New to the Melbourne dining scene is the newly reinvented, No. 8 by John Lawson, positioned in the Southbank Complex. Lawson has taken the very formal dining space to a more relaxed social venue, focusing on the flavours of the beautiful local produce.
We started the night with perhaps the finest bread I’ve had in ages. A lovely blend of potato, honey and rosemary bread was placed down with a remarkable Seaweed butter. The flavours worked wonderfully together and the aroma of the bread left us wanting more.
With such an amazing wine selection, choosing the perfect wine wasn’t easy. The menu offers a variety of different options, starting with their Sommelier’s selections in 24, 75, or 150ml options. This is such a great way to try a few different wines or to pair with your meal. I opted for just a glass of the ‘Massena Eleventh Hour’ Shiraz, which I couldn’t stop at just one!
We kept it simple tonight with only one entree to share. After having a quick read of the menu, the decision was hard, however decided to go with the ‘Robbins Island Wagyu Beef Carpaccio’ served with smoked egg yolk and popped wild rice. The wagyu was a flawless combination of tender and juicy with a pickled flavour, finished with the slighted crunch from the popped wild rice. Presentation was colourful and well presented on the plate.
Once our entree was cleared, it wasn’t long before mains arrived. I ordered the chicken breast which was served with a beautiful jus, burnt purple carrots and a creamy puree. The chicken was cooked to perfection and was incredibly tender and juicy. The puree worked effortlessly with the dish and was just the right consistency for a perfect score in my books.
MC ordered the ‘Milawa Duck Breast’, served with kumquat, silverbeet and foie gras. The duck had a more gamey flavour than I’m used to, however was still remarkable! The shallots had a crispy shell that was almost sweet to taste. Another stand out dish for us!
Sides were a huge hit! We went with two sides as we only got one entree to begin. The steamed Broccolini was to die for, cooked to absolute perfection with a slight crisp to the outside. The artichokes with goat cheese and shoots were another winner for us. The flavours worked beautifully together and worked wonders with both our main meals.
Finally for dessert…. We always go chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, and tonight was no different. A warm moist chocolate cake with a gewy centre was placed down in front of us. It was hard not to dig in without looking like pigs, but it was divine and such a great way to finish the night.
From our dinner at No. 8, while the food was absolutely stunning, the service is what I remember most from our visit. From the moment we walked through the door, our waiter was of the highest profession with every gesture and movement he made. From taking our beverage orders to pouring our drinks to delivering our food, everything was exceptional. I would definitely rate No. 8 as one of the best restaurants in Melbourne for service.
A lot of other restaurants in Melbourne who claim themselves to be a fine dining establishment should all come here to see what true fine dining service really is!
Overall, I found the food to be amazing and the service a complete 10. The atmosphere is fantastic with simple chairs and dark wooden tables to compliment the neutral walls. I would definitely recommend No. 8 by John Lawson to those looking for a great night out. Price wise, this is your midpoint fine dining restaurant, however the service is exceptional and for this, I would pay more money for.