Sunday, August 5, 2012

Henry and the Fox, CBD

My foodie cousin and I have been eyeing this restaurant off for a very long time. I can't remember the last time one menu floated both our boats as much as this one, and we had read a lot of the reviews from the recent bloggers dinner and found ourselves salivating at the food pictures. It has taken us a while to get to Henry and the Fox though, as it is only open Mon-Fri due to being in the business end of the CBD and hidden away down Little Collins St. So, last Friday night we made it our mission to feast at this gorgeous little restaurant. It has been a long time since all four of us have all been equally impressed by a restaurant as much as Henry and the Fox. This was one of the most complete restaurants experiences I have had in a while- the service, food and presentation was all really beautiful.

It was tempting to ask for a table in the beautiful outdoor terrace area, but we decided to save that for summer.

Instead we made our way to our booked table, a cute little booth by the open kitchen where we spent the night marvelling at the time and effort put in by the chefs styling the food.

It wasn't as busy as I expected for a Friday night, but I would think being in the business district they would be a lot busier for long lunches and weeknight dinners. We were greeted immediately by a very friendly waiter and were quickly set up with some wines and gorgeous complimentary sourdough bread.

To start, we shared some stuffed zucchini flowers and jamon and manchego croquettes. Both of these little appetizers were really impressive- the zucchini flowers soft and subtle and the croquettes rich and smokey with melt in your mouth cheese oozing out of the crispy bread-crumbs.

We shared another two larger entrees between the four of us. The seared scallops with apple and celeriac remoulade, caper and raisin puree and toasted pumpernickel were beautiful and textured with soft, subtle flavours.

They couldn't really compare with the next entree though, which was absolute to die for- roasted Moreton Bay Bugs with cauliflower puree and spiced cauliflower. This dish was probably the stand-out of the savoury dishes. It just had everything a fabulous dish should have- gorgeous plump bug tails that were perfectly cooked and just melted in your mouth, pieces of lovely spiced and roasted cauliflower and creamy cauliflower puree that was very more-ish. My only complaint? That we didn't order two serves!

My cousin and I had pretty much chosen our mains before we arrived at the restaurant, but we changed our mind at the last minute and decided to have the special Fish dish since we can always go back and try the meals off the regular menu. Our waiter assured us that this was a special dish that the chef had worked very hard on today, so we couldn't resist giving it a try. The poached rockling with scallops and a seafood rosade was a beautifully delicate dish, with soft poached rockling resting in a lemongrass spiced seafood sauce and topped with a seafood foam. It really celebrated the natural flavours of the seafood, and it looked and tasted very 'clean' (which was probably a good thing once you see what we ate for desseert!) We both really enjoyed the simplicity of this dish.

Despite enjoying the rockling, I had major food envy when Craig got his meal. The char-grilled rump cap with spinach puree, onion rings and borderlaise sauce was a real mans meal. The meat was perfectly cooked and melt in your mouth, and the spinach puree a beautiful accompaniment... and what guy can say no to onion rings? Craig doesn't usually appreciate some 'fancy' mains, but he absolutely loved this one, which says a lot for the dish.

The crispy pork belly with fennel, dill and orange was my pick of mains before I changed my mind, so it was great to see my cousin's hubby order it so I could suss it out for next time. We had read some reviews that suggested that the crispiness of the crackling wasn't always consistent, but this particular night it looked crispy and crackly, just the way pork belly should be. I will have to visit again to try this dish sometime soon.

The beauty of our light main was that it allowed us enough room for dessert. I had been sold on this dessert since I saw it in the '20 must eat dishes' in the Herald Sun last week. The pear, quince, custard with coconut crumble and coconut ice-cream was not your usual crumble. Gorgeously decadent and chock full of taste and texture, this is my kind of dessert. Topped with crumbled coconut macaroons and a deliciously creamy coconut ice-creams, it was up there with one of the best desserts I have had (topped probably only by Chin Chin's palm sugar ice-cream sundae and perhaps St Katherines peanut butter parfait).

The boys after much deliberation decided on the warm gingerbread with caramalised banana and coffee ice-cream. This was also really yummy although all of us were unsure of the combination of the coffee ice-cream with the gingerbread.

Overall, a really wonderful evening at Henry and the Fox. This restaurant has it all- style, class and a unique menu that suits everyone. The pizzas sound awesome too and would suit those on a budget or with a bit of a fussy palate. The guys at Henry and the Fox have really created something worth visiting, and it is such a shame that their location really only makes it worth opening Mon-Fri. Definitely add it to your list for Friday night dinner and drinks, you won't be disappointed... and... wait for it... they take bookings! Hurrah! Finally, an amazing CBD restaurant you don't have to queue for! Its simple, quality food delivered beautifully, and I can't wait to revisit.

Henry and the Fox on Urbanspoon

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