Sunday, 7 February 2010

Fleurty's is flourishing


With memories of GP’s recent, reasonably damning commentary on his attempts to eat at Fleurty’s at Birches Bay (just past Woodbridge), I met a friend yesterday there for a long, end-of-summer lunch.

We elected to share a platter ($36 for two) of what appeared to us to be a platter consisting of a reasonable cross-section of the native food product Fleurty’s specializes in.

I have to tell you we were hard pressed to decide which, of all products in front of us on the platter, was our favourite. As we lingeringly grazed our way round and round the platter, listening to the two laid-back, calming guitar players serenading us and gently soothing away the worries of the previous week, and taking in the combined ambience of the peacefulness of the Channel, the warm afternoon and the lack of urgency about the general atmosphere there (a good thing, not a criticism!), we were soothed into a general feeling of security, bonhomie and all’s-well-with-the-world.

We gossiped, without taking a breath, for four hours, then ambled on with the rest of our lives, content that no subject remained untouched and undiscussed by us over lunch!


On the platter were, from the front clockwise, oven-crispened bread, Ashgrove pepperberry cheddar, Tasmanian brie, Middleton quince paste, Tongola goats cheese sprinkled with local olive oil and ground native pepperberry, saltbush dukka blended with oil, chilli glazed quandongs, anise myrtle figs, house cured salmon in lemon myrtle and dill, then in the middle, house tapas oil with sticky balsamic. We were also supplied with a separate plate containing water crackers, and roughly torn bread for dipping purposes. Rocket, tomato wedges, cucumber and fresh basil leaves also garnished the platter providing light relief from the perfection of the above-named products.

At first I hesitantly tested each sample, slowly letting the flavours progress, then going on to the next sample. In my mouth a new explosion of textures and flavours was maintained each time I experienced a new taste. It was a most magic experience, and one I most highly recommend.

Right up there for favourites with me was the salmon. I find salmon these days pretty ho-hum. I’ve ‘been there and done that’ with salmon over many years now, and honestly don’t think I can find anything remotely interesting or stimulating about it any more – until yesterday’s salmon at Fleurty’s. The flavours that assaulted my palate as the salmon made its way to my tummy were absolutely stunning, and I truly wanted to bring a whole salmon treated in this way home with me to snack on for the next few days.

The Tongola cheese combined with the quince paste was a splendid combo, added to pleasure of enjoyment of the dukka dish, the quandongs, the figs and the oil/balsamic mix.

We took a stroll round the property checking out their plantings, then resumed positions for Round 2 (dessert) which we couldn’t really tackle but were too curious not to order. They kindly provided us with a plate containing a cross-section of 5 desserts on offer yesterday: tiramisu, a plum cake, a cherry cheesecake, pepperberry ice cream and lemon myrtle and macadamia ice cream. All were beautiful but we ended up not being able to finish. We DID give it a valiant try though!


The service was perfect, thanks mainly to Nadine and Amy. Amy in particular was most helpful and friendly, demonstrating her thorough product knowledge unstintingly each time we requested her assistance.

I absolutely loved the whole experience and can’t reinforce enough that you should call, book and get down there soon to do exactly as Bron and I did yesterday – graze long and slow on the deck, maximizing this late summer warmth.
Posted on by Rita
63 comments

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Always wanted to try there food. It's something a bit different. A couple of things I don't like though. In general I hate the word house. It seems so 80's and 90's and usually means (not saying at Fleurty's just to clarify) "not particularly good but we have to sell it somehow" product. That dessert plate looks terrible and the style of plating looks like something out of the 80's. I saw that same plating visiting my grandad in hospital not long ago. Looking forward to trying it though

Anonymous said...

Sorry dined there three time and each has been worst than the last. Food good but service and attitude atrocious

Anonymous said...

LOL... I just looked at their menu and it has "House Made" Soup. Well I bloody well hope so. I'd be a little disappointed if they cracked into a tin of Campbell's Soup! It would seem to be a theme with "house specialty sauce" and "house cured". They also seem to like "topped with" way too much i.e once is enough. And the cake selection has the abhorrent 80's styly "served with berry coulis and a choice of cream or ice cream". LOL!!! Hilarious.

Rita said...

It would appear one or two of you seem to have something against the 80's. What's the deal with that?
Can you suggest an alternative way Fleurty's can tell you on the menu that they have treated the salmon their own way?
I realise they've had a tough time, and haven't met people's expectations but can we please try to be helpful and productive here with our comments about the menu, food and service?

Anonymous said...

