Entertainment Book 11/12: 25% off the total bill (up to $45)
A dinner ‘date’ with the bro DT was due, and I was told by Miss Anise about this place just the week before, and after raving reviews from my fellow foodie partner in crime, I knew that I was set for the choice of venue for this dinner ‘date’. I didn’t really give DT a choice too. *wink*
After a long day at work, I was really looking forward to a good meal at Gala Restaurant. I had seen this place in the Entertainment Book over the years, but I never ventured there for some reason. After looking at pretty good reviews from our friends at Urbanspoon, and from Miss Anise herself, I had somewhat given my expectations of this place quite a raise.
We booked for an early sitting (as usual), and found ourselves in an almost empty dining area when we entered. I loved the rustic feeling when we waltzed along the corridor to the main entrance. Anyhoo, we were shown to our seats, and were recommended the table next to the pillar – a little more privacy (not that we needed it, but anyway).
I knew what mains I would be getting, so it was really deciding whether we should get entrée’s because I was pretty sure that I wanted dessert this evening (sounds like it’s all about me at this dinner, isn’t it?). We pondered, I ordered a glass of margherita, and then pondered some more, before finally deciding the following dishes for our dinner this evening:
- Salad of marinated Quail with Goats Cheese (witlof, grapes and almonds) – $28.50
- Watermelon Margarita Sorbet with Watermelon Carviar – $10.50
- Prime Beef Fillet slowly cooked in Woronow Butter (dauphine potato, sour cream, beetroot and shallot sauce) – $44.00
- Special dish of the day – pork and veal
- Side of vegetables sautéed in herb butter – $9.50
- Salzburger Nockerl (An Austrian Specialty, prepared similarly to a meringue and baked in the oven. Light and has a crusty outside, complemented with homemade tonga bean ice cream) – $36
We ordered the desserts only after we finished mains. So it is probably a testament to how much we enjoyed ourselves that evening. (:
The margherita was lovely, with a strong punch to it. I would have liked it to be a little cooler, but the taste was awesome, and with that nice serve of salt around the rim of the glass, I was happy.
Before we were served our orders, we were presented with some starters, which was basically two slices of plain bread, and two little croissant looking pastries. I was most intrigued by the way they served the butter. One normal, salted butter, the other, we couldn’t really make out, and I don’t remember what the waiter had said about it (this is the margherita talking). I enjoyed both, although the bread could have been a tad warmer to the palate.
We shared entrée and dessert this evening, and I’m glad we did. The salad of marinated quail with goats cheese was a tough decision because I am not the biggest fan of goats cheese but was intrigued by the combination of the quail, with the cheese, with the grapes, etc. I loved it. There was a nice refreshing taste because of the grapes, but at the same time, there was this warmth from the quail (somewhat warming the cockles of my heart). Tasty, I found myself scraping through the dish as we finished this off.
The palate cleanser came shortly after the entrée was taken off the table, and this was one of the two dishes that Miss Anise had recommended me to try. She wasn’t wrong – this was special. Not the usual palate cleanser (of the lemon/orange, citrusy type flavour), the watermelon sorbet had a bit of a salty flavour, but at the same time, was nice and refreshing. DT didn’t find it particularly wow, but I thought it was really quite unique. Perhaps this is one of those acquired tastes.
I couldn’t wait for the mains to be served after we had the palate cleanser cleared from the table. The cow was the second dish recommended by Miss Anise, and hearing her describe it the whole week, I was really excited to see it… and taste it, obviously.
When we were served the mains, they came out looking quite simple. Pretty good presentation, but because of the sauces, it did dull the overall look of the dishes. But hey, I’m a taste person, so I wasn’t too bothered by this at all.
I tucked into my cow whilst DT tucked into his pig and veal. We were both impressed. I was most impressed by the tenderness of the prime fillet, and how the sauce just went splendidly well with the cow, as well as the sour cream that was served on the side as a cube, all melting under the heat of the cooked beef. I had this cooked medium rare, and it was just done perfectly. Absolutely no regrets ordering this dish, and considering that I was never the biggest fan of beetroot, I gladly ate my beetroot in this one! Great combinations.
DT’s pork and veal dish was really tasty, and since the pork was cooked two ways, there was a good variety to the overall dish. I tried some of the crispy skin pork belly, and enjoyed it. It was tasty enough and had that crunch that a crispy skin pork belly should have. Lovely.
The serve of vegetables on the side was the usual, but they did cook it nicely. And with the potatoes on top of it, great addition, I say!
By the end of the mains, we were pretty stuffed, but we thought we’d look at the menu anyway, and both of us were quite curious about the Salzburger Nockerl… we asked the waiter if he thought we could finish it, and he reckon we could, so there wasn’t really much hesitation in ordering this. The only thing I had in my head was, “I would like to see if this was really worth that $36!”.
We didn’t wait too long before we saw what we had gotten ourselves into – a real heap of trouble! DT doesn’t really take milky stuff, so the ice cream was virtually mine (not that I was complaining, but I was really quite stuffed after digesting that cow). In any case, the presentation of this dish is definitely worth commending. The amount of effort gone into the art work on the plate was absolutely brilliant, and I don’t think I have seen this sort of presentation for a long long time. We had fun guessing the flavours of the petals, and it turned out to be mango, the leaves, kiwi. The actual meringue looking part of the dessert was the star, and it was really like meringue, but a tad fluffier. I enjoyed this dish, but I was just way too full to savour it like I should have. I would definitely order this again. But to be completely truthful, I don’t know if I’d pay $36 for it.
The service was awesome this evening. We did have to make some effort in trying to get the attention of the waitress at one point, but that was the only flaw of the evening with the service. The rest was good.
Overall, the Gala Restaurant turned out to be a lovely, lovely surprise, and somewhat underrated for what they do. I’d gladly head back there for another meal, but it’d have to be one with an occasion because without the entertainment book, it would prove to be costly.
Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars
Rating by: S.T. a.k.a. Miss Egg
The Gala Restaurant
Telephone: (08) 9316 3600
Address: 22 Kearns Crescent, Applecross