Maze Melbourne

[Note: Maze Melbourne has closed. Currently resided by Mr Hive]

8 Whiteman St
Crown Metropol level 1
Melbourne, 3006
03 9292 8300

It was a Sunday afternoon, after a day of eating out at David’s and Ganache chocolate with friends; I was then dragged along by my parents to the annual Crown CNY stalls / celebrations. Sitting in the car, the first thought that came to mind was: where to eat dinner at Crown? I pulled out my phone and dialled Maze (*ahem, yes I did have the number saved in my phone for such emergencies). And table for three was booked! It was the perfect opportunity to spoil my parents with my first pay check. And, CNY is all about the food and sharing it with family, is it not?

The notoriously foul mouthed British restaurateur, Gordon Ramsay, opened his newest establishment in Melbourne early last year on the first floor of Metropol Hotel – the end point of the new Crown shopping promenade. The internal clockwork of this place is overseen by head chef Josh Emett.

The quirky bird-and-vine wall design adds curiosity to the shades of washed out grey and white. In the day the space is nicely illuminated with the sun peering through the soaring curtains; at night it is quite the bloggers-nightmare with soft illumination from beautiful spiralling light fixtures. Can someone please tell me why restaurants are so dark that you can barely see what you eat?

For those who like me (until last week) had not yet visited Maze, the menu is structured between a Chef’s degustation of seven courses at $95 a head, or a la carte. Having had quite a late CNY lunch, we opted to share one degustation and 4 a la carte dishes between three people. I am always happy when restaurants are able to accommodate for difficult diners. =)

White bread + seaweed butter + salt – The diagonally sliced bread was warm and lightly toasted on the crust but soft and fluffy on the inside. I slather on the butter and a sprinkle of salt. Just a whiff of the warm bread and buttery-seaweed-butter – HEAVEN! Over the first 2 courses, I conjured the courage to ask for a second serve of bread, to which I was granted my wish… =)

Marinated beetroot with goats curd – beautiful petite morsels of red and white. All in one mouthful you have the thinly sliced sweet, earthy and soft beetroot teamed with a robust, acidic goats curd; underlain with a floral Cab-Sauv vinaigrette and nutty pine nut crunch. I must say although quite strongly flavoured, it was well balanced with nice textural contrasts.

Seared yellow fin tuna – two thick unctuous slices of yellow fin tuna, ever so lightly seared with tart, citrusy notes from the yuzu marination. Small cubes / mounds of white radish, black garlic and enoki mushroom provided a clean, simple and delicate marriage of bite and taste!

Yuzu – cirtus fruit originating in East Asia, similar in flavour to grapefruit, but with mandarin overtones. [Wikipedia]

 

Tête de cochon – the golden crumbed roll had a crumbly crispy exterior hiding a soft gelatinous interior of pigs ears. A warm juicy super-thin-layer of watermelon, warm drizzle of chicken jus with a little crunch from the German turnip (kohlrabi) brings it from ordinary to extraordinary – absolutely love it.

Smoked eel – (a la carte) this is probably one of my least favourite courses, with not much to elevate the smoky but somewhat dry eel. This was teamed with a dehydrated pressed apple, crispy local green asparagus, orange rind and crispy shallot.

Pan seared scallop – the plump-curvaceous scallops were seared to a light crispy gold, with a soft and unctuous core. The sweet champagne foam and chewy caramelised kelp balanced off the green-grassy paste hiding underneath (not sure what it is). Sugar snap peas and tonburi seeds provide a nice textural contrast.

Tonburi seeds – these glossy black-green seeds from the burningbush, are commonly used in Japanese cuisine as a garnish with similar texture to caviar. [wikipedia]

Crispy roast pork belly – fall-apart tender meat with a crispy outer shell, laid in a salty dashi broth with crunchy soy beans and radish. I find the very moment the crispy skin makes contact with the broth (no doubt when you try to cut it with your knife), it is softened and somewhat toughens up – so EAT IT FAST! I must say it reminds me of, but doesn’t surpass that of Anada’s version.

Ravioli of Southern Rock Lobster – (a la carte) covered in a concealing foam (mum devoured it all before I could ascertain what it was), was a light ravioli filled with lobster, avocado and macadamia. Whilst the bisque was a superb interpretation of the deep sea, with a nice balance of flavours, the lobster was a tad dry.

Poached blue eye cod – (a la carte) was utterly soft with a subtle ginger fragrance. A sweet daub of smooth carrot puree contrasts the light spanner crab tempura speckled with fragments of crisp greens.

Cape Grim short rib – deserves a special mention as one of my personal choice dishes of the night. An unassumingly asymmetrical cut of short rib lathered in a sweet-syrupy coating is an effortless surprise on the cutting knife. On the palate, the fatty layers of the tender beef melts away together with the syrupy-barbeque sauce makes for an indulgent mouthful – umami heaven! A small trail of smooth-fluffy mash, layered with the slight orange hue of togarashi spice and shimeji mushroom, complements the meat.

