Attica

Sorry to those who have been waiting for this post to come out (it might only be José who was waiting, sorry!). I was absolutely ecstatic to get a booking at Attica and the memories of this dinner will stay with me always.

When people ask me to describe my meal, I tell them that Attica is Australia’s only restaurant to make it to The World’s 50 best restaurants, but that isn’t the only reason why I wanted to go. There is Spanish cuisine, French, Italian and a big up and coming South American wave but there really isn’t much in the way of Australian cuisine. Attica uses lots of Australian produce and native herbs and spices that show off our country’s unique ingredients, so it was nice to have an Australian restaurant using Australian ingredients (by a NZ chef hehehe) to make it on the coveted top 50 list.

 

The evening’s dinner was broken up into a lot (and I mean a lot!) of little starters, 4 mains, 1 palette cleanser, 2 desserts and of course ending the night with the very famous Pukeko egg. It ended up being a five and a half hour dinner with excitement at every new plate, good company and lots of fabulous food.

 

I felt the modest furnishings of the food and the unlikely suburban location of the restaurant reflected the humble personality of the talented chef Ben Shewry.
Starters~
Now there were lots of these and I’ll just write about the most interesting and also my absolute favourite ones (it was hard to choose), otherwise it will take me another 4 months to write this post.

 

House made sour cream apple balsamic and olive oil with leaves.

Pickle daikon, pumpkin beetroot with honey mustard.

Steamed pippies with seaweed butter.

Mouth full of green asparagus sugar snap peas walnut purée. For something that seemed so simple, this really took me by surprise with how much I enjoyed it. The flavours and textures seemed so fresh that it showed off these humble ingredients at its best.

Fresh cheese and honeycomb cows milk cheese made on site with honeycomb with hazelnut oil and lemon. It seemed like an odd pairing but the flavours worked so well together. I love how the honeycomb is served fresh onto the plate.

Crispy artichoke with snow crab.
Wallaby blood pikelet malt vinegar cream with native plum jam. It felt very strange to have a pikelet with blood in it but if you didn’t tell me I’m unsure if I would have noticed.
Chicken carrots carrot with marinated chicken thigh sorrel and tarragon. This was like a little carrot taco. I really enjoyed the marinated chicken and the carrot provided the perfect ‘taco shell’ which doesn’t fall apart as you try and eat it.
Baby corn. I’m not usually a fan of creepy corn (that is what I call baby corn) but this was served even younger than what we would normally find at supermarkets. The corn barely feels like it has individual kernels and has a different taste; more juicy and refreshing rather than sweet.

Mussels freshly shucked mussels, battered flash fried served with succulents. I thought this was fantastic. The flash fried cooking really brought out the mussels natural sweetness. 
Beef on the Bone. There is something primal yet modern about this dish. The ribboned beef carefully weaved  on the ‘skewer’ placed on a beautiful plate really contrasted to the fact that I was eating of a sharpened bone. The beef was beautiful and I really wanted more than one bite that we got.Garden herbs in a light chicken stock. Errr, eating got the better of me and only  when I was almost done eating, did I remember to take a photo.  Just take my word that it was beautifully presented. The stock was really light and all the flavours came from all the interesting herbs and flowers, I just wished that the starters were more spaced out so I didn’t feel rushed while finishing my broth to attend to the next dish.House made bread and condiments.Macadamia purée with macadamia oil and saltbush leaves.

Mains~

Red kangaroo with bunya bunya. I thought that the carrots and currants were the star of the dish and the kangaroo just played the perfect side kick.Look at that amazing colour.
Marron. It was suggested to us that the best bit of the marron was the tail so don’t bother with the body, so what did we do? We tore open the pincers and the body to eat whatever we could find, as daintily as we could before proceeding to the delicious tail. Even though the tail was admittedly better, I definitely thought it was still worth eating the meat from the upper part of the body.So much prettiness in the detail.Yeasty potatoes with cheesy rind sauce. I love potatoes and I love cheese so this dish was perfect for me. There was definitely lots of depth to this dish; the array of flavours became more intense the more you ate. It left me feeling warm and comforted, with a craving for more cheese sauce.

