Hare & Grace
Address: 525 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9629 6755
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Opening Hours: Dining Room - Lunch: Mon – Fri 12pm – 3pm Dinner Mon – Fri 6.00pm – late
Foodie Partner: Lianne
For quite some time I’ve been wanting to visit Hare and Grace. However I work at the opposite end of the city, so it wasn’t all to convenient to visit there for lunch, and it’s only opened on weekdays only.
Finally a week or so ago I had annual leave, meaning that I had a chance to visit. And what better way is it to sharing this experience than with another Melbourne food blogger, Lianne who writes ‘Food Made with Love‘. She writes an awesome blog filled with so many yummilicious recipes! omnom.
The day that I visited, it was rainy, and extremely cold, however I was happy to find a fireplace in the bar area. Whilst I was waiting for the Hare and Grace team to be brief, and waiting for Lianne to arrive, I happily sat at the fireplace waiting.
Once Lianne arrived and the team was debriefed, we were taken to our table, and boy was I stunned by the amazing setting and environment of the dining room! The whole environment felt like an enchanted forest with tree branches hanging off the roof! So mystical and such a cosy feeling sort of room! LOVE LOVE the setting <3
When Lianne and I looked at the menu we were quick to decide on choosing the set lunch from the menu, as it was a good value and it meant that we were able to have 6 dishes in total to share, plus a glass of complimentary wine.
Lianne had the house red – Cabernet Sauvignon, whilst I settled for the house white – chardonnay. Whilst I’ve gone to a wine tasting couple weeks ago (blog post coming up soon), I still prefer white wine over red wine, as I find white wine to have a sweeter and fruity note than the heavyness of a red wine. :)
When our bread and butter arrived, Lianne and I kept on admiring the perfectly cornelled butter, and how the bread was served in a basket that looked very much like a birds nest.
The butter was very soft, creamy and fluffy that it went perfectly with the bread. Together with the sea salt it was the perfect way of starting our meal, and allowed us to nibble on something whilst we waited for our meal to come :)
As we both had chosen the 3 course set lunch, it meant that we were able to try all the dishes that were available on the set course menu (They have two dishes to choose from for each section).
Please note that the dishes that I have in this blog post, may not be available when you visit, as their menus rotate :)
1. Beetroot, mint, pomegranate, goat’s cheese salad
OHHHHH how much Lianne and I loved this dish! It was truly A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I could seriously eat plates of this everyday if I had to!
All the items on here and the flavours balanced really well with each other. The saltiness of the soft and quite mild goat’s cheese along with the acidity of the beetroot and pomegranate was like a match made in heaven.
Whilst, I’m not a fan of anything mint (ok, I lie I used to eat Eclipse mint religiously for 1 year at my old workplace), the mint gave the dish a bit of texture and little zing of flavour.
As a kid, I truly loathed beetroots – maybe because of the color and how my mum tried to turn every root vegetable into a soup and all I had to eat was a pot full of… well ummm bloody red liquid! But now, I actually enjoy beetroots! And how nice was it to have such a gorgeous and delicious tasting beetroot salad. omnom :)
2. Eggplant, sweet & sour, cured salmon, cracked wheat, labne
Note: Labne = Middle Eastern Yoghurt Cheese
To us, this dish was out-shined by the beetroot, mint, pomegranate and goat’s cheese salad.
Having said that this dish was a well prepared dish with different textures. The rough texture of the cracked wheat, the soft eggplant and cured salmon and the silk & creamy labne. There was also small amounts of pomegranate which gave it a slight crunch as well.
To us, we felt that the eggplant was just an addition that wasn’t needed in this dish. It didn’t add extra flavour, but hey I never say no to eggplants!
1. Mushroom Risotto
The previous night before going to Hare & Grace I was watching Masterchef Italy challenge where they were making risotto with the gold leaf. All I remembered was that George said that a good risotto is a plate of risotto that is a thin layer and that each individual grain should be visible.
So when the dish did arrive I gasped and said OMG, this looks like a perfect risotto just like what they said in Masterchef. Genevieve (restaurant manager), who looked after us that afternoon, heard our conversation and asked who made that comment, and we said it was Georgie! and she said, that it’s something George would say! (She used to work for him).
