Taxi Dining Room

April 15, 2011

Transport Hotel, Federation Square, Melbourne

Ages and ages ago I went out with the family for my birthday, and I chose Taxi dining room at Federation Square. Oh man I love Japanese food, and if you eat at Taxi, you will understand why. Fresh, intense flavours, nothing too heavy or stodgy, lots of fish. Although having eaten here I have to say they also offer very impressive non-Japanese (or at the very least fusion) dishes, which A partook in and enjoyed immensely. So kudos to the chefs for being able to do both cuisines well.

Taxi is definitely the place you’d take someone from out of town if you wanted to impress them with the beauty of Melbourne’s Yarra and Flinders Station/Fed Square precinct. It’s got wonderfully long windows on three sides, plenty of natural light streaming through, although I think it’d look super impressive at night when you can see all the city lights.

To begin, I ordered the sake marinated tuna with yuzu jelly, spanner crab cigar, tuna sushi and tuna broth. Ok, this is without question one of the best dishes I have ever eaten. Honestly. Just looking at the picture again sends shivers down my spine and makes me salivate. This is my kind of dish. The round tuna pieces with yuzu (an asian citrus fruit, similar to a mandarin) was incredible, soft and fresh and cut by the tangy piquant jelly. The sushi was fantastic – the tuna pieces had a delicious glaze on top, not sure what it was, kind of sticky and very lightly flavoured. The crab cigars were crunchy and a nice contrast, and the broth, with a chunk of tuna meat at the bottom had a deep rich flavour. And I loved the presentation on a slate board. Absolutely my favourite dish of the day and when I come back, I think I’ll find it very difficult to order anything else!
M chose Taxi’s sticky pork with roasted scallops and hot chilli dressing. This isn’t really my kind of dish, but she really enjoyed it, and the small nibble of scallop I had was juicy and tender. And the pork certainly did look sticky and well-glazed.
D had….quail? I recall that it had a chipolte sauce, a quail egg, some salad, and (obviously) the quail. I think, judging from the picture, that there was both breast and legs, which had been trimmed and neatened up so they were the most adorable little drumsticks. All in a crunchy, spicy coating. D really loved this dish.
A chose the rich and un-Japanese dish of (clockwise from top left), smoked duck breast, quail terrine, toasted brioche, a fruity sauce and foie gras. Even though this is pretty much the complete opposite of my dish, I was extremely tempted by this on the menu. The terrine was delicious, and the foie gras devine, silky, flavoursome, almost like butter in your mouth. Really yummy.
M, D, and myself were all very generic and sheep like and each ordered the special of seared Barramundi fillet (man I LOVE that fish), sitting on a yellow spanner crab curry, served with black rice. Ok, this was excellent. Really really excellent. If the sake marinated tuna was a 10, this is a 9.9, missing that 0.1 not because of any defect, but just because there has to be one winner. To begin, the black rice was sort of glutinous and almost sweet in taste. The barramundi was perfectly cooked with a crispy skin and soft, sweet flesh. But for me the curry was the standout. A very mild but complex flavoured curry, but you could still taste the spanner crab, which was good.

Gorgeous serving bowls too.

A ordered the rather manly dish of Cabassi and Rea Wagyu porterhouse, marble score 7+ with horeradish cream, some sort of interesting looking mushroom and a sweet soy-based sauce to dip the meat into. I was able to try a piece – it melted in your mouth. Devine.
Then came coffee and dessert. I honestly can’t remember what the coffee was like, so it was probably pretty good, but I did like how the words “coffee is my life” were written on the side of the cup. I had the hazelnut parfait with milk chocolate ganache and frangelico jelly. To be perfectly honest, I mainly ordered it because of the idea of frangelico jelly (great), and to continue with my jelly theme from my entree. Plus I love hazelnuts and chocolate (hello nutella) – so good!
But it was all too much for me and I couldn’t finish it. Luckily the boys are always on hand in such emergencies!
A finished with Taxi’s Valrhona chocolate dessert plate – profiterole with toffee cream, souffle, tart and ganache. I tried the tart/ganache, very rich and very delicious. Total chocolate overload!
M had a selection of sorbets: strawberry + balsamic, apple + rum, orange + some sort of liquer. Nice and fresh.
D was kind of disappointed with his desert, but then I wasn’t particularly impressed when I read it on the menu so perhaps this was just poor judgement and the wrong order to make. Yoghurt bavarois dome with summer berries and sheep’s yoghurt ice-cream.
Oh yes, and they gave me a lovely little truffle with my coffee because they’d overheard us talking about my birthday present (a new bike, thanks mum and dad!). Overall a wonderful experience at Taxi, but I was so full at the end of it, so in future I’d recommend just entree and mains (desserts were fabulous but I just think the savory dishes here are superior)

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Filed under: Japanese, Melbourne CBD