Monday, September 12, 2011

September 7, 2011: Embrasse II

18/12/2012: Embrasse has recently closed, but head chef Nicolas Poelaert can now be found at Brooks in the city.

This week we had a vegan dinner with Nic Poeleart, a Fringe Food Festival event organised by Ed Charles and mentioned on this blog last week. So many festival events are meaty (though this restaurant has been a welcome exception once before) and don't allow for specialised dietary requirements, so we and a few friends were really looking forward to this event. Here's what we were treated to...

smoked bread with olive oil piped into the centre


an aerated pumpkin soup with bergamot, meyer lemon oil,
and horseradish powder

taste of the sea...
a large near-raw wedge of broccoli with a sliver of Brussels sprout, 
grilled zucchini puree, sugar beet, dune spinach
and sea grass juice piped at the table from a toy boat

sweet burnt carrot purée, golden raisins, flamed potatoes
and green mango

forest floor of cooked, raw, smoked and pickled mushrooms

avocado chocolate mousse, with tamarillo and sweet red pepper purée

We loved the lemon lift to the light and fluffy pumpkin soup! The taste of the sea was very popular, though I was actually a bigger fan of forest floor - its gentle earthy flavours impressed me more than Embrasse's visually stunning and more famous forest floor dessert. This night's dessert was more controversial still - while everyone was comfortable with the chocolate mousse, the jammy dab of capsicum and piquant tamarillo appealed to few. I found the savoury, bitter and smoky elements they lent fascinating.

Nic Poelaert has a lovely unassuming manner and a clear fondness for foraging and fresh produce. He and his team put quite some effort into planning, tinkering with and testing this menu and we thank them for it.

This particular meal has also been blogged at 1001 Dinners; 1001 Nights and the Fringe Food Fest team. have collated a few photos here. You can read about our previous veg-friendly visit to Embrasse here.

Embrasse Restaurant
312 Drummond St, Carlton
9347 3312
special event 5 vegan courses $85 including wine

Accessibility: Entry, seating and service on the ground level seem very accessible. Toilets are situated upstairs.


  1. that bread...STILL thinking about it!

  2. Yeah, that bread, mmmm... the taste of the sea was my highlight.

    Like we've said elsewhere, a bit more protein or a little more abundance in veggies would have made the meal absolutely perfect.

    Great photos Cindy! I had totally forgotton about the spoons...

  3. It's funny, but I liked the chilli jam part best of the dessert, and my mousse least. I was wondering on the night if I had managed to get some where the avocado was a little overripe - it had a bit of a bruised/brown avocado overtone to it, and needed the chilli jam to get any measure of sweetness.
    Loved the rest of the meal though. And that bread was AMAZING...

  4. Lucy, it was quite something! I thought it wouldn't be the same without butter but realised it's actually the fancy salt I love. :-)

    Thanks Lisa! Agreed - it was dazzling but just barely filling.

    Hi Danika! I loved the capsicum jam too (... I just happened to be sitting with a capsicum hater). You might have had an unlucky scrape of mousse but I'd agree that it wasn't all that sweet anyway.