Joe Grbac from Saint Crispin – Great Chefs event at William Angliss Institute

wine

Earlier this month I took a trip back to my old stomping ground, William Angliss Institute, to enjoy a three course lunch prepared by the Institute’s final year cookery students. The Great Chefs program gives these students the chance to cook under the guidance of some of Melbourne’s best chefs and on this occasion, the Great Chef was Joe Grbac of Saint Crispin – the venue which took out the “Best New Restaurant” award at this year’s Good Food Guide awards.

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Slippery jack and pine mushroom, slow cooked pullet egg, goats curd, parmesan consomme, black venere rice

Wine match – Devil’s Lair ‘The Hidden Cave’ Chardonnay

Two of the three dishes we were served are actually available right now on the Saint Crispin menu – the entree and the dessert – which is good news, because this entree was incredibly moreish (the flavours were lick-the-plate good). It would be a great dish for vegetarians, with those rich, robust slippery jack and pine mushrooms the star of the show. A great example of how different textures are just as important as different flavours, we were treated to soft, creamy egg and goats curd, the meaty texture of the mushrooms, and the crunch of the black rice.

porkPork jowl and neck with heirloom carrots, fennel, curried golden raisin, cumin vinaigrette 

Wine match – St Huberts ‘The Stag’ Pinot Noir

This was a beautiful main that combined modern-day favourites like fennel and crispy pork with old school flavour combinations – the raisins and carrots reminded me of a comforting, home cooked meal that my Mum or Nana might cook. The pork was perfectly cooked; the meat was soft and moist and came with plenty of golden, crispy rind.

10330301_244959245710309_885702404439633714_nHazelnut parfait, crispy phyllo pastry, compressed apple, roasted pear, apricot and chamomile, rosemary flowers

Wine match – T’Gallant ‘Juliet’ Moscato

A great mix of delicate flavours resulted in a dessert that was subtle and just sweet enough – and again, an example of textures being used well. My favourite part was the compressed apple, little balls of green fruit that were nice and tart and refreshing at the end of the meal.

Three course lunches with wine are $50 per person, while dinner consists of four courses and wine for $80 per person. At that price, the Great Chefs program gives diners a great opportunity to try menus designed by some of our city’s best and most-loved chefs, support Angliss students, as well as have the chance to meet the chefs themselves and hear them speak about their specially created menus. Still to come in this year’s program – Movida’s Frank Camorra, Spice Temple’s Ben Pollard and Union Food & Wine’s Stuart McVeigh.

Milford Sound, Fergburger and beautiful breakfasts – our adventures in Queenstown, New Zealand

To celebrate my mum’s 50th birthday, our family recently embarked on a trip to the stunning resort town on New Zealand’s South Island, Queenstown. A popular destination for adventure junkies, we were to spend 10 days in the South – with 5 of those spent relaxing with great food and wine in the lakeside town, and the remaining 5 spent conquering the famous and challenging Milford Track.

Queenstown

No matter where you look in Queenstown, you’ll be treated to stunning views – gorgeous birdlife, the breathtaking Lake Wakatipu, or the aptly named mountain range, The Remarkables. 

We were treated to gorgeous sun and amazing blue skies for much of our trip however, on our first day, it was pouring rain and the town was looking dark and dreary. Tired after our flight and very cold, we collapsed into Pub on Wharf. This pub offers good value with a range of dinner options for $20 each. Sitting near the fire, we ordered hearty comfort food – Mum had the Beef Wellington with potato mash and mushroom sauce, while my brother and I opted for the Flintstone Steak  (rib eye with rosemary potatoes, salad, onion rings and mushroom sauce). On such a cold and drizzly night these meals hit the spot, and we loved the onion rings (which, as we would go on to discover, are big in Queenstown).

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Energised after a good night’s sleep, we woke to find the sun shining and our tummies rumbling, in need of a caffeine hit and some eggs. As always, we’d marked down the cafes and restaurants we were keen to check out, so we knew exactly where we were heading that morning – Vudu Cafe in Beach Street. First things first – the coffee in Queenstown is good, pretty much everywhere. My skinny latte – or as the locals would say, “trum” (trim) latte, always served in a ceramic cup – was a beautiful start to our first breakfast in New Zealand, enjoyed while we read over the tempting and extensive menu.

