Pei Modern, Melbourne

Pei Modern

Melbourne is Australia’s fastest growing city in terms of annual net migration into its state of Victoria. I believe it is the most elegant city in Australia with its cosmopolitan lifestyle, food and wine culture, theatre and performing arts.

Pei Modern is acclaimed Sydney chef Mark Best’s first foray into the Melbourne food scene. He has won some of the most coveted awards in The Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide and it looks like his Melbourne outpost is following the same footsteps.

Named after famous American-Chinese architect I. M. Pei, who designed Collins Place, where the restaurant is located, Pei Modern showcases Mark Best’s experimental touches in a more casual setting. Already a winner of Best New Restaurant in The Age Good Food Guide, the food is driven by fresh local produce and sustainability.

We are here on a Saturday night with our Melbourne friends Towkay Tilam and his wife Datin Tilam.

Sourdough bread

Sourdough bread

It was a challenge finding the restaurant, as it was hidden in the labyrinth of an office building, just next to the driveway of Sofitel Melbourne.

When we are finally seated, warm sourdough bread arrives in an origami napkin and the waitress describes the specials of the day.

And the one thing I notice about cafes and restaurants in Melbourne that is different from Sydney is they tell us the price of each special – a nice gesture so prices can be compared with the ala carte menu items.

Brunswick Bitter $7.50

Brunswick Bitter $7.50

Dining room at Pei Modern, Melbourne

Dining room at Pei Modern, Melbourne

Almond gazpacho with blue swimmer crab $18

Almond gazpacho with blue swimmer crab $18

We start with a refreshing almond gazpacho with blue swimmer crab.

Instead of its usual soup-like consistency, this entrée is more like a smooth and creamy sauce, draped over delicate crabmeat, with sprigs of parsley – sweet, salty and nutty all at the same time.

Peppers de Padron, octopus & garlic puree $20

Peppers de Padron, octopus & garlic puree $20

The peppers with octopus and garlic puree appears less exciting, where sweet caramelised peppers are paired with crunchy octopus slices with the flavours rather predictable.

Bass groper, samphire peas, spinach and anchovy $37

Bass groper with samphire peas, spinach and anchovy $37

Datin Tilam prefers fish and orders the bass grouper with samphire peas, spinach and anchovy. Flavours are mild, perhaps too mild and lacking in punchy flavours.

Porterhouse steak and gnocchi $39

Porterhouse steak and gnocchi $39

I don’t normally order beef fillet in restaurants as I find it too lean without any decadence of animal fat. But for tonight, the porterhouse steak and gnocchi seems to appeal to me most among the other mains.

It arrives medium rare with three tender pieces of gnocchi. Not my favourite combination for a piece of steak but it will do as I catch up on chatter with Towkay Tilam, who orders the same thing.

Duck breast, apple, cider and Boudin Noir $36

Duck breast, apple, cider and Boudin Noir $36

Mysaucepan orders the duck breast, apple, cider and Boudin Noir.

The duck is seared pink with green apple ribbons and a piquant apple cider sauce, a good sweet and sour contrast, grounded by the deep, dark and decadent Boudin noir black pudding.

Cold smoked tuna, goat's curd and mustard seeds $22

Cold smoked tuna, goat's curd and mustard seeds $22

A cold smoked tuna is interesting with the slightest hint of smokiness, paired with tart goats curd and the pop of hot mustard seeds – a morsel full of textures and flavours. 

Side French beans $9

Side French beans $9

 

 Caramelised tomato $16

Luckily, dessert brings the highlight of the meal back into play. We share the unique caramelised tomato, not an entrée but a dessert dish, transformed cleverly by its stuffing – an intricate balance of 12 different fruits, nuts and spices, reminiscent of the Christmas fruit cake.

This is Mark Best at his best – a small morsel packed with big flavours.

Peppermint tea $4.50

Peppermint tea $4.50

Dining room at Pei Modern, Melbourne

Dining room at Pei Modern, Melbourne

So dear readers, which is your favourite cafe / bistro in Melbourne and what dish would you recommend from there?

Pei Modern
45 Collins street
Melbourne  3000

Tel: + 61 3 9654 8545

Pei Modern on Urbanspoon

Enter your email address to subscribe to chopinandmysaucepan.com
… Delivered by FeedBurner

This entry was posted in Eating in Sydney and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Pei Modern, Melbourne

  1. I’m so glad to see what this is like! Thanks for the numerous pics-although it’s 9:47am and I’m hungry now :P

  2. Fiona N says:

    Like music to my ears, you calling my favourite city ” the most elegant city in Australia” … Yes.. You can say I am biased but like you I believe it is so :)

    I am so happy you like Peu Modern. I was very impressed when I went there some months ago too.

    If you asked for my favourite bistros there? It’s a tough choice… I would recommend France Soir ( French Bistro) or a lesser known Anada on Gerturde Street, Fitzroy
    ( serving up delicious tapas).

  3. The cold smoked tuna and the stuffed “dessert” tomato would make me consider adding this restaurant to my favorites list and I don’t live anywhere near Melbourne! Smiling at the fruitcake reference…

  4. Raymund says:

    Look at all those seafood dishes very enticing. I visited some parts of Australia already but not yet Melbourne, looks like its my next destination

  5. Looks great! I’ve been eying on Melbourne as my destination one day too (and all the major cities in Oz of course). I wish I tag along every restaurant you go to. You just know how to eat and which drink to pick. Must be fun dining with you. I am sure your friends mention that before. :)

  6. I need to do a lot more eating out in Melbourne before I can recommend either a dish or a venue! This restaurant will go to the top of my list of places to try though :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>