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Showing posts with label Wine Bar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wine Bar. Show all posts

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Bites: Picturesque Vineyard Dining @ Millbrook Winery, Jarrahdale.

WA is filled with quality vineyards but little did I know that hidden amongst the plains South East of Perth is a boutique winery called Millbrook Winery.  If the wineries in Swan Valley have become a weekend norm, then a trip to Millbrook Winery might just do the trick!  Only problem? It located in Jarrahdale which is a lot further if you live near the city. So was the 1 hour drive worth it?

The drive to Jarrahdale was a little far but the views were pleasant once I got off the freeway.  Just mile and miles of pleasant greenery and rolls of hay!

The vineyard?  Even better.  The vineyard was simply spectacular with its restaurant positioned by the lake surrounded by the rolling hills!  But enough about how nice this place was, time to get on to the food!  That afternoon we had the set menu as we had a large group of 10.   For $79, it was quite a lot that we got. 

To get us started, we were served some crusty bread, and liver pate.

Bread felt really ordinary, but honest and humbly good.  Not spectacular but still pleasant to taste.

The luxury of having Pate is not something that site serves.  While my friends were apprehensive about the richness of the dish, I enjoyed every bit of it.  Smeared on the little crostini and topped with the perfectly caramelised onions, it was heaven on taste! Delicious!!

Following that, we were served a trio of appetisers to share:

They were pretty decent! We had the fish wrapped in grape leaf, chickpea hash and duck rillettes! 

Over all, the appetisers were nice! But I struggled with the fish a little as it was a little fishy for my liking.  On the other hand, the rillettes were pretty yums but I found it a waste of the duck flesh because they were not moist and juicy but a little dry! So, the surprising favourite on the table that day was the chickpea hash!  One friend even commented jokingly that it was like “Vegetarian luncheon meat!”.  True enough I reckon.  Put some of the cheese on top and oh my! Yummy!

We could choose our mains and enough said we ordered pretty much everything on the menu!  This was Jim's Fish of the day from Exmouth with smashed peas.

Sauerkraut, pork, apple, rejected potatoes.  

A cheesy Risotto!

Lamb chop with white anchovies and bean salad.

Honestly?  I did not get to taste everything.  In fact, I was so busy talking that afternoon that I did not even get a photo of my dish haha.  In saying that, the general feel about the dishes that afternoon ranged anywhere from average to good.  Mine was the Vegan Gnocchi (not pictured) and it was decent.  But I reckon Mason & Bird does it better :P.  I tried some of the pork and hey it was pretty good!  A very simple and humble dish that was not extravagant but simple and enjoyable. With tender pork, crispy crackling and perfectly cooked potatoes what more could you ask for right?

Moving on to the desserts, we had a choice of three dessert of which two I had pictures for:

The nut strudel with white chocolate & ginger ice cream:

This was surprisingly good! I found the strudel a little sweet on its own but when paired with the ginger ice cream, there was a surprising chemistry between the nutty strudel, lightly pungent ginger and the cool ice cream!

Mascarpone parfait, berries, crostoli.

Berries and ice cream.  What could go wrong right?  Generally, the chances of going wrong is pretty rare so it was safe to say that I was not disappointed in anyway.  My complements was how the Mascarpone had this slight cheesiness but it did not overpower the purpose of the dish as a dessert.  Instead, it was this lingering cheesiness that balances nicely with the acidity of the berries and sugar content on the plate.  But could it have been better? I reckon it could.  First things first, serving temperature.  Something as delicate as the mascarpone parfait could have been served a little more elegantly at a better temperature where it was on the brink of melting rather than frozen cold.   Who do I reckon did it better?  Well, Relae of Copenhagen!  Maybe its time for me to get bags packed and start travelling hey?!

Millbrook Vineyard played host to an enjoyable afternoon with some good friends.  The could not be a cooler spot to have lunch than Millbrook Vineyard.  The vineyards food is over all, above average compared tot he usual fare. But if you come here looking for molecular degustation, this might not be the right place.  Instead, look for good, humble, and honest cooking with wines and views to match.  Would I do another 1 hour drive?  Perhaps I would!

Millbrook Winery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris: Fine Tapas @ L'Avant Comptoir, Odeón

After an absolutely rubbish steak by a random restaurant at Eiffel tower the night before, I was more determined than ever to have a proper meal.  My research game was strong and brought me to a little tapas bar in town called L'Avant Comptoir in Odeón.  

Hidden behind a takeaway Creperie, this is a stand only tapas place and strictly no reservations.  How to order?  L'Avant Comptoir’s standard menu is hung from the ceiling with a price and picture while everything seasonal is written in chalk on a small blackboard.  

Note that L'Avant Comptoir only has one sommelier, maître d and waiter so its a one man show at the counter.  He (Mr Eric) remembers everyone better than you do, so if you feel ignored it is because someone else is waiting before you.
This rule applies no matter how sure you are that you were the first in line lol.

Bread, butter and condiments are communal (and seriously good too) so do not freak out should someone reach over your shoulder to take a slice of bread or smear butter from your tray haha.  

The tapas at L'Avant Comptoir is simple, interesting and extremely flavourful.  My first dish was a bowl of super sweet shell fish right which was a seasonal special off the black board. 

Cooked in a tomato based sauce with wine and finished with a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley, the shell fish was faultless.  Sweet, juicy and mildly briny, this was a great finger food.

The second dish I got was a classic favourite for the table, creamy potato croquettes with bits of yummy ham.

Creamy potato on the inside, crisp on the outside makes the croquette a tapas that is hard to beat.   Its seasoning too was balanced and really quite tasty!

The Jamon de Paris at L'Avant Comptoir to share with paprika and horseradish.

Its hard to explain how a humble ham can make an good lunch become an amazing lunch.  But if you appreciate your ham slightly juicy but not wet, mildly salted and intense in flavour, then you will enjoy this a lot!  A pinch of horseradish drops a load of kick so do not put too much! 

My fancy pants attempt at L'Avant Comptoir before dessert was a Foie Gras Meringue with Citrus Jam.  

Creamy, fragrant and a sweet altogether in one bite.  What can I say?  Wow.  It will be overwhelming for those who dislike the richer things in life but this was a seriously interesting morsel.  If I had one criticism, it would be that the macaron could be a little thicker!  I think there was more Foie Gras than Meringue in this dish haha.

There is no better way to end a great meal but with a sweet ending and when in Paris, eat Burnt Cream or Creme Brûlée.

The twist?  Creme Brûlée at L'Avant Comptoir is not a really sweet dessert but instead is velvety smooth and simply fragrant.  You could smell the burnt sugar the moment the dessert hits the table.  After hearing the beautiful crust break, its time to explore the beautiful cream.  Spiked with a little coffee, the cream has an aromatic kick that paired perfectly with the burnt sugar.   An amazing dessert over all. 

The wines were pretty good too according to the boys.  I thought it was OK but nothing life changing.  No discrimination of prices between per glass and per bottle, so do not hesitate to try all the different wines L'Avant Comptoir has to offer :)!

The L'Avant Comptoir was packed at 1pm and several patrons who waited to get in were visibly frustrated by the lack or service or rather no service.  So be sure to come 5-10 minute before they open at 12 or risk having to wait.  The more popular sitting restaurant next door L'Comptoir St Germain Bistro had people waiting in line since 11.30am!!  Paris is a big city with plenty of good food.  But it has plenty of people too.  So queues are a norm and bookings essential where possible.