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Always a sucker for salmon, I went with the fennel and vodka cured salmon with scrambled eggs, sourdough and pickled beetroot – SO GOOD. This is pretty much my idea of a perfect breakfast, the type that leaves me thinking about the dish for days; it got me searching for good pickled beetroot at local stores when I returned home, eager to recreate this dish.

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We all throughly enjoyed our breakfasts at Vudu. Mum chose the Moroccan spiced baked beans with poached eggs, harissa, spinach & toasted turkish bread, which was a huge dish with a wonderful smoky flavour from that harissa; my brother (who, like me, always loves a spicy/mexican inspired dish) went with the breakfast quesadilla, with salsa, sour cream, jalapeños, coriander & poached eggs. Vudu offered delicious, big meals at reasonable prices – our meals here ranged from $16-$18.

Vudu

Days later, strolling by the lake, we discovered there was another Vudu! Vudu Cafe & Larder was described by the NZ Sunday Star Times as the original Vudu’s “sexier sister establishment”, and while the location is arguably more beautiful (right by the lake with plenty of outdoor seating to let you take in the view), I found the service and the menu more appealing at the Beach Street venue. I wanted to order the house-cured Mt Cook salmon with potato rosti, poached egg, spinach and beetroot relish, but unfortunately the cafe was out of both the salmon and the potato rosti. After a bit of confusion and a couple of chats with the chef, our waitress arranged for the dish above to be made for me, with grilled salmon and little roast potatoes instead. The meal was good, and it came with that delicious beetroot relish I loved, but I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t experience the meal as it was written on the menu.  
 

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A good coffee, a berry smoothie (in a preserving jar, of course), and an amazing view at Vudu Cafe and Larder. 

You’ll notice throughout this blog post that we did double up on a few venues during our stay in Queenstown – there are a couple of standout eateries that we couldn’t resist going back to, and Halo was one of those places. It’s a toss up between Halo and Vudu when it comes to choosing the best brekky spot, but Halo is probably slightly ahead due to the excellent customer service, consistently good food and coffee, and the all-important free wifi – and Halo was one of the few places that didn’t limit the amount of time you could use their network for.

Coffee at Halo, Queenstown

Halo

On our first visit, I followed my brother’s lead and went with the Breakfast Burrito – a beast of a meal consisting of a tortilla stuffed with chorizo, onion, hash brown, scrambled eggs, chilli beans, topped with Halo chilli sauce & melted cheese and served with sour cream & salsa. This ridiculously awesome combination of ingredients ensured we were stuffed full for hours.

Mum, on the other hand, went with something a little lighter – the Corn & Feta Fritters, served with roasted tomato, salad greens and mango salsa, topped with a poached egg. These fritters were from the lunch menu but made for a perfect brekky; the fritters were incredibly flavoursome and paired perfectly with the fresh greens and salsa.

Of course, no visit to Queenstown would be complete without a stop at Fergburger!

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Visiting Fergburger is an interesting experience, and I suspect the whole ordering process is probably a lot more fun if you’ve had a few drinks. This joint is world famous, and busy at literally every hour of the day; the queue for these burgers spills out the door and into the street, and in the evenings it’s almost like a street party, with hungry drunk tourists waiting for a feed. The staff are young with American and European accents – travellers themselves, as with many of the staff in this town – and the focus is certainly not on delivering great customer service.

To be honest, the whole experience of ordering made us want to grab our burgers as soon as we could and get the hell out of there, and luckily (and surprisingly, given the crowds), we were never waiting for more than 15 minutes. There are a few tables inside and out the front if you did feel like dining in, but you’d be lucky to secure one.