Because it's the 10's. That's the deal.

There's plenty of ways they could tell people the salmon was done by the kitchen. How about the waitstaff mentioning it? What about calling it Fleurty's Smoked Salmon. I don't know. House was left behind by any restaurant or cafe worth their salt 20 years ago. I'm in agreeance with the "House Made Soup". Why? I would be seriously concerned if they were serving packet mix cup a soup.

___________________________________

Helpful comments...

Get rid of the word House. It's a horrible word and not many people take you seriously with that.

Fix the soup wording...

Learn to plate without it looking like something from Women's Weekly 1986.

Get rid of the coulis. That went out with fluorocolor shirts, mullets and parachute pants. Try something different like a jam or pickle

Get rid of the icing sugar, it's messy, looks terrible and makes me feel like someone with a crack habit broke their bag open...

Try a couple of nice cheeses instead. I've had both the brie and the cheddar before and they aren't very good. At all. They look like enormous slabs judging by the size of the tomato, lemon and the like on the platter. I may just build a house out of them. Why not get some nice Grandvewe or BICC cheeses instead?

Get rid of the flowers... I'm not even sure why it is there.. It all looks a little bunched.
__________________________________
You seem a little upset Rita that people have an opinion on food styling, wording and not liking the 80's. Didn't mean to offend...

Rita said...

Anon 3.42 - I'm not upset at all that you have an opinion on food styling etc. I'm delighted you have commented, however when I write whatever I write about places, I provide you, the reader, with as much info, and background, to why I'm saying whatever I'm saying. If I'm being negative, I try hard to explain or justify why it is that I wrote what I did.

When people comment, we don't get the full story, just someone saying "Yuk, the picture looks awful", or generalising about what they consider is amiss.
That's why I think it would be more beneficial if people can be more specific with their comments by counter-balancing their comments with suggestions, such as you have done above.
I thank you for your additional clarification.

Anonymous said...

Foremans resigned from PB!
That's four chefs in 3.5 years. WTF? Is the place doomed?

Christina said...

True!!! bloody hell! WTF! Rita what do you know?
Any way I've never thought about the use of the word "house" before.
Always used to steer away from "house" wine as it used to nearly always be from a cask, that may have been the 80's though.
No such phobia these days, as long as "house" is accompanied by a short description, or a question to the wait staff usually sets my mind at rest.
Always hated "house" music though!
Bloody crap that is!!!
Didn't even know what it meant til the early 90's and, in my opinion it was just used to describe crap music that no one really wanted to hear.
Maybe I can understand the aversion to "house" if I use that analogy!

Anonymous said...

You're welcome Rita. I don't mind clarifying if there is any questions... Just ask!

Rita said...

Thanks all. Christina - that's fine if anyone wants to help you with rabbit instructions here - goes without saying.
I haven't a clue what happened with Paul. Would love to know though.....
I could guess, but that's all it would be....

Anonymous said...

Have a guess then...

My guess is either management issues or as some would say a "brick" fell or inverted comma and menu grammar problems.

Anonymous said...

Confirmation?

No great loss. I wonder who they will replace him with... Reckon his Sous chef will follow yet again? I've heard from a number of people that either he or management haven't been happy for a while. Sources aren't great though.

Anonymous said...

It is just like Days of our Lives - ongoing, never ending and quite boring really. A lot of his contemporaries can now say "I told you so". Sorry for the "". All sources can say is that it won't be a place starting with M. That means no Meadowbank, Moorilla, Montys or even Marque IV.

Christina said...

I'd like to wish Paul the best of luck whatever his next venture may be, if this rumour turns out to be fact.
I'll have to agree to disagree with anon 5.32 and 5.53.
I'm sure a man with Paul's talent will never be wasted.
Thanks for letting me use your site for rabbit info Rita, we may get a good one for the slow cooker.
Thought I may have seen you there this morning, did you attend?

Rita said...

Hi Christina - no, didn't go along this morning I'm afraid, but am glad you got all those goodies there. I was busy composing the post about yesterday's Fleurty's lunch!

Anonymous said...

foreman seems to move about so much

Anonymous said...

No one can apparently cope with the custodianship of the Peppermint Bay kitchen if todays Mercury is correct with Paul Foremans resignation.
Why does this place consistantly underperform & go through its head chefs so frequently? Some of them have had great track records elsewhere but when they get to PB it all goes pear shaped?
Surely these are qusetions that need to be answered?
Great location, stunning building some big money behind it...

Anonymous said...

He does move around a lot. I was going to say that also but I was worried about the wrath from other posters.

