Trocadero is one of three new restaurants taking up residence at the newly remodelled Hamer Hall at the Arts Centre. Being a hub for performances, the clientele mainly consisted of the 'pre-theatre' crowd who were in and out before we were done with our meal. Located off Flinders street and overlooking the Yarra river, the interior is neutral and sleek with the wait staff donning matching grey uniforms.
A glass of pinot gris was for appropriate for the warm evening.
The crusty bread was warm and satisfying, a great way to jump start our appetites. I chowed down on the bread fully knowing that I would regret it later when my stomach would give up but bread and butter is just too good to resist.
The seasoned, spicy chorizo slices were covered in an airy potato foam with a side of tangy aioli which complemented well as the foam lifted from the heavy flavours of the chorizo. The chorizo slices were very hard which would be my only complaint but we enjoyed it a lot as it reminded us of Movida's famous cured wagyu, egg and truffle foam dish (albeit, Movida's was much better).
The list of starters was made up mainly of charcuterie items which I wasn't feeling so I went with the zucchini flowers. They were lightly battered and very delicious drizzled in lemon and fresh tomatoes.
My main was all about the humble onion - from the heady flavours infused in the risotto, the long shards of tacky caramelised onion and the charred ringlets of pickled onion. At first bite, the sweet caramelisation of the onions shone through while the toasted grains added a crunchy texture. As I continued to eat, the sweetness of my dish became increasingly overwhelming and the pecorino could only do so much to help, so I alternated with pieces of Mr A's steak to alleviate the sweetness. I was only able to get through 3/4 of the dish before I gave up.
The Wagyu scotch fillet was a large portion which would please any meat-lover. The steak was incredibly tender and barely gave the jaws a workout. The béarnaise was rich and creamy, accompanying both the steak and fresh rocket salad perfectly. There are no cross-section photos but it was cooked medium rare and absolutely mouth-watering.
Onto desserts, we were quite predictable with our choices, opting for waist-expanding desserts over the light and fruity options. The much lauded caramel cooked cream dessert was made up of three parts - the mellow panna cotta; a gooey, luscious caramel layer scattered with pine nuts; and a fluffy layer of salted popcorn crumble hiding cubes of poached pears. Each element alone didn't excite but together, it was decadence on a spoon. Being considerably sweet and rich, the serving was ideal to share between two.
We love our chocolate puddings but there is always that a worry when breaking into the pudding that there is no oozy-goodness. Luckily, the soft-centred chocolate pudding was rich and indulgent however the salted caramel ganache added a new level of decadence. The milk toffee ice cream and chocolate pops did well to alleviate from the richness of the dessert and is one of my favourite chocolate puddings I've had so far (the best one is still from Machi in St Kilda).
Don't worry, we ate every last bit of dessert, despite how full we were and it was worth it.
Trocadero are great about managing time if you are in a hurry and will ask prior to sitting you down. Service was friendly and very helpful as our waitress gave us suggestions when we were stuck. With the exception of the onion risotto, we enjoyed all the dishes and would agree with the public consensus that Trocadero excel at desserts and I wouldn't hesitate to return.
Will I return? Yes, food and desserts especially were great but would return solely for desserts.
Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
100 St Kilda Road
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 8698 8888
Open all week 11am - late