Monday, April 13, 2015

Bistro Bakini: Masters of the Mediterranean Preview Dinner

Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest of Bistro Bakini

Do you guys find yourself thinking about your weekend plans…on a Monday? I do. All the time. As a fervent scheduler, I love putting things into my calendar to look forward to throughout the week, and of course on the weekend. 

So although I have plans this weekend already, if you’re still looking for options for Saturday night, why not consider the Masters of the Mediterranean degustation at Bistro Bakini? 

An eight course degustation designed by Bistro Bakini’s executive chef, Luigi Buono and Executive Chef from ‘Out of Africa’ in Sydney, Hassan M’Souli, sees Italian food and Moroccan food coming together in one of the most unique fusions I’ve seen recently. 

A quick chat to chef Luigi on how he would describe the menu, and I like his description of Italian techniques, with a lot of the rich Moroccan flavours. 

For example, our first course at the preview for the dinner, a king salmon carpaccio, served with a preserved lemon harissa emulsion, is a relatively innocent looking dish, but unexpectedly punchy and vibrant in flavour. No gentle palate awakening here! The emulsion on this was absolutely everything, strong citrus and zingy, with the heat of the harissa coming up as well. 

The grilled kefta on a bed of cucumber spaghetti drizzled with red capsicum puree, and a couple of extra grapes for good measure, was nicely balanced. The kefta was rich and herbaceous, the cucumber strips and capsicum puree were cool and refreshing. I loved how sweet the capsicum puree was, more like a broth than a puree really. 

Although the crispy quail breast of the next dish, with parmesan risotto and res el hanout jus, was simply stellar, tender and juicy, although maybe not super crispy as advertised, I simply loved the parmesan risotto it was served with. Subtly cheesy, beautifully al dente, Luigi certainly worked his magic here!

Our last savoury of the night, the slow cooked Moroccan lamb shank served with spiced baby figs and farro was all comfort. The lamb just fell apart beautifully and had a lovely rich complex flavour, lots of spices and herbs. The spiced baby figs were just lush and lovely.

Usually dessert doesn’t get me super excited unless it’s rich and chocolate related. However, the coast milk yoghurt panna cotta in a hibiscus stop topped with rose gelee was just the most delightful thing. The panna cotta was just barely set, with a slippery and velvety texture that just melted and dissipated in the mouth. Heavenly. 

Although fusion at the moment is very often Asian with Western cuisine, this unusual fusion of Moroccan and Italian was certainly working a treat for me, and I don’t think I can even begin to imagine what the remaining dishes of the degustation would be like. But it’s for one night only…

Masters of the Mediterranean Degustation Dinner
Saturday April 18th, 7pm 
$95 per person, $145 with matched wines 
Call Marcello at Bistro Bakinin on (03) 9521 7774 or email 

Hassan M’Souli will also be holding a cooking class and lunch on the same day at 11am. $150 per person. 

568 St Kilda Road
Melbourne 3000

Bistro Bakini on Urbanspoon

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