It’s never good to see an owner/ operator business close but sadly, in this sometimes brutal industry, livelihoods go up in smoke while dull, cookie-cutter chain “restaurants” take over and flourish. One Brisbane inner-city suburb seems to be bucking this trend. On Given Tce, the main drag of Paddington in the city’s inner west, the Shingle Inn (which took over the space previously occupied by the cosy Lark bar) closed recently, as did the neighbouring Nando’s.LIZZIE LOEL - The Courier Mail, Manager
One restaurant on the busy strip has remained relevant for more than a decade. Montrachet, a Gallic bastion since Thierry Galichet opened its pretty glass doors back in 2004, is French to the core. It recently changed hands but you wouldn’t know it as very little has changed. The new chef/patron is Shannon Kellam, ex-executive chef of The Brisbane Club who twice represented Australia in the Bocuse d’Or culinary competition. The decor and front-of-house staff remain the same, as does the menu until you take a closer look and notice some subtle changes, dishes with classic foundations and a more restrained edge.
Confit de canard et foie gras ( right) sounds traditional enough but the duck is barbecued and shredded over a crisp, seedy (in a good way) salad and warmed foie gras. The vinegary spiciness of Alsatian red cabbage underpins the dish and curbs the overt richness of the duck and foie gras.
The longtime Montrachet favourite is the soufflé, often crab and gruyère, always gratinéed, super rich and delicious, and that hasn’t changed. Another of Kellam’s specials is pan-roasted Tasmanian lamb sitting over a slow braise of lamb neck and tendon, and a little ragout of ancient grains. This is a cracker of a meal and it screams quality in every aspect, from presentation and classical technique to its beautiful, raw ingredients.
The second-favourite Montrachet dish is the steak frites, and those who love it can rest easy as those thrice-fried fries and béarnaise or green peppercorn sauce aren’t going anywhere.
Kellam also designs a weekly “Supper Club”, an outlet for his more elevated style of cooking. On this occasion it’s a well-made cassoulet with smoked pork belly, Toulouse sausage, confit duck and white beans, and an entrecôte of milk-fed veal grilled with gruyere and lemon Viennoise and a fricassée of mushrooms.
As Kellam gradually merges his more intricate food with Galichet’s Lyonnais classics, Montrachet is set to move into a new era of continued commitment to quality in every aspect of the business. Service here has always been impeccable and it’s on track to stay that way.
The red chairs are ready, the silverware sparkling and the kitchen raring to roll out a new modern French gastronomy menu at one of Brisbane's favourite restaurants, Montrachet in Paddington.
With more than 80 awards and medals, Montrachet's new owner Shannon Kellam is odds on Australia's most awarded chef. Established by Thierry Gallichet in 2004, this is a restaurant with a pedigree and the unusual distinction of being the city's only suburban restaurant closed on weekends.
With 21 years of cooking history, Kellam took over from Gallichet just over two months ago and, with the kitchen now well bedded, has released his own menu. As the current Australian candidate for the international Bocuse d'Or world final in Lyon, he brings innovative precision of an exceptionally high standard to his food and modern French style to Brisbane.
Gone are the heavy sauces replaced with dishes that combine just a few very special flavours very well with vegetables in a staring roll. Around half of the vegetables are selected personally be Kellam from small local producers working ahead to take advantage of the seasons bounty.
From ice cream and butter to bread and even puff pastry, nothing is bought into the kitchen or pre made. Kellam has filled his kitchen with four chefs from three star Michelin restaurants amongst the six staff in the kitchen.
Montrachet favourites, including steak fritters, beef carpaccio, crab and gruyere souffle and the creme brûlée still there for your dining pleasure.
First on the table was an interesting concoction with artichoke milk gnocchi with black olive on top of a hand blown glass tube filled with Jerusalem artichoke consomme.
The amuse bouche was foie gras for two - a duck liver parfait with orange marmalade accompanied by mini brick brioches fresh from the oven.
It's a tough call, but my favourite dish was the confit lobster and prawn with citrus and garlic marmalade, celeriac 'ravioli', petit pois, all in a clove butter broth.
Kellam collected the banksia pods used to smoke his Tasmania lamb from the beach at Coolum. The lamb was accompanied by variations of butternut squash and a deliberately split buttermilk and lamb jus dressing.
