Welcome to Melbourne Foodie. The blogspace of a young foodie with a passion for cooking, fine dining and quality food and produce.
Melbourne Foodie, along with the other sources I write for is my way of casually expressing and recording some of the experiences I have had for others to enjoy. I always welcome any feedback,
comments or restaurant suggestions you may have and would love to hear from you soon.
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I must say that Number 8 has copped it a bit hard in the mainstream reviews recently, scoring only modestly and often being described as an uninteresting or faceless hotel restaurant (AGFG & Epicure reviews). I think this is quite harsh though as the ambience of the place is great, the views are excellent and the staff are always friendly, proffesional and efficient. Reading consumer reviews at places like Eatability clearly show that this is a popular restaurant that is well loved by the Melbourne dining public.
The food at Number 8 is described as modern Australian, but I think this is a term which is being used too loosely these days - Contemporary would be a better way of describing it. On offer you will always find a great range of fresh seafood, poultry, game and fantastic steaks, and there is always a pasta and risotto available as well as a couple of Vegetarian options. The philosophy behind the food at Number 8 is simplicity, using fresh ingredients to create a quality meal, which is not over powered or fussed about with. As such meals are generally not served with many accompaniments, making the fantastic side dishes almost mandatory, which ultimately bumps up the true cost of your meal.
I enjoy most of the food at Number 8 - it is rare that you will get a dish that is not very good. That being said some dishes are just that: good to very good, whereas others are exceptional. Hence choosing the right dishes can lead to an amazing dining experience. It seems to be the case that the dishes which are less succesful are simply lacking basic seasoning, in fairness - salt and pepper mills are on all tables.
I will share a couple of examples of the great dishes with you.
Calamari - One of the fantastic entrees at Number 8 is the salt and pepper calamari, a menu stalwart. This dish is served in a rather interesting way, three or four pieces of the amazingly tender meat sit inside an iceberg lettuce cup atop a tomato & lime compote. Siding the dish is an exceptional herbed aïoli . This is an excellent entree, my favourite calamari anywhere - and all of my friends who have tried it agree.
Other great entrees at the moment include: Slow roasted pork belly with crackling and a green bean salad, Hervey Bay scallops, and the intense Porcini and field mushroom risotto (tip - you are better off ordering this dish as a side dish for $6.90 - its the same risotto at a fraction of the price).
For mains I can highly reccomend the steaks: particuraly the Rib Eye & the Tenderloin. They are cooked perfectly to your liking and served with an exceptional onion compote and simple red wine jus. I also very much enjoy the roasted duck, lamb rack (I'm not a big lamb eater but this is excellent) and most other offerings. The fish on offer is also generally very good, but on some occasions I have noticed it to be lacking texture and even somewhat soggy (the barramundi), but on most occasions it has been very good. I really love the seared tuna, which appears to be off the menu at the moment.
The side dishes on offer are also of very good quality. There's a big list of about 15 with a huge variety including: fries, roasted potatoes, salads, sauteed greens, roasted seasonal vegies and other more interesting offerings including porcini risotto. They are also good value, priced at $6.90 each.
Desserts at Number 8 are also fairly solid with a number of simple dishes like an apple, rhubarb and macadamia crumble served with Leatherwood honey ice-cream or a simple (huge) creme brulee. Other more interesting offerings such as a rich and delicious chocolate and coffee ganache, or a wonderful semifreddo are even more succesful options. Pictured below: creme brulee which is served with a cinamon grissini stick.
Coffee is also very good, albeit expensive at $4.60 - for this price though, your coffee is acompanied by an excellent chocolate truffle, which sweetens the deal.
I recently celebrated my 21st Birthday @ Number 8 with a large group of friends and everyone had a good night and enjoyed the food. We received excellent service, and meals were served promptly and all together, even in a group situation. This is a restaurant that constantly excels, even under pressure
Number 8 received a score of 13 out of 20 in the 2008 Age Good Food Guide, dropping from 14 the last two years, and 15 prior to this.
My rating for Number 8 is: 15.5/20
Good quality, well prepared food (7.5/10), Good ambience & design, soft jazz music (4/5), Friendly, attentive service (4/5)