Tuesday 20 March 2007

The Engine Room

We had a fabulous, spontaneous, 'I can't be bothered cooking' meal out on Friday evening. The Engine Room is beautiful, and both times we've eaten there have been great (we ate there when it was Pearl as well, although far too long ago to remember and kind of irrelevant at this point anyway!)

What we ate:


  • Entree (Shared): Rare beef salad with pomegranate, pine nuts, fresh mint, dates - TO DIE FOR! I literally savoured every single mouthful of this. Wow. Oh - and it was an attractive dish as well! (see sneaky cell phone pic - not quite so attractive as we'd devoured half of this before I remembered to take a photo. But it was beautifully presented.)

  • Main: Kingfish on Saffron Risotto with Spinach and Fennel Salad & Tapenade - beautiful. The salad was lovely - I think this is the first time I've actually eaten Fennel! My goodness!

  • Dessert (shared): Panacotta, Roast Peaches, Praline - wow - the panacotta was so rich and milky and smooth and delicious! The Praline was fabulous - not too cruncy, but not soft, and deliciously nutty.


  • Main: Harissa Roast Chicken with Pearl Barley, Aubergine and Tahini - this was beyond words delicious and I sooo want the recipe for the pearl barley. Everything was in wonderful balance, bursting with flavour and nothing too overpowering. I'd order this if I went back. My fish was good, but this was truely rave-worthy.

What we drank:

Simon - Muddy Water Chardonnay 2004 - buttery, French oak nicely burnt; not over powering
  • Jane - Craggy Range Kidnappers Chardonnay 2006 - once again, I didn't really profile this, but wasn't raving over it. Although I wouldn't complain if I was served it again.

  • The Decor and Atmosphere

    Lovely as always, very simple and clean. The smell of fresh mint hit me as soon as I walked in and it was divine. The music was really nice, quite contemplative adn atmospheric, most appropriate, and a good volume.


    Excellent. As always, very professional, helpful, not stuffy. It wasn't what I would call 'stand-out' service, but excellent all the same - if you know what I mean by that subtle distinction. (I still tipped them - so it was better than average!). Oh yes - and it was encouraging hearing the staff describing dishes and wines with knowledge and confidence.


    Mains up to $30, starters $16-$18. Simon thought the starters a little pricey, but I expect to pay this in a classy restaurant. No complaints though.

    Overall Impression

    Yes, this is also one of our favourite restaurants. :) Interestingly, we went to Ciao the following evening - this has previously been one of our very highly rated restaurants, however it very much paled in comparison with The Engine Room. More on that later (and that's not to say it was bad, but it is an indication of the quality of The Engine Room.)