Melbourne is brimming with dining options as one of the world's great culinary cities. But once in a while a change is not such a bad thing. Especially when there's the option to pop down to Tasmania and visit one of the world's great galleries and its French inspired restaurant The Source. MONA, the brainchild of David Walsh, is a sensation and now Tasmania's biggest tourist attraction. A gallery like no other which features themes of sex and death. MONA being the anacronym for The Museum of Old and New Art. It has stirred controversy since its opening in 2011 and some of its exhibits are shocking and provocative.
The World Loves Melbourne was excited to visit The Source restaurant at MONA. This is one of Australia's most spectacular restaurants overlooking the pristine Derwent River.
The Source has traditionally been part of the cellar door experience at Moorilla Winery and now is part of the fabric of MONA. Head Chef Philippe Leban has a Michelin-starred resume. He was sous chef to Guillaume Brahimi. His penchant and treatment of vegetables might be explained by his time under Alan Passard. This is fine dining in idyllic surroundings - food and culture combining in an intoxicating cacophony. The website says, "Our restaurant, a bubble above the hubbub of humanity below, is super duper. We use the best fresh produce to create contemporary French-inspired cuisine. Our wine list is brilliant, obviously".
The artistic flair extends to the restaurant with the large John Olsen (revered Australian landscape artist) painting greeting you on entry. After visiting The Olsen Hotel in Melbourne, this is a treat.
While you can choose courses from the menu, The Source is known for its outstanding degustation. Choose 5, 7, or 9 small courses and imbibe. This is impressive cuisine including fine technique and delicate foams... The Sunday Lunch (popular and packed) is a different degustation to other days and we were there to enjoy it. The Source offers fine dining that is not predictable - something like the philosophy of MONA (not your average gallery, with many twists). Again quoting The Source on their website, "We want to wow you with flavours and textures, and unexpected combinations. The Degustation menu is the best way to do this".
Check out the Green beans, almond foam and olives...
A fine entree option was this Mushroom dish which exhibited top class presentation and great balance. You can see the parsley puree - this chef gives the time to puree parsley! And it goes superbly!
The Spanner crab, foie gras, smoked oyster, pedro ximinez jelly was spectacular. What great balance with these elements, the crab being the hero of the dish. With diced shallot running through the crab - genius.
A hearty earthy satisfying dish was the Rabbit loin and rack with grilled calamari - which matched well with a Yarra Valley Pinot Noir. Spectacular presentation and technique.
Dessert was the French classic Mille feuille, layered perfection with a modern twist.
What makes The Source even more distinctive is the friendly, engaging and knowledgeable service. The Sommelier Joseph is highly credentialled and his approach is first class.
Serving up a 1970 French Burgundy was impressive! Also a Spanish Verdelho , a Rousanne and a Yarra Valley Pinot Noir, with Sauternes for dessert. The degustation involves a little bit of coin as 5 course degustation with matching wine was $175. The World Loves Melbourne recommends popping in to Tasmania, heading to Hobart and MONA, and imbibing the finery on the Derwent River which is The Source. Highly recommended.