Saturday, 8 June 2013

Taste Test - Blackbird

Tonight we say good bye and good luck to my girlfriend RL who is moving to Melbourne.  RL, we're going to miss you heaps but more importantly remember to keep a spare room so we have somewhere to stay when we visit. 

Anyway, RL chose Blackbird for her farewell dinner because of positive reviews on Urbanspoon and also because she couldn't get a table for a large group elsewhere (we had 15 people).  We were told we had to have the set menu at $65 per head because we were a large group.  Between the 15 of us, we managed to order everything that was offered on the menu.


The menu
Warm petite baguette, Paris butter

Entrée (choice of)
  • Beef carpaccio, smoked tomato, mustard aioli
  • Cauliflower soup, cumin croutons, persillade, truffle oil
  • Scallops in shell, tomato béchamel, bacon crumble

Mains (choice of)
  • Pappardelle, mushrooms, pocini cream, oregano
  • Slow cooked lamb shank, red cabbage, paprika potatoes
  • Fish and mussel chowder, garlic croute

Dessert (choice of)
  • Orange and almond cake, chocolate ganache, crème anglaise
  • Whiskey cheddar, crackers, cherries, quince

The last time I went to Blackbird was about 3 years ago and I remember the food was very ordinary so I wasn't expecting too much, but was hoping to be surprised.

Food and presentation - 2.5/5
The food at Blackbird was disappointing especially for the amount of time we had to wait and the price.  The baguettes were the type that cuts the roof of your mouth but apart from that it was nice and warm. 
Warm petite baguette, Paris butter
I chose the scallops for entrée and they were overcooked and slightly chewy, the sauce was also nothing special.  Hubby had the beef carpaccio which was again pretty ordinary and I found the presentation very messy, like they didn't wipe the dish properly before serving.  However, those who had the cauliflower soup said it was delicious. 
Beef carpaccio
Cauliflower soup
Scallops in shell
For my main, I settled for the fish and mussel chowder which was just a bit too salty for me but other than that it was okay.  The lamb shank was a bit dry and quite tasteless, paired with some very salty potatoes and lastly, those who had pasta said that it was nothing special.
Pappardelle, mushrooms, pocini cream, oregano
Slow cooked lamb shank
Fish and mussel chowder
We had a choice of sweet or savoury for dessert.  I chose the sweet option of course and hubby went for the cheese so that we could have a taste of both.  The orange and almond cake was not bad and definitely had the aromas of orange and almonds.  As for the cheese, you can taste the whiskey in the cheese and I didn't mind the quince, although some of my friends really didn't like it.
Orange and almond cake, chocolate ganache, crème anglaise
Whiskey cheddar, crackers, cherries, quince
Service - 2.5/5
Our food took forever to arrive and I am not exaggerating...well maybe a little bit.  Entrées took around an hour to come out and mains another 45 minutes to an hour; at least desserts only took 30 minutes to arrive.  Considering it was only a three course meal, we were there for almost 3 hours which is definitely not acceptable;  that's about the same time it takes for a six to eight course degustation.  They were not busy for a Saturday night, they still had some empty tables, yet our food took a very long time to come out and we received no updates or apologies from the wait staff.  Thank goodness for good company!

Our waitress did not smile once and looked grumpy (the other waitresses were friendlier and polite).  However, our waitress did everything a waitress in this type of restaurant should do, that is, she topped up our water and wines although a few times we had to top it up ourselves.  She was also rude to RL when RL told her that the entrée put in front of her was not what she ordered, quote "You did order this."  Surely RL can tell beef carpaccio from scallops, right? Well, the waitress didn't think so.

Lastly, an observation.  When they bring out our dishes, they bring out the same dishes together, but eventhough I'm sitting next to TW who ordered the same dish, our waitress served TW her dish first then went to the other end of the table to serve another friend and then the other side of the table to serve another.  I had to wait for the second round which was fine, I didn't mind but her thought process intrigued me.

Atmosphere - 3/5
We were sat outside and it was very cold that night, luckily I parked myself strategically next to the heater.  Apart from the cold it was nice overlooking the man made pond and fountain.  I didn't take any photos inside the restaurant as I don't like to disturb other patrons when they are trying to enjoy their meal and I wasn't sitting inside.

Value for money - 2.5/5
$65 per head for a three course meal is actually okay but I didn't feel that it was value for money purely because the food was so average, the wait was so long and the service not so good.

My friends and I will not be returning to Blackbird.

Taste Test Total Score - 10.5/20

Blackbird on Urbanspoon

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