HQ's on William Restaurant & Bar is located on the ground floor of the Radisson hotel, right across from the picturesque Flagstaff Gardens in Melbourne CBD and offers expansive views of the lush garden.
We were invited to taste test the new summer menu, so my partner and I attended HQ's on a lovely summer evening for dinner.
We kicked off our gastronomic journey with the complimentary freshly baked bread. The crusty, golden-brown bread was crispy outside and soft and fluffy inside. It was love at first sight or more precisely, love at first bite. We enjoyed the bread with the accompanying butter and also dipped in the accompanying olive oil. I have dined in many restaurants and have enjoyed many different types of bread. This bread was on ofe the best I have ever tried.
For entree, we sampled the faux tartare (vegan) and the kingfish crudo. The other entrees on the menu included oysters, beetroot and grains, heirloom tomatoes & burrata, grilled octopus, seared scallops and soup of the day.
The vegan style faux tartare was quite interesting and tasty. The mango yolk, which looked identical to an egg yolk, was truly intriguing. The chef, Vishal, eagerly explained the spherification process he used to create the perfect mango sphere. The combination of tomato, basil, mustard, shallots and cold pressed olive oil resulted in a light and refreshing entree.
The Hiramasa kingfish crudo comprised raw kingfish, cumquat, radish, jalapeno, togarashi and confit king oyster mushroom. The kingfish was fresh and had an appetising citrus flavour. Vishal elaborated that the actual process involved in delivering the citrus flavour.
For mains, we had the Tasmanian salmon and the Victorian spring lamb shoulder. Other mains included Milawa duck duo, free range chicken, grilled barramundi with chorizo, beef eye fillet, black angus short rib, black angus bone in rib-eye, and butternut pumpkin risotto.
The succulent salmon was served with moghrabieh pearls, spinach, roasted tomatoes, cumquats and trout roe. It was a good serving size. The smoky flavoured roe was exquisite and the tomatoes were yummy. Paired with the roe and the moghrabieh pearls, the salmon tasted delicious.
My partner zealously devoured the lamb shoulder which was served with barley, glazed carrots, pea puree and Davidson plum. The meat was tender and juicy. This dish was a big hit with our tastebuds. The portion was generous and each morsel was thoroughly enjoyed. Vishal explained that the lamb is sourced from a place near Falls Creek; the actual name of the place escapes me.
We listened with interest as Vishal demonstrated his knowledge about the recipes, cooking methods and the source of ingredients used in the restaurant. Every dish was carefully crafted with fresh and mostly locally sourced ingredients which was evident from the beautiful presentation and the interesting and appealing flavours.
Our desserts included cocnout panna cotta (eggless and dairy-free) and yuzu crème brulee.
The coconut panna cotta got an A for presentation. The berrie, mango and kiwi compote and the coconut puree made this dessert quite nice.
The crème brulee with matcha ice-cream, fruit pearls and berries deserve a special mention. Personally I am not a fan of matcha. But I actually quite enjoyed the scoop of matcha ice-cream which rested on top of the crème brulee. The crème brulee itself was decadent and moreish with the sweetness level done to perfection. We did justice to this fabulous dish by slowly (very slowly) relishing every spoonful until we polished off every last morsel.
Peter was the bartender who quenched our thirst with yummy cocktails and shared anecdotes from his 14 year long bar-tending career. This jovial fellow cracked jokes and gleefully showed off his knowledge about alcohol. He gave us a low-down of the cocktail recipes.
The first cocktail to grace our table was the frozen strawberry daiquiri which is a classic summertime drink crafted by Peter in his own way. Intensely fruity, this refreshing drink was thoroughly enjoyable. It's the type of drink that makes you pause and just revel in the moment as you enjoy every mouthful.
The Peter Pan cocktail was exquisitely presented. A stark contrast to the red daiquiri, the Peter Pan drink was very green and was quite potent and delicious. As per instruction from Peter, we sipped the cocktail without stirring in the cinnamon powder on top. And then we mixed in the cinnamon and took another sip. We announced that the cocktail tasted better with the cinnamon. Peter explained that he came up with the recipe at the last minute at a bar-tending competition.
The dining space is quite spacious and the atmosphere is relaxed. The ambience is conducive to cosy dinners with family, friends and colleagues. The staff are friendly and attentive. The menu caters for meat-lovers, vegetarians and vegans.
HQ's on William offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. The buffet breakfast includes Vittoria coffee, house-made Bircher muesli, a number of hot items, including free-range, cooked-to-order eggs. HQ's is a 2018 finalist for Restaurant of the Year, All Day Dining as well as the 2016 winner of Best in State, All Day Dining at the TAA Awards. You can make a reseravtion by clicking here or by calling them on 03 9322 8000.
HQ awaits you at 380 William Street, Melbourne CBD. It is a stone's throw away from the Flagstaff railway station and near tram route 58 stop. There is ample paid parking and some free parking nearby.
HQ's will make a lovely choice for any end of year or Christmas celebration including office parties. Irrespective of the time of the day, week, month or year, HQ's has got you covered for a jolly good time with your better half, family, friends or colleagues.