Epicure Readers’ Dinner at Golden Fields
This is a rather belated review of the brilliant Epicure / Renault dinner that I attended with good friend Pia a few weeks ago. On this night of nights, there were a number of brilliant dinners on around town (it seemed to be the hot night prior to the Christmas rush!) – but an offering of the greatest hits of Andrew McConnell’s food was very seductive.
The place was absolutely buzzing – and we got to see all the action from our seats at the bar! Settling in with a glass of NV Larmandier Bernier ‘Blanc de Blanc’ Champagne we let the good times roll…
Moonlight Flat Clare de Lune oyster, dashi, oscietra caviar
What a dazzling way to start – fresh oysters, dressed beautifully and adorned with caviar! The taste of the sea…
Kingfish, salmon roe, scud chilli, ginger & lime
Another fresh and lively dish to tease our palates. Delicate yet packing a soft citrusy heat – it caressed the tongue and exploded on the tastebuds. Mouth-watering stuff!
Marinated radishes & celery, chilli
This was the surprise dish of the night for me – really refreshing, crisp and delicious. Almost like a palate cleanser between courses… This bracket of dishes was served with a Chikuma NIshiki ‘Kizan Sanban’ Sake.
New England lobster roll, hot buttered bun, cold poached crayfish, watercress and Kewpie
Pretty delicious – I can see why this is a favourite. Apparently the buns come from a Vietnamese baker on Victoria Street. Andrew McConnell very seriously informed us that they have zero nutritional value. Is that why they taste so damn fine! Soft, brioche like bun with some tender slices of lobster, all rounded out with the creamy Kewpie mayo and watercress. Delicious.
Shredded chicken, sesame paste, house-made cold noodles, chilli oil
This dish was taken off the menu at some point, but due to popular demand has come back. The house made cold noodles were quite thick and chewy, but overall the salad is a lovely fresh dish with true flavours. This bracket of dishes was served with a fantastic 2012 Pinot Gris from Le Stagiare in the Mornington Peninsula.
Twice cooked duck, steamed bread, vinegar and plum sauces
Please forgive the shot of the messy plates – this is what happens when you’re confronted with unadulturated joy! For me, this was the dish of the night. Probably because I’ve been lucky enough to go to Momofuku in New York and the one thing we loved most of all was David Chang’s amazing pork buns. Andrew admitted that he uses the same recipe for his buns… what’s not to love? Crispy, juicy duck, soft steamed bread and plum sauce! Just order this and you will be happy! Served with 2012 The Story Roussane / Marsanne / Viognier from the Grampians.
Sher wagyu striplooin, master stock mushroom, charred leek, pepper
OK… by this stage we were struggling (that might have been because we actually managed to score an extra serve of duck). However, the rich earthy flavours of this dish were amazing. And have you ever seen beef served so prettily? What an absolutely stunning presentation. This was served with a 2011 Garagiste Red Hill Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula.
Sauteed snow peas, lap cheong, fried garlic
And a lovely side dish – sautéed snow peas wonderfully complemented by the sweet fattiness of the lap cheong and the mellow overtones of fried garlic. Calling it a side dish doesn’t really do it justice – because you could quite easily just polish off a dish of this and feel very happy!
Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel & soft chocolate
Oh. My. Goodness. Stop the press! What a way to finish – a gently frozen cube of creamy peanut butter parfait drizzled with salted caramel and sprinkled with crushed nuts, topped off with a quenelle of rich, decadent chocolate mousse.
We literally rolled out of there feeling oh so stuffed!! A great evening – thanks to Epicure / Renault for putting on this event where the servings of wine and food were generous to a fault, and we were brilliantly entertained! We will certainly be looking out for the next dinner on the agenda. The biggest testimony to our enjoyment was that the lovely Pia and I returned again – quite independently and seperately – within a couple of weeks to relive some of the joy! (That duck!!! I tell you!!).