I've spoke to a couple of ex staff (2nd & 4th year Apprentices as well as a senior member) and apparently management is a nightmare. They want a lot but don't provide the resources to do it. Kitchen management is also an issue. Apparently after one of them left, they went back to say hi and the kitchen was disgusting. Foils not change for months, dirty oil, disorganised coolrooms and directionless kitchen. This was after one of the last head chefs left before they got a new one. I won't say between which two chefs (it was in the last three) but it seems a common theme. Apparently some of the sous/chef de partie's weren't holding the place together well, either not caring, too young or lacking leadership skills.

Anonymous said...

How do you create a million dollar business?

Start off with a 10 million dollar business and leave PB management in charge for 12 months.

Anonymous said...

Why dont they just close?

I have had nothing apart from poor food, crap service and bad experiences at PB.

hrv said...

I do feel for Paul. It must have been a big issue to make him want to leave. They do seem to go through staf quickly.

I wish Paul the best of luck for his future endeavours.

steve said...

It's sad that Paul has resigned as I thought if anyone could turn PB's kitchen fortunes around it would have been him.

But at the end of the day if you aren't happy in a job, it takes real courage to change one's situation & face the implications of that decision. Life's too short to endure something that isn't for you but you'll feel better for it in the long run, even if there is some short term pain.

I wish Paul well in whatever he plans to do next.

Anonymous said...

Yes now he will go work for some other top tassie restaurant and then resign after a few months.... just wants media attention!!!

Tassiegal said...

Interesting news if it is true. The repercussions could also be interesting. Funny though as the last lot of people I know who did the boat tour RAVED about the food, the quality, the quanity, the taste...they were over the moon - and were Sydneysiders to boot. Hmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

I knew before everyone!!!

It's defo true.

Barry said...

Good on ya last anon wanker-bring something to the discussion not your piss weak hand on dick 'Im first' masturbation-
Well done! You knew first!

Anonymous said...

I heard they've already got a replacement which suggests he might have been 'pushed' to make way for the right person?

Anonymous said...

You do not have to like someone to learn from them .... People like PF have lifted the standards of food in this state.
As for the reason 'Why' - try working for a collective where the accountant controls food costs and staffing levels. All chefs know that promises made often evaporate once the job is started.


CR

Tassiegal said...

Wonder if the staff that went from Montys on finishing their apprenticship will stay or follow Paul?

Anonymous said...

CR, many chefs simply dont understand that restaurants are not 'playthings' in which to excercise their egos. They must be run effectively to make a profit & this means playing as part of a team. Some chefs make the routine mistake of thinking its all about them & blame everyone else when in fact they just cant cope with budgets & costings. Every other industry works withing the confines set by accountants, why is it such a hard ask to expect chefs to do the same?
Simpel answer is many are not capable & most let their egos get in the way of absorbing sound business advice from professionals because they see it as someone telling what they can & cannot do.

Anonymous said...

Didnt SCumper work for that collective for four years how come he managed to do it for so long and nobody else can?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:48 - Spot on. It would seem to happen often. I've experienced that enough times working with chef's to know that it occurs regularly. A lot of chef's are deities in their own world...

Anon 10:52 - It's because Mr Cumper is one of the classiest chef's in the country. I think you can define a chef and person by the style of food they do to a certain extent...

Anonymous said...

Hi Rita--
Would just like to say...

WTF!!!! Why on earth would Hill Street grocer turn into an IGA? Does anyone have any ideas?

Anonymous said...

Why would Hill St turn into an IGA? Well I would guess it might have something to do with having the ability to buy general groceries at a cheaper rate (being part of the IGA buying group)?

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:48

Many of the very good chef's I have worked with are more than capable of working within defined financial budgets - in the case's where they have come a cropper it was often because they refused to compromise with quality. Accountants (and I know a few ) often have a week by week view of food cost,wages and overheads.
They are tasked with protecting the investors asset and often take a very short term view in regards to profit generation.


My experience has been that the pressure to keep wages down often leads the Exc Chef to cut kitchen cleaning and other non essential things first them food quality and lastly chef hours (in one place I worked they cut the aircon to the kitchen to save money).
Any Exc chef worth her/his weight will then jump ship - why would they want to be associated with a decline in quality.
After all they have a reputation to protect.


And as for IGA - why would you spend large amounts of money branding your self as independent and then flush it away like that.
Answer must be that the buying power exceeds the damage to the brand - more money in the owners pocket.
Interesting to watch how they sell it to the customer after being rabid about being different.

