St Michael 6003
A New Small Plates Restaurant
483 Beaufort Street, Highgate
(08) 9328 1177
This fantastic little restaurant has been around for a couple of years, replacing Jacksons which used to be situated in the same location. With owners from Red Cabbage and Petite Mort there is a great pedigree here so we went with anticipation.
The atmosphere is relaxed, but humming. On a cold, stormy winters night, it was packed, with not a spare table available. They space the bookings appropriately though, so the kitchen is not overwhelmed by all the tables arriving to sit down at the same time. There is lots of dark wood, interesting art on the walls and intimate lighting.
The serving staff are efficient and friendly, without being overbearing, and are able to share an opinion on the wine and food when asked.
The menus are excellent value; $89 for the degustation or $59 for the 3 course prix fixe (which we chose).
We both started with a glass of Chardonnay and the salt and vinegar pork crackers; criminally loud and crunchy, with an appropriate level of artery clogging goodness! The complimentary house-made warm bread and whipped vegemite butter was both welcomed and welcoming.
An outstanding start to the evening was the scallops with crispy pork cheeks, radicchio and chilli which we both chose. A perfectly cooked scallop on a smear of taramasalata-like sauce, five spice pickled radicchio and tender, sticky pork. The chilli could have been a bit more prominent for my taste, and the scallop hotter, but in all, an excellent dish. The wine list is small but carefully chosen, with a limited number of wines by the glass. We selected a glass of the Cabernet Sauvignon and a medium bodied Lebanese red Chateau Musar to accompany our mains.
My second dish was the roast beef, oyster mushroom and XO sauce. The flavours were spot on; the rich beef and mushroom standing up to the bold flavours of the house made XO. My husband had the lamb shoulder; swoon worthy. A small but deceptively dense brick of moist, tender confit lamb, perfectly offset by tender Brussel sprouts and a crumble of salty feta. We shared the green beans with hazelnuts and orange, a refreshing side. We were also presented with the potato pave to try (even though we had not ordered it) which was a lovely touch. Tender garlicky slices of potato compressed with a rich mustard butter- we will know to order it next time!
For desert, we chose one chocolate tart and one carrot cake. The tart was excellent- rich and dark, with a bitter chocolate soil the perfect foil for a mint sorbet and house made white chocolate aero. However, unusually for me (as I tend to lean to the savoury side), the dish of the night was the carrot cake. A tiny rectangle of moist, spiced carrot cake, with a carrot white chocolate ganache (stay with me here), roasted pumpkin seeds, peach sorbet and a crumble of cashel blue (a creamy blue cows milk cheese from Ireland). Perfection! I can’t wait to go back!