As appealing as it looked it tasted just as good. Creamy and cooked perfectly with no chalky taste. The risotto was seasoned correctly and with the mushrooms (OMG I love mushrooms), it was the best risotto I’ve had in a very long time.
There’s just been so many occasions where I’ve had risotto that were undercooked, over seasoned risotto that was waaaayy too salty to eat or oversized portions of risotto. Here at Hare and Grace their risotto was just perfect – perfect seasoning and perfect portion.
2. Braised Beef, Silverbeet, Carrot
Now, don’t be fooled by it’s very average look on the plate, because this dish was just as good! It did look quite average to be honest, but each of the components were cooked so well.
According to Genevieve the braised beef cheeks are marinated in red wine for over 25 hours before being slow cooked for 5-6 hours, so you can imagine how good this beef cheek tasted. It was so soft that it quite literally melted in my mouth.
The mashed potato itself also deserves its own commendation, given that the mash was silky smooth and I don’t think I can say anything bad about it.
At the beginning when I saw the carrot I felt it was kind of strange to see such a large piece of carrot on the plate, and didn’t know what to expect of the carrot. Now let me tell you this carrot was cooked until it’s soft, and it was very sweet to eat :)
As for the silverbeet, I don’t really have much to comment on it, as I’m not a big fan of silverbeet.
Sweet, Guilty, Vanity
Haha, I love how they call their desserts: Sweet, Guilty and Vanity! Very creative.
Now, I need to say that whilst our experience with the dessert was not a perfect one, it’s the way in which the staff had handled the situation that makes it a great experience.
After our dishes were cleared, Lianne and I waited for quite some while for our desserts to come, however Genevieve kept us updated on our dessert. What happened was the blow torch which they use to make the creme brûlée was not functioning, and they were trying to get it to work, so therefore it caused some delay for our desserts to come. Now, that’s what I respect. I rather be kept informed than leaving me hanging there. I’m more than happy to accept situations like this as it’s understandable that problems do happen! So thumbs up to Genevieve for keeping us updated!
1. Vanilla Creme Brulee
Although there were problems, the vanilla creme brûlée was great! I LOVE creme brûlée, and if there was a dessert I would choose from a menu, creme brûlée would be on the of the list!
*tap tap* – Lianne and I took our spoons to crack the toffee layer! Crisp but not rock hard, and once cracked a smooth custard with visible vanilla seeds appeared below the toffee layer.
I need to say Lianne and I have the same level of tolerance of sweetness. We both agreed that it was too sweet for us, however for a sweet tooth, this would have been perfect!
I really loved the biscotti which was very crisp and full of flavour from the nuts and raisins, and slight hints of ginger! It was a great accompaniment to the sweet creme brûlée. I just took spoonfuls of the creme brûlée and spread it on the biscotti to eat! Very satisfying I must say ;)
2. Chocolate Bar, 78% Michel Cluizel Chocolate
Love chocolate mousse? Well, you’ll love this! The chocolate bar is a very smooth and airy chocolate mousse, smothered with a thick chocolate sauce, which is then placed on top of chocolate “Soil” to give it extra texture.
On the side there’s a small blob of Pedro Ximenez port jelly, plus a spiced milk sorbet! The jelly has a slight alcoholic taste, whilst the spiced milk sorbet was a slightly sour in taste. Which helps with the rich chocolate taste of the 78% Michel Cluizel chocolate used to make the chocolate bar. For those who don’t know, Michel Cluizel is a manufacture of high quality chocolate from Normandy, France.
It was a very good chocolate bar, and well worth the wait. Loved how there’s so many textures on the plate of dessert! omnom.
I have to say that I’m very pleased to have finally visited Hare and Grace. The service was very professional as mentioned above,the dishes served were of high quality, and fresh; and the setting of the room made the whole experience feel very enchanting.
A highly recommended place for those who are in the area. I would suggest to give yourself at least 2 hours, as it gives you time to enjoy the food and setting. A lot of the business people were there for almost 2-3 hours!
Also, I would like to say that I’m very glad to have finally met Lianne – a very down to earth, friendly girl! Very easy to get along! So if you don’t follow her blog, please follow now! :D
Click here to read about Lianne’s experience at Hare & Grace.