Even though I have no fear of writing a negative review, long time readers will be aware that I always try and be balanced and fair – if I have a negative comment to make, I often try and temper it with one of the good aspects whatever it is that I’m reviewing.
Unfortunately, this particular review is not one that can be tempered. My sister and I left in disgust after an hour (half of that being waiting time for the entree and the main) and being, for the most part, unable to finish our meals.
One thing that mystifies me to this day is how bad restaurants manage to survive in Melbourne. Even out here in Glen Waverley, we’ve got a fair selection of decent eateries ranging from greasy spoon/hawker food to places that in the upper pricing range, yet somehow the places that shouldn’t survive manage to do so.
Pescare in Glen Waverley is one of these eateries.
I’ve lived in the area for around 6 years now and I can remember this restaurant always being there. Being located near the only cinema in this area, it’s big sexy red sign was hard to miss. I’ve even seen this place absolutely packed to what appears to be capacity, so they appear to have a faithful and regular following.
What an absolute fucking waste.
My sister had been here before (for bruschetta only, she later told me) and so when I saw them on the Mushroom Mania restaurant list, I thought that it would be worthwhile giving them a go. I’d hoped that they would be an example of a great outer-suburban restaurant, somewhere even that city-dwellers might be tempted to travel out and try. Unfortunately this just isn’t the case.
Let’s start off with the positive. For a Tuesday evening, they certainly had decent trade, and the two waiters that were looking after us were definitely polite and attentive. Taking our orders, bringing food to the table, clearing plates – everything was taken care of quickly and without fuss.
Mushrooms with chicken minced, parmesan & egg
As my entree, I ordered the stuffed mushroom, which the menu described as “Mushrooms with chicken minced, parmesan & egg”. First of all, they should probably correct the damn menu from plural to singular, as there was only a single mushroom to be seen.
As for the dish itself, it was by far the best thing that we ordered here. The field mushroom itself was roasted to near perfection, the cooking process having intensified the flavour and texture of the mushy itself. Unfortunately, there was a tad too much chicken mince in the stuffing and the flavour and sheer saltiness of the chicken interfered with the flavour of the mushroom. The cheese was a nice addition here and tried to bring it together, but alas it all fell apart on my plate (quite literally).
I absolutely adore stuffed mushrooms as an entree or main and think that the mighty mushroom lends itself to being filled with a variety of different stuffings. Unfortunately for Pescare, though they tried to create a dish of simplistic beauty, the heavy-handed application of chicken and salt let the whole thing down as far as I was concerned.
Home-made gnocchi with chicken, mushroom, basil pine nut pesto & cream
For my main, I ordered the chicken & mushroom gnocchi. Chicken and mushroom is just one of those pairings that work well, but unfortunately they did something to this dish that made me find it pretty inedible.
The chicken and mushroom were well cooked, but unfortunately the button mushroom pieces were so salty that they could hardly be tolerated. And as for the gnocchi?
Let’s just say that after taking a few bites of this dish, I gave up in disgust and threw my napkin on the plate as a sign of surrender.
Golden fried calamari with home made aioli & Slow-braised lamb shank in red wine rosemary sauce on mashed potatoes with gremolata & broccolini
My sister ordered the salt & pepper calamari as her entree. While I’ve certainly experienced worse attempts at this dish, this dish was again so salty that neither she nor I could finish the plate. And as for the “home made aioli”, I demand proof that this is home-made since there was something not quite right about it. It may be my tastebuds acting up, but I swear that it tasted like bottled tartare sauce, down to the flecks of chives that were in it.
Strangely enough, the opposite was the problem with the lamb shanks that my sister ordered. The red wine & tomato sauce that they had been braised in was incredibly bland with almost no discernible rosemarey flavour to be found, the only way that my sister could eat this was with liberal applications of salt on each bite.
This brings me to my next point. WHY DO PEOPLE TREAT VEGETABLES AS A GARNISH?! When we saw on the menu that the lamb shanks came with broccolini, we expected more than two lonely stalks. As for those stalks, they were almost completely raw and for some bizarre reason, tasted of celery.
Can someone explain that to me, please?
Vegetables are great. And broccoli/broccolini is one of my absolute favourite winter vegetables – to me, they taste like the colour green and I adore munching on a freshly-steamed batch of broccoli with little more than a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. However, they were treated as second-class citizens in this dish and were most likely turfed to the bin after we left them mostly untouched.
What a waste.
The other bizarre thing about this dish is this pictured random something that my sister pulled out of her mouth after her first bite. We were both absolutely mystified as to what it was as it had the texture of plastic, but couldn’t figure out what it was other than the fact that it came out with the food.
Anyone want to take a guess?
With prices close to those at The Deanery, I really would have expected something better for my money, but unfortunately the chefs here just don’t appear to take much pride in their cooking and this shows in the quality of their work.
All I can really say at this point is that with less than a week left of Mushroom Mania month, you should get out and have a look at what chefs in your area are doing with the mighty mushroom to try something new.
Just don’t go to Pescare.