The Frenchman who was once head chef for the legend Paul Bocuse in Lyon first came to Australia to open a local branch of the Bocuse gastronomy empire – that was more than 20 years ago. Now he has settled back into Melbourne where his modern French bistro, PM 24, is making a statement with its Rotisserie Organic Milawa half chicken, rosemary and preserved lemon, served with sautéed potatoes and chicken jus. He usually sells out both lunch and dinner offerings of his lip-smacking chook.
On a recent visit as part of the annual AIME expo in Melbourne, media were treated to more familiar Philippe fare – a ten course degustation. Seated at one long table for about 40 we were able to watch Team Mouchel work the open kitchen, and especially the brilliant red rotisserie that can rotate a range of meats in different ways. You could also find it pressed into service on pork, beef, lamb, almost anything…even dessert. Modest M. Mouchel attributes significant responsibility for the chicken’s success to this marvellous hand-built gas cooker that he imported from Cuisines Design Paris.
One look at the brilliant red vertical rotisserie – clearly a Ferrari of the kitchen, except it is designed to go slow – and one whiff of the gorgeous smell emanating from its wall of flame, carried me straight back to Rue Mouffetard. Walking this market street on Paris’ left bank on a rainy day in 2009, the rotisserie chicken and potatoes roasting and basting in the chicken juices proved irresistable – crisp on the outside, succulent within. I remember well that we scurried back to our nearby apartment clutching a baguette and a Cotes du Rhone – this was our three course degustation.
Should you wish a Parisian experience, Philippe’s chicken costs $25 to go or, he says, Cuisines Design have a home version of the rotisserie for a cool $25,000 (does 20,000 Euros sound cheaper?).
– Graeme Kemlo