I have finally found a new love.
Move over Mr Bianco, Mr Carlton Wine Room is now filling my plate.
The patrons here are largely middle-aged - oh my god am I now middle-aged?
The atmosphere is dark and moody and wooden and made for drinking a lot of red wine.
We shared everything, mains included, starting with the antipasto board. Not your average salami and cheese fair. This one had crispy pork on lentils, artichoke with mozzarella and calamari with rocket and chilli and many other hidden ingredients.
Oh my god, the beef tartare with jerusalem artichoke, cured egg and white truffle was divine. And the seared tiger prawns with fennel salad was just as good.
The chilli soft-shell crab with aoili was magnificent and the ham hock terrime with mustard fruit crisp bread and pistachio was the best I have ever had.
This man certainly does please.
For mains we shared hapuka with clams and black funghi in a mushroom consomme which was so delicate and refined it was ridiculous. The braised beef cheek was good but did not knock my socks off. The confit pork neck & ear with sweet potato, fennel and mustard seeds was sensational.
We shared all the desserts and they were indescribably interesting and excellent.
The wine list is excellent. We drank the Fattoria Colsanto Rosso di Montelfaci with 75% Sangiovese at $70 per bottle.
Service was outstanding, friendly and able to handle an honest and mildly abrasive crowd.
Cost was $100 per head.
Can you tell I love it!
9.5/10 (half a point off for the not so exciting beef cheek)