The Point Launches Out in Exciting New Directions
Albert Park restaurant The Point is embarking on a new journey. The iconic restaurant is shedding its identity as a "steakhouse of distinction" to broaden it's culinary offerings to embrace the avant garde and the nuances of seasonality. Customers can still enjoy its premium steak offerings but The World Loves Melbourne was impressed with new autumn modern Australian dishes when we were invited to sample the new menu. Executive Chef Andy Harmer impresses, following stints at Vue De Monde and Virginia Plain. Kudos also to Manager and Sommelier Joseph Griffiths, for his passion and vision.
The Point signalled their delicate flavour filled dishes from the start with this amuse bouche featuring Creme fraiche, kipfler potatoes, mushroom and ground roast chestnut. A tasty creamy crunchy seasonal delight to set us on our culinary journey.
Taleggio, walnut, grape and sorrel was a nouveau engaging dish that was a triumph of texture, presentation and taste. The taleggio had the right amount of tang inside the ravioli, soft and creamy cheese. Complementing was the crunch and sweetness of the candied walnut. The grape, leaves and sorrel completed what was a stunning autumn dish. The Point spoiled us with a glass to match of 2011 JJ Prum Riesling Kabinett from Mosel Germany, one of the best rieslings around.
Spanner crab, almond gazpacho, sauce Jacqueline was another rich and delicate dish that captivated us with its foam, but then revealed a delightful portion of spanner crab underneath. Again this was a texture party and showed loads of technique. By now we were well aware of the welcome departure from "steak central" and a welcome move into seasonal and modern nuances. While the views here are stunning all eyes were on our plates for the next exciting adventure.
Nothing spoke "seasonal" more than the Autumn in the Park dish. This dish was complex but not overbearing; rich but also refreshing. Autumn in the Park features elements such as ground seasonal mushroom powder, a parsley sponge, pine mushrooms, edible foliage and a celeraic. The forest is a warm forest in terms of the temperature of the base. Layers of taste and complexity are stunning. While all dishes were a texture party on the night, this took the prize with so much "going on". The wine match for a complex dish such as this would be a challenge for any sommelier, but we were delighted with a creamy sherry from Spain, the Lustau Rare Cream Superiore, Jerez Spain. One of the world's best sherries.
At this point we are convinced that the wine list here is the real deal, with diversity and savvy, reaching in to a rich collection with abandon. While some restaurants dress up packaged wines, The Point was on song with its wine matching and to the point of generosity.
Joseph the Manager and Sommelier is a savvy and affable host who engaged every table at The Point on the night we visited. His knowledge is impressive and his passion tangible.
Murray Cod, fennel and yuzu salt was a dish of crunch and creamy fish finesse. We appreciated the Darling River Murray Cod as displaying wild fresh water nuances, as opposed to say farmed fish. Presentation was again superb. The 2012 Cantina Terlano Vorberg Pinot Bianco, Alto Adige Italy was a match of triumph. Sometimes thought of as Chardonnay's "understudy", this was no understudy, with this pale yellow straw wine from Alto Adige the best pinot bianco in the world.
Wagyu short rib, smoked eggplant was a hit and redefines The Point even in terms of its reputation for fine meats. When the steak dish did arrive it was presented in a world of nuance and delicacy. The World Loves Melbourne prefers steak presented like this with nuance, rather than just some massive portion of meat cooked with a side of mustard and potatoes. Here we have a top notch cut of Sevens Creek wagyu with marble score 9 - alone a meal in itself. Engaging was the sweetness of the wagyu marinated in a port. The eggplant was a superb accompaniment. Rich and rewarding.
A highlight was this rare 2011 Denton View Hill Nebbiolo from Yarra Valley Victoria. We understand there were only 30 cases of this nebbiolo made in 2011. Denton View Hill is the labour of love of leading Melbourne architect John Denton and his well known foodie son Simon.
We were impressed with a pre-dessert white chocolate dish above and then the main dessert dish arrived with a sense of theatre below. The main dessert was a Chocolate Orb with caramel sauce pour over that captivated.
See above after the caramel sauce was poured over the top of the Chocolate Orb - spectacular with gold leaf and edible flower imbibed. This was served with a thick extraordinary nectar of 1983 Toro Albala Do PX Pedro Ximanez, Montilla Spain, Joseph having reached deep into the vault...
Violet marshmallows, jellies and shortbread...
The Point treated us with this French Cordialor Liqueur with citrus nuances.
At the end of the night we reflected upon how much work and technique and sheer savvy had gone into our dining experience. The food from Andy Harmer was a high point, with many of the dishes delicate in nature, rather than the hard hitting steak options of the past. When we did enjoy steak it was nuanced and fitted in with the bigger picture of their new culinary direction.
The wine list at The Point is also spectacular and Manager and Sommelier trained Joseph took care of us with some breathtaking wines by the glass.
Bringing the experience together to a cacophony of culinary joy is the top level service, fine surroundings, and the killer view of the lake. Which is why The Point remains one of Melbourne's best dining experiences.