Dining Out: Persimmon, NGV Melbourne

by April@MyFoodTrail on August 13, 2010

in Dining Out, Melbourne, Modern Australian

Ground Level, NGV International
180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
(03) 8620 2434

Persimmon - Inside

To give you an idea of how behind I am in my blogging, this lunch actually took place on the day of Melbourne’s hailstorm back at the start of March! Actually, I am further behind than that because I didn’t finish all my Sydney posts from my trip in February, plus I still have my USA trip photos that I keep getting asked for. Not to mention all the restaurant trips and recipes I have made in between! Anyone want to be my PA, or should I say PAB (personal assistant blogger)?!!

The day started off nice enough with the sun shining as we headed towards St Kilda Road, and more specifically, Persimmon restaurant inside the National Gallery of Victoria. When we found a park along St Kilda Road, I was thinking, score, we don’t have to pay for parking at the National Gallery car park. Read further and you’ll see that it probably wasn’t a good thing!

Persimmon - Outside garden
The view of the garden behind Persimmon

Our chef friend Nick, was finishing off his last few weeks in the Persimmon kitchen before moving on to Bacash (where he is now working) so we thought we would pay him a visit since we hadn’t been to Persimmon before.

Nick designed a special tasting menu for a few of us, which doesn’t actually appear on the Persimmon menu, so you’ll just have to be satisfied with the photos, instead of getting to try it yourself!

Nick is a contemporary style chef – he’s not afraid to mix flavours and he comes up with creative dishes that plate up really nicely. I have to admit, I tend to stay away from tasting menus where you don’t get to see the menu upfront (think Japanese omakase) because I like to know what I’m getting. I trusted Nick though (and I had no choice :P) and he took us on a delicious journey through his dishes.

First up we had a wooden board of 3 different types of bread brought to the table. The bread was still warm and so good – I had to stop myself from asking for more to save room for the other food!

Persimmon - Bread
Different types of bread

The first dish we had was a kingfish carpaccio with avocado pieces and thin cross sectioned slices of baby vegetables topped with a lemon emulsion and horseradish snow. All the different elements of the dish combined together to create a fresh flavour in the mouth.

Persimmon - Sashimi
Kingfish carpaccio, baby autumn vegetables (carrot, beetroot, radish), horseradish snow, lemon emulsion

The next dish was a pumpkin and potato gnocchi with melted gorgonzola, as well as scatterings of gingerbread crumbs, deep fried capers and macadamia nut pieces. I really liked the contrasting textures of the pillowy gnocchi with the crunchy gingerbread, capers and macadamia. I had a total food blogger fail moment because it seems like I missed taking a photo of this dish. I don’t know how that happened (I still secretly think photo gremlins stole it! :P)!

The third dish was a piece of roasted bream, resting on a bed of leek, surrounded by a pool of cucumber and yoghurt gazpacho. To keep things interesting, there were also two quenelles of leek and chervil jelly, as well as pearls of salmon roe in the gazpacho. I’m not a fan of cucumber so I was pleasantly surprised that I like the mild tasting gazpacho.

Persimmon - Fish
Roasted bream, leek & chervil jelly, salmon roe, leek, cucumber & yoghurt gazpacho

The next dish was a roasted partridge, with the leg and breast cooked separately. The leg was wrapped in thinly sliced eggplant (aubergine) while the breast was roasted. There was a potato and nutmeg puree in the middle, with miniature pickled cauliflower, broccoli and grapes around the plate. I had never eaten partridge (or pheasant) before – my only dealings with them had previously been at Christmas time when they were in a pear tree! 🙂

Persimmon - Partridge
Roasted partridge, leg wrapped in aubergine, pickled cauliflower, sautéed broccoli, grapes, potato & nutmeg puree

I was relieved to see the next dish had progressed to dessert since I wasn’t sure I had much room left after the four wonderful dishes we had eaten! We were brought two desserts, but they were to share. The first dessert was a plate with rectangles of olive oil cake, caramelised banana slices, a banana puree, little cubes of chocolate jelly accompanied by a quenelle of frozen yoghurt. The plate was finished with a sprinkling of pop rocks.

