Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Palms

For my birthday dinner last week, we went to The Palms. We ended up having the whole restaurant to ourselves, which was really nice, (it was a Tuesday night, but D likes to tell everyone that he booked out the whole restaurant) and which explains how the waitress knew D by name (his was the only reservation) when we walked in.

The food was really good. I would rank The Palms in the top three of the restaurants that I've visited in Dunedin, the other two being Bell Pepper Blues & Two Chefs (This establishment closed when the proprietors decided to take a hiatus and travel Europe. They promised to re-open in a different location in Dunedin the following year. This was two years ago, and I have yet to hear anything of their re-opening anywhere. Good thing we still have The Palms and Bell Pepper Blues).

Here's (pictured below) what we had. Everything was really good, but for me, the STAR was the lemon tart that I had for dessert. You should have seen me. Anyone who knows me knows how I get when I'm having really good food. There's a lot of "MMMMmmm"-ing and lip-smacking and "aaaaaahh"-ing and eye closing. Haha...I know it sounds ridiculous, but that's what good food does for me!

Before we had our starters, the chef sent over some complimentary kumara and leek soup in shot glasses. It was alright, but I didn't particularly enjoy it. So I won't put up a picture of that.

D's entree: Four Mushroom Risotto - Risotto of Arborio rice with a quartet of mushroom garnished with fresh parmesan and avocado oil

[Comment: Had a small bite of this. Good, but personally preferred the duck risotto at Yellow Train. Maybe it's because I don't like too much mushroom or cheese.]

My entree: House Smoked Salmon - Chef’s smoked salmon rested on semi dried tomato and cous cous salad with balsamic reduction and toasted pine nuts

[Comment: This was SO, SO good. I don't usually like smoked salmon but I loved this one because it was so well done. The salmon was delicious, chunky, had a lovely smooth, smokey flavour, was not at all fishy and went beautifully with the balsamic reduction. I also happen to love pinenuts in salads. Not a big fan of cous cous, but that's just a personal taste. I quite enjoyed the cous cous salad here, until about halfway through, then I got a little bored of it. I would have had more of the balsamic reduction sauce all over the salmon and the cous cous if I it had my way.]

D's main: Angus Pure Beef Fillet - Angus pure beef fillet, thyme and smoked cheddar potato whip, caramelised onion, walnut and bacon butter, sticky jus

[Comment: Good steak! Almost ordered this because the "smoked cheddar potato whip" sounded yummy.]

My main: Venison Tenderloin - Totara Hills venison, light aromatic spice rub, crisp polenta, garlic and onion ragout, roast beetroot roullie

[Comment: Good meat, and although the beetroot roullie complemented it well, the sight of bright pink creamy stuff on the meat was a little off-putting. I discovered here that I don't like crisp polenta. Too spongy for my taste.]

D's dessert: Indulge in Chocolate - Decadent chocolate and pecan brownie with hot fudge sauce and smooth white mousse

[Comment: Totally DELICIOUS!!! I much preferred this to the heavy, heavy chocolate tarts that are usually served at these places for their 'chocolate indulgence'. With those, I usually get sick of it half way through, but this one, was nice and chocolatey without being too heavy. We thought the white thing on the top was ice-cream, and thought it was rather peculiar that ice-cream had such a spongy texture, but now I see (the description off the menu again) that it wasn't ice-cream. Still, I've never had spongy mousse (till then!).]

My dessert: Lemon Tart - Lemon tart with fejoa vodka sorbet and berry coulis

[Comment: This was ABSOLUTELY, mouth-wateringly DELICIOUS! Superb. The lemon tart had a nice firm, but soft custardy texture with a lovely, perfect lemony flavour. I say this because, while I am a citrus-freak, I often find that when it comes to citrus desserts (especially sorbets), people tend to go overboard with the intensity of the flavour and it just ruins the whole thing. The berry coulis and the fejoa vodka sorbet (OH, the sorbet!!! *swoon*) complemented the tart so well, I can't find any suitable adjective to describe it. Haha! I think I can safely say that the sorbet was the best that I've ever had. I'm drooling just trying to remember what it tasted like. It was light and tasty and not at all over-powering (as has been my experience with sorbets). I loved it. Like I said, the Lemon Tart was the star of the night.]

Got the descriptions off the menu online. You can check out their website here.

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