If you've ever had any doubts about whether or not the meal deal vouchers that seem to be so prevalent these days are any good, then I think this TravelZoo voucher that we bought for dinner Montpellier Public House should put your doubts to rest.
I'd been keen to try Montpellier Public House ever since fine dining restaurant Balzac shut its doors and owner Matt Kemp reopened Montpellier in the same beautiful sandstone building in Randwick. Whilst Balzac was all about beautiful food and fine dining, Montpellier is still about good food but at more accessible prices. Montpellier basically serves English pub grub, in a more modern and more refined incarnation. And, it's damn tasty!
You can still get your (more) fancy meal upstairs in Montpellier, however the TravelZoo voucher sees us dining downstairs in the front room of the
more informal, yet still beautifully designed, Public Bar. The voucher includes a bottle (yes a WHOLE bottle, just for us) of The Dutchess sparkling wine - a lovely drop.
The meal begins with Warm Olives with Bread that looks suspiciously like Brasserie Bread's soya and quinoa loaf. The olives are divine - plump and meaty, and the dense bread is perfect for sopping up the warm olive oil in the bottom of the bowl.
Our jaws near hit the floor when the waitress brings the tasting platter to our table. What a feast! We try to pace ourselves, but we make quick work of every morsel in front of us. The platter contained a selection of Montpelliers tastiest treats: Potted River Trout with Pickled Cucumbers and Dill; Terrine of Ham; Salad of
Pickled Beets, Goats Curd, Orange and Walnuts; Baked Beans with Pork Belly; Dressed Salad Leaves and last but not least Duck Sausage Roll. Phew.
Every element on the platter was bursting with flavour but I think my favourite would have to be the Duck Sausage Roll and also the Potted River Trout - both different dishes in terms of texture and flavour but both really stood out to me.
I guess the Pork Belly was pretty good too as I quickly scrambled to grab a fallen piece of crackling from the (what looked like a clean) floor where it flew as I tried to cut it in half. 30 second rule! Don't judge - you'd do the same for crackling, I know you would!
Dinner's not over yet though - we still have our main meals to get through. The Boy ordered the 8 Hour Braised Shoulder of Lamb with Roast Truss Tomatoes which was lovely. The lamb was so tender - it just fell off the bone, and the mint pesto type stuff on top added a really fresh element to the dish. My Roast Sea Mullet, Fennel and White Beans was a really light dish. The skin on the fish was perfectly crisp and I loved the slightly licorice flavour the fennel added to my meal.
Are you full yet? Yes? Well, loosen your belts as there's still a Dessert Platter to go. We take a deep breath and embark on polishing off the Trifle with chocolate and sour cherries; Buttermilk Pudding with Blueberries; Warm Treacle Tart with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and a Bitter Chocolate Petit Pot.
It's really hard to pick a favourite when it comes to dessert, especially when each dish is so good. The treacle tart was incredible - sweet, but not too sweet and delectable once the ice cream had melted into the tart. The buttermilk pudding was another favourite - a bit like panacotta in texture, but more light.
So there you have it. We've not gone wrong yet with a meal deal voucher. Choose wisely, choose restaurants you've heard of and you won't go wrong either.
Montpellier is at 141 Belmore Road Randwick NSW 2031.
Telephone 02 9399 9660.