We took our burgers down to the waterfront and found a quiet table to sit at and enjoy our meals in peace. Mum and I went with the Southern Swine: New Zealand beef teamed with American streaky bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, aioli and tomato relish. Despite the poor customer service, it’s clear why people (including ourselves) keep going back – these burgers are awesome. They’re big buns topped with premium quality ingredients and I personally think the Southern Swine is the perfect combo of flavours. My brother loved his Mr Big Stuff burger, the ultimate in dude food with half a pound of beef, melted cheddar, American bacon, BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion and aioli.

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Oh, and those onion rings and aioli! Ordering a side of these crispy rounds of onion and the creamy, deliciously pungent aioli is a must.

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The weather during our time in Queenstown was stunning, and there was no better place to be than right by the crystal clear water. There were many drink stops during our holiday and Pog Mahones was a favourite, an Irish pub we discovered after finishing our burgers. They made a great gin & tonic, offered free wifi, and the hot rock meals were a fun experience, letting us cook our own steaks, prawns and scallops at the table.

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A couple of days in to our holiday, and we needed a quick and tasty meal before we met our Milford guides for a briefing before we left for the track. We went back to the trusty old Pub on Wharf, where my brother and mum went with beer battered fish served with fries, salad greens and tartare sauce, while I chose a tasty Trio of Sliders.

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Trio of Sliders: Beef Pattie, cheese, lettuce and aioli; Corn chip crusted chicken breast, lettuce and aioli with chipotle relish; Crumbed fish, lettuce and tartare sauce, all served on a mini burger with a side of potato skins. 

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Our holiday was split between the town centre and the Milford track, with our first two days spent exploring the town, the next five days spent on the track, and then three remaining days to relax in Queenstown before we headed home. Once we’d finished the track – and took a helicopter back to our accommodation in town! – we still had quite a few things we wanted to do and see, and we were conscious that time was getting away from us. On a busy day of shopping, louge-riding and a go on the Shotover Jet, the $15 lunch special at Brazz Steakhouse hit the spot – we grabbed a quick meal of chicken burgers, chips and beers and dined outside, enjoying the sunshine.

$10 Lunch

After ten glorious days, our little holiday sadly came to an end, and we decided to farewell this beautiful town with another stop at Halo. I started my trip with a smoked salmon breakfast and finished it the same way: smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese and scrambled eggs, all on a toasted bagel with a garden salad.

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Everyone should get themselves to Queenstown; it’s an amazing place that really does have something for everyone. Whether you want to skydive or bungee jump in one of the world’s most beautiful locations, or simply relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery, Queenstown is a must – especially for Aussies who need only spare a few hours out of their day to get to this destination. The photos above show just a selection of the food we enjoyed on this trip – places like Bobs Weigh, Fergbaker, and indeed the Milford track lodges, all provided fantastic meals. The eating in this part of the world is good, and I can’t wait to go back.

Special occasion restaurants – Black Bull Tapas Bar and Restaurant

Black Bull Tapas Bar and Restaurant
48 Moorabool Street
Geelong 3220
Ph: (03) 5229 6100
blackbulltapas.com.au

My family and I have a few special occasion restaurants in Geelong that we hit up whenever there’s a birthday or anniversary to celebrate – places like Parker’s Steakhouse, or the (now sadly closed) Surfrider and 2 Faces restaurants. Black Bull has been the restaurant of choice for many of my family’s celebrations over the years; in fact, we love this restaurant so much I can’t believe I’ve taken this long to review it, but my birthday tapas still have me drooling and it’s time to share!

Panza de Cerdo con repollo ($9.00) 

Pressed Otway pork belly, morcilla & pickled cabbage

This dish is excellent: melt-in-your-mouth, tender pork belly with a deliciously salty crackling.

Spanish style potatoes with salsa brava ($8.00)

These potatoes were good, but we were hoping they were going to be more like traditional patatas bravas, the little fried cubes of potato sitting in spicy tomato sauce. It’s my fault for not reading the menu properly – the words ‘patatas bravas’ are obviously not there – but I’d love to see that dish on the menu.

Chorizo al grill con samfaina ($9.00)                      

Grilled chorizo with samfaina

Salchicha de pato con mermelada de cebolla ($9.00)

House made duck sausage, onion jam & raspberry vinaigrette

This was a lovely light dish – the duck was subtle and not too rich, teaming well with the tangy jam and sweet vinaigrette.

