Thursday, 4 December 2008

Lenna, take 2

The work Christmas Dinner was held last night at Lenna – a place where I was returning to eat in trepidation.

If you remember my last visit to Lenna was a direct result of what I deemed to be an extremely tough review in The Mercury by GP. I went along there the week after Graeme’s review with the specific purpose of disproving his claims, and intended writing about my experience later on this blog.

I was astounded (and devastated) when I found my experience there matched Graeme’s, and I had to publicly say that.

Hence my hesitant feelings of last night.

But it was fine, in fact it was impressive. Lenna more than managed to redeem themselves in Rita’s humble opinion.

It was a private function with a set menu with 3 choices on each of the 3 courses. I chose the Tasmanian Ocean Trout Gravlax (Lenna trout gravlax, spinach & horseradish roulade, brioche crouton and chilli oil dressing) for entrée; Groenwald’s Chicken Breast (free range chicken breast supreme, potato galette, spinach, snow peas, white wine and grape sauce) for mains, then finished off with Tasmanian Apple Tart (apple frangipan tart, raspberry sauce & King Island double cream).

The choices themselves were a fine cross section of foods which encompassed most people’s tastes. My food was excellent. The roulade, which (I have to come clean and admit) I ordered with the most fear, was beautiful. The horseradish/cream cheesey filling which was rolled inside the roulade was perfectly “horseradished”. This can be the most boring and mundane dish out, and I’ve had it quite a few times over the years where it has indeed been quite unremarkable, but Lenna’s was definitely not unremarkable. The combination of tastes was well matched, and I loved it, so was eagerly awaiting the mains.

The chicken breast, which I consider another test case where a restaurant can quite easily take the boring and predictable way out, was also a fine match of flavours, with the grape sauce completing it along with the way they’d cooked the breast itself.

The apple tart wasn’t that startling but to finish off the meal it was absolutely fine.

The service was excellent, with our two waitresses complementing each other, and working together in tandem very well – something relatively rare in todays Gen Y generation. I was seriously impressed.

So – Lenna – you’re a star. You’ve regained your footing on the Rita-scale and Head Chef Graham Smith is to be heartily congratulated.
Posted on by Rita


ut si said...

Fateful force also conspired against these pigs:
Enough to bring a tear to the eye of un cochon amoureux.
What's the latest on Boks bacon Rita?

Rita said...

I had a look at that site ut si, and recommend Lee Christmas does too.
Don't know what's the latest with Boks, as I took them off my web site, and haven't bought it since our blog discussion about the standard going down appreciably.
I have to say I'm fighting bacon withdrawls but I'm winning (today)!! God I miss my bacon though!

Jess said...

Rita, go to Salamanca market and get some of the bacon from the Bruny Island Cheese stand. The bloke was telling me it is made from Berkshire pigs fed on the whey from the cheese and is made without any nasty chemicals like other bacon. It was the real thing... THE BEST bacon I have ever tasted!! And I am a bacon snob. Go early though, it was already sold out when I went back last week to get some more. Their sausages were amazing too.

Rita said...

Thanks for the hot tip Jess. I will definitely get down there. That'll be the Nick Haddow-affiliated stand I presume. And that would also take care of my bacon withdrawls!

Carte Noire said...


I'm SO glad you were more impressed with Lenna this time; although (as I've mentioned previously) we all appreciated your opinion before, we were certainly disappointed we failed to excite your palate and your culinary sensibilities! Although I'm no longer F&B manager(still work there though, albeit in a different role!) I'm rapt you enjoyed our fare this time around. The dishes you chose are from our Banqueting package yes(and not the restaurant menu)?? I always found that providing top-notch banqueting food is a bit more challenging than a la carte, although I'm no chef...

Carte Noire

Rita said...

Carte Noir - thanks so much for your comments. You're absolutely correct to point out that I ate function food not Alexanders Restaurant food, and therein lies even more proof of Lenna's culinary skills, because I agree with you when you say that those are the menus (& clients) that are more challenging. I was extremely interested to read the menu (and associated choices). I found it, as I said in the review, an excellent cross-section designed to appeal to most tastes, and at an appropriate standard for a venue of that ilk.

I look forward to a return visit to Alexanders next year.