Henry and the Fox - Top End Quality
Henry and the Fox is an impressive restaurant in the heart of the Melbourne CBD which oozes charm and elegance, superb cuisine and a modern edge. It's part of the Paul Mathis stable, and as such, comes with the top end quality that Mathis has delivered over decades in Melbourne.
The cuisine at Henry and the Fox is superb across the board, with no disappointments, only highlights. It offers classic dining but not at over the top prices. Creativity and imagination abound here around classic dishes. It's no wonder as the chef Michael fox was awarded 2011 The Age Good Food Guide award for Young Chef of the Year.The cuisine is described as Modern Australian but has a European theme. For mine it is rustic and hearty but with fine dining sophistication. We enjoyed a food bloggers evening at Henry and the Fox. I'm not prone to rave if I don't mean it - but Henry and the Fox delivered on all fronts so this blog reflects my enthusiasm.
The Jamon and Manchego Croquettes were sublime with crisp exterior and creamy inside - perfecto and one of the favourites of the night.
Another favourite of the night was the Fried zuchinni flowers, which I always find pleasingly refreshing and not a heavy starter. These were moorish, filled with ricotta, mint and peas - and I had to battle to stop eating them knowing more delights were to come.
The Goats cheese, roasted baby beets, pickled shallots, horseradish, watercress and raspberry vinegar vegetarian option was all class and the presentation spectacular.
After being impressed with previous starters we were presented with the overall highlight of the evening - the Rabbit terrine with rhubarb compote and salad , and brioche. I'm a big fan of rabbit with its heartiness and richness. In fact I used to manage a company that exported Australian game meats including rabbit. I love rabbit slow cooked. Or in this case my eyes were opened to the amazing treatment of rabbit in a classic terrine.
The flavour of rabbit shone through without being overbearing (which can be the case with rabbit). The salad was a perfect accompaniment. And the brioche was super impressive and served in a seperate bowl.
At this point I want to say the presentation at Henry and the Fox is superb and befits a top dining occasion. A great place to come with your fellow work collegues, friends and that romantic interlude.
Then there was the Seared scallops with apple, and celeraic remoulade, caper and raisin puree with toasted pumpernickel. Exclamation marks here. The scallops were the heroe but this was done with a fair amount of sophistication. Seared is the right treatment for scallops because overcooking is a crime. These scallops were sensational.
A course I was waiting for was the Roasted Moreton bay bugs with cauliflower puree and spiced cauliflower. A great combination of flavours. Sumptious bugs. By now we were realising we were in a seriously excellent restaurant.
The ambience is first class at Henry and the Fox with cool timber features, a low ceiling with mood lighting, a tiled floor and spacious bar. The open kitchen is a highlight and in step with a Meditteranean and French theme. What is exceptional is the outdoor area - one of the few outdoor dining areas on Little Collins. Vive the astroturf!
The mains arrived and looked spectacular. The Cured Kingfish with coriander and fennel seeds, mandarin and coriander shoots looked as good as it tasted. The orange of the mandarin was a great backdrop against the Kingfish. Again this meal was a triumph. The sweetness of the mandarin to balance the richness of the Kingfish.
In all honesty, the dishes we received were a series of triumphs. The Poached chicken breast with quinoa, pistachio, fig and sorrel was also sumptious. These are imaginative and thoughful flavour combinations. Sweetness and crunch and finesse around a superbly poached chicken breast.
Another fish dish was impressive, the Mulloway with avocado, chickpea, and red pepper.
And just when we thought we had reached the summit we were presented with the Pork belly with fennel, dill and orange. I'm a lover of pork belly - it's a reflex to order whenever I see it on the menu. But some do it better than others. Some places overwhelm pork belly with sauce. But here at Henry and the Fox the pork belly remained the hero of the dish. Just wonderfully cooked and with a few simple well chosen accompaniments. A sensational dish.
The desserts were equally as impressive. The Sorbet was sensational.
The Passionfruit cheescake with passionfruit mousse was a great cheescake dessert. The highlight for me was the Chocolate pannacotta with strawberry cream and the strawberry sorbet. Classic pannacotta with sophisticated chocolate and the fresh hit of strawberry. And the presentation was first class.
The Doughnuts with chocolate sauce were simple but raved about at our table.
Another great option is the Quince, pear, custard and coconut crumble with coconut iceceam.
Which brings us to the name. The story goes that Mathis was hanging with his crew devising the name when in a moment of inspiration he connected the genius of young Chef Michael Fox with another talented staff member PA Claire Henry to formulate the name. A clever one at that, as it's also the name of a children's book.
Henry and the Fox is a top notch French restaurant in the CBD which provides a stellar menu, talented chef, great ambience and engaging and attentive service.