September 7, 2012

24 Russell Street, Melbourne

Note: PM24 has sadly closed, and is now the site of Lucy Liu.

I went to PM24 with my family on Fathers Day. Their Sunday brunch menu is a simple and pleasantly familial mix of brunch-style dishes (eggs, croque monsieur), and lunch dishes you would find in a bistro. It reminded me very much of Bistro Vue, understated and elegant with flawless service; I can see why the restaurant is so popular for corporate lunches.

Upon arrival, we were welcomed by none other than Philippe Mouchel himself, who was later seen finishing up the plating of dishes. The restaurant is quite large but is broken up into three narrow rooms; we were at the back, which afforded a slightly quieter place for lunch. Our waiter (who was French) was very friendly and the lunch kicked off in excellent fashion with a Wild Duck Creek shiraz from Heathcote, deep bodied but fruity.

Mum and I both began with the house terrine, which I am tempted to say was duck – excellent texture and taste, and I particularly enjoyed how they’d used liver pate as an ingredient. Served with cornichons and some excellent onion jam on toast.

Dad had the french onion soup gratinee (insert acute accent on first ‘e’, I can’t be bothered) and thoroughly enjoyed it, as you can see.

Alex, being the adventurous 16 year old francophile that he is, went for a half-dozen snails Burgundy style, cooked in a sauce that represents everything that is good in the world; tomato, garlic, parsley and butter. Brilliant.

As I mentioned earlier, you can order smaller dishes like eggs, galettes, or croque monsieur/madame for lunch, or you can order from the small but thoughtful list of larger lunch dishes. Mum went for the rotisserie of the day, a huge pink slab of beef with potato gratin, purple cabbage and a red wine sauce. She couldn’t finish it all but the 16 year old was all too glad to help out!

The 16 year old went for the Wagyu skirt steak with beef cheek, onion and celeriac puree and loved every mouthful of it, especially the rich and soft beef cheek.

Dad and I had some beautiful fillets of Hapuka, which is quite firm but sweet, pan seared then finished in the oven with a herb crust, gnocchi, spinach, mushrooms and the most incredible chardonnay jus. That sauce made my day; light and tangy, and such a lovely orange colour!

Dessert was a shared creme brulee with some sort of flaming alcohol, from memory Grand Marnier, a pleasing amount of vanilla seeds and a brilliant crunchy surface.

With the bill came house-made strawberry marshmallows, whose texture is infinitely better than that of their store bought counterparts. I remember seeing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (yet another chef-crush of mine) making these on his River Cottage show using beetroot for food colouring.

In all, a delicious and convivial lunch at PM24 – I highly recommend you try it for yourself!

PM24 on Urbanspoon

Filed under: French, Melbourne CBD