Adding the final touches at the table.142 Days on Earth emu with baby red cabbage. So cutely named because that is the time it took for the cabbage to grow and get to your plate. Just when I thought the dish was complete, the server kept on adding more and more on top. I have never had emu before and I naively thought it would taste like chicken, instead, it was a dark heavier meat. This dish to me felt like a rich heavy stew mixed in with the delicate leaves of the baby cabbage. It was really interesting and I love how this dish was prepared and so thoughtfully named.Half time oranges. The flesh of the frozen orange segment was replaced by orange sorbet and lemon myrtle. We were taken outside for a spot of ‘tennis’ (our skills really sucked) and then we were undeservedly rewarded with our half time oranges. It was really cold on my teeth but it made for a refreshing palette cleanser despite being a little salty and tart.We were taken into their garden with lots of beautiful flowers and herbs for the ‘half time show’.Dessert~

Maria’s Green Apple granny smith apple filled with cream cheese served with fermented rhubarb. I was so amused by the never ending coil of the delicate apple. The tartness of the apple was balanced out by the cream cheese filling and was given the ever so slightly sweet touch by the rhubarb. I loved this! How beautifully delicate is this dessert!
Lois’ Jelly Whip sheeps milk gelato, mandarin jam, freeze fried sorrel and coconut. Just when I didn’t think the desserts could get any better, out came the next one. It was hard to describe but the gelato was perfectly soft which contrasted against the crunchy textures of the top. Nothing was overly sweet and OTT, it was just a lovely balance of flavours and textures. 

I was so happy after two amazing desserts and ready to be rolled out the door that I almost forgot about the Pukeko egg, but after the cute patch of grass with three eggs balanced perfectly on top was placed down in front of us, I quickly forgot about feeling full and my eyes widened with excitement.
Pukeko’s Egg. The chocolate shell was beautifully decorated to look like a spotted egg and inside was mainly hollow except for the patch of very thick caramel which was incredible. I broke apart my shell and dipped my pieces into the paste savouring every bite. TimmyC was wondering if he could get 5 more on the way out, he was a massive fan.

It was wonderful to have been served by lots of different people and chefs, it allowed the people who helped create the dish to be proud of their work and serve it to happy customers.

The menu is forever changing at Attica but a few key dishes get a longer run time. I would happily go again if I ever get the chance.

Venue: Attica
Address: 74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea, VIC 3185
Phone: (03) 9530 0111
Bookings: Bookings are released on a month-by-month basis on the first Wednesday of each month at 9am, three months in advance. Bookings can be made via their website.

 

Attica Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pistachio Express Post

Pistachio tasting plate of entrees scallop, chicken and leek terrine and potato croquette ($19.00). I’m always one for variety so I couldn’t pass on the tasting plate of entrees. I really liked the scallop and the potato croquette, the downside to the tasting plate is wishing that there was a bigger serving size of your favourites.Goat’s chese ravioli corn veloute, slow cooked lamb shoulder and basil oil ($18.00).IMG_0348Mains~ all $30.00

Confit pork belly twice cooked chilli, wilted spinach, coriander, bean shoots, shallots and capsicum. I didn’t like the Asian flavours with such a big piece of pork belly and the skin wasn’t crispy all the way through.IMG_0353Grilled grass fed beef sirloin served medium rare, jacket potato, bacon, sour cream, honey grazed carrots. This was absolutely delicious; all my favourite warm conforting foods on a plate. I just wished it was my main.IMG_0365Sides~ all $8.00

Green beans with toasted almonds and parsley. I’m not one for ordering green beans as a side but I’m so glad that someone did, they were cooked and seasoned perfectly and I almost ate the whole thing myself.IMG_0366Rosemary and garlic roasted chat potatoes. Crispy, crunchy and seasoned to perfection, everything that you would want in a potato.IMG_0368Dessert~ all $15.00

Eaton mess sundae creme Chantilly, almond praline, crushed meringue and almond praline ice cream.IMG_0374Honeycomb cheesecake poached white peach, pistachio and syrup. I loved the flavour combination of this and it wasn’t too heavy. I found that the honeycomb pieces provided a crunchy contrast to the cream cheesecake and poached white peach. IMG_0376

IMG_0375Strawberry cannelloni brick pastry, white chocolate ice ream, freeze fried strawberry.IMG_0380

IMG_0381p.s. Don’t forget to use your Entertainment book!

The Stunned Mullet re-run

I was going to just let this restaurant visit slide but as soon as the amazing warmed bread arrived, I instinctively started taking photos. We had taken TimmyC’s Grandma with us to the Stunned Mullet two years ago and she was very keen to go back, was it was going to be as good as we remembered?IMG_8257.JPGSourdough with Roast Chilli and Pecorino Little Gen EVOO 8 ($8.50). It is very expensive for bread and oil but it is warmed perfectly, the crust is crunchy and the bread itself is so soft and fluffy. Yes TimmyC’s Grandma couldn’t wait and grabbed the first slice before I took a photo.IMG_8243.JPGGlacier 51 Toothfish soy and mirin stock, Asian salad, galangal, smoked shallot chilli ginger reduction ($48.00). I had my heart set on the Cape Grim beef but when the waiter was describing the toothfish, I was easily swayed. His logic is that there is always beef on a menu but you would rarely get a chance to eat toothfish.

