Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Everyday I'm Trufflein'

A while ago I had dinned at Mr. Mason for a progressive dinner where I devoured their luscious Caviche of King fish delicately served with avocado puree, seaweed jelly, heirloom carrots and sliced radish. This 1 single dish and warmth of the venue drew me back there to indulge in experiencing their full menu.

Currently celebrating truffles Mr Mason was offering shredded fresh black truffles over any dishes chosen to enhance the richness of their French inspired menu. Of course some dishes wouldn't need this delicious touch but others would make it so much more heavenly, and make you float away to food heaven.

With an invite to dine with them for my birthday it was every reason to finally go back and celebrate. Too many amazing dishes to choose from with there small and medium dishes being great starters for 1 - 2 people as well as their large being the sizes of mains.

With our indecision's we cave in and order 3 entrees to share. Some traditional french escargot (snails) coated in a garlic parsley sauce, a chestnut crepe with truffled brie and a feuillite of veal sweetbreads with mushroom and Madeira sauce.

The escargot served in their shells were delicately cooked and full flavoured show casing the fresh garlic and parsley flavours. Snails are an unusual thing that most will screw their face up at prior to actually tried it. Something similar to frog legs really, your initial reaction is ewww, but you never know they could be the most amazing this you have ever tasted.

It's hard to explain them really so advise that it's better to just go out on a limb once, you only live once so give them a go.  If you don't like them fine, but at least you can say you have tried them.

The chestnut crepe filled with creamy melted truffled brie and served with a preserved fig compote, fresh apple and hazelnut salad. This eye catching dish looked scrumptious with the hot cheese oozing when cutting into. The brie delicately truffled not empowering in flavours and almost like a fondue inside a crepe. The fig, apple and walnut accompaniment was perfect and showcased the cheese at it's best.

The rich hearty Feuillite of veal sweetbreads in a Madeira sauce with mushrooms was filled with bold falvours. Sweetbreads are parts of the thymus such as the neck, they are small in size and somewhat unusual in texture but are flavoursome and tender. With this dish being rich with the Madeira sauce their was only 1 thing to do and that was to add the shaved fresh black truffle on the top (additional cost).  This bought the dish to an ultimate new level. Enhancing the sweetbreads and making the sauce even more luscious. You're not just getting this tiny small amount shaved on the top like you do when Parmesan is added ontop of pasta. It was coated in fine shavings ensuring that it covered the entire feuillite, so with every bite you took the flavour remains bold, and it helped for those who choose to share like us as no one can fuss over who got more truffle.

If you are not sure what truffles are, they are a subterranean mushroom. The Black truffle is often found at the base of hazelnut trees, often extracted from under ground by the snout of a pig. With it being amongst the fungi family, it's quiet earthy but has a more smoother texture to a mushroom. It's flavours are delicate but strong and is really only used in dishes in moderation due to the strength of flavour as well as price. Truffle's are an extremely high priced ingredient for anyone, so to value its flavours and to use to enhance a dish is important.

Mains were also astronomical. Both the lamb and the beef were beautifully cooked and was a melt in your mouth moment.  Eye fillet served with poached prunes, white onion puree and pancetta. Delicately cooked with the smoothest sticky jus we have had in a long time. The flavours highlighted the eye fillet and made for a most enjoyable dish. Balanced well with the prunes and soft onion puree there was nothing on this dish that shouldn't  have been there. A surprise of small potato like pillows added that hint of texture which also lifted the dish.

The lamb chosen to be cooked rare was just as divine. Accompanied with a persillade, pomme boulangere and dried tomatoes it was a solid yet delicious meal. Persillade is similar to a stuffing of a combination of parsley, garlic and herbs. With it encasing the lamb it kept all the tender juicy flavours of the meat and added the additional herb flavours to add extra depth. The pomme boulangere is as we know it a potato gratin. Thin slices of potato coated in creamy smooth sauce and finished with baked cheese. Who can really say no to that??? The dried tomatoes I must say were magnificent. Even though the were small individual tomatoes scattered on the plate this little things were bursting with flavour. I had to keep my eye on Paul, as he kept on stealing them from my plate..... I did however show him how much I really loved him when I gave him my last one.

To complete our evening it was only fitting to order some true French feeling desserts, so Souffle and Lemon tart were the choice of completion. A caramelised Lemon Tart served with poached rhubarb, cognac and orange clotted cream. Now for those who know me this was not my dessert but Paul's. It was delicately plated and the caramelised top was like a creme brulee a perfect toffee like coating that went through to a citrus explosion. Tasting on its own it was very tart for me when I tried but the cream did mellow it out a lot which if eating alone would need it. The rhubarb did add another dimension to cut through such an explosion of citrus. But hey...... It's a lemon tart right so it has to be profound lemon flavour.

The Souffle was mine, it's a weakness just like pancakes. If it's on the menu it's instantly ordered without question. Chocolate souffle with honeycomb and vanilla bean ice cream. A little disappointed unfortunately with the souffle I must say. It was perfectly cooked however Intense in chocolate using a rich almost 70% cocoa which did make it a little difficult to eat due to it's overdosing richness. But chocolate lovers would enjoy for sure. The honeycomb was delish but the ice cream seemed to have a little freezer burn on it, not smooth but gritty. It was nice but unfortunately not the best I have tasted.

Mr Mason is filled with richness and styled perfectly as a French Brasserie. We enjoyed our evening immensely and I was glad I could continue in my Birthday celebrations. The meals are exquisite and great value for money. You wouldn't leave disappointed. Going during the weekdays can become loud due to being in the business district, so if you are after a romantic dinner I suggest the weekend would be advisable. Otherwise Casual dinner with great food and wine go anytime you like.

I'm glad I returned and got the true feel for what they have to offer, and I'm surly going to be back again. Look out for their promotions as something like showcasing truffles it's a great way to experience something new and exciting.


Mr Mason
Shop 10, 530 Collins Street
Melbourne
9614 4500