Eggplant fritters with tomato alioli ($8.00)

These fritters were great – you wouldn’t want a whole dish to yourself as they get quite oily, but they were delicious crunchy sticks of eggplant with a moreish alioli.

Empanadas de cordero  ($9.00)                         

Lamb empanadas with roasted capsicum romesco

Croquetas con mojo picon ($9.00)

Fried silky cheese croquettes with yellow mojo

Possibly my favourite dish of the night – clean eating goes out the window with these crunchy, crumbed balls of cheesy goodness. The mojo sauce underneath was the perfect addition and we couldn’t resist ordering another plate of these.

Churros con chocolate ($10.00)

The wine list is good here – a mix of local and Spanish wines, plenty of beer and cider, and they make a great sangria – and service is usually pretty spot on. If you’re looking for a quick bite, Black Bull does a lunch special on weekdays from 12pm-2pm – two tapas dishes for $14. They also have a list of main meals at $32 each, or a set menu option for $39 per person, but I think the best way to go is ordering rounds of these tasty little plates and trying a bit of everything – it’s more filling than you may think and it’s much more fun to share.

Lana Purcell’s Girls Gone Clean cleanse

After a couple of indulgent weekends my body was crying out for some clean, simple, healthy food. It was perfect timing then that I was selected as one of Lana Purcell’s ‘guinea pigs’ for her new Girls Gone Clean program. Lana is a “healthy life styler” based on the Bellarine Peninsula and was seeking volunteers to test out the new cleanse before she gave it to her clients – the cleanse had us trading meat, coffee and alcohol for baked sweet potatoes, soups and green juices – and it was surprisingly easy and enjoyable to do. I lost a couple of kgs over the week and, more importantly, picked up some knowledge and recipes about raw, vegetarian and vegan food.

I had to share the recipe for this soup, as I was hesitant but intrigued when I first saw it on our diet plans. Creamy cashew and corn soup, read the recipe, and I couldn’t even imagine what it would taste like. After a quick whiz in the Thermomix I was extremely happy with the result and will be eating this soup regularly even when I’m not detoxing.

Creamy Cashew Corn Soup

3 1⁄4 cups fresh corn

2 cups water

1/2 cup raw cashews

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 clove garlic

1 teaspoon salt

Blend all ingredients in a Thermomix (or high speed blender) on 9 for about 30-40 seconds, or until nice and smooth.

Pour into bowls and garnish with corn kernels, coriander and freshly ground pepper if desired.

Note: As the point of this cleanse was to remove processed foods and other junk from our bodies, and get lots of nutrients from the food we ate, we consumed this soup raw – the only heat in the soup was a slight warmth from being blended up. Lana might not like this, but if you feel like you have to have it hot and you’re not doing a cleanse I’m sure you could chuck it in the microwave – it’s such a delicious soup whether you’re trying to be healthy or not, and it’s surprisingly creamy and indulgent. But give it a go raw!

I recently got engaged and there’s been a lot of celebratory dinners and drinks over the last few weeks – and more to come with the silly season approaching. I obviously love my food but I also want to stay healthy, and in the past I’ve focused too much on counting calories – one of the most valuable lessons I learned from Lana was to focus on clean eating, and on adding lots of nutrient-rich ingredients to my meals, rather than obsessively tracking everything I eat or following silly fad diets. Girls Gone Clean gave me recipes and meal ideas I’d never thought of before that were tasty and made my body feel good, rather than feeling bloated and in a food coma. I’m doing the cleanse again starting this Monday and am looking forward to feeling nice and light and detoxed thanks to Lana’s recipes!

ravenous in today’s Addy

To my Geelong readers – did you see me in today’s Geelong Advertiser?  Last week Addy journalist Cameron Best came to check out Terindah Estate, with a focus on our use of social media channels and our plans for the Toast to the Coast festival. He wrote a great piece  that I think really sums up my love of food and new media.

