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A little snack at Little Press…

A well needed break on an evening dedicated to wedding stuff… in between a meeting with the chef and a meeting with the photographer there was an hour or so to spare. As we were on the edge of the city, walking right past the Press Club, we thought a snack and a glass of wine… or three, was in order. Little Press & Cellar is adjacent to The Press Club and is a cosy, intimate space to share some small, tapas-style food. They also have a very cool little function space, seats about 14, with a range of set menus to suit different price ranges… I now just need to work out the right function to have down there… That being said, I just went to the website and it looks like they are re-doing the fit-out as we speak so this could well have changed by the next time we visit.

Here are a few of our shared bites. Very bad photography from me on this evening but the lighting is not really suited to iPhone photos.

Kataifi prawn, attiki honey, smoked almond, coriander – THESE ARE INCREDIBLE
Slow cooked octopus, oyster mayonnaise, pickled daikon
Cabbage and fennel slaw, pomegranate
Slow cooked lamb ribs, orange pomegranate glaze

Dish of the night was the prawns, almost knocking Ichi ni’s ebi mayo off the top spot for best prawns in Melbourne. So close! The lamb ribs were sensational too and complimented nicely by the salads. The bill was slightly exy at the end of the meal but not too surprising to dissuade me from returning again for a little nibble.
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A Wedding Feast at the Leaning Church Vineyard…

A beautiful Tassie wedding, Launceston-side… The ceremony was in Lonnie, at a church opposite the hotel we were staying at… THANK GOD! Our plane was delayed one hour… meaning we were getting into our cab at Launceston airport at 10:15am… The wedding started at 11:00am… The plane was a split crowd… with half going to the V8s; the biggest annual sporting (bogan) event in Lonnie and the other half attending the Taylor wedding; Tassie’s biggest social event of the calendar year… The fog delay meaning that the wedding half were hastily applying make-up mid-flight… pretty funny start to the day!

We jumped into our pew, once we had dumped bags and thrown on dresses, with 5 minutes to spare. The ceremony was stunning!

A scenic coach trip later and we arrived at the Leaning Church Vineyard for the reception. The marquee was perched on the bank of a dam with rows of vines lining the hills behind. A white picket fence separated us from the ducks. The perfect setting for a long lunch…

a pretty place setting

And lunch we did with a four course menu made up of 3 of my favourite things… ducks, lambies and PORK of course… plus an amazing dessert bar that I don’t have pics of because I’d had a few glasses of the local bubbly….. and cheese… and ham… and other dinner delicacies that I also can’t remember because the bubbly was so effective… and delicious…

shredded duck, cucumber & plum sauce
peking wraps
plum sauce
pork belly - check the crackle!
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Put Victoria on your table – at Joost Greenhouse

Now that I am a food blogger…. (haha!)… I thought it only fitting that I should go to at least one event during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. As I have a friend that works at By Joost, (pronounced like toast) and I love what they are doing; building a number of businesses around a core focus of sustainability, I was most interested in sampling The Greenhouse. A completely sustainable pop-up restaurant powered by canola oil generators, complete with pee-harvesting toilets to fertalise mustard seeds….. seriously….

The Greenhouse By Joost

As a signed-up member of MFWF, I received early release tickets. I wasn’t fast enough to book the Rene Redzepi dinner which seemingly booked out in minutes, but having experienced the real thing at Noma last year, I was very happy to book tickets to the Put Victoria on your Table event instead… a bargain at $150 for four courses compared to Rene’s event… ha! I put the call-out to my foodie friends and was very exited that the great Dr Lats was available. An old housemate of mine who has spent the last few years either in grey london-town or red far-northern australia. A perfect night for a catch up.

We arrived at The Greenhouse on the south bank of the Yarra and went up to the rooftop beer garden for super views of the city and a custard cider. I had no idea what a custard cider was but it was certainly enjoyable, served in a reworked, recycled longneck minus the neck… G&T’s seemed to be served in a recycled mayonnaise jars and I saw champagne being served in tall skinny old jars too… Now I was beginning to get it… totally sustainable right…

We headed downstairs into the restaurant and sat down on a table of ten. We had two very different groups of four on either side of us. One group, more hippie, bikie like from north of the river celebrating a birthday and a snobby group most definitely from southside, celebrating the right to free speech and the ability to complain about almost everything… Well that’s what it seemed like anyway…

PVOYT menu and table setting

Each course was designed and prepared by chefs from different restaurants using all Victorian produce, and was accompanied by a matching beverage.