Togarashi spice – 7 spices (red chilli pepper, Sichuan pepper, orange peel, sesame seeds, ginger, hemp seed, nori)

Exotic fruit vacherin – two wings of chalky meringue, juicy cubes of summer fruit, a dollop of thick mango puree, and a lightly-fragrant banana sorbet – sweet, acidic and refreshing. Vacherin  – meringue

Maze “lamington” – the thin slice of rich-decadent chocolate ganache dusted with coconut; together with the generous daub of thick, sweet but acidic raspberry jam and puffy triangle of light sponge – replicates the elements of the good ol’ lamington, but with the added twists from the quenelles of light coconut sorbet, cream and a crispy cylinder of tuile. A delicious deconstruction!

How does one tell the difference between a sponge and a chiffon cake?

Petite fours – sitting on a cool glass with shallow burrows, these white chocolate balls are in fact filled with strawberry ice cream. I’m not usually a fan of white chocolate, but this was delightful! MORE please!!!

A little treat to take home…

Rating: Yummy+2 – I was actually fearing a disappointment coming to Gordon Ramsay’s new establishment, but Josh Emett has succeeded in transcending that thought, bringing to the table a thoroughly mouth watering and memorable experience, albeit a few small glitches.

A la carte dishes were timed appropriately with the degustation menu. The staff were knowledgeable, though some rolling the menu descriptions off their tongues better than others. And I like that the cutlery was replaced after each course – such luxury. I’d still like more light in the room though…

You may also like: French Brasserie, David’s, Anada.

Maze Melbourne on Urbanspoon

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Comments
15 Responses to “Maze Melbourne”
  1. Hannah says:

    In a perfect world, every meal of mine would start with seaweed butter on warm bread and end with a deconstructed lamington…

  2. The last time I went to Maze, I had an amazing experience minus the fact that desserts was too sweet. Glad that you enjoyed Maze. 🙂

  3. Ames says:

    *drooooooll* There are too many amazing restaurants in Melbourne… I wonder if it is possible to visit all of them in one’s lifetime lols

  4. Ashley says:

    Wow, looks amazing! I love how close up your photos are, really get to see all the detail! 🙂

    Will visit one day…

  5. michelle – seems like all the things u had at ur lunch arent on the menu now… although their menu isn’t quite up to date online anyways…hm

    ames – well thats depends on how much your stomach can fit in, and how deep your pockets are… haha

    ashley – thanks =). hopefully that one day is soon ey?

  6. msihua says:

    Wow… looks like they’re still serving some pretty great dishes given that everyone from the original team has left (from the dream team I mean)… I still think their original coffee butter was the best I’ve ever had!!

  7. Celeste says:

    Maze is on my to-go list! Though I hear that the lighting at night is incredibly bad, so I think I’ll book a lunch date for myself in April. It all looks so so yum!

  8. Catherine says:

    I’ve been craving their seaweed butter for ages now!! I try not to revisit places too much.. haha but i really enjoyed their degustation last time I went. I might try the lunch set menu there sometime to compensate for my craving -_-

  9. lol, what other numbers are saved for empty belly emergencies?

    so nice they could accommodate 1 degustation + a la carte! Looks amazing.

  10. Thanh says:

    I didn’t like Maze at all when I went, so didn’t even blog it. Glad you liked it though.

    I hate dark restaurants too, who knows why they do it. But tsk tsk, flash photos, and so many of them too, in an extremely dark restaurant is poor poor form 🙂 I’m sure that room lit up many times if it was as dark as the last time I went.

    Lastly, I think a chiffon tends to a bit more eggy tasting, I think. I don’t know either.

  11. msihua – coffee butter?????? wat damn, i missed out then

    celeste – lunch is cheap too!

    Catherine – yeh, always trying real hard not to revisit places LOL.

    Shellie – um, donno prob a lot HAHAHA.

    Thanh – when did u last go? did u have anything that i had ? well, i’m very much for having good photos HAHAHA, so i flash away until i get told off LOL, which i clearly didnt =P but i so need to invest in better lens – – so much “noise” with dark areas in the photo.

  12. Chiu says:

    $95 for the Chef’s Menu? It was 120 for us, maybe its because we had dinner there….. The place is terrible for photos SO DARK. However, the food was totally worth the price (We should have went to Maze instead of KoKo since it worked out about the same price per person – on our side at least). I think they also read your blog, since now, you don’t need to ask for seconds for bread, just just give you an extra serve before your mains and they even offered thirds! lol.

    • wat did u have? o oopsm, i think thats a TYPO – maybe it was $120 for chef’s menu. and plus i thought angel was complaining charcoal lane too expensive =P. and instead u go to maze ey? ahahaha

      lol, thats hilarious. u got offered more bread. damn it =P.

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  • Food RATING scale

    Unpleasant: damn upset my desire to eat

    Average: palatable but many shortcomings

    Yummy: a pleasant experience

    Yummy +1: mouth-watering like rain

    Yummy +2: exquisite flavours that hit all the right notes

    Divine: sheer culinary perfection!

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