Eight Mile Creek
I recently had dinner with friends at Eight Mile Creek. In view of Grimes's two starred review (Jan 2000, in NYT)and a few positive reviews on this board (Feb 2000) I felt reasonably confident that we'd have a decent --certainly above average--meal.
The emu carpaccio tasted bland. The salad of kangaroo lacked seasoning . The starters were saved by the presence of skate wings. They were piping hot, crispy and moist.
The main courses had mixed receptions. The prawns and accompanying omelet did not really complement one another. And the prawns were, let's say, rather strong. The duck swam in what appeared to be miso soup and tasted like tastless miso soup. The main course fish- special was snow white fish, obviously fresh, with well prepared mash.
Mixed evaluations all round. Of course this may have been an off night. I want to add the service was on the slow side, but friendly. And the Australian red wines on offer are very reasonably priced and good.
Sorry to hear of your so-so experience, but I think you may have been unlucky enough to hit Eight Mile Creek on an off night. While not a regular, I have eaten there several times, most recently a couple of weeks ago. I have always enjoyed the food and on the last occasion, a birthday celebration for my brother, I and all the other members of my party found it superlative. It was the best meal I had ever had there; we all tasted each other's picks and agreed that almost everything was a winner. The emu carpaccio was rich and slightly gamy, its texture luxuriously soft. A special corn soup topped with a crab dumpling tasted intensely of fresh corn without being overly sweet and the dumpling , while airily light, had similar depth of flavor. Oyster pie was, as always, incredibly toothsome, a crisp little package of puff pastry stuffed with creamy oysters. The roasted duck breast was cooked perfectly, rare and tender and accompanied by luxurious little foie gras dumplings, but the sauce was a bit salty. The high point of my dinner had to be the lamb shank (a special our waiter said the chef wanted feedback on because it was the first time he offered it) braised until the meat was falling from the bones and nestled on couscous saturated with its luscious juices. Fig pudding was more cakey than we expected (we had thought it would be creamier, it resembled slighly moist gingerbread)but its companion ginger ice cream was incredible. Chocolate macadamia tart was very rich and much too big for one person but we all helped to polish it off. The buttery pastry encasing it was almost as good as the filling. Wines as always were very, very good. I too think the service is a little slow, but the staff is so uniformly sweet and kind that it makes it a little more bearable. Eight Mile Creek is not cheap, which I know makes it more difficult to comtemplate returning when you've had a disappointing meal. But I've always felt that I've gotten good value for what's spent. So I think it may just be worth another shot.