First off the bat was a whiskey cocktail with apple, peach, and lemon juice and cinnamon sugar.

First drink - whiskey cocktail

A risky choice and definitely not appreciated by my friends on the right but once you got past the initial hit of dark spirit it was actually quite tasty… strong certainly, but an unusual and interesting accompaniment to the first course… or three mini-courses as it turned out to be… described on the menu as:

smoked eel with barley, pork fillet with snow peas and peach salad and baked ricotta on a tomato coulis with dried black olive

I think we were quite relieved to discover that it was in fact three dishes and not one with 5000 too many ingredients… These mini-courses were designed and prepared by Pietro Porcu from The Tearooms at Yarck

Smoked eel with barley
baked ricotta in tomato coulis

Next course was designed by Matthew Fegan from Mr Carsisi in Kyneton and accompanied by Giant Steps Yarra Valley Chardonnay:

Lemon and sourdough crumbed Port Phillip Bay mussels with butternut pumpkin hummus, pastirma, smoked black chilli and lemon dressing, soft herb salad

This was actually one course and probably a surprise favourite for me. I am not usually a huge fan of mussels but when crumbed and fried…. well they are delicious and the butternut hummus was amazing!

mussels and the amazing butternut hummus

Third course, prepared by Andrew Doughton of The Long Table in Red Hill, made the meat lovers happy with a delicious slab of waygu, accompanied by a glass of Carlei 2006 Tri Rossi from the Yarra Valley:

Wood grilled Sher waygu, kancoka farm fig, grapevine ash, celeriac & radish pods

We noticed a pretty funny thing by this stage. The canola oil generators did not stretch to power lights so the restaurant was lit only by candles…. and we literally couldn’t see what we were eating… The only way I could see what the dish looked like was to take a photo… good atmosphere though!

waygu - lit by camera flash

Finally we had dessert… well actually a cheese course… I heard a few grumbles to my right… The cheese course was designed by The Greenhouse chef Matt Stone, who normally resides in Perth at the permanent Greenhouse… Again we couldn’t see the dish, descirbed only as:

Victorian cheese platter

Accompanied by the delicious Crittenden 2011 Moscato from Mornington, the Victorian cheese platter turned out to be one very stinky blue… stinky in a good way, like right up your nose stinky, but another risky move perhaps as blue cheese can be quite polarising. This dish also appeared to have ash sprinkled on top, a couple of radicchio leaves and some figs to tie it all together with some sweetness.

Victorian cheese platter

People were noticeably louder by the time the cheese course was underway. It was now that our host for the evening decided to have a little chat with each of the chefs and thank us all for our attendance… minus a microphone… must not be sustainable… I have no doubt the chefs were super entertaining to those in the front row 😉

Dr Lats and I lingered over our moscatos as the other happy diners departed. A thouroughly enjoyable night was had by all… except maybe the four from south of the river on my right…

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A Summer Stokehouse Wedding…

Can I write a blog entry about a close friend’s wedding? God yeah, if it was as perfect as yesterday’s event was.

I know I said this was about a summer wedding… and it is actually March but wow, did Mother Nature turn it up for Soph and Andy’s evening… and the rest of us, as we sipped french champagne on the balcony, watching the evening sun sparkle on the water.

bubbles on the balcony

You couldn’t really ask for a better start to the evening than canapés and bubbles on the Stokehouse Upstairs balcony. Or my other favourite thing about a Stokehouse wedding, less weather dependent… essentially an a la carte menu and an excellent selection of wines to choose from…. mmmm yum! PLUS (but wait there more) an awesome group of peeps to celebrate the beginning of this marriage in style… Some pretty entrees for you. My beautiful ceviche… delightfully bright, in both appearance and taste… and my friend George Farquarson’s sweet venison…

Kingfish ceviche, salted grapes, flying fish roe, sunflower seeds, zucchini & chardonnay vinaigrette
Cured venison, plum marmalade, horseradish, almonds & elderflower jelly

A choice of four mains… my choice the lamb; cooked three ways, roasted rack, slow cooked neck and fried sweetbreads (for the second time in my life)… A very rich meal that I matched most excellently with more bubbles… Normally at a wedding I get a bit distracted by the time the main comes out but this time I was extremely focussed on my meal… and the meal of the person on my right… Had to try the beef right?!

Boneless rack of lamb, slow cooked neck, sweetbreads, cucumber pickle & mustard apple soubise
220g Angus beef served with oyster mushrooms, charred baby onion & green olive butter

Wowee what a beautiful meal, a beautiful view, a beautiful bride… Just beautiful!
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