Graze at Martin No.38
Good news Graze lovers, the Rochester Park establishment has just opened closer to the city. Located at the new Martin No. 38 building, Graze joins the fine dining Thai restaurant Kha, and a new deli concept called Provisions in this new former warehouse location.
The new executive chef Chris Donnellan came on board with an impressive resume. He picked up the coveted Young Chef of The Year 2009 award when he was 26. The Age also named him one of its top 100 most influential people. And the Melbourne restaurant he was working in, Gingerboy, has a one-hat rating, the Australian equivalent of a Michelin star.
Designed by Melbourne-based award-winning Hecker Guthrie, Graze at Martin No.38 is a vibrant space with an informal and fresh approach, creating a classic neighbourhood spot for dining and relaxation. Panoramic glass panels and timber finishes add to the light and airy ambience, a quirky chair display wall adds a sense of fun, and a glass fronted charcuterie room gives a theatrical view of the chefs in action.
The Plate Room is a sweet spot for personal or business private events while a white-tiled communal table offers a casual alternative for single diners or a larger group. The unique individual stations provide a semi private area for working on your computer over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, or for playing board games provided by Graze.
|Homemade bread with white bean puree, carrot and olive oil
|Sumac seared scallops, cauliflower cream, cumin oil, pomegranate|
Graze at Martin No.38 offers the best of Australian cuisine with strong emphasis on fresh, quality produce enhanced with uniquely balanced flavours. The sea scallops ($19) are crisp and glazed outside, then seared to keep tender and moist inside. It is served with cauliflower cream, cumin oil and pomegranate, leaving a subtle sweet richness.
|Upside down duck pie, dried black olives, mash, pickled vegetables|
The upside-down duck pie ($22) is very unique. Usually we will see the pie skin wrapped around a dish. But the duck pie here does otherwise, the shredded duck mean is marinated with hoisin sauce, placed on top of the pie. The duck meat is tender and well cooked but I felt the pickled vegetables was too overpowering for the dish.
|Pan-seared barramundi, chorizo broth, watercress, salad of ruby red grapefruit, avocado, mint|
Barramundi ($34) and chorizo are a classic pairing that infuses the mild but meaty fish with the the sweet chorizo broth. The barramundi is first grilled to perfection, crispy skin and the flesh cooked with just the right consistency of texture. Watercress and salad of ruby red grapefruit, avocado and mint are the supporting ingredients that make this a healthy and light meal, packed with great taste.
|4 Jumbo tiger prawns, skinny frites, house sea urchin butter, chopped parsley, ruby red grapefruit|
The Jumbo Tiger Prawns ($34) with skinny frites, house sea urchin butter, chopped parsley and ruby red grapefruit are great, too. The prawns are firm and fresh, and I like the contrast in texture provided by the thin, crispy frites.
|300g pork chop, Kurobuta pork, 100% Berkshire from Victoria, Australia with pear chutney|
I got very excited when the 300g pork chop of Kurobuta pork ($36) appeared on my table. I clearly remembered the first time I knew about its existence was when I had a a plate of $28 Kurobuta pork in a coffeeshop in Holland Village. The meat is lean, with small, fine streaks of marbling that make each cut sweet, and juicy. I find it a bit tough that day but the pear chutney was the sublime accompaniment delicately balancing the flavorful meat with a lingering sweetness.
|Tomato, pomegranate, sumac, cumin salad|
If you are adventurous enough, try the tomato, pomegranate, sumac and cumin salad ($8). Different types of green and red tomatoes are mixed with a unique dressing of olive oil, cumin and sumac, a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spice. I would say that, it is an acquired taste.
|Pina colada coconut parfait, toasted coconut, spiced pineapple, crispy wafer|
Inspired by the rum-based cocktail made with rum, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice, the reinvention of piña colada coconut parfait with toasted coconut is an interesting take that draws an adoring ooh from my companion.
|White sherry and strawberry trifle, chocolate coated pumpkin seeds|
This beautifully layered White sherry and Strawberry trifle paired with chocolate coated pumpkin seeds is the perfect after-dinner treat. Happiness pudding, and pretty as can be.
|Black and White. Valrhona dark chocolate cream, vanilla bean ice cream, compote of mango, rambutan and mangosteen with a sesame snap|
The Black and White ($15), a pairing of Varlhona dark chocolate cream and vanilla bean ice cream, is pretty common. But I like the compote of mango, rambutan and mangosteen, gives a splendid end to a lovely treat.
It was a rainy afternoon that day. Sitting by the window, sipping a cup of artisan Graffeo coffee, perfect! Graffeo coffee is one of the great coffees of the world. The flavors are sweet, round, complex and aromatic bordering on the divine.
If you are in love with Chef Chris’s cooking, head to Provisions where you can buy some ingredients and attempt to cook it at home! Provisions sells a range of fresh ingredients, coffee, tea, wine, cakes and homemade sauces.
Lunch is a spectacular affair when paired with the cozy bright ambience while dining at Graze. Very refreshing menu and I will definitely come back for dinner. Here is a photo of Chef Chris and me.
Address: 38 Martin Road
Tel: +65 6509 1680
*This is an invited tasting*