Saturday, December 18, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Dinner at Fifteen Melbourne

I had the great fortune last weekend to go to dinner at Fifteen Melbourne.

The Fifteen concept was originally started in the UK by Jamie Oliver. The idea was to bring in groups of underprivileged youngsters, and to train them up to become professional restaurant staff. That concept still continues today as part of the Fifteen Foundation.

Fifteen Melbourne opened here approximately four years ago, under the guidance of  Jamie Oliver's friend, Toby Puttock, who I would classify as a semi celebrity chef here. He does get on TV quite regularly but as far as I know he doesn't have his own show anywhere. Ever since the restaurant opened we have been meaning to go. One of my friends had been designated organiser, but she really wasn't going to do it, so in the end, one of us (yes me!) just picked a date and rang up and booked!

For our main course, I chose Pan-seared yellow fin tuna with green beans, baby vine tomatoes, rosemary, sardines and crispy battered zucchini flowers which was really very nice. Unfortunately we didn't think about taking photos until the dessert came out. Have to remember to do this a bit more regularly! My main reason for choosing this dish is that I never, ever cook tuna at home except for Tuna Mornay using canned tuna which isn't exactly the same, and also because zucchini flowers get mentioned quite regularly in cook books, but I don't think they are something I would ever go out of my way to cook either. It was very nice! Other options that my friends chose were Pan-fried whole flounder with capers, parsley, lemon and Fifteen’s olive oil and Lamb ‘cut of the day’ with spring vegetable sott’ olio and an anchovy and rosemary dressing (the cut of the day  was shoulder).

For the sides we had Radicchio salad with pine nuts, honey and balsamic dressing, Mixed greens, garlic, lemon and olive oil and Duck fat potatoes. Now I have heard on cooking shows loads of times about how you should cook your potatoes in duck fat, and I never really expected that it would make that much difference, but we had to order a second serving of the potatoes because they were oh so good and all five of us wanted more!

And then dessert. Oh my goodness was my dessert good. My friends liked theirs as well, which were Honey and praline semifreddo with hot chocolate sauce and Chocolate ice-cream and grappa cherries, although I did think the presentation was a bit boring, particularly on the chocolate ice cream which just came in a glass bowl, but of the three different desserts that I tasted, the waitress was correct in suggesting that the Prosecco poached peach with mint ice cream and frosted almonds was her favourite dessert because the peach was amazing and the mint ice cream was divine!

I have poached pears before myself, and having had this dessert last week, I am very keen to try and find the recipe that I cooked a few years ago which was poached pears served with mascarpone. Expect to see that as a weekend cooking post at some point in the future.

Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.


  1. Sounds like a great meal! We have a 15 in Amsterdam. I haven't been but my husband has. He does't appreciate good food one bit so he was just happy there was something on the menu that he liked.

    I will have to find someone else to go with if I want to try it out.

    I'm bad with pictures as well, haven't taken any food pictures in restaurants as I always forget. But then, your there for the company, not for your blog. :-)

  2. If I was close by I would come with you! I had a look at the Amsterdam menu and I am pretty sure I could find something that I would like to eat!

  3. I join anyone in heartbeat to eat at a 15. Love the concept and I know I'd find something to eat! I bet that poached peach was delicious and with the red and green on the plate, it was so Christmas-y as well.

  4. Thanks for introducing me to 15. I like the idea and I'd love to find a restaurant near me. Those pears sound yummy and look great.

  5. Sounds yummy. We meant to go to 15 last time we were in Melbourne but for some reason never got there. Next time.

    Somewhere I have a recipe for poached pears in red wine that tastes delicious but smells bad when you're cooking it - must see if I can find it....

  6. It sounds like it was an amazing meal! I have not ever heard about the potatoes cooked in duck fat, but now that I have, I need to try them! I wonder how hard it would be to find some duck fat around here...

  7. Oh, the menu sounds just amazing. I love tuna also-probably as much as I love Jamie Olivier!

  8. Sounds amazing. I probably would have ordered the tuna as well -it always comes out horrible when I cook it!

  9. Sounds good Marg.

    I love fact, a few years ago it was the food I measured restaurants by. If they could do a good pan-seared tuna then they were probably going to be good at most stuff. We do grill tuna a bit at home - when we can buy it at a not-too-exorbitant price!

    I must go to Fifteen when we finally get to Melbourne to visit our son.