I am so so lazy, so so lazy. I went to Grossi about 2 weeks ago and left pretty annoyed, but I've waited this long to rant. Perhaps for good reason as the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got, but I'm passed that crazy phase and now I can write with absolute clarity.
Indeed, the restaurant oozes opulence of a time gone by and the food, at times, reaches stratospheric highs. The ingredients speak for themselves, angel hair pasta with a generous serving of white truffle from Alba anyone?
But what was the biggest disappointment of the night was definitely the service. Lack lustre, on the cusp on arrogant. Yes arrogant. It was incredibly disappointing that as I was about to enter the restaurant I was greeted by a doorman who asked "Cellar Bar? This way this way". Before I even had a chance to understand what he was saying, and when I replied "No, I have reservations at the restaurant" I received a response of "Well I asked you if it was Cellar Bar!". I mean seriously - I had a shit day at work, so you really just pissed me off some more and maybe you should stop ushering me towards the Cellar Bar and SLOW THE HELL DOWN. More on the service later!
Anyway, I digress - we started with the stock standard "gift from Guy", a potato soup. Thanks Guy. It was nice.
The first of our degustation was zucchini flowers with olives and some other rif raf (it's really hard to remember 2 weeks later!). However, the texture was fantastic, nice crunchy exterior with silky soft filling and flowers.
Next was the black rice risotto with moreton bay bugs, with a parmesan sabayon. I love black rice, I love risotto, I love bugs, and I love parmesan - so I knew we would be onto a winner. The risotto was perfectly textured, with a nice touch of the bugs being fried. The deep saltiness of the parmesan sabayon added a nice depth to the dish.
The dish of the night, the hero of the night, and perhaps one of the top dishes for me for the year, would have to be the "white truffle from Alba" dish. We had it with angel hair pasta and it was so SO worth it. This was not on the set menu and was a supplement which I repeat, worth it.
Now back to the service, before I talk about the dish, given this was a $110 supplement, it was intensely disappointing that I firstly thought the truffle would be shaved onto an existing dish (like many many places do), instead it was a separate dish - which is fine too. However, I indicated I would like it on "the risotto". The waiter who was taking our order, which I note, must be one of the "special-i-only-take-orders waiters", neglected to explain this to us. For some, and reason (perhaps he asked when we wanted the dish - er when the risotto comes out?), I realised that we would be eating two risottos one after another and so modified our order to the angel hair pasta instead - why we want to eat 2 risotto dishes in quick succession, especially a degustation meal? Then to be prompted with an arrogant "one, two? one or two?" This just annoyed me - at $110 for this dish alone, I expect far better and more intuitive service. This wouldn't happen at Jacques Reymond! Yes, I know, I am being a little precious but f***, service just really annoys me!
Anyway, thats my rant so onto the positive. If you've ever had black truffles before, you will know that the aroma and intensity instantly fills the room. White however, explodes with its perfume and flavour. The simplicity of the dish showcased what a phenomenal ingredient it is - and despite the sad service, this was a truly memorable dish to be savoured.
With a dish like the white truffle, the following dishes had a tough task to really standing up to the highs of the pasta dish. The next one was a pigeon dish with a ravioli of the leg meat. The ravioli, was slightly tough, perhaps could have been cooked a little more and I was definitely not friends with the giant cous cous - they were mini bullets, tough, flavourless and added nothing to the dish other than a rather annoying textural component.
The beef was nice, but unmemorable. Hence, I can't quite remember what it tasted like. It was definitely not as sophisticated as some other beef dishes that I've had this year.
The dessert had decadence stamped all over it. Chocolate sauce and soft soft souffle. Ultra sweet, ultra indulgent, with the final bites resulting in a sugar tingle in your mouth. Good to start, not so good to finish.
The food at Grossi was generally good. The white truffle dish was phenomenal. But the service, the attitude, the feel of the place lacked sincerity or regard for the customer. I am not King, but I'm paying, so don't give me attitude. If I'm ordering a $110 dish, tell me what I'm ordering and don't act like we're causing you emotional grief.
Good to try (if you must), but for the price point which it is positioned, there are a myriad of restaurants in Melbourne that are better for the food, and most definitely for the service.
Grossi Florentino, the Restaurant, 80 Bourke Street, Melbourne