Star of the lunch was Kellam's award winning dessert chocolate de passion. It's a Grand Marnier brûlée with passionfruit curd, chocolate hazelnut praline mousse and strawberry sorbet. At $20 it's not cheap, but worth every cent. It's also one of the restaurant's most popular dishes with 80 to 100 sold every week.
The second dessert was a mandarin cremeux on a crisp feuilletine base with lemon meringue ice cream.
There are some things that definitely won't be changing at Montrachet, and that includes the decor and weekend trading - it's not going to happen. Do expect some smart new crockery made especially to order.
Kellam has introduced a new wine machine which means bottles can be opened without removing the cork while the space left by taking out a glass of wine is replaced by gas. I enjoyed a glass from two imported French wines, one of which sells for $138 a bottle.
Recommended for: Lovers of fine food.
Best tip: Friday nights are now back at Montrachet as Supper Club, a night when the chefs can show their gastronomic style with creative food. The menu changes weekly based on the chef's late night Monday inspirations. Expect one sitting and a five course degustation priced at $99 per person. You'll need to book well ahead.
Bottom line: Entrees $12 to $32, Mains $32 to $42, Desserts $12 to $20.
Ed+bK rating: *****Eat,drink+beKerry, Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest of Montrachet.
He’s back. And he has returned with a bang. Shannon Kellam, the boy from Bundaberg who twice represented Australia at the Bocuse d’Or culinary Olympics, has taken the reins at Montrachet in Paddington in Brisbane’s inner-west. Kellam had a hard act to follow in previous chef/owner Thierry Galichet, but he has done so brilliantly.
Galichet ran the join (mostly) with distinction for more than a decade, and Kellam has filled the gap admirably.
Counterintuitively, Kellam is maintaining and enhancing Montrachet’s high-end take on modern French cuisine and is doing so at a time when many restaurant have lowered the bar to grovel to the masses.
Montrachet is a fabulous place to eat – a class act from start to finish. I went on a Friday night to the so-called Supper Club sitting – a five course degustation ($99 a head).
I confess, my tastebuds were not exactly quivering in anticipation of the degustation – a form of dining I often find tedious and oddly unsatisfying. I have no more regrets on that score. We devoured a cavalcade of lovely little dishes beginning with a flavour bomb of smoked béchamel croquettes with smoked lamb “bacon” followed by refined eggplant caviar tartlet – one of the stars of the show. The creamy, dreamy eggplant was presented with shaved vegetables and cumin flavoured mandarin, the colour courtesy of uniform shavings of baby carrots in orange, yellow and purple. The attention to detail is extraordinary. Next, a set of chewy Tasmanian periwinkles in parsley and garlic butter to be served on toast with sauce vierge. Like all the dishes, it was and exercise in subtlety. Nothing set before us was too rich or too aggressive on the palate. A delicious loin of Townsville venison, pan- roasted with kohlrabi and beetroot came next. It was served in a knockout artichoke “milk” and juniper jus. Desserts can be fussy, silly little add-ons, but not at Montrachet. An American cherry “Emotions” cake was another triumph. It was billed as a coconut and white chocolate cake with seasonal cherries flown from the US, enhanced with a kind of cherry gel made with potato starch and set with lemongrass and jasmine-flavoured rice ice-cream and doused with a little pistachio “milk” sauce. Divine.
We drank champagne and grenache by the glass and wondered what it would be like to drink the $1900 Bordeaux on the wine list. Montrachet is serious, buzzy, top-end restaurant full of glamourous chatter. Kellam has left nothing to chance. Service was attentive and unhurried and the dishes first rate. In New York (Le Bernardin, perhaps), London (Ledbury) or Madrid (El Club Allard), you would book three months in advance just to get a table and you would pay twice as much for food like this. And diners yearning for the more straightforward French classics can still do so on weeknights with offerings such as coquilles St Jacques, foie gras, lambs brains, duck, bouillabaisse, soufflé and crème brulee.
Kellam’s chef de cuisine is Olivia Meli, who honed her skills with Joel Robuchon and Emmanuel Renaut. In the lead-up to his last Bocuse d’Or outing, Kellam trained under Serge Vieira, a former Bocuse d’Or winner, at his restaurant at Chaudes-Aigues. It shows. Vive le France!
Value 10Des Houghton - Courier Mail, Restaurant Review – Queensland Taste