Ever since I read about Brooks, I’ve been dying to taste the menu that Chef Nic Poelaert (famed for signature dishes Meli of Vegetables & Forest Floor in Embrasse) has created. Not even a year old yet, Brooks is already a hit with many Melbournians and have won Time Out’s New Restaurant Award 2013. So with my visiting guests from Malaysia, I quickly secured a dinner reservation.
Located at the basement of heritage-listed Austral House, Brooks’ heavy fitting oak door entrance gave way to a flight of staircase down and opens up to a semi fine-casual dining space and an open kitchen. Service was warm and friendly not just from the dining room but from the kitchen too 🙂
Brooks houses an extensive range of wine and cocktail while their dinner menu spells simplicity.
Firstly, signature dish – the Meli of Vegetables uses the freshest seasonal ingredients up to 30 different types that protrudes a wealth of garden texture, colour and flavour. From the beautifully pureed beetroot, the crisp of lotus root to the fragrantful bee pollen and many other fresh greens – it exudes the playfulness of a simple vegetable dish without sacrificing its flavour.
Moreton Bay Bug was easily the dish of the night! We wanted to share but the lady hostess recommended us to order a plate each. Boy oh boy, was I glad she did that. I swear I could have a few more servings 😉
The other dishes were no less exciting. Flavours were tantalizing and teasing to my senses. The addition of chocolate with wallaby was unimaginably playful. Cheesy potato mash served with roasted chicken was delicious. Then, there was the interesting effect of burnt vegetables on beef – a thin crisp layer of potato baked till charcoal black and free from any burnt taste or smell.
We finished off with Chef Nic Poelaert’s signature dessert – ‘Forest Floor’ that is visually stunning and creative. Ever had pork crackling in dessert? It may sound weird but the sweet glaze on the pork crackle gives a perfect crunch and modest sweetness that meddles really well with the silky smooth chocolate parfait and the sponge crumbs.
Verdict : Brooks has certainly sparked my senses by combining savoury and sweet ingredients to create a wonderful ensemble of flavours. With presentation that is artistic and playful, menu that is simple and well thought through, and a winning service, Brooks is a great addition to the Melbourne dining scene. I’m looking forward to try the other items and be surprised!
To die for : Meli of Vegetables, Moreton Bay Bug, Forest Floor
Price : $$$
Yummy Factor : +4.5
Tip : Try the Chef’s 5 course tasting menu at $90 p.p