Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Table, St Kilda

Do you remember last year when Catch of the Day, Scoopon, Living Social etc became all the rage? At 12pm every day I would jump online and check the latest deal, and I ended up buying way too many. Since then I have avoided those websites as much as I can, simply because I spend too much money on them. And lets face it, the places that need these vouchers to attract customers can be a little hit and miss. When you think about it, most good restaurants especially shouldn't need to offer super cheap deals to attract customers. But, every now and then there are real little gems on there. Luckily, my cousin alerted me to this amazing deal at The Table restaurant in St Kilda, rated 87% on Urbanspoon so clearly not really needing all that much advertising. So, after paying $50 for two entrees, two mains and two drinks each, we headed on down to St Kilda for a modern Mexican inspired feast.

What we found was a small, beautifully decorated restaurant. It was ambient but at the same time had a funky vibe. The entire kitchen is located within the restaurant, so you can see the chefs cooking away. It is amazing the quality of food that came out of this tiny little cooking space. The lone waitress on this evening was lovely and completely capable of handling the 10-15 people that were in the restaurant this evening. She really provided service with a smile and was genuinely interested in feedback about the food.

And the food? Well, lets just say that the voucher was really good value. The serving sizes were small but it was really clean food with a strong emphasis on flavour combinations and presentation. In fact, the presentation was so beautiful I actually felt bad destroying the artwork to eat the dishes.

For the first course we got to choose a taco each from the extensive list. Now, at this restaurant you aren't going to find a simple corn taco with shredded beef. It was a dificult decision with options such as corn battered snapper with pico de gallo, avocado and coriander or field mushroom, goats cheese and charred pumpkin with salsa rojo, or charred chipotle steak, grilled onion, salsa rojo, coriander and pumpkin seeds. Yep, gourmet taco's... right up my alley! Those of you who know me would have probably predicted that I couldn't go past the anejo glazed pork belly, jalapeno with creme fraiche and chipotle salsa. This was amazing, the tinest taco I have ever seen but two bites of pure awesomeness. I could have easily eaten five... and intend to go back to do this in the future.

Second selection was from the extensive list of ceviche, which is traditionally raw fish cured in some kind of acidic salsa or seasoning. This list included more than just fish though, offering ceviche of duck, beef, prawns, swordfish or mussels. We chose the ceviche of scallops with preserved lime, agave, jalapeno, toasted almond and coriander. Another beautiful dish, my only complaint was that between the two of us it was gone within two bites. Tender, zesty pieces of scallop served on crispy corn chips with lots of seasonings, and another absolutely beautifully served dish. Yummo!

We then had a choice of a main each, and decided to share because there was too much to choose from. We decided to share the Charred Swordfish, Tamarind and Agave Chutney, Smoked Bacon, Green Beans, Brandade and Salsa Verde and the Grilled Beef Eye Fillet, Chili Rellenos Filled with Braised Ox Tail, Baked Mushroom Tamale and Salsa Roja Jus. Both were beautiful, but the beef was absolutely the stand out dish. We both had food envy when the other person had their half of that dish. Perfectly cooked medium rare melt in your mouth beef, with a gorgeous jus and a yummy mushroom stuffed tamale... it was just one of those meals where everything goes together so perfectly and you never ever want it to end. The swordfish was really enjoyable- the fish was tender and the chutney beautiful, sweet and zesty. However, the beef was just so awesome that it was very difficult to part with the other half.

The voucher didn't include dessert, but we had room so decided to have a coffee and share the Mexican Spiced Chocolate Tart, Orange and Tequila Flan, Chocolate Truffle Fritters
with Vanilla Ice Cream. I thought the presentation of this dish was a little boring compared to the amazing presentation of the mains, but it all tasted really good anyway. The tart was a little too much on the spicy side for us, and the flan was very alcoholic tasting... but the chocolate truffle fritter- yum! It was like a little chocolate churro with a melted chocolate centre.

Overall, an extremely pleasant dining experience at The Table. I really love Mexican food, but since I have been dieting and as dairy isn't really my friend anymore, I just cannot handle the huge amounts of cheese and sour cream in your normal Mexican feast anymore. I find myself feeling ill afterwards and regretting the meal. But, this modern Mexican inspired type of food allows me to enjoy the beautiful flavors, spices and textures I love about Mexican cuisine but I can still walk away afterwards feeling relatively healthy and nourished. I am already planning when I will revisit this lovely St Kilda eatery (it is in the Entertainment Book also) again and work my way through the rest of the menu. It also features a very reasonable lunch menu with some yummy Mexican style salad, wraps, sandwiches, burrito's etc for about $14-$17 bucks a pop. Not too bad value at all! It is a very small restaurant, so if you plan on visiting, I would advise booking for sure.

Next week I am going to my special birthday present dinner from Craig, an 8 course degustation at Ezard... so watch out for some more amazing food photos next week.

Until then,

L x

The Table Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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