Elegant Dining at One Eleven at The Hotel Windsor
The World Loves Melboune was recently invited to experience one of the most elegant dining offerings in Melbourne; the One Eleven dining experience at The Hotel Windsor.
After all The Hotel Windsor is iconic and quintessentially Melbourne. The history goes way back to before even some of the great hotels of the world (dating back to 1883!); indeed we consider The Windsor to be one of the world's great hotels. Recently The World Loves Melbourne stayed at the Windsor and fell in love with the heritage, and we stand amazed at the list of celebrities that have stayed at The Hotel Windsor ( a list mounted on the wall.) Many speak of the legendary high tea at the Windsor as being the standout high tea in Melbourne; but we would also contend that all dining at The Windsor is worthy of acclamation.
The World Loves Melbourne is inspired by the location, outside Victorian architecture and the elegance of this iconic dining room. Dark timbers, plush fabrics, grand chandeliers, floral arrangements and iconic carpet await the visitor.
The Windsor is the place for top notch professional engaging service and a decent wine list. Staff allocated the best table in the house for us, by a large window overlooking Spring St with views of the whole restaurant.
A sparkling wine to begin our culinary journey, along with Organic sourdough, house churned butter, walnut and dill hit the spot.
To be honest, The World Loves Melbourne is hard to please when it comes to hotel dining. Often hotels talk up their kitchens, but you generally end up less than impressed with hotel dining experiences. Throw that thought "out the window" when it comes to The Windsor. We were treated to imaginative and stylish cooking. At The Hotel Windsor, Executive Chef Joel Alderson (The Brix, Attica and Royal Mail) is offering a contemporary take on hotel dining and The World Loves Melbourne was invited to indulge in his innovative crowd pleasing winter dinner menu.
Impressive surroundings for that date night, special occasion or indeed any occasion! Sick of sitting on flimsy stools in casual eateries - how about these grand chairs!
Word was out that the Freshly shucked oysters (we only do freshly shucked) hailed from Tasmania and were wonderfully plump. The Green apple and yuzu sorbet was an innovative and perfectly refreshing complement to the large Royal Miyagi Oysters (the king of oysters).
Flair was evident in the Waffle of Porcini mushroom, camembert and fresh Western Australian truffle. This was a rich waffle with indulgent elements. The World Loves Melbourne enjoys a savoury waffle such as this; normally we are up to our eyeballs in maple syrup and Belgian style sweet waffles. This was a great way to combine seasonal elements.
Driven by a love of produce, Alderson subtly and technically manipulates flavours offering diners an unexpected take on the familiar. His cooking is distinguished by a refined simplicity. And "refined simplicity" is on trend.
A series of small "bites" appears on The Beginning menu. Order a selection, as we did, including this delightful Tempura zucchini blossom, Tasmanian Uni and yuzukoshu. Crisp floral joy.
We moved through Pinot Noir from Yarra Valley and on to Heathcote Shiraz.
The World Loves Melbourne was impressed by this indulgent dish for the punters; Miso roasted beef short rib, mixed pepper, mash and Guinness gravy. A large cut of rib was presented with sticky sweet sauce, a mash that is as creamy as it gets, the "kick" of mixed pepper, and a superb thick Guinness gravy. In terms of a winter menu this hits the heights! Melbourne you will want winter all year round with a dish like this! Although we hear this dish is a signature to span the seasons.
The side dishes were also a highlight, with Roast carrots, burnt honey and spice, crisp chickpeas and warm curd a delight (worthy as a dish in itself). Dinner at The Hotel Windsor’s signature restaurant One Eleven offers a glimpse into the season and the city this restaurant inhabits.
Seasonal overdrive is displayed in the This season's leaves and herbs, hazelnut and honey vinaigrette; a dish designed to complement but which also could be a dish in itself.
Other dishes include Smoked fin tuna, salted kohlrabi, tuna soy, pomelo and lovage; Saltgrass lamb rump with baby cauliflower, caramelised yoghurt and Keen’s Curry. Not your usual hotel fare.
A highlight of the menu is Wild Barramundi steamed in celery butter, southern calamari, braised Japanese turnip and bacon broth. We knew it was a winner when the table next to us kept raving about this dish to the wait staff. Presentation is spectacular and the flavour combination exquisite. The Sea collection of dishes at The Windsor is compelling.
An elegant feast and its a joy to dine in a white tablecloth setting.
Bitter chocolate Marquis, earl grey, cocoa and Seville orange marmalade is a chocolate lovers dream. Texture, refined technique and big flavours. The bitter chocolate Marquis shows fine French technique.
Desserts are highly rewarding, and the Scorched pavlova, preserved lemon curd, fresh figs, yoghurt and walnut was a cacophony of textures and flavours.
Even simple tea comes with a touch of class; the jug itself heavy and opulent.
Alderson has hit his mojo at One Eleven at the Windsor. We can see nuances from his previous kitchen experiences, but puts his own signature on the dishes. The mantra of local and seasonal is not lip service but wonderfully delivered, and the food has a comfort factor as well as showing serious flair and technique. Highly recommended.