I have become a bit braver in trying raw fish. This was the seared yellow fin tuna with the smoked Queensland scallops, pickled radish, pea shoots with soy and mirin. You may remember that I requested no scallops, but unfortunately it seems as though there was a mixup in the kitchen and I ended up with scallops anyway (you can see them just above the radish). Not wanting to cause a fuss (and since I’m not allergic,) I just pushed it to the side of my plate and enjoyed the rest of the meal. This course was wonderful. The flavours of the soy and mirin really worked so amazingly beautifully with the fish and the radish and pea shoots were flavoured with something incredible that I couldn’t put my finger on – but I did not want to stop eating it! Really loved this dish. The lamb of the night was spectacularly good, but this was probably my favourite dish of the evening.
When our waiter came to take our plates and he realised that I had been given scallops, he looked well, shocked. I have never seen a more horrified waiter. He muttered something about it being unacceptable and a short apology and stormed back to the kitchen. In a couple of minutes, another waiter was at our table apologising about it and explaining how seriously they took allergies and promised to give us something extra special for dessert. Our original waiter also insisted on giving us more free mocktails on the house. Talk about excellent service! As I commented to my boyfriend later, accidentally getting scallops was one of the best things we have ever done at restaurant, lol.
As I mentioned earlier, my bf got the vegetarian alternative for the scallop dish. This was a salad of marinated vegetables with goat’s cheese. I have to admit that I tried a little of the goats cheese and I’m still quite a cheese.. I guess.. beginner? Is the best word for it. I found it far too bitter for my tastes and the flavours that developed with it were not to my liking at all. I had to down a bit of the ginger mocktail to get rid of the aftertaste. I think that I must have eaten a large section of the outside skin section of the cheese? Either way, I guess that just means I’m not much of a cheese connoisseur. Give me a brie with crackers any day and I’m happy 🙂
Last savoury course for the night – this was the slow roasted lamb rump with olive oil potato puree, crushed peas and burnt pepper vinagrette. It also came with marinated/roasted capsicum on top. Normally, I despise capsicum, but this added a lovely sweetness to the lamb, which was cooked to absolute perfection. I was getting to be absolutely stuffed at this part of the meal, but I couldn’t stop eating this dish. I’m a total sucker for lamb and this was completely delicious. The crushed peas and the potato puree were also great – the potato puree was so creamy and lovely. Even my bf, who hates mashed potatoes enjoyed it.
Macerated summer berries with sorbet (I think it was strawberry or melon, can’t quite remember.) This dessert was refreshingly small (so stuffed at this point!) but was also a nice dish to segue between dishes and also acted like a palate cleanser. The berries were lovely and juicy and suited the sorbet quite well.
The final (official) dessert of the night. Vanilla creme brulee with passionfruit and strawberry sorbet. I loved this dessert. My creme brulee cracks under my spoon perfectly (even though just from looking at it, you imagine that it is quite fragile and will crack easily, but it does not disappoint;) and is creamy and wonderful, studded gorgeously with black vanilla beans. I personally would love to know how they managed to get the custard into that shape on the plate so neatly, I honestly would have no idea about how to do it myself… The strawberry sorbet was lovely and cool and the creme brulee tasted fantastic with a tiny dab of the passionfruit sauce on your spoon. I can’t help it… I’m a total sucker for a good creme brulee and this was one of them. Despite how full I was feeling, I managed to finish it all off! I know.. I’m such a fatty 😛
These were the complimentary desserts I mentioned earlier.
(Left to right) ; Aerated dark chocolate infused with mint, nut honeycomb/praline/tasty noms, lemon sorbet in white chocolate, rhubarb crisp.
To be honest at this point we really could not eat any more, so fortunately the kind waiter wrapped up our remaining desserts and sent us home with them to munch on later (at work, in my case.)
While resting from the delicious meal at our table, I mentioned to the waiter that I had planned a visit to Becasse next month. He asked me when my reservation was for and my name and promptly disappeared. Who knows, maybe there will be something special there when I visit… or maybe he was calling to say something like “Under no circumstances can you give this girl shellfish.” Haha.
I had a wonderful night out at Etch. Their Valentine’s Day menu was wonderful and all the dishes were excellent, which is sometimes a rare quality to find at some degustation restaurants. The service was impeccable and the decor was stunning, I would definitely recommend Etch as a nice romantic night out for you and a special friend.. or even a regular friend! I’d love to come and visit again in the future 🙂
For more info on their website click here for the Etch Dining website.
Hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day 🙂