Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens is home to one of Melbourne's fantastic restaurants, HQ's Restaurant and Bar. As you find yourself at the hotel's entrance at 380 William Street, turn right and you will find yourself in serene ambience with bright lights and staff who are really caring and passionate about what they do.
A great starter with olive oil and other exotic dips to match
I had dinner here recently, and I was with one of the fussiest eaters you can ever come across. We were greeted by our host Soma. For starters we went for a market fresh garden salad, and my friend wanted some dipping turkish bread. Her request for some olive oil was just the best thing that could happen to this dish. The olive oil blended in quite nicely with the crushed nuts.
The experience at HQ's Restaurant and Bar would not be complete if it wasn't for a glass of quality wine. I made the right decision to opt for the Squealing Pig (Central Otago, NZ - $9.50 a glass) which turned out to be one of the most flavoursome Pinot Noirs I have ever come across. This glass of red was the perfect partner for the chicken breast main dish I ordered. My friend went for a glass of Distant Cousins (Marlborough NZ - $9 a glass) as she is only a white wine drinker, and Sauvignon Blanc always goes well with a well cooked snapper. These two married up nicely as well, and the sides (the salad and the dipping bread) was just perfect.
The ambience is just stunning. We sat right near the window looking out towards Flagstaff Gardens. For mains I was ready to tuck into the Hazeldene Free Range Chicken Breast with bacon and onion dumpling, ruby chard and juniper jus ($28) and the chicken was well cooked and tender. My piece was chunky, yet flavoursome. I loved how the spinach blended in nicely with the jus. That with a piece of chicken breast to compliment my wine, I died and arrived at foodie heaven. This was even before dessert was considered. My friend equally liked the chicken, although she was more of a fish fan on this occasion. We also had a jug of water to share, and it was also constantly being topped up as we were running low.
The salad was perfect with the delicious chicken breast
I also had a chance to try her Gold Band Snapper Fillet with oven roasted tomato, gratin of sweed with dry vermouth creme ($25) and the snapper was just filling. The rest of the elements of the dish complimented this quality piece of fish without being overpowering. The tomatoes were roasted just right with that herb flavour. It was at this point that my fussy eater companion said "If I had to fill out some sort of customer feedback form, I would easily give this place a 10/10. Five star service."
My friend really got on well with Soma (our host), even at times she was talking to her way more than she was talking to me, yet we were together to catch up as I now live interstate. Go figure. I did not mind as I was having a great night with great service and company. And of course great food in great settings.
Our sweet tooth's could not resist some dessert to finish off what was already a great evening. From personal experience, the experience at HQ's Restaurant and Bar would not be complete if it wasn't for the Silver Chocolate Bar with single origin chocolate case, dark chocolate mousse, sour caramel, gold dusted chocolate pearls with a silver leaf ($15). When I saw this item on the menu, I knew it had my name written all over it. This dish can easily make Lindt jealous. The chocolate mousse had a smooth texture yet was a little strong for my taste buds, however the chocolate bar with the silver leaf was just divine. The chocolate coating was heavenly. I will think twice before devouring any chocolate bar for that matter.
Furthermore, the Traditional Sticky Date Pudding with butterscotch sauce and double cream ($10) was rather filling. Dad, eat your heart out. The reason why I have brought the latter up is because my dad is a dessert fanatic and his favourite dessert is the sticky date pudding. My friend also loved it. This sticky date pudding will give many of those other sticky date puddings out there in Melbourne and Sydney a good run for their money.
Some of the hot dishes as part of the buffet breakfast experience
My HQ's Restaurant and Bar experience did not stop there. As I was a guest staying at this hotel, I was treated to a buffet breakfast the next morning. I arrived at 6:30am, and already there was a decent queue of people building up, and you would too. The hot dishes are piping hot and fresh. The chipolatas, bacon and mushrooms were divine. The eggs were cooked freshly in front of you, and the great chef poached my egg for me. The yoke was at the right consistency. The pepper blended in quite nicely. The yoghurt, fruit salad and danishes were great compliments to a drink of orange juice. I was also spoilt in cafe society heaven. The apple and pistachio danish made way for a great treat with my breakfast dish.
Delicious buffet breakfast experience at HQ's Restaurant and Bar
Clearly, I will be back, and so will my friend. My friend was grateful that she did not have to drive home on this occasion when we had dinner here before I devoured the breakfast. Thank you HQ's Restaurant and Bar at Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens for two sensational dining experiences in a row.
Where:HQ's Restaurant and Bar at Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens
Cost:Breakfast - if you book the hotels Melbourne City Escape package, a full buffet breakfast is included in your room rate. Dinner - allow $30-40 per person for a great treat, depending on items ordered and how many courses.