Where: 24 Russell St, Melbourne CBD VIC 3000
This meal was the most underwhelming dining experience I have had in Melbourne in years. The extra $5 spent to get another course as part of the Express Lunch menu was a waste, and from the moment we walked through the door I struggled to be impressed. The most expensive meal of the three, not to mention the $44 (OMFG!) parking costs that were incurred to park in the inner city, meant that I will not be returning to PM24, and I would encourage others to try one of Melbourne’s other restaurants instead.
Country terrine: A rough pork terrine served with onion jam, toasted sourdough and salad. A pleasant and innocuous terrine, although a little rougher than I prefer. The onion jam was a delight – caramelized to perfection – and the bread had enough texture to add interest to a mouthful.
The Vegetarian Option was:
Tomato & Mozzarella Salad: Mixed heirloom tomatoes served with fresh mozzarella, olives and torn basil. The heavily salted cheese overpowered the flavourless tomatoes, with the rather insipid basil languishing in low quality olive oil... A failure of a classic summer dish. The plating was done nicely, however.
Rôtisserie Sirloin: Served with shallot beef jus, fresh peas and pancetta, and a potato gratin. This is a dish that could have – nay should have – been great. The beef, carved from a large sirloin, didn’t have its excess fat removed, and the flat and rather dull plating left a lot to be desired. Lush doesn’t particularly like peas, but I ate them with gusto. The potato gratin, judging from the speed at which it was devoured, was the winner of the meal.
French Gnocchi with Slow Roasted Vegetables: Pate au choux gnocchi served with carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, mushrooms and parmesan. These little nuggets of lightly fried choux pastry were delightfully presented and a treat to eat, but once again a dish that could have been brilliant fell short. Why, oh why did the chef have such a heavy hand with the salt? The roasted vegetables were delicious, and Lush made short work of his half of the plate.
Plum Tart: Served with a quenelle of crème Chantilly. Perfectly pleasant, but nothing to write home about.
A surprisingly pink colored Pinot Gris
A Shiraz of no particular interest
The coffee provided with the lunch was foul. Undrinkable no matter how much sugar was added.
The latte – with a $5 extra fee – was passable.
What can you say about a meal that is just... meh. The best bit of this meal sadly has to have been the glorious bathrooms (green enamelled tiles, interesting lights), with the service only so-so and the food lacking in flavours other than salt. Although notionally French, the food moved across western Europe without rhyme or reason. So here are my gripes:
- Despite a relatively empty dining room we were placed on a table that gave me a view of nothing but the waiters’ station.
- The tables are incredibly close together – you can’t help but eavesdrop.
- The bread was fine, but the butter pat they gave us was miniscule. Are they economizing?
- My entree went largely uneaten, as it was bland, boring and awful.
- The express menu didn’t have any vegetarian options listed, and when I asked for some (I don’t love beef or seafood) the response was harried and rude.
- The service was very slow for an “express” lunch, thus pushing parking costs up by $22 for another hour.
- Salt was the dominant flavour in all of the savoury dishes.
- Waitress making cracks about me tasting Lush’s (meat) dish – who cares if I am not actually a vegetarian?
- Undrinkable coffee. In Melbourne that is a serious crime.
Whinge over. But I will not go back, and encourage you to consider some of Melbourne other restaurants which I think are much better value for money.
Guest Blog - Friend of Lush