Easy access to French classics

Deakin is lucky to have Ondine European Brasserie as its local, offering easy access to French classics, writes a restaurant reviewer WENDY JOHNSON.

ONDINE invites you to settle down, without rushing customers.

Wendy Johnson.

Its banquet menu is $79 per person for six courses. The regular menu is available in snacks and appetizers (to titillate the taste buds), starters, main courses, dishes to share for two and luxurious desserts.

The roasted half-shell scallop was sensational, and we loved the crispy crunch of the potato crumble and the zing of the pickled fennel ($8). Another snack was the unique hazelnut éclair filled with a creamy chicken liver pate ($6).

We love sharing, so we ordered several starters, each delicious. The snails were gorgeous with Café Paris butter – rich and triumphant ($19 for six and $35 for 12). Terrine lovers will love the duck, port and pistachio version of Ondine, with a nice texture ($22) and served with a gourmet endive salad.

Although not everyone can handle liver, I recommend trying it at a quality restaurant where the chefs know their stuff. The two pieces of veal liver ($23) paired exceptionally well with bits of savory smoked bacon, Lyonnais onions and another simple but satisfying salad ($23). One of our party felt the veal was right slightly exaggerated.

Ondine’s five main courses ($38-$45) are intriguing, but we had already spotted the beef in the “shared between two” section. There were four of us who shared which was perfect considering we wanted to leave room for the sweets.

The impressive 600 grams of Black Angus beef (marble grade 4) was melt-in-your-mouth and cooked to perfection. Crisp green beans were served with mashed potatoes (yellow with lots of quality butter) and a perfect fresca salad. The beef was accompanied by both Béarnaise butter and the more decadent Parisian cafe. It was well worth the $105.

Six desserts are on the menu. We shared three and appreciated that none were sweet like some desserts can be. The chocolate mousse ($17) was creamy and light, and we dug deep into a super flavorful maple ice cream. The brandy snap was a nice touch.

Another winner, the coherent poached pear, praline caramel custard and hazelnut dacquoise ($18), a dessert that made us smile. And last, but not least, was a beautiful Ile Flottante, fig and Grand Marnier custard ($18) another dish celebrating the talent of the kitchen team.

Ondine’s wine list gets top marks, including several magnum wines and regional labels. We shared the Rameau D’Or Côtes de Provence dry rosé ($115), followed by a Debussy Rêverie Grenache ($62).

The staff are knowledgeable and professional, keeping an eye on our table but never interfering. Ondine’s sophisticated decor includes a long wooden bar, a rich blue color palette, and soft, flowing curtains.

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Ian Meikle, editor

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