Sunday, February 18, 2007

Stones of the Yarra Valley

Introduction Set in a cleverly renovated very large 1850's barn at 14 St. Huberts Rd Coldsream ( a little way past St. Huberts vinyard). Greg Malouf has created his - Arabesque lunch - a degustation meal of Mezza, Main and Dessert
Ambience Wide rectory style tables and comfortable seating in this high ceiling building with high window walls provide pleasant uninterupted views to almost a full circle. Effective air conditioning kept us cool on this 38 degree day

Service A bevy of attractive young waitresses looked after us extremely well

Food I have often enjoyed Gregs' cooking but never so much as today. The balance of flavours and spices was truly excellent. The quality of the dishes was enhanced by the freshness of the ingredients many of which came from local producers. Each course is brought to the centre of the table to be shared

The outstanding mezza dishes (what is the plural of mezza?) got us off to a great beginning
The little spinach and haloumi pies with a light green chilli relish, the Za'atar crumbed zuchini flowers with a' la Grecque mayonaise, the pistachio and good size black pepper lamb cutlets with eggplant relish were frankly fantastic. The mezza continued with poached-fried quail with cumin salt and a feta-mustard sauce to die for. Large barbecued Ras al hanout king prawns on a lightly spiced bed of lentils and goat's cheese and venison shish kebabs stuffed in Syrian mountain bread with baba ganoush and salad onions completed the course
We took a much needed break at this point before going on to the main dishes which were also notable for their excellence. The Makloube- upside down chicken on a substantial bed of pine nut pilaf and the rare grilled salmon with fennel, lime, sumac and tartar sauce were accompanied by a cucumber and feta salad a Turkish vegetable ratatoullie, some saffron labneh and a lovely textured and tasty preserved lemon guacomole
Desserts began with a passionfruit bavois with sable pastry and passionfruit toffee followed by watermelon and strawberries with orange water syrup, Iranian candy floss and a rather too firm Turkish delight.
Tea or coffee were complimentary
Wine Currently they have 132 Yarra Valley wines on their list (all their wines are "local")including a very good range of pinot noirs They also sell these wines and have many available for tasting so diners can try before they buy. Prices are marked up a bit for diners but still quite reasonable.

The late picked Yerring Station pinot gris is very sweet but went well with the food. The Hirsh Hill cab sav. (94 pts from James Halliday) has a very long finish with lots of tannin. Needs a few more years in the bottle
Price $75/head plus drinks

Comments An outstanding culinary experience. A great place to go to or to take visitors to Melbourne, but to the best of my knowledge, this meal is only available on Sunday

Score: 17/20

No comments: