Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Year's Eve at Prosser's

In the past I have lumped Prosser’s and Mure’s in the same basket … murderers of good seafood, in my humble opinion of course. But then friends from interstate arranged a New Years Eve event to share with us. They had never been to Prosser’s before. I had (hence previous comments on this site about fish drowning in sauces, and the nineteen-eighties being well and truly over). But it had been quite some time and I was gagging for another opportunity to sample Prosser’s fare, as I love the location and I love the idea of Prosser’s. So our dear friend arranged the dinner, booked the table, paid the deposit (!!) and off we went.

New Year’s Eve in Hobart … avoiding the waterfront at all costs has extra-special costs of its own. I’ll give you the heads up … info that I was not privy to before taking my seat at the neatly starched table … Dinner was a set menu at $75 per head, not including wine. Phew, that hurts.

Course 1: Air Freighted Fresh Crystal Bay Prawn Salad with Avocado, Asparagus and Warm Citrus Dressing. I can cope with a prawn cocktail … I’m a big girl, really I can cope. But if I’m going to be served a prawn cocktail, it really should come in a parfait glass and not pretend to be something else just because it comes flat on a plate. Alright, maybe I’m being a bit harsh. The prawns were AIR FREIGHTED. Obviously not a prawn cocktail, silly me.

The second course was MAGNIFICENT. Fresh Local Chilli Salt Calamari with Green Paw Paw Salad and Lime, Palm Sugar and Coriander Dressing. Fresh, zingy, and I could have eaten it all night. Bloody fine gear.

Course 3: East Coast Scallops Lightly Poached in Japanese Dashi Stock and Served in a Mushroom, Lemon Butter (winner best dish tas.). The scallop melange was presented on the half shell. One half shell. Touted on the menu as being the winner of “Best Dish Tas.” … Sorry, it was dull and the sauce was far too reminiscent of the sauce drowning the prawns.

Did I tell you the prawns were AIR FREIGHTED? Ok, whatever.

Then came the trevalla. Blue Eye Grilled with Gremolata Crust On Potato Mousseline and Caper Butter. It was a thick fillet pretending to be a chicken breast, only less dry. The fish was sweet and fresh and not overdone, it was crusted in herbs and served on a mash in a bowl with a bit of buttery sauce. If you’ve read my piece on Tasmanian Times (http://www.tasmaniantimes.com/) about Novaro’s in Launceston, you will know how impressed I can be by a good butter sauce. This wasn’t one of those. Just as I was complaining to my companions about the lack of vegetables with the meal so far, along came a little plate of salad. For all four of us to share. We had to request bread to fill us up a bit more.

Desert … Toffed [toffeed?] Almond and Lindt Chocolate Nougatine Parfait with Seasonal Berries. Translation: Ice cream and raspberries (after extra-large, extra-hot coffees at Hudsons with Fantasia, ice cream is my next favourite indulgence). Just beautiful. Loved it, loved it. And am still wishing I could have had seconds. Mainly because I was still hungry.

Major complaint number 1: After $75 I went home feeling hungry … never a good sign.
Major complaint number 2: Diners at another table were hoeing into crayfish. How did they get to have crayfish? We were not given the option – set menu or nothing. As you know, I do have a tendency to sulk over such things.
Major complaint number 3: We weren’t offered coffee. I was hungry, a coffee would have helped fill my wee belly, but no. No coffee for you, you naughty Georgie Weston. Perhaps I’ll accept responsibility for not being assertive, but before I knew it the bill was paid and I was being ushered out the door coffeeless.

Oh well.

Prosser’s on New Year’s Eve was SO much better than the last 80’s retro cuisine experience I’d had there. But crikey they still have a little bit of work to do. The food was good on the whole. The service was efficient and courteous, despite some clumsiness (our table had not been fully set, but I’ll get over it), but not to the standards of Henry Jones for example. I would have appreciated being taken through the night’s menu and suggestions for wines with each dish would have been dandy. The wine list was pretty average and abbreviated (my companions complained that there were too few wines available by the glass), but reasonably priced. A clever option would have been to match wines by the glass to each dish. But who can fault the ambience? No-one. Oh alright, I’ll have a stab at it: We paid $75 for a New Years Eve dinner. Prosser’s is a lovely restaurant ambience-wise, BUT it could have been any night of the year. A little more effort (no need to be chintzy) to acknowledge that we were celebrating the dying embers of 2004 wouldn’t have gone astray.

Despite the stupidly exorbitant price, it’s nice to see that Prosser’s standards have improved since my last sojourn. Even the décor is a touch more modern. I was impressed enough to be keen to return to Prosser’s to try their a la carte menu, but I can’t recommend Prosser’s for a special occasion set menu. Prosser’s New Years Eve On The Beach? Over-priced and under-special by a very long shot.

3 comments:

Warren Perso said...

Dear HRB.
Brilliance - total brilliance!
I remain however envious of your ability to book at Prossers and not arrive to find the restaurant locked as was my experience in late 2003. After 15 minutes of bashing on the front door followed by a walk back up to Sandy Bay road to a phone booth and a please explain from these clowns, we were treated to the lame arse excuse that the chef had failed to show so they had decided not to open. Avoid Tossers at all costs. A freaking shambles of faux professionalism.

Georgie Weston said...

Warren, you are clearly a kindred spirit (see Warren's lovely spray on www.tasmaniantimes.com). Not only are you a fellow lover of the magnificence of the dagwood dog, but you have also introduced the juicy phrases "redneckery" and "coucil backslappery" to my vocabulary. And loved your tale of woe re "Tossers".
GW.

Anonymous said...

the food at prosser's is about 100 times better than the stuff you get at kellys or mures,the new year's eve menu was not overpriced,the reason the that table had crayfish was because they phoned up and asked if was possible to have two for new year which it was.