Albert Park Lake
Albert Park VIC 3206
+61 3 9682 5566
My birthday was well over two months ago, yet it’s taken me this long to finally blog about this dinner. It was a pretty eventful week for me personally too, so you can sort of understand why I’ve been putting this review off. But as someone once said, we must reflect on past incidents instead of burying them under piles of outdated Madison magazines under your bed in order to move on. Not that a lacklustre steak dinner the supposed lauded The Point restaurant is much cause for countless hours and hours of reflection, but you get what I mean – there’s no point leaving this post in my ‘to do’ folder and ignore it, while writing up other more exciting posts. Simply write this baby up, post it and move on. Simple. Anyway, enough of that – the point of this entry (haha, the point – geddit? geddit? GEDDIT?) was to tell you about my dinner, rather than offering glimpses into my personal life (though you’ll be able to tell from my tone in this post that the night wasn’t a very good one, but I digress). Hence, my lifejournal-esque diatribe ends here and out comes my inner Larissa Dubecki.
When (now ex-boyfriend) Adam asked me to come up with a list of places for my birthday dinner, The Point was something like fifth on the list. It may have been a hatted restaurant but friends have told me in the past that the food was mediocre at best, and not worth driving to Albert Park for. That’s why it was never on my priority list. After being told that there were no tables available at Momo and Donovan’s on the second Saturday of May, we were relieved when the dude at The Point told us that they were able to squeeze us in for an early dinner. Not bad, given that we were booking only a week in advance.
I’m sure the view of picturesque Albert Park Lake from second floor of the restaurant looks magnificent in daylight but sadly, we couldn’t see anything as it was dark. Never mind, we thought, as we were led past a group of noisy wedding guests and into a secluded area of the dining room.
Fresh, warm bread rolls from the oven promptly landed on our table as soon as we ordered our food. On the side, we were given French butter and also a lovely cream cheese spread that was seasoned with chives and ash salt. Delicious.
My glass of 2004 Atticus shiraz ($18) looked sexy as fruck, but too bad my crappy photo-taking skills and my lip gloss marks tampered it. In any case, the wine was a brooding, sexy, earthy mofertrucker (kinda like me, a Taurean, heh!) infused with the slightest hints of rose.
We received an amuse bouche of creamy crab salad with salmon roe. It was aight, bro.
My entrée was a single poached egg with soft polenta, black truffle and brioche crumbs ($27). Although this read more like a fancy breakfast dish, it was also the ideal starter for a blistering cold autumn night.
The egg, perfectly gooey and runny, meshed in tune with the perfectly cooked polenta. They were a bit skint on the brioche crumbs, but they provided some texture and sweetness while shavings of fresh black truffle gave the dish a lovely, deep earthy flavour.
Adam’s entrée, the Western Australian marron bolognaise ($33) was also good but not quite. Thick pieces of fresh, sweet marron were mixed in a light tomato sauce that was a tad runny, and not like the rich ragu-like sauce that I was expecting. Underneath were little strands of spaghetti though I wish there could have been more pasta. The marron, a meat that’s often hard to get right, was tender yet bounce-y but it was let down by the sauce that could have done with a bit more flavour.
We both ordered steaks for our mains. The steaks here all come with The Point’s garnish, a pretty impressive little package if you ask me. You got a roasted bone marrow, some wilted spinach and a choice of the following sauces: lemon and béarnaise, mushroom, peppercorn or red wine sauce (I got the lemon and béarnaise, while Adam got the red wine sauce, below). Better than a measly garden salad, I reckon! Because I’m all about good quality grass-fed meat these days (blame Tom Venuto, my paleo diet-loving workmate Sean and others), I ordered the Cape Grim 250g eye fillet ($43), while Adam opted for the grain-fed Clare Valley 250g eye fillet ($45, and looked exactly the same as mine so I won’t bother with another photo) . Being from Cape Grim in north-west Tasmania where the air is clean, the water so pristine and where ‘hormone’ is a dirty word, you know you’re getting the best.
For some reason, though, I couldn’t enjoy the dish. I had no issue with the luscious roast bone marrow (which I would have happily ordered on its own had it been a separate entrée) nor did I find fault with the creamy béarnaise sauce which had a tinge of lemon to cut through the richness of it. As for the steak? Well, it was beautifully cooked as one would expect when going to a restaurant that specialised in steak. On their own, each element was fine but when put together with the others, I kind of felt like I was in one of my mother’s monthly Indonesian church group gatherings where a roomful of noisy, opinionated and gossipy Asian women shout over one other just to be heard. Yeah, nasty. In the end, the whole thing just made me feel bloated and overwhelmed, as you’d expect from a dish that lacked balance.
Oh well, at least the steak looked hot.
They did have amazing chips though. Hand-cut and served with sauce choron ($11), they were spectacularly crunchy and tasty thanks to being double-cooked in duck fat. And the accompanying sauce choron, a tomato-y version of a bearnaise sauce was delicious. Dare I say I liked them better than the steaks.
At this stage, we were ready to throw a towel in but wait, not before dessert. A refreshingly light raspberry granita cleansed our palate beforehand, though.
We shared a serving of spiced gingerbread, warm quince, caramel ice cream and thyme ($18). The dessert tasted just as good as it sounded on paper. The richness of the lightly spiced rustic-flavoured gingerbread and the gooey quince paste was well-balanced by the cool but creamy caramel ice cream and the baby carrot in the middle. In a way, it was eating a heavily spiced deconstructed carrot cake. It was the perfect winter warmer.
I’m not sure if I’ll be back, at least any time soon. I had no issues with the service; everything came out quickly and with a smile. Moreover, the waiters were appropriately discreet when serving diners who were in heated arguments (there was more than one table consisting of arguing couples that night – what the heck?) and waited until heated arguments subsided before coming up to the table. The food, on the other hand, was a mixed bag. There were some good dishes, but there were also some mediocre ones. I know that this isn’t out of the ordinary for most places but given that The Point claims to serve Melbourne’s best steak yet quite can’t seem to back it up was a massive blow. Think places like Hog’s Breath and Outback Jack, both of who reckon they do mean steaks – but don’t. The difference is that The Point charges twice as much for their steak and yeah, okay, they’re not awful or anything but why pay more than $40 for a steak that’s only just “alright” when you can better enjoy yourself at a place like Squire’s Loft at a cheaper price? In any case, going to The Point for steak is as pointless as well, a pair of saggy tits (inside joke) but if you go for the view and choose wisely your mains wisely, then you’d probably have a better time than I did.