Desserts simply glow in this quintessentially Melbourne restaurant.
Richmond is the traditional home of the cheap and cheerful — little sardine-tins of Vietnamese spots for pho slurping and little concealed warehouses converted into vibrant brunch spots. In the first half of 2011, it would seem that Richmond’s dining landscape has undergone a revitalisation. With an unassuming entrance along bustling Swan Street, new-comer Noir is graced with floor-to-ceiling windows, lined with lead light panels. Sitting less than 30, sultry black furnishings and dimly-lit basket ceiling pendants confer a quintessentially Melbourne flair, simultaneously contemporary and reserved, and just-so-sexy in noir.
On our first visit, MoMo & Coco visited for a very leisurely weekend brunch/lunch. From the brunch menu, our party selected the open steak sandwich that was presented in two tastes, one of savoury as a perfectly medium-rare classical steak sandwich, and one of slightly sweet, with beetroot and apple puree ($15); and a golden snapper-bacon-prawn fishcake, with a cheery poached egg perched on top ($15). We couldn’t, of course, bypass the four enticingly-described desserts from the a la carte lunch/dinner menu, and in acknowledgement of almost-full stomachs, it was with great difficulty that we chose only two irresistibles, excluding therefore, a rice pudding and a trifle…
The first irresistible was the “Chocolate and Almond Fondant” ($15). Classically European, this delectable chocolate fondant was served warmed, slightly crusty, sensually oozing a steamy lava flow of molten chocolate. An accompanying ball of mascarpone ice cream sat on a bed of nuts, balancing the richer intensity of the chocolate. A crisp nut brittle wedge provided the final flourish to this very noir beauty.
The second irresistible was the “Salted Toffee Cheesecake” ($15). With great audacity, MoMo & Coco hereby declare that this Noir irresistible transcended far and above our previously much-loved, salted caramel icecream sandwich from Cutler & Co. Even for insatiable sweet-tooths such as MoMo & Coco, the latter can become overwhelmingly sweet, leaving one gesturing for strong coffee or tea. By comparison, this Noir irresistible merely left us gasping for superlatives…for more of it, oh yes, please !! An interplay of sweet yet salty, creamy yet light, the centrepiece of exquisite salted toffee was more a slice than a cheesecake, per se. Providing a contrasting fresh edge were two elements. A crown of lightly-flavoured banana sorbet. And, an encircling necklace of sliced and diced granny smith apples, with wintry touches of dates, raisins, persimmon, and quinces. Presented as a mesmerising pearl in a wavy, scalloped-edge, white porcelain dish. Simply…hmmmmm…irresistible…
A very special mention to the wait staff of Noir, who epitomised the highest calibre of professional friendliness, diligence and attentiveness. One step ahead of everything — topping up glasses without being summoned, effortlessly collaborating with the kitchen staff to deliver efficient service, knowing exactly when to step in to assist vacillating minds attempting to decide between the numerous irresistibles on offer. Just as one would have thought that handwritten calligraphy has become a lost art of centuries past, Noir’s entirely hand-written menu and bill further exemplified that commitment to warm, affable service.
Well-suited for any number of ocassions, Noir brings a distinctively sexy classy culinary appeal to its inner-city suburban surroundings. With its well-crafted a la carte and degustation menus of unmatched generosity and affordability (brunch under $15, $70pp degustation, $17.50 entrees, $35 mains, and $15 always exquisite desserts), it presents an appealing proposition for a refined, almost all-day dining experience. Overall, Noir surpasses many of its CBD counterparts by reference to that trifecta of great food, great service, and great ambience. Moreover, it also possesses those even more elusive X-factors of value and timelessness. It’s for all these reasons that MoMo & Coco have returned at all times around the clock the sample the different menus. And we say this secretly and cheekily, Noir gives MoMo & Coco the perfect incentive to line les yeux avec le crayon khol noi, to re-visit especially for dinner in our slinky blacks…before we trek around the corner to Der Raum (one of Melbourne’s most innovative cocktail bars and one of our favourites) with our under-utilised membership card…and of course, the first priority of the night being to over and over again sample Noir’s irresistibles…oh yes please…
Dessert adventure checklist
- ☑ Dessert destination: Noir Restaurant, 173 Swan Street, Richmond, Vic 3121.
- ☑ Budget: $$$.
- ☑ Sweet irresistibles: Restaurant dessert. Modern and neo-classical European.
- ☑ Must-eat: The “Salted Toffee Cheesecake.”
- ☑ The short and sweet story: Desserts simply glow in this quintessentially Melbourne restaurant.