because I can't cook
Henry and the Fox in the Melbourne CBD
|Address||525 Little Collins Street
|Visited||5 June 2012|
I was privileged enough to feast at one of Paul Mathis’ recent establishments, Henry and the Fox.
Happened to have dined at his other freshly built restaurants along the South Wharf promenade, The Sharing House and Akacochin, I recognised the familiar fresh, chic ambience of Henry and the Fox. It was roomy inside with open kitchen layout, lively yellow lighting, and minimalist, wooden-themed décor creating elegant vibe throughout the restaurant. It was modest yet sophisticated.
Similarly, the cuisine was of fine dining quality but at more humble prices. That evening, we were presented with a series of contemporary Modern Australian banquet.
After a friendly welcome speech by Paul Mathis, the delicious journey started with the bread; soft, fluffy bread that impressed me at first bite.
Then there were the entrées. The jamon and manceho croquettes were the first of the entrée series presented – warm and creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Second was the fried zucchini flowers that made tasty light starter. But if you were after an entrée with a bit of a kick, the goats cheese (with roasted baby beets, pickled shallots, shiso, raspberry vinegar) stood out in the selection. For something more hearty and substantial, there was the soft rabbit terrine served with rhubarb compote, salad, and toasted brioche (brioche served separately).
Henry and the Fox also had superb seafood entrées on the menu; cured kingfish (served with coriander and fennel seeds, mandarin, coriander shoots), confit ocean trout (served with salted cucumber, radish, horseradish cream), and seared scallops (served with apple & celeriac remoulade, caper and raisin puree, toasted pumpernickel). The seared scallops were one of my favourites that night - succulent, lightly cooked, impeccable. The fish entrées were delicate and fresh, and were stunningly presented. Another favourite in their seafood entrée range was the roasted moreton bay bug tails with cauliflower puree and spiced cauliflower – loved those crispy bugs and creamy puree!
The three mains that were served that evening were poached chicken breast (with quinoa, pistachio, fig, and sorrel) that was simply clean and crisp, pork belly (with fennel, dill, orange) that I found slightly salty but otherwise fantastic, and mulloway (with avocado, chickpea, red pepper) which looked scrumptious but I didn’t get to try as I was saving space for dessert!
On the side was salad of rocket, pear, roasted walnuts which I thought was the perfect accompaniment of the mains - very refreshing, sweet, crunchy. Its heavier counterpart was brussel sprouts with smoked bacon and chestnuts which suited the lighter main like the poached chicken breast.
It was then time for the sweet course (finally!) – waited for this since I first glanced through Henry and the Fox’s menu and noticed phrases such as ‘passionfruit granita’, 'strawberry sorbet’, and ‘chocolate pannacotta’ that really got me excited. Even better for me, by dessert time some of the bloggers had left or were full, so it was dessert heaven for me! Some of the desserts:
- The sweet-and-substantial doughnuts with chocolate sauce
- The amazingly refreshing passionfruit cheesecake with passionfruit mousse, jelly, granita, yoghurt sorbet
- The sweet-and-fruity chocolate pannacotta with strawberry cream and strawberry sorbet
- The juicy, tropical quince with pear, custard, coconut crumble, coconut ice cream
Henry and the Fox was a gem hidden in the quieter, ‘future end’ of the Melbourne CBD. The cuisine was absolutely divine, the atmosphere was tranquil, the service was impeccable – I can’t recommend it highly enough!