Persimmon - Banana plate
Olive oil cake, caramelised banana, banana puree, pop rocks, chocolate jelly, frozen yoghurt

Can you believe hubby has never had pop rocks before?! I thought they were pretty much a (Melbourne) primary school staple! I remember going to the milk bar after school to buy some and it would give me hours of giggles as the rocks “popped” in my mouth causing such a weird sensation! For those of you who have never experienced it, pop rocks is a candy that pops in your mouth. Website How Stuff Works tells me that the hot sugar mixture of the candy is mixed with carbon dioxide gas and once cooled, the shattered candy pieces still contain high pressure bubbles. When you put the candy in your mouth, your saliva dissolves the candy and what you are hearing and feeling is the carbon dioxide gas being released from each bubble! How cool is that?!

The last dessert was a strawberry tart. It looks like more pop rocks on the plate but it was actually freeze dried strawberry. The strawberry tart was filled with strawberries as well as a lime and chocolate mousse. The tart was divine and it was a good thing hubby finished his half first or else I would have eaten his share!

Persimmon - Strawberry tart
Strawberry tart with lime & white chocolate mousse

Persimmon - Strawberry tart inside
Inside the tart

As we were waiting for our bill and staring out the window, the sky turned gray pretty quickly and it started raining. The rain was joined by small hailstones, which then turned into torrential rain and golf ball sized hailstones!! I couldn’t believe my eyes! There is a pool of water next to Persimmon and it seriously looked like someone was throwing golf balls into water from the size of the splash. The restaurant started leaking in a bad way with water gushing in from the tops of windows and water dripping from the ceiling, so they eventually had to evacuate everyone. The beautiful stained glass ceiling of the main hall of the gallery was damaged too with puddles all over the floor.

Persimmon - Golf ball hail stones
Hubby holding the incredible golf ball sized hailstones

Persimmon - Outside garden 2
The semi-calm before the storm

Persimmon - Outside garden 3
In the midst of the storm

After we left Persimmon, it was a surreal experience trying to get to our car. It was bucketing down water, but it had stopped hailing then, and most parts of St Kilda Road were flooded. I had to roll up my jeans and take off my shoes and attempt to walk through knee deep, freezing cold water, not being able to see the ground. I almost tripped over kerbs a few times because I couldn’t see them. I even had to stop walking for a while because my feet were so frozen I just couldn’t move them. I wish I had taken more photos, but I didn’t want my camera to get wet and I was trying to get to the car as quickly as possible.

We arrived at the car, completely soaking wet, to find it covered in leaves and after clearing away some of the leaves, we saw dents from the hailstones! At that point, we didn’t care – we just wanted to get out of the rain and into some dry clothes. It took us almost two hours to drive home and traffic was horrendous from the storm. There were so many cars stranded in water and trees and branches on the ground.

The next day, when the rain eventually stopped, I went to examine the car and saw just how bad the damage was. Every panel except for the passenger side doors had dents in it. After numerous calls to the insurance company and the long wait times (a lot of people were affected by the storm), a trip to the Assessment Centre saw my poor car written off. I was sad to see it go since it has served me well for the past 7 years. I’m thankful nothing happened to our house.

It was an eventful day – a beautiful lunch followed by a not so beautiful afternoon! At least it gives me a memorable experience and a story to tell! Were you affected by the storms?

Over & Out, April xx

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Iron Chef Shellie August 13, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Don't worry, I still have at least 1 post from my Tasmania trip last November!!

Great photos…shame the photo gremlins stole one =(
And bigger shame about your poor car!!

Thank you for the education on pop rocks. I had been wondering how they worked!


penny aka jeroxie August 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm

It is ok. I have 25 drafts and some dating last year. Not sure if I will ever get to it but maybe one day.


CC11 August 13, 2010 at 5:13 pm

How crazy was that day! It was lucky you were even able to get out with your car.

That strawberry tart is making me hungry


My Restaurants Melbourne August 13, 2010 at 6:12 pm

As I'm from Melbourne too, I remember that day clearly. We were also caught in that storm. What a shame we can't order those meals the chef made for you, they looked good.


