Did I mention Jay has become romantic?
He booked Print Hall a month and a half in advance because he knew I wanted to go but needed a special occasion. Restaurants get booked up early for days like these! Valentines Day isn’t too special but it was an occasion anyway. We were worried that we would not get the true Print Hall quality because of the typical set menu on Valentines Day but they offered ala carte. I thought that was good.
The Print Hall was surprisingly empty on Valentines Day. The restaurant was however filled up. I loved the atmosphere…it was almost modern countryside. Wood and marble on minimalistic type structure. Service was very attentive and the staff seemed prepared for all my questions. They also had knowledge about the dish – what’s safe or not for pregnant women.
We were offered a corner seat which we enjoyed while sipping on a glass of French Champagne. A really lovely champagne actually, made by Diebolt-Vallois which was created through the marriage of the Diebolt and Vallois (who owned all the land). I did not research this. The sommelier was really kind to explain my drink! Beautiful. It had soft little bubbles and was a touch sweet. Ladies would love this.
The usual bread and butter were offered.
I would have had the Kingfish crudo but I couldn’t for baby reasons. So instead, I had the Blue Manna Crab ($29). I love beautiful plating – it really does make a difference to the meal. The chunks of sweet crab were mixed with smooth aioli, presented as a cake and topped with avruga caviar which was lovely. Cubes of fried brioche ( I love brioche, so buttery!) peppered the plate and was topped with crab meat and flowers. How sweet! A quail egg yolk completes the look as well as acted as a dip for the br
Jay had the seared King Prawns ($28) which was really lovely. Large juicy prawns and chunks of Fremantle octopus in a light, chunky and tangy tomato and orange sauce. I didn’t try the Jamon but Jay thought the whole dish really hit the spot. He was in the mood for prawns after all.
The Duck Cassoulet ($42) was generally good but to make a general judgement on it is unfair. After all, it was made up of so many components. Some of which was outstanding and some were not so good. Perhaps the restaurant had decided to be on the safe side for a pregnant lady but I thought the breast was slightly overdone. This is disappointing because I look forward to juicy duck done perfectly in a restaurant. On the bright side, the crosmesqui which is best described as a meat croquettes (crispy coating and all) was sensational. Very tasty and seasoned moist meat in the fresh sausage. The white bean puree was a great accompaniment for the duck.
Jay had the Albany Free Range Pork ($41) fillet, belly, cavolo nero (also known as Tuscan Kale or Black Cabbage), grapes and boudin noir (black sausage). Like my dish, he found the fillets quite dry. However the Boudin was beautiful and the belly retained its juiciness because of its fat. The boudin pulled away in slightly rough textures but had a crisp, intense meaty flavour. After all, doesn’t blood give you the flavour of meat? Sausage is really Print Hall’s forte.
On the side, we had the Steamed Broccolini ($11) with the anchovy and chilli crumble. I don’t think I would rave about steamed vegetables like I do with this one. It was flavour packed for the humble steamed vegetable. Crunchy spicy crumble with the crunchy broccolini, it’s a great healthy side to the meal.
Jay was too full to have dessert so we agreed to share dessert. After looking at all the pictures on urbanspoon, I thought I would have wanted to try the spilled lemon curd. In the end however, I decided on the Bay Leaf Creme Cigar ($17) which I do not regret the slightest bit.
Every single thing on the plate was gorgeous and tended to my senses. From the juicy, sweet marinated black cherries, the fresh blackberries, the crisp thin pastry of the cigar, the lightly spiced custardlike creme (YUM) that went soooo well with the slightly tangy Cherry stone ice cream. The fruitiness was deepened by the ‘soil’ made of chocolate cookie/pastry crumbs. Dessert is their forte!!