French on Collins part 2 of 2, Henry and the Fox
This is one of Paul Mathis’ semi-new establishments – headed by 2011’s Young Chef of the year Michael Fox – coming almost 6 months before the recent surfacing of South Wharf’s Akachochin and Sharing House. Why now that we get invited one might ask? Paul Mathis was quite frank about this point, pointing out the location and thoroughfare wasn’t great, and having had a very soft opening, its name had hardly scratched the surface of social media. Thus, this media and bloggers dinner.
Ironically, I had accidently stumbled across this place back when I was trying to find Mr Mason. The venue is far more open and ‘colder’ with large expanses of white marble and muted tiles. I sat myself on the long marble table overlooking into the kitchen, alongside all the other food bloggers, each of us eagerly watching the food preparation.
Jamon & Manchego Croquettes
Fried Zucchini Flowers
Toasted brioche (went alongside the rabbit terrine)
Conﬁt Ocean Trout, Salted Cucumber, Radish, Horseradish Cream
Rabbit Terrine, Rhubarb Compote, Salad and Toasted Brioche
Seared Scallops, Apple & Celeriac Remoulade, Caper & Raisin Puree, Toasted Pumpernickel
Cured Kingﬁsh, Coriander & Fennel Seeds, Mandarin, Coriander Shoots
Goats Cheese, Roasted Baby Beets, Pickled Shallots, Shiso, Raspberry Vinegar
[Conﬁt Ocean Trout, as pictured above]
Roasted Moreton Bay Bug Tails, Cauliﬂower Puree, Spiced Cauliﬂower
The kitchen brought out over half of the entrée menu, most of which were done beautifully, ranging from the oozing cheesy interior of the Manchego croquettes; to the plump caramelised scallops atop a sharp apple, smooth celeriac remoulade; and to a punchy citrus-cured kingfish. Each was a winner in their own right. The marron was however a let-down, too salty and deep fried, which I regard as the greatest sin to the subtleties of marron.
Mulloway, Avocado, Chickpea, Chorizo, Red Pepper
Poached Chicken Breast, Quinoa, Pistachio, Fig, Sorrel
Crispy Pork Belly, Fennel, Dill, Orange
Side of Salad of Rocket, Pear, Roasted Walnuts
Side of Spiced Carrots (not pictured)
Side of Brussel Sprouts, Smoked Bacon, Chestnuts
Some of the mains however, brought the momentum to a sluggish pace. Poached chicken has always been and will probably always be one of those things that very few can get perfect. The flesh was cooked sous vide to a tender juicy flesh, but the fairly flat flavours and over seasoning failed to bring the chook beyond simply poached chicken. The pork crackling too was not detectably crisp and brittle the way I like it.
The mulloway did clamber back a few high notes, with a nice caramelised crust and juicy flesh, and a well-balanced classic salad of chickpea and avocado puree.
Chocolate Panna Cotta, Strawberry Cream, Strawberry Sorbet
Doughnuts with Chocolate Sauce
Quince, Pear, Custard, Coconut Crumble, Coconut Ice Cream
Passionfruit Cheesecake, Passionfruit Mousse, Jelly, Granita, Yoghurt Sorbet
Each blogger had their own favourite dessert on that night. The de-constructed passionfruit cheesecake served in a jar had an amalgam of sour, creamy, sweet and buttery chunks all at the same time. The Quince and coconut crumble had quite a heady note of dried coconut, balanced off with the moisture of custard and pear. The triple layered chocolate panna cotta was my preferred sweet, with a mousse like strawberry cream atop a rich chocolate panna cotta, finished off with light fruit elements and not to mention popping candy.
Rating: Yummy+1. Despite the blip at the midpoint of our dinner (aka mains), Henry & the Fox produced inviting entrées and tantalising desserts that left many swooning, and certainly produced a wave of social media advocation.
[Henry and the Fox]
Where: 525 Little Collins St. Melbourne CBD.
Contact: 03 9614 3277
For something also French on Lt Collins >>> Mr Mason.
[I dined courtesy of Henry and the Fox, and Gun Communications]