The flesh of the fish was unlike any fish I’ve had before, the texture was a cross between a scallop and the meaty pincer of a mud crab. The meat itself wasn’t sweet like a mudcrab but you got hints of sweetness from the mirin in the sauce. I had no regrets ordering this dish.IMG_8251.JPGPhotos of my dish from every angle.IMG_8252.JPGIMG_8253.JPGPork Belly and Seared Scallops nuoc cham and Asian salad ($38.00). TimmyC had his eyes set on the pork and scallops and asked for this to be served as a main, I thought the main price was steep for not many pieces of pork and scallops, I’m just glad that they executed this dish perfectly. The pork crackling was crispy and fatty and the pork was well cooked while still remaining moist. The scallops were fantastic! They were easily the best scallops I’ve had in a restaurant recently; the sear was really good and the meat was naturally sweet. TimmyC wasn’t particularly a big fan of the bold Asian flavours in the sauce but we just tilted the plate so he would get less of it.IMG_8250.JPGLamb Shoulder parsnip puree, red chutney, labne, watercress, compressed apple, papadum ($25.00). Grandma ordered a smaller sized dish but wow, the flavours were so complex and there were so many textures to the plate. I am now a big fan of labna! The lamb meat was super tender and had so many spices in it which gave it a middle Eastern feel.IMG_8245.JPG

IMG_8247.JPGSides~

Mizuna lettuce salad with hazelnuts, pear, pecorino and verjuice ($11.00). I loved the delicate pecorino cheese which was mounded on top. The greens were partly light and well washed and I adored the combination of pear and hazelnuts.IMG_8246.JPGDesserts~ all desserts were $18.00.

Chocolate Hazelnut textures, white chocolate cremeux, praline semifreddo, strawberries, chocolate brownie, vanilla mascarpone cream. I thought there was too much going on with this dessert which was much to TimmyC’s delight as he devoured the rest. He has a bigger sweet tooth than me so he probably didn’t think that this dish was too rich.IMG_8259.JPGVanilla Bean Macarons, poached pear, cinnamon crumble, gorgonzola gelato, cider gel. I really liked their size of macarons, they were big but very delicate with a subtle vanilla bean filling. I knew instantly TimmyC would dislike the gorgonzola gelato but I thought it paired perfectly with the poached pears. The two blobs of gel looked deceivingly black but that was because of the slate plating, it was actually in fact like a very smooth apple sauce.IMG_8264.JPG

IMG_8266.JPGThe staff is always attentive and polite here and the food is magnificent. Even if you just bypass through Port Macquarie, I definitely recommend that you plan your trip around having a meal here.

The Artisan – Surprise party

I’ve always been a fan of The Artisan in Narrabundah so this is more of a food porn post. I recently attended a surprise 30th birthday party all cleverly organised by the wife, she organised that there be a set menu for three courses with three options for each course. I tried to surround myself with fabulous company and of course ‘encouraged’ everyone to order different things to make my photos/post more interesting. 

Three course $65.00. Let the munching and the catch ups begin!

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Entrees~

Pan seared scallops with black pudding crumble, corn puree and frisee. I was going to order this although the idea of the black pudding crumble put me off, people who were brave enough to try it couldn’t really taste the black pudding aspect and really enjoyed it.

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Gnocchi Artisan crafted jerusalem artichoke gnocchi with butternut pumpkin filled zucchini flower and balsamic. I’ve never seen gnocchi prepared like this, looked amazing but not filling. 

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Pork belly chipotle braised pork belly with avocado mousse, apple slaw and crackling. Who could resist order pork belly? The crackle was perfect, the pork had layers of fat through it and the mousse was rather interesting.

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Mains~

Beef pure black eye fillet with smoked potato souffle, roast garlic puree, port jus and horseradish mustard. I am a big big fan of steak but I mainly ordered this for the smoked potato souffle and boy it didn’t disappoint! You could really taste the smokey flavour despite the delicate nature of the souffle. The steak was cooked perfectly and I was intrigued by the garlic puree.

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Spatchcock Harissa spiced breast and crisp leg with cucumber yoghurt, pomegranate, quinoa and baby coriander.

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Duck seared Grimaud duck breast with celeriac ribbons, raisins, watercress and cep jus.

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Dessert~

Wagon wheel layers of biscuit, marshmallow, raspberry jam and peanut praline with dark chocolate ganache.

Not complete without being covered in chocolate.

Panna cotta Elderflower panna cotta with honeycomb, yoghurt sortbet and popping candy.

Tarte tatin  banoffee tarte tatin with caramelised banana and dulce de leche ice cream. Everyone else ordered the other desserts so I sucked it up and ordered this even though I don’t usually eat bananas. I gave away my caramelised bananas but closely guarded my tarte tatin- flaky buttery tasty pastry mmmm, I wish the ice-cream wasn’t pooled on the top though.

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Having great company with marvelous food really makes a meal more enjoyable. Wonderful choice Cheryl!