Kirstine Vergara August 14, 2010 at 4:06 am

Wow! Everything looks amazing, the food, view, and the place. I bet food tastes even better than the pictures. My family and I are planning a trip to Melbourne next month. I'll make sure that we dine here. 🙂


Hannah August 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm

The 13-year-old in me has been giggling for the past three minutes about the rather, erm, interesting placement of that long bread roll and two spherical rolls… but I promise the 23-year-old in me has been completely distracted by horseradish snow and gingerbread crumbs. Wowzers!


mademoiselle délicieuse August 14, 2010 at 7:01 pm

It is a constant issue with food bloggers where we eat more often than we blog. I mean, come on, we have to eat multiple meals a day but it's a struggle to blog even everyday!

Sorry again to hear about your car; I remember you tweeting about it. Beautiful meal though and you had me at 'horseradish snow' =)


Conor @ Hold the Beef August 14, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Can we timeshare a PAB?

What a treat of a meal. I need to get me some chef friends.

It's funny to think back to seeing all the damage over there, and then Perth going through exactly the same thing weeks later. So many cars written off from such a short term event!


Agnes August 15, 2010 at 7:26 pm

The storm that day was INSANE. In fact, what has been up with the weather this winter? I know we need the rain but this is ridiculous!

At least you had a gorgeous lunch in beforehand. I like Persimmon a lot!


What's For Tea? August 16, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I went to a wedding reception here and it was so divine, funnily enough it was crazy weather that day too!


imasugarjunkie August 17, 2010 at 2:24 pm

The food looks lovely!
That is not good about your car – hopefully you got it all sorted out though and are now driving a lovely new car!


Maria@TheGourmetChallenge August 18, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I hear you sister!! Blogging and being behind goes hand in hand!!

I've heard so much about persimmon, it looks so lovely. You were really lucky to get your own tasting menu!!

Such an insane storm. I can't believe you were actually caught in the middle of it. I remember sitting in my lounge room thinking it was shocking, let alone walking through it! Thankfully only your car was damaged.


April @ My Food Trail August 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Hi Shellie: Thanks, I've always wondered abt pop rocks too!

Hi Penny: I don't think we'll ever be able to catch up!

Hi Chanel11: I know! It could have been a lot worse!

Hi My Restaurants Melbourne: It affected a lot of people and I guess we now have very interesting stories to tell!

Hi Kirstine: Even though the food we had isn't available on the normal menu, the other food at Persimmon is very good!

Hi Hannah: LOL!! That's hilarious! I never even noticed it! 🙂

Hi mademoiselle délicieuse: I guess it comes down to picking and choosing what we post because we have so much of a backlog!

Hi Conor: I didn't realise Perth went through the same thing! I can see insurance premiums increasing!!

Hi Agnes: I guess the good thing to come from it is Melbourne's water storages are increasing. We just have to keep thinking of that when we get soaked by the rain!

Hi What's for Tea: Wow, that is a weird coincidence!!

Hi imasugarjunkie: Thanks! The insurance company sorted out the payout for the car quickly, though it took us longer to find a new one!

Hi Maria: I know, we were really lucky! The food was beautiful!


thanh7580 August 25, 2010 at 10:58 pm

I need a PAB too. Haven't even written up my amazing three michelin star meal in Paris.

I've read a lot about Persimmon, looks good. Must go there one day.

I used to love pop rocks. I must use it one day in a cupcake or something.


Mama Bounczn August 26, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Hi There,
Great blog! my tongue is druelling!

horray for Mel for awesome food once again!

btw i am a Executive Assistant by trade….

If you guys need helping with typing and loading blogs i can do that as well as any admin work.

I am only working part time at the moment and am looking for something on the side that is more creative or at least involved in a creative field!



April @ My Food Trail September 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Hi Thanh: I think cooking with pop rocks might actually destroy the popping sensation as the pop rocks come into contact with batter/liquid!

Hi Mama Bounczn: Thanks for the offer, but as I don't get paid for my blog, I wouldn't be able to pay you! Good luck with finding something though!


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