The Apartment

401 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne CBD
(03) 9670 4020

Last week I was asked by some friends to come along to hear the Daryl McKenzie Jazz Orchestra. A great Melbourne big band [formerly the Australian Show Band]. $10 cover charge or $35 with a two course dinner? That was a pretty easy question to answer, not only do I get to eat, but I get a seat....

The venue is stylish and slick, nice big dining chairs, lots of soft furnishings in browns and dark red, and retro style lamps hanging into the sunken restaurant below street level. I'm not sure why it's called The Apartment, because it doesn't feel or look like one, for a start it would
be the only apartment in Melbourne without one window, but it is a cool name!

The set menu was small, and included three choices of each course. The Escabeche of seafood looked very pretty on the plate and was a good size for what can be a rich dish. Unfortunately the waiter had trouble explaining to our table what an Escabeche was. His explanation was it was raw seafood in oil.. sounds yummy... when in fact it is, and was on the night, a mixture of cooked and poached and pickled seafood marinaded in acidulants like citrus and vinegar. At least the chef knew what it was! I think the waiter was thinking of Cheviche, which is a raw seafood dish treated in a similar way. Another entree, the fig and rocket salad was small but effective, however was screaming for some cheese to be added somewhere on the plate.

Mains were well sized and prepared. The pasta of mushrooms in beurre blanc was good, however was underseasoned. The Braised beef was served with a good dollop of mash, however with only a small portion of meat it was a shame that in my piece there was a big, beautifully braised piece of fat. Now I like fat, but this was too much. The Chicken roulade, wrapped in prosciutto was beautifully presented, however the risk with this style of presentation [chicken in a small tight roll] is that it is difficult to cook without drying, and the chef managed to extrude every drop of moisture from the flesh. You could see before it was even cut. Simply overcooked. With all this said, the service was fantastic. Waiters were attentive at all times, with my water glass never allowed to empty.

The band is amazing. Made up from all the best players in Melbourne coming together on their one night off from theatre shows and tour concerts to play music they want to play. You can buy their album here. It is great.

At the end of the night I was desperate for a coffee and what arrived at the table was burned and cold...however the head waiter saw my twice sipped coffee sitting there and asked if it was OK. I explained and he offered to make a new one for me. Why not. The next was at least palatable, and again reinforced the level of service at this establishment.

Overall it was a great environment, and a fantastic place to hear the big band. I normally only give one rating, but I am going to give three this time.

Food 11/20
Service 18/20
Band 20/20

Apartment Restaurant Club Lounge on Urbanspoon


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