Adam and I have been together for a year now, something that many people may respond “pffffffffft” to but to me it IS a big deal as this has been my longest relationship ever. To celebrate such an important occasion, we went to Scusami to celebrate. We were planning on making a huge night over this but because I’ve been ill lately, we decided that dinner would be enough. Which is why I’m blogging at 10:40pm on a Saturday night. Booooo. But let’s not dwell on that.
The reason why we chose Scusami was because Adam loves Italian and because it was in the CBD. Figuring that we might be going to a show or something afterwards, we wanted to have dinner in a central location (of course, me being sick means that there was no show to get to but anyway…). Secondly, Linda recommended this place because it’s her favourite restaurant so I decided to see if she was right.
We arrived at 6pm when the place was still quiet. Service was warm, welcoming and very attentive. This will be important later on.We were seated at an awesome table by the window, just under a gas lamp so we did not need our jackets. Brilliant. We ordered some lemon squash and were given some water as we pondered over the menu. No alcohol for me because, like I said, I was sick and said that much to the waiter. We both ordered an entree and a main each as well as a side dish of braised spinach ($12.50) and then proceeded to admire the breathtaking Yarra views and people-watch. We got our complimentary bread with one of the nicest-tasting olive oils I’ve seen (I tried to peek at the label on the bottle but they scratched out the brand. Huh) and waited for what was to come. Our food came pretty quickly though before I started getting pissy:
My entree: Linguine with king prawns ($26-29, can’t remember. It was definitely in the high 20s). Fresh home-made linguine was delicately placed on a huge white plate and spun with a tomato and garlic-based sauce. There was also a hint of chilli in the sauce which gave it that extra kick but without sending me to panic mode (as I am not a fan of chilli) and the basil also gave it a fresh touch. Two HUGE prawns sat atop the mountain of pasta. They weren’t kidding when they said that they were king prawns… they were big enough to be the king of some underwater colony or something.
Adam’s entree: Papardelle with rabbit ragu (also can’t remember the price but it was similar to mine). Adam prefered my entree to his but I think I prefered his one. Both were very very great dishes but the papardelle was a bit more interesting to me. Tender bits of rabbit and a rich stew of peppercorns, basil and beans went well with the delicate pasta ribbons, so good that they could have only been homemade.
My main did not come cheap as it was a hefty $56. They called it “Medaglioni di Manzo” and I have no idea what it means, despite having learnt Italian in primary school but on the left, there is a Jerusalem artichoke skin (a vegetable which, personally speaking, is a tad underrated). Inside it, there is a mixture of chopped artichoke, black truffles and foie gras while the rest of the artichoke is pureed into a smooth white cloud on the right (ohh YUM!). In the middle are some slices of wagyu beef served medium rare and resting on top of some wild mushrooms. Sounds so … fancy, right? I liked it, but I wasn’t sure if I was delighted with it… if you know what I mean. Everything was done wonderfully, the beef cooked exactly the way I liked it, the truffles were flavoursome and the little ball was a joy to eat … but you know there is something not exactly right when the most exciting thing on the plate was the little white foam on the right. (Or maybe it’s just me and my insane obsession with Jerusalem artichoke)
Adam’s main was much simpler (read: less attractive, bwaha!). For $49, he got half a roasted duck with a very very rich sauce of merlot grappa with wittlof lettuce and braised onions. To be honest, I can’t say that I was a fan of this dish. It was way too sweet and too rich for my liking. I think Adam felt the same way, he downed his water pretty quickly while eating his main.. as well as downing half of my water!
A baked apple tart was topped with a rich green apple puree (which happened to be blood-red). It was accompanied with some pistachio ice-cream, placed on top of some Persian fairy floss. All for $18. I guess it looked pretty enough but I just found the puree too overpowering and too rich for my liking so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. For me, a dessert should be light to cleanse my palate rather than so bloody rich so that I needed to have coupious glasses of water to break it down.
So we ate the desssert. And waited for Adam’s coffee. That should have only taken 90 seconds to make. It only came after Adam told a passing waiter that we were waiting on a coffee and even then, it took them another 5 minutes to bring out. And when it did come, Adam wasn’t very impressed. Being a coffee “expert”, he could immediately tell that it had been sitting on the counter for quite some time and that the beans were burnt. After one sip, I agreed that the coffee wasn’t that spectactular either. And we paid $4.50 for it. Pffft, may as well get something for Starbucks. Similar quality, but at least you only have to wait 2 minutes for it.Given that Scusami‘s prices are on the higher end of the spectrum, we were expecting to pay over $200 for the meal (and we had to account for the side dish and the dessert that we weren’t planning to have), but we were happy when we saw that it was just under $200. Still, it was a pretty expensive meal for just the two of us. I mean, at Bottega I remember paying around $250ish for four people, and we each had alcohol and dessert too. So yes, $200 for a similar amount of food for just the two of us seemed a bit steep but I wasn’t really surprised. Southgate location = high overheads. Need to get the money somehow. And besides, we were both very full so I shouldn’t complain (my stomach still hurts at the moment!).So anyway, we decided to pay cash so that I didn’t have to use my card. Gave the waiter $200 and told him to keep the change. He said “thank you”, not in a nice way but in a “geee $2.50 change, you may as well not have given us anything” sarcastic way. Hell, I could have kept it for myself but I was being nice by giving him a small “tip” even though the service we got post-mains was pretty awful. Overall, the Scusami experience was a mixed bag. If we had left after the mains were cleared away, I would have rated it highly. But given that we had to sit through slow and appalling service throughout dessert made the dial steer closer towards the “pissed off” end of the mood scale and away from the “happy” end. On the other hand, the entrees were amazing and that alone MAY entice me to come back again. Maybe.
That and the Jerusalem artichoke foam thingy. Mmmmmm.