I’d read somewhere that well regarded fine dining restaurant Ides offered regular menu testing evenings where you get a look at some soon-to-arrive-on-the-menu dishes and/or some more experimental stuff. This sounded like a decent idea to me not least because the menu is offered at $70 so is a relatively inexpensive way to find out what the place is all about, first hand.
The theme for tonight’s selection was spring greens. Given I’ve probably not been keeping up my five a day too effectively on this trip this sounded like a very welcome thing for me to eat for an evening.
I started with a glass of Champagne and added their optional snacks ($8 each). These were an iced cos lettuce wedge topped with crumb and chilli and a fantastic rock oyster. These were lovely.
The first course proper was asparagus served with various forms of garlic – a dressing, wild garlic flowers etc – with a puree of watercress. This had excellent complexity with layers of flavours, textures and viscosities coming together for extremely impressive forkfuls.
We then had a fish course of toothfish with sugar snap peas, both as whole peas and as a julienne of the pods atop the steamed fish. In many ways this reminded me of the fish I had at Shisen Hanten although this was a rather more accomplished and unified dish. I enjoyed it muchly.
The main course was a flavourful beef shortrib with broccoli stems, toasted pinenuts and a broccolini veloute. This was good but not to the standard of rest of the dishes. It was fresh and well-seasoned but lacked a killer element to elevate things.
Dessert was a fresh and invigorating combination of compressed apple, fennel and maple ice cream in an elegant sugar cage. It was a lovely sweet treat to conclude an enjoyable meal.
As is emerging as a trend in my Melbourne dining experiences, the drinks pairings were innovative and highly pleasing. There were some great local drops with a good amount of funky natural wines.
So overall, it was great to include Ides on my culinary tour of Melbourne. I found a slick and stylish operation with mood-lit elegance and highly accomplished cooking. Make sure to visit soon.
Blythe scores Ides
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for service
4.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 17/20
I ate: cos lettuce wedge topped with chilli and crumb; oyster; asparagus with layers of garlic and watercress puree; toothfish with sugarsnaps; beef shortrib, broccoli, toasted pinenuts and broccolini veloute; fennel salad, compressed apple, maple ice cream, sugar cage
I drank: Champagne, pedro ximenez, Tenerife sherry, funky syrah, funky funk, syrah, cab sauv/merlot, muscadelle
I wore: action footwear
Total bill: $173
Address: 92 Smith Street, Collingwood VIC 3066