September Dining Round-Up

Excellent pepper steak with great crispy chips at Montmartre Cafe

After spending the first half of September in Queensland, mostly pigging out on steaks…

AMAZING rainbow and mint chic chip ice creams with sprinkle cones at Sea World

ice creams…

My favourite kebabs EVER in the whole world at Sahara – we went back more times than I’d like to admit…

kebabs…

We’d heard that BBQ Baron was supposed to be a pretty decent burger joint but this experience was very average.

and burgers…

French Vanilla Pancakes – stack of 3 pancakes with butter and maple syrup ($10, fruit and ice cream extra)

….I got back into the (only slightly) healthier meals once I returned home to Geelong and back to reality. This month there were some great breakfasts, starting with Biagio’s – a relaxed yet professional Italian dining room in Niddrie. Jono’s pancakes were pretty much flawless, fluffy and hot served with real maple syrup and generous portions of fruit and ice cream.

Eggs Florentine – 2 softly poached eggs with spinach and hollandaise sauce on a toasted English muffin ($10).

My eggs florentine brekky was great too, and the hollandaise – although not the best I’ve had – was laced with wholegrain mustard, making for a nice twist to the famous sauce.

 

Lemon meringue pie ($13)

 

Armageddon Cake is a cute little dessert bar that opened in late 2011 and, despite hearing rave reviews, I only managed to get myself down there a few weeks ago. We should have visited sooner – the venue is more ‘lounge’ than ‘bar'; in fact, it’s just like being in a friend’s lounge room. Jono loved it as he got to sink into one of the big, old, comfy chairs in the front corner and relax with a hot chocolate and a massive piece of cake. As well as the pie, we had an excellent sticky date pudding, and the coffees and peach nectar were delicious too. Armageddon Cake’s friendly staff serve up an ever-changing menu Thursday to Saturday from 8pm-11pm. It’s a much needed nightspot for Geelong – I love that they don’t even open until many of Geelong’s restaurants are closing their kitchens.

 

63 big brekky with scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, spinach, hash brown & kransky sausage on zeally bay sourdough toast w side of 63 baked beans ($21).

and

Sweet potato & bacon hash cakes with roasted beetroot relish, rosemary & feta scrambled egg with chive hollandaise ($16.5)

You can’t really go wrong when it comes to breakfast and brunch at 63 Degrees. Generally, both the Highton and Pakington Street stores get it right and I couldn’t help but revisit an old favourite, the sweet potato and bacon hash cakes. I love this meal; the hash cakes are beautiful little balls of carbs that go perfecctly with the fresh beetroot relish, the scrambled eggs are always creamy and the hollandaise sauce at 63 is probably my favourite in Geelong. Jono was equally happy with his big, man sized breakfast.

 

Two scrambled eggs on sourdough with smoked salmon and hollandaise ($15.50)

The new Winter’s spring menu is fantastic – it has some really interesting breakfast choices that you wouldn’t find anywhere else in Geelong, like an open crab omelette with fresh papaya salad, or vodka cured salmon gravlax on charred rye with sauce vierge, cottage cheese and micro herbs. On this occasion, however, I was craving a simple breakfast of eggs and smoked salmon, again with my old favourite, hollandaise – I reckon Winter’s takes second place in the unofficial “ravenous melbourne’s Best Hollandaise in Geelong” competition.

 

Jono and I took a trip to my old neighbourhood, Port Melbourne, for lunch before catching the VFL semi final. I’ve only been up that way a handful of times since moving back to Geelong two years ago, and it was interesting to see how many of the local cafes are no longer there or have changed hands. Port Melbourne can be a really funny place for dining out and it took us a while to settle on a venue. Creme was nothing spectacular, but it did the job – we ordered a big, carb-y lunch of pasta, Turkish bread and arancini balls. The portions were big and good value, and while this place won’t have you raving, it’s a quick, reliable option with lots of menu choice.

 

And it wouldn’t be a round up without a few dishes from my work at The Shed @ Terindah Estate – this month for staff lunches we’ve been treated to some really beautiful eye fillet served simply as is, or in a fresh salad accompanied by organic chicken, confit garlic bread and Andy Pye’s famous Russian potato salad.

