Friday, 31 May 2013

Taste Test - Friends Restaurant

Tonight hubby took me out for dinner at Friends Restaurant for a belated birthday celebration.  It also officially marks the start of my Entertainment Book Project, as this is the first review of a restaurant from the 2013/2014 Entertainment Book.

We arrived at 6pm and the restaurant was empty which is to be expected, who eats so early?  We were attended to immediately and shown to our seats which overlooked Langley Park with the Cirque de Soleil Big Top, and were given menus and asked if we wanted still, sparkling or tap water once we were comfortably seated in our chairs.


As it was my birthday dinner, I chose the 'Best of Friends Seasonal Tasting Menu' at $100 per head for food only.  You can enjoy this menu with wine pairing for an extra $40 for 3 star wines or an extra $75 for 5 star wines.

Our menu
  • Chilled eleven vegetable soup enhanced with fresh herbs and sautéed scallop, roasted peanut oil
  • Citrus cured Tasmanian salmon served with pickled carrot, dijonnaise and a blue swimmer crab and mascarpone salad
  • Roasted quail salad on warm green asparagus, quail egg and truffled quail jus
  • Rankin cod fillet spiked with chorizo, presented with onion compote and turnip lasagne
  • Fillet of Harvey beef with crispy oxtail terrine, pumpkin and potato puree and root vegetables with a port and rosemary sauce
  • Apple tarte tatin caramelised with sea salt presented with grapefruit-marjoram sorbet

Drinks
  • Cape Mentelle Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2012 150mL $12
  • Green tea x 2 $12 ($6 each)

Food and presentation - 3.5/5
The food at Friends Restaurant was nice except for the dessert which was disappointing.  I usually love apple tarte tatin but the one served tonight has put me off tarte tatin for a while.  The sea salt just didn't work with it especially since it was not evenly distributed throughout the dish, it was also not caramelised properly, the texture of the apple was not quite right - the dessert was just not right.  I didn't have a stand out dish as everything was just so.  For those who like to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee after their meals, you'll be pleased to know that it comes with petit fours.
Amuse bouche - Mushroom arancini & Cheese parcel
Complimentary bread - wholemeal and onion
Chilled eleven vegetable soup
Citrus cured Tasmanian salmon
Roasted quail salad
Rankin cod fillet
Fillet of Harvey beef
Apple tarte tatin
Green tea with marshmallow and panna cotta petit fours
Service - 3.5/5
Although the service was impeccable, there was no warmth.  The wait staff were very professional and polite, they folded your napkin when you left your seat, they topped up your water automatically and they cleared away your dishes as soon as you finished but it just felt very cold.  They didn't ask whether you enjoyed the dish, they just take the empty dishes away, they don't tell you what the dishes are when they bring it out (except for the amuse bouche and petit fours which were not on the menu), smiles were scarce and the owner also was not particularly friendly until she opened the door to let us out after we paid.  I can't dispute that their service is professional but they can do with some smiles and warmth.

Atmosphere - 3.5/5
The furnishing at Friends Restaurant reminds me of an old granny's house, particularly the curtains and the chairs (although the chairs are very comfortable).  Apart from that, the setting is great for a romantic dinner especially if you are able to get the window seats. 

Value for money - 3.5/5
$100 per head for a 6 course menu at a fine dining restaurant isn't too bad especially when the food is nice and the servings are not too small.

Probably won't be back for a while.  The food is good but the service was just not very welcoming.

Taste Test Total Score - 14/20

Friends Restaurant on UrbanspoonEntertainment Book 2013/2014 Information
Section A - Fine and Contemporary Dining
Page - A29
Offer - 25% off the total bill up to $45 value



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