*belch* I'm still recovering :)
The emu was pretty special - I could really get into illawarra plum sauces, I tell you.
I should really go through the menu piece by piece, shouldn't I?? :)
btw, I went completely overboard and took some samples of my garden - native mint (mentha australis), cutleaf mintbush, lemon myrtle, and tetragon. This was received with some interest :). (I'm being slightly restrained because I'm planning to post the URL of this review to the chef, who came out at the end of the night to have a nice chat, and I don't want to come across as any more pretentious than I probably already did!! :) ).
Note: I'm going to be a little more critical of the food than I would normally be, simply because these are such new flavours that I'm truly interested in how they do - and don't! - work. So please take the criticism as a sign of true delight and interest, rather than negativity.
Note: I'm not going to comment on the wines. They were all delicious and well-matched, possibly with the exception of the reisling which, as Deborah (?) our fabulously well-informed and wonderful degusteur (ER??) said, wasn't quite the sweetness she hoped for. But delicious all the same.
Chargrilled damper bread with lemon myrtle oil
Nice bread. We got plain olive oil with balsamic vinegar, which I sprinkled with salt as per my habit 'cos I'm fond of that. It could be worth experimenting with one of the dukkas and infused olive oils available from Taste Of The Bush
with the bread.
“jaggard passion” cocktail
Utterly delicious. It had lemongrass-infused bourbon in it, which added a fabulous touch of sharpness to the sweetness of the Jaggard (quandong liqueur, which is muscat-sweet and rich), passionfruit, and errrr some other things :). A lovely way to start.
Nth Queensland crocodile carpaccio with lemon myrtle oil, caperberries and bush tomato confit
YUM!!!! Paper-thin slices of raw croc - the most amazing solid chewy texture. The bush tomato confit was a complete winner, retaining the caramelly flavour of the bush tomatoes but removing that damn bitterness that drives me insane (it's hard to retain just enough to give an edge, but remove enough to make it tasty). I love caperberries and while a touch of saltiness was good, they were maybe a little too much. I wonder if one could get saltbush? Or maybe pickled native limes???
Sauteed Murray River yabbies with lemon aspen and sugarbag butter served on seaweed salad
I DO love yabbies. The butter-sweet sauce was excellent. I didn't taste much lemon aspen - my memory of the fruit is something _incredibly_ tart, which would have needed the rich sweetness of the butter to cut it down - but it was good without.
I liked the seaweed salad, but it was a little generically Japanese for a dish displaying native produce. Deliciously sesame and chewy, but not quite right for the yabbies. However, I know we can all commiserate with the chef's comments about the impossibility of getting fresh native greens - it's the very reason I started growing warrigal greens! - and this is an excellent compromise.
Paperbark marinated barramundi with grilled witlof and forest lime gremolata
No witlof today, so a substitute salad of wilted greens. See comment on seaweed salad above with the added rider that a bitter salad would have gone excellently with the rich moistness of the barra (barely cooked and beautiful, with crunchy skin). The gremolata turned up in little surprising bites and was perfect - that's one I'll try to replicate myself :)
Chargrilled Emu with goats cheese gnocchi and an Illawarra plum sauce
Yum yum yum. Sauce in particular. Note that emu is red meat, not white, thus deserving the rich sauce and pasta treatment. The goat's cheese made the gnocchi salty and lighter.
The one suggestion I'd have is to crust the emu with some native herbs/spices (there's some good mixes out there these days) before searing and serving (very rare, as appropriate and as was done here) for a little additional flavour.
Wild thyme infused olive oil poached Kangaroo with roast yam mash,
and an Alpine pepper jus
LOVED the jus. Matched the roo and the wine perfectly. Loved the roo (but then, I do). Loved the flavours. Perfect ending.
I was full at this stage but my partner needed a couple more slices of bread (and oil :) ) to fill the gaps, which they unhesitatingly supplied.
Wattleseed crème brulee
Wild lime panna cotta with native berries
Creme brulee is a _perfect_ way to display those coffee/chocolate/hazelnut wattleseed flavours. And the panna cotta was mild and sweet, to round out the meal. The biscotti was surprisingly neutral - not a lot of sugar - which allowed the macadamias to really shine and clean the palate. Excellent dessert wine, too.
Finished with coffee for me, and then a slightly shickered conversation with the chef. Which I _hope_ was Thomas Heinrich because otherwise I have no memory of his name. Did I mention I was slightly shickered??
I have to finish off here but I'll post a few more comments later on ...