Ten Minutes by Tractor

Ten Minutes By Tractor
1333 Mornington Flinders Road
Main Ridge  VIC  3928
03 5989 6455

It was with much anticipation that we entered the doors at Ten Minutes By Tractor – a relative newcomer to the Peninsula (when compared to stalwarts such as Max’s at Red Hill, T’Gallant, and Montalto). TMBT has been serving food in its winery restaurant since 2007– when owner, Martin Spedding and head chef, Stuart Bell came together to produce something very special.  Pretty much since they opened, they have been receiving accolades for their food from the Age Good Food Guide and Australian Gourmet Traveller .  It was time Dining Nirvana had the opportunity to find out just how special this restaurant is ….

Seeded bread, tractor oil, pink salt and butter

We started with some pre-dinner drinks.  I enjoyed the Keglinger sparkling from Pipers Brook in Tasmania, which was a smooth and mellow aperitif.  While Andrew opted to try a regional wheat beer. We enjoyed this with some gorgeously warm bread (you get a choice of white, seeded or spelt) – served with brilliant fresh butter, “tractor oil”, and pink salt.

Amuse Bouche 

The amuse bouche was a delicately balanced mouthful of Cashmere goat’s cheese, quince, micro herbs, and grains – and provided a textural and flavoursome start to our meal.  The Main Ridge Cashmere Goat’s cheese deserves special mention – as it was delightfully creamy and delicate, and beautifully complemented the earthy grains and sweet tartness of the quince.

  Pumpkin Risotto, Main Ridge cashmere, pine nuts, sage, broccolini, mushrooms

For my entrée, I really enjoyed the pumpkin risotto  – which was joyously strewn with more of that Main Ridge Cashmere – as well as pine nuts, crispy sage, tender flowerettes of broccolini and wonderful earthy mushrooms.  The risotto was sensationally creamy, flavoured with the mellow sweetness of the pumpkin and beautifully complemented by the excellently chosen accompaniments.  For me, this was the standout dish of the night – and worthwhile having as a main. The accompanying wine was also amazing – 2008 Brezza Dolcetto d’Alba Fossati – it was sensuously smooth and mellow. Delicious!

 Marinated quail, buck wheat polenta, roasted grapes, kaiserfleisch bacon, hazelnut vinaigrette, quail consommé

Andrew had the quail for entrée which had been marinated in mustard before being grilled.  It was served with a buckwheat polenta, roasted grapes, kaiserfleisch bacon, hazelnut vinaigrette and a very interesting side serve of quail consommé – which you could choose to drink directly from the serving vessel, or pour over your dish to provide some moistness.  When presented with such a choice, Andrew did what anyone would do – a bit of both.  The consommé by itself was very pure, but perhaps lacked a little seasoning.  When poured over the dish – it melded everything together and added a good level of additional moistness.  The meal was, again, beautifully presented and everything worked together really well.  Andrew enjoyed the recommended matched wine – 2009 Ten Minutes By Tractor Estate Chardonnay.

 Sous vide duck breast, 1333 quince, autumn vegetables, preserved orange sauce

For main, I opted for the duck breast, which had been poached sous vide – resulting in a gorgeously tender texture, cooked perfectly and uniformly to medium rare.  This was served with autumn vegetables, 1333 quince paste, preserved orange sauce and powdered mandarin.  I enjoyed this with a 2010 Yves Cuilleron Syrah from Côte du Rhône – which was a little more robust than my previous wine.

Beef – Roasted Cape Grim eye fillet, beef cheek, parsnip and horseradish, onion shells, red wine jus

For his main, Andrew chose the roasted Cape Grim eye fillet – a very impressive cut of beef that was balanced expertly on the plate.  It was served atop some shredded beef cheek, and accompanied by a generous smear of parsnip purée, some roasted onion shells, and a red wine jus – as well as horseradish powder!  Andrew declared the beef to be one of the best fillets he had ever eaten (and we know he’s very well researched on these matters!).  He enjoyed a 2009 Castello di Farnetella Chianti Colli Senesi from Tuscany with his dish.

Try as we might – there was no way we could fit in dessert… maybe if we’d had two entrées?  So, unfortunately, we had to finish our meals there.  When we requested the bill – we were presented with some beautiful petit fours – a lovely morsel sized quince cake, and a bailey’s truffle – which were delicious (apologies – they were so beautiful, I forgot to take a photo).   In a fabulous finishing touch, the wait staff – who provided fantastic service throughout the night – presented us with a specially printed menu with our dishes and matching wines printed on it. What a lovely touch to a gorgeous evening.

I highly recommend TMBT- it’s a regional restaurant doing amazing things – definitely deserving of its one hatted status – and dare I say, maybe worthy of two??  I certainly think that it’s a must do restaurant on the peninsula – bringing a much needed injection of fine dining in to the region and carrying it off with finessed, attentive and professional service.  I look forward to my next visit – where I’ll desperately try to squeeze in dessert!

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