We decided to go to Comme Kitchen after looking at their impressive website. The photos of the restaurant interior showed a building that looked like a palace. The staircase and bar area looking unbelievable. Well, the reality is that the place is not half as impressive as the obviously photoshopped photos.
The real Comme Kitchen is much smaller than the photos. You walk from Alfred Place through these large double glass doors. You are then greeted by THE staircase, but it looks much more plain in real life. We didn't know where the restaurant part was, so went up the stairs, only to find empty function rooms. A trip back down again and walking towards the bar saw us find the restaurant part tucked around the corner. The restaurant part was even more disappointing in terms of the architecture. It was like a tiny corner with some tables tucked in. It did have an ultra cool underground working cellar.
The lighting was too low and it didn't have too much atmosphere due to the small area. It did pick up during the night, but it still felt weird with a constant stream of people walking from the bar to the toilets all night. Although, that does have its advantages too. Let's just say that people come here to be seen, and they certainly get all dressed up for it.
My dinner companions for the night was my newly discoverd "sisters" Jessie and Wei and my long lost "brother" Emmanuel. We did look like a weird bunch, with no obvious connection. I guess we could pass for a family with the modern family being made up of all types. But the reality is that we're friends from work.
We decided to order dishes and share everything, which I like since then I get to try everything. Emmanuel ordered a Coldstream Pinot Noir, which was very smooth and mellow.
I picked the Tasting Plate entree and really liked everything on it. Everyone else said it was ok. I said they all didn't appreciate fine food. There was things like air cured beef, prosciutto, chicken terrine, beef tartare, dumpling, cabbage salad with fish roe, onion jam, dill cucumbers and capers. The only thing I didn't like was the crispbread thing.
The Quail with Zucchini was nice, but overpriced I reckon. It cost $18, the same as the Tasting Plate, and that was way better. The quail tasted like something I made a while ago.
The last entree of Chargrilled Octopus with Chickpea salad was probably the best dish of the night. I loved the chargrilled octopus, but it was the chickpea that was a highlight. They were beautifully flavoured with a great sauce.
The best mains dish was the one Wei picked, a Medley of Lamb with Salad and Roasted Eggplant. The lamb was done in a couple of styles and had varying taste, all good.
Jessie's choice of Turbot with Zuchinni Flowers was, how should I say it, awful. I don't like fish usually, and this turned out to be one of those usually. I've never had Turbot before so am not sure if its suppose to taste ultra ultra fishy. Even the smell of it was putting me off. Needless to say, I only had that first bite.
Emmanuel's choice of the Veal with Hollandaise Sauce was good too. I liked the crisp burnt edges of the veal with a dash of sauce.
I chose the Wagyu Steak with Mushrooms. It was good, but not as good as I expected. I had high hopes when John Lethlean from The Age said that this steak was one of the best five in Melbourne. However, I think it may be a different steak. The article was written about a year ago, and from memory he said it was an aged Rump Steak. This grade 6 Wagyu wasn't as full in flavour as the Wagyu I had Ishiya Stonegrill.
While we were eating mains, right at the start bascially where I was serving everyone the fish, I accidentally knocked over my glass of red wine. I'm so clumsy, it's amazing I don't knock over more wine glasses. Anyway, this little incident showed how amazingly professional the service was. The lovely waitress just casually walked over and said "I'll take that camera away first so it doesn't get wine in it". Next she got another napkin and started to soak up the wine. Another waitress came immediately too without causing a big scene and put more napkins on the spill. Then the first waitress just cleared my plate and got me a fresh one. She then even offered me a free glass of Pinot. I kindly said I was fine. Jessie's quick reflex meant I still had half a glass of wine left. Amazingly, I didn't get one drop of wine on me at all. And the way that dealt so calmly with everything meant I wasn't embarrased either, just a little sheepish when I got my new plate.
For dessert, we got the Semifreddo with Rhubard. I loved it, the soft nougat semifreddo with it's sweetness was balanced by the very interesting tartness of the rhubarb.
The Chocolate Delice was as I expected. Ultra decandent chocolate wrapped softer chocolate inside that was mixed with strawberry coulis. The macadamia ice cream was a hit with everyone too.
The food was all very good, although not exactly cheap. This is a good place for a celebration due to it's smaller area and hence more intimate setting. There were two other tables with someone celebrating their birthday.
The service, as mentioned earlier was exceptional. Our first waiter expertly explained the specials on offer. We got everything we asked for. And the waitress who helped clean up my spill also came around many times and joked with us. Emmanuel even jokingly asked for another glass of wine, which she did bring.
Overall Rating: 15/20, Food is good. Fairly expensive so good for a special occasions. Service is exceptional.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.