After reading a very favourable review for this restaurant by Nouveau Potato, I was keen to try out Heirloom and had high hopes for its vegetarian selections. With two vegetarians in our party of six, sadly the dinner menu was very lacking in meat-free options. I had read about a vegetarian menu in the review, but was quickly informed that this was a lunchtime only option. However, I still believed that they would be able to produce something delicious and was not put off at this point. Heirloom is a fusion of French / Japanese and being a lover of both cuisines, hoped for a memorable dining experience.
The atmosphere in the restaurant was one of cool elegance and low lighting (as can be attested to by my dodgy i-phone pics) The staff were welcoming and extremely attentive, displaying a good understanding of the menu and cooking methods employed in its creation. When the Sake menu became all a bit too intimidating, Heirloom’s resident sake expert was promptly whisked to our table in an instant to assist in our selections.
So how was the food? First up was an amuse-bouche consisting of a shot glass of Mushroom Cappuccino. Quite a nice little teaser; light and fluffy and not unlike one I had sampled 6 months earlier in Auvergne, France. For entrée I ordered the Whipped Chevre, Beetroot Tuiles served with rye crostini. The beetroot tuiles were crispy, sweet and delicious complementing the baby daikon and beets nicely. The goats cheese at the heart of the dish was pleasant but nothing to write home about. I also took the opportunity of sampling Jayson’s Drunken Heirloom Tofu bathed in a marinade of sake and chilli. Once again the flavours were pleasant but just didn’t quite hit the spot.
The one and only vegetarian option for mains consisting of a selection of assorted wild mushrooms, quinoa with a “sea foam” looked elegant and impressive when delivered to the table, however was badly lacking in seasoning and any real depth of flavour. When the waitress noticed I had only eaten a quarter of my meal I explained that I had found it very bland. She was quick to jump to the meal’s defence, saying that it was meant to be very subtle… well considering it was the only choice available it really should have been a knockout in my opinion. Interestingly, my fellow diners who were eating the non-vegetarian fare also found their meals pleasant but not earth shatteringly brilliant.
Overall, Heirloom was pleasant enough but with the enormous array of restaurants to sample in Melbourne, I doubt I will return for dinner. I could however, be convinced to return for cocktails or sake…
Heirloom is located at:
131 Bourke St