The Grand, in the Central Park complex, has recently introduced their new seasonal menu and we went along to try it out.
As we have mentioned before this is quite an elegant spot with a variety of levels to eat and drink, including an outdoor deck; this time we dined in the upper restaurant level, a nicely appointed area seating around 60 or so.
Service is professional and welcoming and we were quickly shown to our table and supplied with water and the requisite menus.
Starters included Coffin Bay oysters; beef fillet carpaccio with parmesan; blue swimmer crab croquettes with lime mayo; and prosciutto wrapped scallops. While I chose grilled haloumi, Lady FWO went for panko tiger prawns.
As for the mains, there are a number of dishes that tempted – Cone Bay grilled barramundi; Portobello mushroom risotto; beef cheek ravioli; grilled vegetable terrine; and veal colletta. In the end Lady FWO decided on slow cooked lamb shoulder, while it was Cajun swordfish for me.
On a previous visit I commented on the excellent wine list at the Grand – and the impressive array of wine by the glass, including some top shelf labels – 2010 Moss Wood Cabernet, 2010 Charles Melton Nine Popes Grenache, 2012 Henschke Peggys Hill Riesling and 2013 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Bollinger Special Cuvee and Veuve Clicquot rosé are among the champagnes by the glass.
We ordered a bottle of one of Australia’s great rosé wines, Charles Melton Rose of Virginia, and sat back to sip while our meals were being prepared. Before long our entrées appeared and we settled down to eat.
The grilled haloumi, two triangles sitting on bed of greens was served with a slosh of olive oil and a couple of lime cheeks to add a little citrus contrast. It was a simple, well presented dish, the cheese nicely browned with a moist, salty interior – it squeaked as it was bitten, to my mind the proof of a perfectly prepared piece of this addictive cheese.
The prawns had been coated in panko crumbs, deep fried and served with a dipping sauce of chilli, mandarin honey and ginger. They were crisp, tender, juicy and sweet. The sauce by stages exhibiting chilli zest, sweetness from the honey, underlined with the tang of mandarin and finishing with the clean, refreshing flavour of ginger, complemented the prawns and provided a succession of contrasting and interesting nuances of flavour.
Lamb shoulder, slow cooked in a braise of herbed root vegetables, came with a potato purée infused with parmesan and confit tomato. The meat was meltingly tender, well seasoned, and the vegetables – carrot, parsnip, turnip – provided earthy sweetness in support of the lamb. The creamy and salty potato soaked up the juices from the braise, while the confit added another dimension of taste.
The cutlet of swordfish, marinated and cooked with Cajun inspired spice mix, was served with leaves, green beans, and almond and saffron aioli. The slightly blackened fish was full of lifted spice notes – chilli, garlic, pepper, oregano among them – and was tender and moist. Green beans had a wonderful snap and crunch, and the aioli striped across the fish supported dish well adding nutty and garlicky tones.
Although somewhat replete we forged on and ordered a crème brulee, followed by a cheeseboard. The brulee cracked with the strike of the spoon, through the splinters of honeyed caramel, was revealed creamy, sweet, runny custard. It came with white chocolate gelato – every component melding into an enticing dessert.
The double brie from Margaret River, supported by crackers, quince paste, grapes, came on a wooden board, and with it a glass of prosecco seemed just the right conclusion to an excellent meal.
The new menu at the Grand hits all the right notes – innovative, good choice, well executed and presented dishes, supported by a very good wine list, with professional and engaging waiters working in a place of great atmosphere.
Disclaimer: We were the guests of manager Liam Carr – our meals and wine were complimentary.