CR

Anonymous said...

re: Anon 3.42's comment below

[.."Try a couple of nice cheeses instead. I've had both the brie and the cheddar before and they aren't very good. At all. They look like enormous slabs judging by the size of the tomato, lemon and the like on the platter. I may just build a house out of them. Why not get some nice Grandvewe or BICC cheeses instead?"...]

First of all it was a platter for 2??? and we thoroughly enjoyed eating every last bit of cheese so I would have to disagree; it might help to apply some understanding of perspective to your comment and observe that the tomato is a half wedge.

..and as for this comment..
[Get rid of the flowers... I'm not even sure why it is there.. It all looks a little bunched.]

The flowers were yummy too.

Anonymous said...

lol.... build a house out of them! hahaha! so true... house made soup... how lame... i think what they are saying is quality over quantity. the flowers look pretty terrible btw. like a tropical thing in sunny tasmania

cant believe foreman left. surprised after gp' review in the mercury not long ago and his comments about another 12 months. has any one seen a confirmation yet

Anonymous said...

CR, 2.54.
Thats a very broad brush statement to make. So you are saying that an accredited finacial professional is not in the best position to make decisions about the viability of a business but the chef is?
I assume you have never been in a successful business because I would always listen to the accountant before the chef.

Thats such an old chestnut, 'the reduce costs & standards will slip', in fact its almost a threat. Chefs use it all the time to make excuses for the fact that they dont want or cant be bothered to examine their own managment styles or have then evaluated by someone not dazzled by their reputation, how deluded, meanwhile the business suffers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4.36


Cash flow does not lie but neither does it tell the full story!

Ok listen to the accountant before the chef and eat the same old tired food being served in this town - the tinned tomatoes are much cheaper but the taste of fresh tomatoes are far better - snip and serve is king.... in your world !
Hail the accountant.

CR

Anonymous said...

How irrational CR,
Yet again, you question chefs or restaurateurs about their procedure & you get a tirade.
Perhaps this is the norm in hospitality? Perhaps also is why people who question these self appointed authorities find themesleves on the shrap end of attack & sometimes abuse, like what was reported from Victoria where three men were found guilty of bullying.
Are you people so touchy that you not stand scrutiny of any kind?
Its so childish to react this way but maybe that is the standard response from hospo people anyway?

Anonomouse said...

Anon 4.03....

Are you the owner? If not, why not put your name to it? Because it would seem you have a vested interest in Fleurty's. Maybe I am reading into it too much though! LOL!

One thing, $36 for the platter would seem a lot. A couple of (so called) ordinary cheeses, some stuff blended with oil, 3 figs, 4 or 5 quandongs, some dried bread, a small amount of salmon and a bit of quince paste. Don't count the rocket - there is probably 20 pieces on the platter (about 80c at coles), half a tomato and a few pieces of cucumber.

I wouldn't pay.. let me rephrase that. I've had a lot better platters for a very similar price. I'd spend about $28 for that, based on what I've had elsewhere. For $36, I'd want less figs, quandongs and one less cheese. I'd want maybe some charcuterie products - even get the kitchen to do it. Call it house made... Joking! Maybe some pork rillettes, sausages or some cured or smoked meat. Maybe even make a parfait. Easy to do, a lot of those keep for ages and cheap to make. Instead of dried out bread, maybe some brioche.

As to the argument about chef vs accountant. I guess it depends. If the chef is producing really seasonal, simple, produce based food, and the restaurant isn't turning a profit, then I think either your costings are wrong, your paying too much for produce or your business practices are poor. For example free meals for friends, five finger discounts for the owner, poor staff management etc etc. If your producing really technical, modern food, and you aren't making a profit, it could be any of the above things as well as poor market segment choice, over confident chef or any number of things.

I guess I'd be looking at the end of week/month/year profits and then working with the chef each week to see what they can cut out. It can be as simple as preparing less food more often or it could be a deeper underlying issue. Chef's ego's do get in the way though sometimes. We are very giving, stubborn, heart on our sleeves people and that's not always a good thing

On bullying... I think there are still some chef's from the old school, European generation. It will slowly change, but I think it's a long way away. IMO though, bullying happens in this industry more than most others... Too often. Which is part of the reason this industry is so understaffed and gets a bad wrap.

Rita said...

Anonomouse - I think Anon 4.03 was my friend with whom I lunched at Fleurtys on Sat. I emailed her the link to my review (to her work email) so she could read it. I haven't spoken with her, but it sounds like her. So - not the owner.

Anonomouse said...