Pei Modern – my new favourite

Pei Modern

45 Collins Street

Melbourne

VIC 3000

(03) 9654 8545

I’ve been far too busy lately to attend to the backlog of draft posts waiting to be published on this blog, but I have to share these images from Mark Best’s Pei Modern – my new favourite restaurant.

These photos are from Pei Modern’s mini degustation, excellent value at $50 per person.

Parmesan, anchovy shortbread

Blue swimmer crab, almond gazpacho

Seared calamari, spinach puree

Pork, quince, radicchio

Vanilla bean ice cream, rhubarb


Sorrel ice cream

I’ve been to Pei Modern twice now and ordered this gazpacho both times – it’s fantastic, with each flavour component (the smooth, creamy gazpacho; the soft crab; the fresh, crisp grapes and the strong taste of the coriander) playing its part and working in harmony with all the other ingredients. I love this restaurant for the way it provides really beautiful, innovative meals at an excellent price, and I love that you can come for breakfast, lunch or dinner or just have a bite at the Pei Bar. As well as the amazing food, the venue itself is great and the team is solid – Sommelier-manager Ainslie Lubbock recently took out the Good Food Guide’s Service Excellence Award, and Pei Modern itself won Best New Restaurant. Congrats to an excellent and very worthy team.

Oakdene: quick review

Oakdene

255 Grubb Road

Wallington

Victoria 3221

(03) 5255 1255

oakdene.com.au

It was a work dinner and I wasn’t going to worry about taking snaps, but after the amazing food, wine and service we had at Oakdene I had to share. From Wednesday to Saturday, Oakdene offers a choice of entrée and main course for $58 per person.

Diamantina Wagyu Eye Fillet Carpaccio, Crispy Potato, Truffle  Pecorino, Soft Egg Gribiche, Watercress Salad, Horseradish Snow

This was incredible, the highlight of the night for me in terms of food. The flavour of the cheese and truffle was so strong, balanced out by the delicate wagyu. Served cold, this was a dish that really focused on textures and made for an interesting and surprising meal.

14hr Kurobuta Sticky Pork Belly, Roasted Sea Scallop, Shredded Raw Potato & Garlic Slaw, Crispy Pigs Ear

Queenscliff King Fish, Portarlington Mussels, Finger lime Salad, Pickled Wombok

Broccolini with slivered almonds


We polished everything off very easily; it’s the kind of food that leaves you wishing you could pick up your plate and lick it clean. The sauces on my kingfish were so moreish and left me scraping up every last bit.

Oakdene Dessert Tasting Plate

The menu reads:

Selection of our desserts served on a platter to share
(Minimum 2 person’s $5 pp supplement)

Lemon Meringue & Strawberry Gateaux, Crème Fraiche Sherbet

Textures of Chocolate, Honeycomb Ice-Cream

Banana, Toffee & Espresso Cream Pie, Salted Caramel Ice-Cream

“Knickerbokerglory” Peach Nectar, Peach Yoghurt, Peach Compote,
 Strawberry Granita, Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream

 This is how I love doing dessert – tasting just a little bit of everything. The salted caramel ice-cream was fantastic, the highlight of the plate for me.

Oakdene is a fabulous special occasion restaurant. The venue consistently receives rave reviews from both in-the-know locals, and visitors travelling long distances just to experience the incredible food, and now I understand why – it’s well worth the drive.

Oakdene Vineyards Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sydney weekend: Guillaume at Bennelong

Guillaume at Bennelong

Sydney Opera House

Bennelong Point
 Sydney NSW
 (02) 9241 1999

Sunday night’s episode of MasterChef was exciting for me and Mum. We’ve just returned from a girl’s weekend in Sydney where we spent out first night at the amazing Guillaume at Bennelong, and it gave us a buzz to see all the amazing dishes we ate again – as well as seeing the very wait staff who served us. Last week we chose to have a sort of mini degustation – a choice of dishes from a four course menu for $140 per person.

