Saturday, 24 October 2009

RVL reprise

Yeah, yeah – I’m prepared to cop the flak that will certainly come my way when I review my friend Steve’s Red Velvet Lounge (at Cygnet) evening menu again, but hey, that’s life, and I’m cool with it – so bring it on!

As obliquely referred to in yesterday’s post about Juiced Up at Kingston, I had booked dinner at RVL last night sheerly to indulge myself with some excellent food and company – a formula which no one in their right mind would ever refuse.

Before I go into more detail about the food at RVL, let me just hark back to previous (lengthy, arduous and possibly tedious) discussions we’ve had here on this blog on the topic of eating at places you’ve been to before, maybe quite a few times before, and got to know, and be recognized by, the operators of said business. You enjoy being recognized, and the fact that they know you slightly better than the average place you enter. You feel comfortable and relaxed there. You know exactly what to expect in regard to standard of food, service and cost. In other words, you have walked into the predictable situation of exactly what you yourself have chosen for your experience at that point in time.

The above scenario takes away a lot of the potential stress of any new experience in life. And the above also goes some way to explaining why I often feel quite guilty for re-visiting previously reviewed venues. A huge reason for starting this blog was to try to provide some background, and information as to what things are like at as many eating venues in Hobart, and surrounds, as I could, and to try to do this in as impartial a way as I could – leaving the ultimate decision as to where you might decide to eat with you – the diner-outer, but with you in a slightly more informed way than if you hadn’t read various people’s impressions here on this blog.

There are many places I feel totally at home in, and if I didn’t have this blog, along with the desire to eat at and talk about as many other places as I can, then I would be very happy continually going between my 4 or 5 mega-favourites, and never trying anywhere else.

So – last night’s eating out at RVL was me being self-indulgent. Tune out now if you don’t want to read me praising Steve’s food again………

Kel and I left the city at 2.00ish, on our way to the ultimate destination of RVL for dinner but meandering at various places of interest en route – well, we ARE girls who like nothing more than a bit of serious snooping, shopping and looking round at our environment!

After our late lunch at Juiced Up, we detoured many times and eventually made it to Cygnet a bit earlier than planned but more than happy to sit in the late afternoon sun outside RVL waiting for the more civilized eating time of 6.00 to arrive. Having contacts at RVL meant that staff observed us taking in the scenery and enticed us inside with promises of beautiful wine, and a thorough perusal of the night’s menu (on which best cobber Steve usually manages to delight me with at least two glaring spelling errors, and which he maintained his consistency with again last night!). We also gained the added bonus of Steve’s company for a while for a quick gossip, piss-take and catchup, before the other punters started arriving.

Steve’s menu is straight down the line with no flowery descriptions, or use of foreign languages to turn a simple plate of straightforward food into something sounding like you need a degree in algebra or formulae to interpret it. No artistic licence taken here – which I love! It’s not dumbed down either; it’s simply a matter-of-fact statement of what’s on offer today, listing all ingredients in the event of possible allergies, or dislikes.

We elected to have a Main and Dessert, instead of Entrée and Main as we might usually do, because Steve had told us what the desserts were, and they sounded to-die-for. Whilst selecting, we both decided that in an ideal world we would have also had the entrée of Tongola goats cheese tortellini, broad beans, asparagus, mint and artichokes ($15.90). Imagine our surprise when this very plate appeared on the table first up, courtesy of chef! It was superb. A simple statement of clean, fresh, local flavours. I’ve heard wankers say on TV about food that the dish ‘speaks for itself’ – well to add myself to that list of wankers, the food did indeed speak for itself! That's it pictured below.

For mains, Kel had the (pictured below) Potato gnocchi, blue cheese sauce, black mission figs, toasted walnuts ($23.90) which she said was magnificent. I had the best fish dish ever – Pan seared blue eye, radish, coriander, green olives, orange, preserved lemon, skordalia ($26.90). Unfortunately my photo of it is crap so I can’t add it here today, but take my word for it, the dish was absolutely brilliant. Every little morsel I ate took my breath away. For my palate, it was the most perfect dish ever. I won’t go into ecstacies describing the flavours – that’s what you’ve got an imagination for! Just look at the ingredients and envisage them all together in your mouth!

We desserted on Lemon meringue tart, ruby red grapefruit jelly, orange mint salad ($12.90) and Saffron poached pear, crème caramel, syrup ($12.90) – both of which topped off a sublime meal perfectly.

Also dining chez Steve’s last night was Elaine Reeves and partner, who looked to be enjoying their meals. It was nice to catch up with Elaine again, especially in such a relaxed environment. I noted with interest that Elaine ordered two entrees in place of entrée and main, for good reason – that Steve’s mains ARE large (as witnessed by my last review of RVL where I featured that half duck main course). Her first entrée was, wisely, the same one Kel and I had shared (the Tongola goats cheese tortellini), then she selected the Ortiz anchovies, devilled duck egg, grilled sourdough ($15.90). Top marks for presentation, by the way, Steve! (see pic below of half eaten devilled duck egg dish)

We trekked back to the city round 8.00 pm having had a fabulous day, topped off with a wonderful restaurant experience with people we know and love…..what more could you ask for in life?
Posted on by Rita


steve said...

Nice review! The money in the usual account then?

Rita said...

Cheers Steve!

Anonymous said...

Thats one pretty impressive Pear Steve.


Anonymous said...

What a pity your picture didn't make it to the page, Rita! Your readers will have to trust that the presentation was outstanding. An excellent dining experience.

Anonymous said...

Some are saying its the best eating experience in the Huon & Channel, so big congrats to Steve & his team