First up, some cocktails. We get a thus far nameless cocktail whipped up with Grand Marnier, Mandarine Napoleon, lime juice and burnt orange peel. It's relatively strong and the citrus flavours come through nicely.
I am in love with the rice cracker starter. The rice crackers are wispy and delicate with a lovely salty flavour. And the housemade sour cream and chives is absolutely delicious. I could have happily eaten a few more portions of this.
We're not all that hungry, so we decide to share a first course. The Basmati Rice Risotto with grilled Yamba prawns, chives and lemon zest ($23) is a crowd favourite at our table, and it's no surprise why. The dish is delectable - it's buttery and boasts a refined flavour. I also enjoy the use of the basmati rice, compared to the short-grain rice variety normally reserved for a risotto.
There's something almost sacred about the bread-and-butter combination though, so I'm a little bit taken aback by the unexpected coffee aroma. I must admit the presentation of the butter curl is just beautiful though - perfectly shaped and placed atop a rock.
For the second course, I have the Potato Gnocchi ($37) with egg yolk, asparagus, cauliflower and watercress. The dish is luscious, creamy and dense. I love everything about it, especially the vibrant plating.
The Roast Murray Cod Fillet ($40), served with tomato, salt caramel and grilled baby leeks, on the other hand, isn't quite as enjoyable. Lacking in punch, this dish could use a more artistic excitement like that of the gnocchi or the duck dish.
The Thai style Pasture Fed Burrawong Duck Breast ($42) is served on a large, beautiful plate with grilled pineapple, coconut cream, chilli and peas. It's a lovely combination of flavours and has an exotic appeal.
The second round of cocktails doesn't make as good of an impression as the first. After asking for something not so strong with a sweeter character, two of my lovely companions are presented with French Martinis ($18). It's too strong for their liking, and only barely sweeter than the first cocktail.
We didn't order this side, and when I tell the staff, he tells me not to complain and just eat it. I'm a little irked by this because I wasn't complaining - I was merely letting them know. Regardless, we decide to dig in (hey, it's sitting in front of us now and we'll have pay for it - we may as well!). We're told the icerberg lettuce is laced with aioli, but it's much more complex than a simple aioli. There's a nutty and sometimes sweet quality to it as well.
Fellow dessert fiend Miss S is happy to share a dessert with me. After a long moment (or two) of indecision fuelled by the impressive third courses on offer, we opt for the Milk Chocolate Cream Cake with candied hazelnuts and smoked banana ice cream. The ice cream is indeed very smoky with a strong banana flavour. I'm not a fan, but I'm not exactly the best judge for it - the only food containing bananas that I like is banana bread. The chocolate cream cake itself is lovely. It's velvety and smooth with a creamy interior. And I love the candied hazelnuts on the side. As always, the presentation is stunning.
I adore that the Tomislav staff put the heater on for us and that they give us blankets. On the downside, the service feels a little pushy. And when we order sparkling water, we get still water. The second bottle turns out to be sparkling, which unfortunately results in half-still half-sparkling glasses of water.