• Centonove (Kew)

If I were to imagine a luxurious retirement, Centonove would come to mind.  Perhaps it’s the undeniable stuffy ambience upon entering, or the clientele, but somehow I felt that for many – this is what success looks like.  We were there for my brother’s birthday dinner.  As a very dapper young gent himself, the milieu fitted him as well as his new designer cut threads.

To make the occasion even more special, we brought a bottle of 1998 Penfolds Bin 707 cabernet sauvignon.  We were in for a fine evening.  It held a beautiful bouquet of roasted chestnuts which opened to burnt toffee.  Its hue was dark red with only a slight crust on the bottle.  Soft tannins remained despite being aged for fifteen years and could have even been good for another couple of years.  It was herbed on the end with a delightful hazelnut finish, a delicious wine.  Unfortunately the wine did not match my meal well, and was at its best before eating.

For food, we opted for the set menu, which can be evolved for vegetarians.  Mine was to include caprese salad, figs, gnocchi and vanilla panna cotta.  The salad consisted of fresh tomatoes (which were sweet and flavoursome), balsamic, baby basil leaves and slices of moist buffalo mozzarella.  It was a refreshing start to the meal.  The wine softened with metallic overtones.

The figs were served with goats’ cheese, honey and mustard seeds.  The cheese was whipped and overall the dish resembled dessert except for the bitter red salad leaves, which tasted out of place.  The figs were ripe, but not oozing as I love them most.  The wine became bitter and salty.

After two cold dishes to begin, the potato gnocchi was warmly welcomed.  30 year aged balsamic was the star child of this one with a sauce of butter, parmigiano, parsley and lots of garlic.  The gnocchi was soft with the slithers of cheese being the hardest texture of the dish.  It was interesting combining the flavours of the garlic, salty butter, sweet balsamic and then slices of parmesan.  The wine was still too savoury against this dish, and I decided it would have gone best with a tomato based pasta.

The vanilla panna cotta was served with crostini and caramel toffee.  It was lusciously rich and creamy.

The dishes all highlighted an interesting juxtaposition of flavours.  The service was professional and personable.  The table clothes were white and formal.  It was a good choice of location for a celebratory meal.

109 Cotham Rd
Kew 3101
03 9817 6468

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