Henry and the Fox

“Henry and the Fox sound’s like a children’s book” said my friend Sophie when I arranged to meet her at Henry and the Fox on Friday night for dinner.  She was right.  According to the chef Michael Fox inspiration for the name came from a favourite children’s book while also managing to get his own moniker in.

Confit ocean trout with salted cucumber – this was presented so beautifully like all the food at Henry and the Fox
It’s a strange place Henry and the Fox.  It suffers from location, tucked away on Little Collins street right in the corporate heartland away from the buzzing restaurant and bar precinct at the Paris end of the CBD.  It’s one of Paul Mathis’ swathe of new Melbourne openings and I was invited to eat there on Friday night.

The place has a cheery, casual feel

I think Henry and the Fox may work best as a restaurant during the day as the casual feel of the place with  brightly coloured bistro chairs and big windows facing onto the street lacked a bit of atmosphere at night time.  The menu tries to straddle both the day time office working crowd and night time punters by jumping from casual fare like pizzas to serious fine dining.

The amazing Moreton bay bug tails
What is clear, however is that Michael Fox can cook.  It’s no surprise that he won Young Chef of the Year as some of the dishes that came out of the kitchen were quite extraordinary.  All reflected great skill in the kitchen and an eye for artistic presentation.  Take the Moreton bay bug tails ($24.50) which were roasted and paired with crisp, spiced cauliflower and a smear of puree.  They delivered texture and flavour in equally satisfying amounts.  It was the dish of the night for me and an absolute must order.  Fat, juicy pan seared scallops ($24.50) were equally good alongside creamy celeraic remoulade and crunchy pieces of toasted pumpernickel.  

Pan seared scallops

Crispy skinned Mulloway ($29.50) was cooked to perfection so that it flaked on the fork.  It was served on a jumble of avocado, chickpea, and chorizo which added substance to the dish without drowning out the delicate flavour of the fish.

Mulloway with chickpeas, chorizo and avocado

Henry and the Fox’s roast pork belly ($29.50) was also spot on.  The belly was lovely and fatty with seriously crisp crackling on top and was accompanied by roasted fennel and segments of orange to add bit of flavour contrast.  It was a nice change from the usual addition of apple and the citrus and the pork belly worked really well together.

Pork belly with fennel and orange
The only dish that I could fault on our visit was the fried zucchini flower ($4 each) with batter which erred on the side of soggy rather than crisp.  There was no such issues when it came to the sweet end of the meal.  Both desserts we tried were delicious, but the best was Henry and the Fox’s take on a passionfruit cheesecake ($14).  Served in a jar it comprised passionfruit mousse with jelly, flecks of granita and yoghurt sorbet.  It was a really great combination of different sweet and sour tastes with textures ranging from icy to creamy.  

Passionfruit cheesecake

Service throughout our meal was excellent with well trained, attentive waiters with a good working knowledge of the menu.  Most memorable though was Fox’s cooking which was grown up and never over wrought.  I’m not sure if Henry and the Fox provides the right setting for food this carefully considered and the menu needs to be more focused but there’s no denying that the food itself is sensational.

Gourmet Chick was invited to review Henry and the Fox.

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Essentials
Details:  Henry and the Fox, 525 Little Collins Street, Melbourne CBD, 3000 (Ph 03 9614 3277) Open Mon-Fri 7.30am-late.  Closed Sat and Sun.
Damage: Pricey but I did not pay on this occasion.
8/10

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Posted by: on May 8th, 2012     7 Comments »

Category: City, Date night, Dinner, European, Lunch
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7 Comments on “Henry and the Fox”

  1. Anonymous said at 7:41 am on May 9th, 2012:

    Walked past this a few times and wondered what it was like

  2. SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) said at 7:59 am on May 9th, 2012:

    Crispy cauliflower is EVERYWHERE these days! Luckily, I ALSO happen to be on quite the cauliflower kick lately, so that bug dish sounds ideal to me. YUM!

  3. Blonde said at 9:54 am on May 9th, 2012:

    For the sake of British readers… Bugs?! Like, creepy crawlies…?

  4. MoMo and Coco Dessert Correspondents said at 12:44 pm on May 9th, 2012:

    Oh, we love this place! Have you seen our review on it too? Food has a certain finesse, service is especially excellent. To some extent, we think it good that it has kept generally under the hype radar.

  5. Andrew Barker said at 1:39 am on May 10th, 2012:

    Scallops are now $12.50 each!? Are you kidding me!? It seems to me that despite the lovely crockery and presentation they aren’t giving enough food for the money.

  6. cara waters said at 9:01 am on May 10th, 2012:

    Anon – All is revealed…

    SarahKate – Yes it is everywhere, even in my kitchen I must admit.

    Blonde – Sorry for the confusion! No Moreton Bay Bugs are a lovely seafood dish, I could most compare them to soft shell crab. You will have to come to Australia and try them.

    MoMo and Coco – glad to hear you loved it and yes I agree it is pretty under the radar

    Andrew – I think this may have been a smaller serving size than usual as it was a tasting menu but I will double check with the restaurant and get back to you.

  7. tori said at 4:22 pm on May 10th, 2012:

    Love the sound of pork belly with fennel and orange. A great combination of textures as well as flavours….


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