Tonight’s restauranteering buddies tonight would be the lovely Shebarella and Philé. Philé’s a great cook. I pitched the idea to him over mussels in a Vietnamese-based sauce and butternut pumpkin soup. His imagination for food goes far beyond mine. In fact, he came up with a better idea than I had. But we’ll save that for another night. On Philé’s request, I invited Shebarella, who’s always excellent and spontaneous company.
We decided to go to “Cream” that lies on the heart of the Glowing Octopus, right on the corner of a massive shopping complex, Cream is one of those places that I mostly passed by without a second thought. Shebarella knew it intimately, having eaten there for breakfast and lunch, but never dinner. She was dying to find out, as she hadn’t been out in a fair while.
It’s the last night of autumn and the we meet shortly after the sun drops out of the sky. Inside Cream, the arrangement is kind of dynamic, the kitchen is naturally at the back, but there is a centre island with cakes, deserts and other items behind glass. There is also an coffee bar at the front. The restaurant appears to be a part bar as well, a massive solid wood bench extends through the southwest corner accompanied by many bar stools. Two giant snowflake-like patterns adorn the ceiling divided by a pattern that looks like cartoon TV static drawn by Jim Woodring. Shebarella and I arrived first to a busy and somewhat noisy place.
In some respects this is good, many people mean the restaurant is generally good. But at times, I found having to repeat myself to Shebarella. Somehow the place needed something to dampen the noise.
The service was a bit of a potluck affair. We got attended to pretty much immediately, but we decided to take our time as Philé was late for reasons unknown. By the he came around, we were ready to order a bottle of wine. Paringa Pinot Noir was the choice. But staff seemed to be in short supply at points, or hyper-focused on other tasks. The man who initially said that he would return, didn’t until near the end of our evening. Either that or we were in a waiter/waitress blind spot. Even the bill seemed to take its time to arrive and would only do so when we specifically requested it. This is good in some respects, you never get the feeling that you’re going to be pushed out the door to free another table for a hungry-hungry patron, though it was somewhat annoying. However, we managed to entertain ourselves, as usual, by watching other meals pass by. Like their eye fillet, decorated with prosciutto in such a way it looks like a council arts project, by a bypass. Though, judging by the food we did have, I’m sure was very, very nice.
Our food for starters: a tapas medley of salt and pepper marinated half quail, char grilled chorizo with mint yoghurt, tempura prawns with preserved lemon aioli and potatas bravas dusted in smoked paprika with garlic mayonnaise. The half-quail consisted of four quail legs and then grilled, a simple but tasty little number. The chorizo with the mint yoghurt provided an interesting contrast cool spice. Probably the best of those was the Potatoes in paprika and the garlic dipping sauce.
Of our mains, Shebarella ordered the Chimmichunga, a thick roll of tortilla packed full of tandoori chicken, bacon, cheddar and chipolte chilli. Philé ordered the Duck Risotto, which was braised duck accompanied by garlic, chilli and shitake mushrooms. I ordered the Chicken Breast that was seasoned to five spices and sat on a bed of dark wild rice and asian greens. The verdict of our mains was simple, Philé summed up the risotto as “perfect”. Shebarella’s words were strangled in between mouthfuls of ‘chunga. The chicken for me was very good, the spice seasoning complemented well with the dark sweetness of the rice and greens. It was a meal that went down very well. Later I tried the Lavender Bruleé, but found myself unable to finish it, though very sweet, I was near bursting.
Thought you find it difficult to talk on a regular night, give Cream a go. You will not be disappointed.