District Dining's reputation precedes itself - in a very good way of course. I had heard from many friends and bloggers what a great restaurant District Dining is. The restaurant is contained in a smallish room with a cosy, modern vibe perfect for a delightful catch up with three of my closest girlfriends.
So when I head to the eatery on a cold, rainy Wednesday night, my excitement is understated only by the fact that our dinner booking is at 8.30pm (which is too late in my books – I think I'm getting old). I contacted District Dining after purchasing a Deals voucher, and was informed that there were only 6pm or 8.30pm time slots for these particular dinner bookings.
The gorgeously plated baby carrot salad with salted yoghurt, dukkah, almonds ($18) has that aromatic touch from the dukkah. Miss S isn't too fond of this dish, only because the yoghurt to carrot ratio seems to be a little off. The yoghurt is also very thick, to the point that we think it's cream cheese. The consensus around the table is that the yoghurt is distinguished by a tangy vigour (over a salty flavour), but I find that I like the tartness, especially when complemented by the sweetened nuts.
When I saw the words "wasabi pannacotta" on the menu, I was both intrigued and eager to try two such contrasting flavours that I love and had never experienced together in one component. The kingfish, wasabi pannacotta, quinoa and ponzu entree ($20) is hands down the best entree of the night. The interesting and exotic combination of flavours is well worth it.
I went with the chicken liver parfait, port jelly, toast, red grapes ($20), and the texture is absolutely divine. My personal preference is a salty parfait, but this one is more on the sweet side, especially due to the port jelly resting on top.
Let's move on to the mains. The wait between courses is a little bit delayed. We're seated around 8.15pm and don't leave until 10.30pm. But I don't even mind because the food keeps me contented. The herbed gnocchi, broccoli, pecorino and pangrattato ($26) blows my mind. I love herbs, I love gnocchi, I love broccoli, I love pecorino and I love bread crumbs. I have so much love for this one little dish. The texture makes it for me – crunchy bread crumbs atop soft gnocchi. We've got a winner right here.
Now the 12 hour lamb shoulder with cauliflower salad, olives and Moroccan spices ($30) is so tender that you don't even need a knife to pull it apart. The only thing missing in this dish is another dimension to the dish. As Miss S points out, there's a whole lot of one flavour in this dish.
Miss D picks the sumac crusted salmon with shaved fennel salad. If tonight involved a competition of who chose the best dishes, the winner would have been Miss D. I'm normally not much of a salmon fan, but this dish is top-notch. The fish is cooked to perfection and the fennel salad an interesting addition.
Dessert is probably my favourite part of most meals, so getting to try three different desserts made me giddy with anticipation. The mango eton mess with mango sorbet is deliciously refreshing, but it would have been even better if it had been colder. Overall, a wonderful dessert that mango-lovers will certainly enjoy.
The ricotta tart with caramelised fig ice cream is probably the least impressive dessert out of our three dessert choices. But it's only slightly underwhelming because the fig ice cream makes up for the slightly bland ricotta tart.
The white peach pannacotta with raspberry compote is impossibly amazing. The crunchy bits are unexpected (in a very good way), and add that extra-special factor to the dish. The creamy pannacotta is contrasted with the crunch of caramel and the fruity tang from the berry compote. I think I tuck into more than half of MC's panncotta - I can't get enough of it. And what a great way to finish off this lovely meal.
Amazing food, impeccable plating and a heart-warming atmosphere - what more could you want?
Funny how I went there just last week without a voucher and was VERY dissapointed especialyl with the Mango eton mess which I had. All I was eating was cream. I know thats what supposed to be an eton mess but all I got was a bowl of cream, tiny mango bits within it and the mango sorbet on top. There was no flavour. Just dissapointing. I felt embarassed suggesting the restaurant to my friends to be honest.