The restaurant has a good cocktail list with an emphasis on martinis. We decided to start the night off with a few excellent Japanese slippers…

… and a choice of two complimentary breads: slices of fresh sourdough, or this brioche with caramelised onions – a beautiful little starter and a nice point of difference to the plain bread often served in fine dining restaurants.

OYSTERS

cucumber jelly, yuzu cream

As soon as I saw oysters on the starters menu, there was nothing more to think about. Cucumber jelly was a great accompaniment – it let you taste the fresh, salty oysters whilst just providing a bit of clean, refreshing flavour.

DUCK RILLETTES

duck parfait, port jelly, truffle salad, brioche

Similar to a pate, the rich duck and truffle salad was matched perfectly with simple brioche.

SCALLOPS

(R0ttnest Island, Western Australia)

lemon emulsion, watercress veloute, Sterling caviar

This was probably my favourite dish, and both of us ordered it. This was scallops at their best and as they should be; plump, perfectly cooked and with a beautiful texture. The lemon emulsion looked so delicate yet was so full of tangy flavour, and the crisp disk of potato was the perfect base for those little bubbles of caviar.

STEAMED PINK SNAPPER

clams, mussels, braised endive, sea urchin butter

Continuing on with my seafood theme for the evening, I chose a beautiful, delicate piece of snapper served with a rich butter and Guillaume’s famous ‘Paris mash’ – the most silky smooth mashed potato I’ve ever had. The waiters came around with a big bowl of the mash and served it right there at the table. The creamy, buttery mash is, as described here by The Age, “potato heaven and wickedness itself”, but a spoonful is worth every calorie.

DEBONED RIB EYE OF TAJIMA WAGYU BEEF

(500 day grain fed, F1, marble grade 7-8)

shimeji mushroom, baby spinach, shallot, merlot sauce

As happy as I was with my main, I’d have to say that Mum’s pick was the winner – amazingly cooked wagyu was served with fairly simple sides and sauces to let the amazing rib eye remain the star of the dish.

 Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries

Between courses, we were served these little complimentary desserts. We laughed when we saw it was a panna cotta – my Mum is not a fan after a few bad experiences – but it was great and even she actually really enjoyed it.

FRESH RASPBERRIES

pistachio gateaux, vanilla cream, creme brûlée, raspberry sorbet

This is such a simple looking dessert but there is so much going on on this plate. Always a sucker for creme brûlée, I loved the way these mini brûlées were served, perfectly circular and standing on their own. Smooth vanilla cream was a perfect base for the raspberry-themed dish, and those simple, fresh, plump raspberries were left to shine on their own.

VALRHONA CHOCOLATE SOUFFLE

vanilla bean and cherry ripple ice cream

 

As I’ve mentioned previously on the blog I don’t have a massive sweet tooth, but this was a perfect chocolate souffle that would leave any chocoholic in absolute heaven. The souffle was brought to the table with its top still intact, then our waiter spooned the vanilla bean and cherry ripple ice cream on top. It pierced the surface of the souffle and sunk to the middle, forming an amazing mix of flavours and hot, cold, smooth and gooey textures.

Our girls weekend was a special trip, and Guillaume at Bennelong was the perfect way to kick it off. Service was excellent and the food was unforgettable – I highly recommend it as a special occasion destination next time you’re down at the harbour.

Guillaume at Bennelong on Urbanspoon

New post: Rue Cler Market @ Terindah Estate… monthly roundup

The Shed @ Terindah Estate (food by Rue Cler Market)

90 McAdams Lane

Bellarine

3221 VIC

(03) 5251 5536

Here’s a selection of the beautiful meals I’ve been treated to at Rue Cler Market over the last month or so…

Duck and mushroom pasta

Organic chicken leg, beans, brussels sprouts, creamy potato mash

Marinated chicken legs, green salad, super crispy potato chips

Eggplant gnocchi

Organic “Purple Congo” potato pizza

Whole snapper and garlic mussels

Pumpkin and smoky bacon soup

… and cheesy toasts to go with your soup! A lot of this stuff is still on the menu at Terindah Estate right now, come check it out!