Thursday, April 8, 2010

Journey to The Palace by Luke Mangan

The Palace by Luke Mangan
505 City Road (corner Pickles St)
South Melbourne VIC 3205
Telephone: 03 9699 6410

Opening Hours: Daily 12pm-2:30pm; 6pm-10pm

In the kingdom of celebrity chefs, even your mum knows I pay homage to Gordon Ramsay.

Unfortunately my king visits rarely, so while he's off to other lands, I'm a courtesan for any court.

I first read about The Palace here and became fascinated with Luke here and here. I'm a shameless wench; wild horses couldn't keep me away.

So one soggy Friday evening, I donned some prince(ss)ly garments and paid court over the river. And let me just preface this review by saying, if you enjoy watching food as much as eating it (and sadly, like me, you plan your meals at home around foodie TV such as Masterchef and The F Word), then dining at The Palace is the very pinnacle of experiences.

The fit-out is pretty, but hardly palatial. So why the hype?

Catch a table by the pass;
All you have to do is ask.

No, really! There is a whole row of tables right next to a huge window through which you can watch your meal (...and everyone else's! Per-vy!) being prepared. Table 12, in particular, is the place to be. But you'll have to fight me for it.

Pardon me while I gleefully press up against the window. You may peruse the menu here.

Warm bread, extra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, served immediately.
The ceremony begins.

One thing to note; they do take their time here - and you can see it too, it's nothing like Hell's Kitchen. I didn't mind the lull between courses, enraptured as I was watching everything unfold. But if you're off somewhere after, it's something you should definitely keep in mind - we were one of the first guests to arrive and our three-course meal went on for over two and a half hours.

Kingfish carpaccio, goats feta, roquette, ginger eschallot dressing ($18)

I loved this; the kingfish was very fresh. It slithers down your throat something super with the crumbly feta and ginger zing.

Who couldn't love an oyster? They were a well-travelled rock trio on this plate - natural/kilpatrick/tempura. Half a dozen ($20)

A very Japanese oyster; tempura-ed and adorned with shiny, slippery seaweed.

It's an easy formula: love worcestershire; love this.

And while waiting for our main to arrive - a waitress came over with a wink. "Just as you've been watching us all night, the chef has been watching you. Enjoy."

A very delicate beef tartare on a salted 'crispbread'.
I'm too exultant to be abashed.

And you know I've been eyeing our steak on the grill the whole time.

But a beef on your plate is worth two on the grill.

400g Rib-eye; Nolan Meats, 100 days grain fed, dry aged charolais ($42). Your choice of sauce; we picked bearnaise.

Too perfect. Seasoned just right, and melted in my mouth (and my heart). It's cooked really rare because that's exactly how I like it. Say what you will, but I love my flesh fresh.

Some strong supporting actors - sweet and sultry carrots delicously roasted in dukkah...

...And the bowl of chips that lived forever after.

Great chips, but we just couldn't finish it. $8.00 each side.

I remember being horrified when Luke Mangan admitted he's 'not a chocolate person' on Masterchef (who are these people?!). But I forgive him because he put this on the menu.

My most beloved dessert - Hot chocolate fondant with cookies and cream ($17.00).

It's an obsession - I spend many, many hours scouring menus of Melbourne restaurants for this. Apparently it's a terribly boring cliché to many chefs and diners.

Your mum is a terribly boring cliché.

What a royally rollicking night. Make a date, don't be late!

Apologies for the hiatus, and the mum jokes. The reason for both: my life of late has been entirely consumed by a most heinous piece of work, which thanks-be-to-God, ends today. So all my stolen moments of pleasure during this time were with Natalie Tran, who I adore.

How did you spend your Easter weekend? Let me know - especially if you gave something up for Lent, I always find that fascinating. My Easter was spent in the most traditional fashion - copious amounts of chocolate; and contemplations of death.

But I'm back now, baby!

The Palace on Urbanspoon


  1. oOH... I wants to go too!

    Looks good,except that I'd skip all the beef/steak offerings...

  2. I gave up your mum for Lent.

  3. msihua: There are plenty of non-beef offerings. I'll go with you!

    Jocelyn: Yes my darling, how'd you go?

    Yunny: I don't have a mum, me and my dad share yours.

  4. Your mum gave me Easter Eggs... she said I rock...

  5. oh gggaaawd...those oysters, the steak (which looks like it deserves an award) look so good. Reminds of the matrix restaurant scene where they devour a piece of steak describing how good it is.

  6. hmm... YUM! Heard mixed reviews but I shall find out myself ;)

  7. msihua: You're funny.

    Adrian: I have to say that I watched The Matrix and I don't remember that scene, how blasphemous. I bow my head in shamee

    James: As always.

    Penny: You should! What did you hear on the negative side, out of curiosity?

  8. Thanks for the shoutout! And they've now made the chocolate fondant with cookies and cream as well! I have to go back!!

    Jetsetting Joyce

  9. is that actually cream, coated with cookie crumbs? (it's so round) looks delicious!!

    it's funny how i understand all your 'mum' jokes, even without you mentioning why you say them. communitychannel is awesome!

  10. Joyce: Thank YOU for the post :)

    Saucy Thyme: It's ICE CREAM coated with cookies crumbs - even better! I lovee 'your mum' jokes, juvenile as they are!

  11. The carpaccio looks interesting. And the chocolate fondant... OMG!!! I need to go there!

  12. Welcome back! The "your mum" jokes made me laugh ;) Your meal looks and sounds amazing.

  13. Food lover: Me too - again!

    Agnes: Thanks, sweetheart, it's an acquired humour indeed!