Ok... Have to wonder sometimes with so many anons if you know what I am getting at....

Anonymous said...

hill st has been an IGA member for 20 years, it's new requirements for all members to display it on the exterior of the business.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5.48-If you place is busy then you are doing something right yes? If not busy, oh yes I get it, the chef is way ahead of the curve, no one here is appreciative enough of their talent, cold comfort when you go broke.

For your kind, the public is always wrong, disinterested ,not engaged, ill educated & un sophisticated.

Ever join the dots & wonder why?
perhaps, just maybe its your product that isn't right?

OMG, yes it could be you?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that I understand which part you are talking about on Anon 5.48's post? Is it the chef vs accountant thing? I think it may be but I feel it could be expanded. Could you expand a little for the rest of us. I'm a little confused... Maybe I'm just reading it wrong?

Anonomouse said...

Anon 6.42

I'm not sure I like your tone... How about showing some respect and manners? It's not hard. I also have no idea what you are talking about... Learnt to write also...

Anonymous said...

anon 6.53
"Learnt to write also"
Oh erm yes, I suppose I understand what you are getting at. If you criticize it helps to be grammatically correct & are versed in the usage of spell-check otherwise you come across as a tool.

Anonymous said...

You have a go at someone's spelling mistake yet you come on here abusing other users??? And you can't seem to answer his/her question? Stop trolling... Anon 5:48 brings up some very good points anyway... You have yet to provide anything with substance.

Anonymous said...

Thanks anon 8.48....

You didn't need to defend me but thanks anyway.

Anon 7.46
I'm very sorry that I made a mistake. Please enlighten us with your knowledge, opinion and which part of my post you were actually talking about.... We are all interested to know, and how you fit in to the picture? Are you commenting about Fleurtys? Or the chef vs accountant/management thing. Are you an owner (whether of Fleurtys or part of the chef v management/accountant) or a customer or what? It would seem a few of us don't know. Unless you are "trolling" in which case get a life!

Anonymous said...

Hi all, just wanted to make a comment as to what i have heard about the PF situation. i have heard that he is leaving due to broken promises and problems with management. He was promised many things when he signed the contract that he never recieved. I also have Heard that he looked to get out of his peppermint Bay contract several months ago and go to a restaurant that started with M.

secondly i would like to have a say on the chefs v accountants thing. i think a lot of accountants like to look at the short term accounts, for example the weekly profit and loss, when in fact many retaurants operate on a much longer time from. take for example a buy 100 duck legs to confit that i plan to serve in three months time. or i buy a leg of wessex saddlebakc that a plan to make into a beautiful procuitto. the profit from these expenses will not be seen by the restaurant for up to a year yet the costs would have already been incured.

this is the problem i see with many large establishments where there is a senior management he is consistently trying to to cut the chefs expenses. for example i know of on large tasmanian restaurant where the management is pushing the chef to lower his food costs to 20% while at the same time lower his menu price and up the quality of his food

just my 2 cents

AB

Anonymous said...

Moorilla? That would be my guess... It had an opening (although it's been filled) at that time and would make sense...

Not surprised about broken promises though. I have heard similar things...

Anonymous said...

WORD IS PAUL HAS GONE UP NORTH TO RE OPEN FEEE AND MEEE

Jennifer Aniston said...

Yeah thats true. they have a sign on the door

Anonymous said...

Hey Rita -- What ever happened to there being a thing about food bloggers in the paper??

Rita said...

Your guess is as good as mine, Anon 1.43!

Nuf Sed said...

Fee and Me re-opening, yeah right.

Some of the comments on this blog are making Hobart Food for Thoguht look like a casting call for the Beverly Hillbillies remake, and that is not a good look for Ritas Blog!

People are bickering over nonsense minutiae that do not matter anyway.

Lots of continual whining and moaning - and in general no positive contributions to anything much at all.

Bloody hell.

Anonymous said...

Then why read it Muff Said?

Anonymous said...

food bloggers article was in the paper (Sunday Tas) about a month or so ago...

TJ

Anonymous said...

TJ... this probably sounds silly but it is actually ANOTHER article we are talking about....

Anonymous said...

Will rita go on the polytechnic strike?

Rita said...

Rita is flat out getting her head round the daily events of a totally different environment from previous work.

Anonymous said...

Decided to drop into Fleurtys one afternoon for coffee. It was 30 mins before closing. staff were not very welcoming and they had a five minute discussion with each other to decide whether it was too late to make coffee. Did not dare ask for a snack.........they would have had to have a conference about that one. Finally got coffee and it was cold.