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Express Lunch @ PM24

A Melbourne Food & Wine Special Event

Opening hours:
Sun – Fri: 12pm -3pm, 6pm – late
Sat: 6pm – late

Mr LB:

“Being French must be hard. There are so many stereotypes to contend with about being arrogant, hating Americans and everyone walking around with baguettes under their arms. Whilst these assumptions might seem unbearable for any French person, I have been lucky enough to visit Paris and can say that these myths are rarely the case. If anything, the people that encourage such stereotypes are extremely jealous of the French lifestyle – and why wouldn’t you be? Living in a picturesque landscape of either the city or countryside, beautiful people no matter which way you look and having a style of cooking that is not only alluring and sophisticated is enviable by any means. My French food experience is limited to say the least, although it’s something I have long wanted to experience. When Miss SL mentioned that PM24 was offering an Express Lunch as part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, I had no objections.

The interior to PM24 is designed in an ‘L’ shape with modern decor that has sophisticated touches without being pretentious. There are a lot of clean white walls that are used around the dining room to give a feeling of grandeur. The staff were attentive as I arrived. The waiters were equally attentive with a strong understanding of what the menu had to offer and the appropriate wines to match. Best of all, we were lucky enough to be sitting near the “plating up station” – which for any true foodie is the perfect spot to dine.

Country Terrine – Onion Jam, toasted sour dough, salad

Being a Thursday lunch there was this little thing called work which, like a demanding infant, required my attention. With this in mind, dessert was immediately struck off as a possible dining option and I instead decided on going for the entree and main only. I wanted something traditionally French to start this experience off and went for the Country Terrine, Onion jam, toasted sour dough, salad. The terrine was certainly the center piece to this dish, which had a nice meaty flavour and didn’t have an overbearing offal taste. The onion jam was perfect with the terrine with its sweet taste elevating the flavours of the meat. The salad was also a good addition as it allowed the diner to play around with the flavours and consistency. It was the perfect entree to start off this French adventure.

Pan Seared Salmon Fillet, crushed potato, wood sorrel, lobster vinaigrette

As for the main selection, the Pan Seared Salmon Fillet, crushed potato, wood sorrel, lobster vinaigrette was, in my opinion, the better option. The salmon was perfectly cooked with no dry parts and the skin crackled to perfection. The bed of potatoes was a nice chaser and helped with mopping up the vinaigrette which highlighted the seafood flavours. What puzzled me was that, while all key components of the dish couldn’t be faulted, I found myself not being wooed. In my opinion this dish did take a conservative back step with leaving the flavours as original and pure as possible. Simplistic food can still be amazing, but on this occasion it wasn’t the case.

Overall, I enjoyed the PM 24 experience. It was causal, relax but also retained a special ambiance that can be found in many higher end restaurants. PM 24 wouldn’t be my first choice for a high dining experience, but if your wanting a true, pure flavours, then PM 24 should be considered.”

Miss SL:
“Late last year I took a trip to Europe. I’d landed in Paris and it left an immediate impression on my soul. The grandeur! The excitement! The shopping! The food! My goodness.. the food… Just thinking about it makes me hungry. The French cuisine that I experienced there was simplistic, highlighting the natural qualities of the food of choice. Escargo in a pesto-like sauce, deep fried frogs legs, mussels cooked in tomato were all made very simplistically and gracefully.

When the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival came around for 2013, I was keen to dine in a few more of Melbourne’s top restaurants. When I noticed PM24 offering an Express Lunch, I booked myself, Mr LB and my friend KP immediately.

Philippe Mouchel is the culinary mastermind behind PM24, aptly named so after its creator and its location on 24 Russell Street in the CBD. Philippe was born in Normandy, working in France and eventually ending up in the kitchens of Michelin star restaurants. So, how does my experience in France tee up to my French-cuisine-in-Australia experience? I was about to find out!

Upon arrival, the maitre d’ approached us at the door and immediately seated us at a table with a perfect view of the kitchen. The elegant design of PM24‘s interior is almost surreal with the dark colours of the kitchen creating a stark contrast against the white walls of the restaurant.

For the Express Lunch we had a choice of either entree, main and dessert with wine for $55 or two out of three for $40. We were all under the pump at work and so opted for the two out of three option. After looking through the menu I’d decided on ordering the Ora King Salmon Gravlax – Cucumber remoulade, savoury vinaigrette for entree and the Rotisserie Sirloin – Shallot beef jus, potato gratin along with the house white.

My entree came out and I was initially a little underwhelmed with what I saw. When I sliced my delicate pieces of salmon and put it in my mouth, my palate was cleansed by the beautiful freshness of the salmon and the slight taste of lemon from the lemon thyme. The remoulade hid beneath the layers of salmon and provided a lovely creamy sensation. The mini piklet-like item served with this dish was delightful, and crisp.

King Salmon Gravlax – Cucumber remoulade, savoury vinaigrette

I had a taste of KPs entree of the Country Terrine – Onion jam, toasted sourdough, salad and I had to say it was really delicious, however the terrine had a very prominent liver aftertaste. The onion jam was beautiful and I was a little jealous of her entree.

The service was exceptional and the staff were perfectly attentive. As one meal ended, there was a long enough break before mains were served. My sirloin steak was medium-cooked and presented in a very appetising manner. They just kept the meat juicy and succulent, maintaining it as the focus of the dish. The potato gratin was beautiful. It was crispy on the top and cooked perfectly throughout. The peas were succulent and simply prepared.

Rotisserie Sirloin – Shallot beef jus, potato gratin

KP had offered me some of her Pan Seared Salmon Fillet – Crushed potato, wood sorrel, lobster vinaigrette and it was delicious, however a little bland for my taste buds. The salmon steak used was of beautiful quality and KP noted that while it was nice, she wouldn’t be very happy spending the $37.50 that it probably would have costed if it weren’t for this deal.

The beauty of French cooking is that it is not loud like Asian flavours. The products are there to be enjoyed as they deserve to be and the end result is a graceful, eloquent meal. To this extent, I felt that PM24 did a great job. Did the meal transported me back to France? Was I so wowed that I felt the need to come back here immediately with friends? Perhaps not. Did I enjoy the meal, the service and the venue? Yes. I was very satisfied with my Express Lunch at PM24 and very happy to tick it off my to-eat list.”

Final thought: “Celebrates the natural flavours of the produce used”

PM24 on Urbanspoon

Food in pictures

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