The Melbourne Fringe Food festival’s second dinner, an organic vegan meal, organized by Ed Charles, and created by the Embrasse team in association with wine maker Neil Prentice was booked out, which was not surprising as the venue only seats about 30. It perfectly matched Nicolas and Tara Poelaert's desire to create dishes with purity and simplicity, to showcase Australian produce and to let the seasons express themselves through their food.
The distinguishing features of the meal were the beauty of the presentations as well as the freshness of the products. The fruit and vegetables were sourced from Vic Market and from Glenora farm and Daylesford organics and delivered that morning. The flowers and herbs were foraged from Melbourne's eastern suburbs or from the Poelaert’s garden.
Food was served warm or cold and displayed great variation in tastes and textures within, as well as between, each dish.Embrasse Spoon, a little amuse had a taste of what was to come.
Pumpkin Bergamot Meyer lemon, horse radish, the first course, was decorated with a Chinese Lantern flower. The aerated soup was superb with a light acidity introduced by the lemon.
Taste of the sea…. Broccoli, Brussel sprout, Grilled zucchini, sugar beet, dune spinach & sea grass juice, despite the sea grass juice being dispensed from below a little boat,
now there's a sauce boat, did not have much of the sea about it. It was so varied a dish it could not be easily defined but it was certainly pleasing, and pretty too. The following pic's describe the food best.
Burnt carrots, golden raisin, flamed potatoes, green mango.
Forest floor of cooked, raw, smoked and pickled mushrooms
Avocado, cocoa, tamarillo, red pepper.
Neil Prentice's wines were served by the carafe and we had a very pleasant, quite light 09 Moondara Samba Side Pinot Noir and a fairly sweet 08 Holly's Garden Pinot Gris.
There were a few vegan regulars missing from this menu including milk substitutes, though they might have been in the pumpkin soup or used in the cooking, and nuts but if there was one big problem with the meal it was that we were still hungry when we left. The food possibly provided 600 calories but I need a bit more than that to satisfy my dinner needs. In every other way it was a good experience.
While I wouldn't say that I left hungry, a bit more legume-based protein would have been welcome, I think!
We really enjoyed the meal regardless.
I think everyone would agree with you.
Hi Elliot, we were still hungry too, nevertheless the food was exquisitely presented and quite unique.
The food was gorgeous and I'll admit to sharing some cheese over the road afterwards. i'll feed it back to Nic as he's keen to do a second one late October.
It was a great event, with beautifully presented food and great ambiance but yes...vegan food is not just about the food that's excluded but rather being creative with the inclusions. Including vegan proteins (grains, legumes, seeds and nuts). The mushroom dish had a sprinkling of buckwheat and that was about it.
So I think we were all left a bit wanting, though other senses were well and truly sated.
I think there is fairly general agreement about the meal.
We particularly enjoyed two dishes, the pumpkin soup and the mushrooms. The buckwheat was sensational, the best I can ever remember and the selection of and treatment of the mushrooms unsurpassed.
They were my two standout dishes two. I still remember the essence of Meyer lemon in the soup.
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