MFWF 2013 – Teage and Scott’s Wagyu Feast

Ooh la la!!  Imagine my excitement!! Two of my favourite chefs getting together for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.  I could barely contain myself!!  The ezard MFWF dinner is always a fixture on my calendar – and this year Teage Ezard was partnering with Scott Pickett of the Estelle!  In case you didn’t know, I’ve been a little bit in love with Scott Pickett ever since I first visited the Estelle with iMac last year…  so this was brilliant news.

The menu

And so it was, that on one of these blisteringly hot March evenings me and six of my most gorgeous girlfriends rocked up to partake in Teage and Scott’s Wagyu Feast!!

Oyster shooter

japanese inspired oyster shooter – by teage ezard
2008 yarrabank sparkling, yarra valley, victoria

The event kicked off with this classic Ezard started – a definite crowd pleaser.  It’s been on the menu since the early days – and available only when the oysters are in season.  It is a beautiful mouthful of fresh oyster, with a gorgeous and generous dressing of mirin and sake, chased down by a soba noodle nori roll.  Classic, inimitable, and outstanding.

The Yarrabank sparkling was a lovely foil to the sweetness of the mirin – and a great social lubricant for the group.  I think more than one glass might have been quaffed!

tartare

cured wagyu porterhouse, quail egg and nettles – by scott pickett
2012 mac forbes ‘rs45’ riesling, strathbogie ranges, victoria

There were lots of oohs and aahs when this little dish came to the table – A modern take on steak tartare, the hand cut meat was like tender jewels of deep ruby protein. This was F1 porterhouse wagyu, with a marble score of 9. Topped with a quail egg, and an impressive shard of crisped potato – a nettle puree was also poured at the table and lent a subtle peppery zest to the dish.  The whole ensemble was a textural delight.

And the wine…. well, usually I love mac forbes wines – but this one was a bit sweet.  The RS in the name refers to Residual Sugar, so the wine was certainly not dry.  The reviews say the residual sugar should act as a vehicle for “power and texture” but I’m not sure it worked that way with this dish.  Sorry Mac!!

Marcus & wine glasses

Wagyu oxtail dumplings

wagyu oxtail wonton dumplings, sweet and sour broth, shaved coconut – by teage ezard
2012 best’s ‘young vine’ pinot meunier, great western, victoria

Oh. My. Goodness!  Hello! Where have you been all my life?  This dish was my favourite of the evening. The oxtail had broken down into sticky, unctuous goodness. Tenderly enveloped in a noodle wrapper and topped with some fresh Asian herbs and micro thin slices of coconut – the wantons were then delicately flooded with the most amazing sweet and sour broth with so many layers of flavour and depth!  Amazing.  Sharn…. This needs to come back to the menu.  I know it’s a blast from the past – but being retro is so now!!! Please?!!  And we really loved the Pinot Meunier – silky, warm and soft.  Delicious.

Wagyu fillet & Girello

wagyu fillet and girello, burnt carrot and horseradish – by scott pickett
2006 golden ball ‘gallice’ cabernet merlot malbec, beechworth, victoria

This was a really interesting dish. The wagyu fillet was F1 with a marble score of 8-9 – and it was amazing. Great taste, tender, juicy and delicious.  The burnt carrot puree was so dark, it looked as though it had been coloured with squid ink – but was quite simply burnt carrots.  It had a surreal sweetness that melded beautifully with the richness of the beef.  As for the girello, which was full blood wagyu with a marble score of 8 to 9 – I wasn’t so sure about that one.  Girello is basically the eye fillet from silverside – so it was essentially a wagyu corned beef.  My feeling is that it’s hard to make corned beef sexy… after all – it’s corned beef.  It was pleasant enough – but completely overshadowed by the amazing fillet.

Wagyu two ways

wagyu beef two ways, soft white polenta, mushrooms, sticky shallot sauce – by teage ezard
2000 mountlangi ‘langi’ shiraz, grampians, victoria

This dish was an adaptation of one of the current vegetarian dishes on the Ezard menu. I love it already – but the addition of cube roll (scotch fillet or rib eye) and then some sticky brisket was delicious.  What’s not to love about mushrooms, white polenta and sticky shallot sauce?  We were very fortunate to enjoy some aged shiraz with this dish – thanks to Teage who allowed it to come out of the cellar!  We were being very spoiled.

Dessert & Muscat

black fig, fresh curds and walnuts – by scott pickett
nv campbells classic rutherglen muscat, rutherglen, victoria (beautifully modelled by Marcus)

Hmmm…. this was the surprise dish of the night – but not necessarily in the best way.  The dessert was a minimalist assembly of ingredients that didn’t really work together as well as we would have liked (IMHO).  The intention was to create a light and fresh dish which, given the four courses of beef we’d just enjoyed, was a great idea in theory.  However, it was a little too savoury and the flavours just didn’t meld.  The figs were fresh, and not too sweet, the walnuts had been pickled (although I might need correction there), and the fresh curds were quite dry – reminding me a little of unsweetened ricotta. There was a honey flavoured shard that sat on top – but the most confusing element was the addition of radicchio leaves. Alas – the consensus on our table was that it just didn’t work.  The Muscat, however, was a dream.  It was an amazing drop of liquid gold with a lingering raisin tone, with an almost smoky etherealness.  We let that caress our throats, and it was a fitting end to the evening.

Helen & Vicki

I was also fortunate enough to have a chat with the lovely Vicki Sher – of Sher Wagyu fame.  Apparently, her husband, Nick – who had a background in agricultural science said: I reckon this Wagyu thing might take off – let’s get some and start a farm.  20 years after calving the first ever Wagyu cow in Australia, they have swags of gold medals and awards under their belts, and over 1500 head of cattle on their farm. The name Sher is pretty much synonymous with Wagyu in Australia and they’re a prime exporter to Japan.

Vicki was kind enough to explain the difference between F1 and Full Blood.  F1 is a mixed breed cow – Wagyu x Holstein. Apparently, the two breeds lay down marbling in exactly the same way, producing top quality meat superior to other wagyu-cross breeds.  Most of the full blood meat is exported, so we were actually lucky to get the girello, but I still maintain my favourite Wagyu dish was those gorgeous oxtail dumplings!! Did I say Hello?!!

Overall – it was a brilliant night.  We were able to taste Wagyu beef six different ways across the four dishes, which, when you think about it is a truly a spectacular feat by Teage and Scott!  All of us girls had a brilliant evening and felt thoroughly spoiled by the amazing Ezard front of house team ably led by Quentin Ferguson. Now, I guess we’re just waiting on news of the next Ezard wine dinner… Quentin… Brendan????

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