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.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.
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.