A few weeks ago while looking for things to do in the weekends on the internet, I’ve stumbled upon an event that piqued my interest. For $190, Lime and Tonic and Delicious Australia had teamed up in an event called “Long Table Lunch in the Vines”. Not only you get to eat a 6 course meal in a winery with food cooked by three different head chefs from three different restaurants, you also get matching wines with wine produced from the winery. What topped the icing on the cake however, is that they also provide couch transfers from Melbourne CBD to the venue (which is about 2 hours towards West of CBD). This is the perfect event for me as 1. I don’t own a car, 2. I stay in the CBD, 3. I’ve always wanted to try a 6 course meal, 4. I think it’s about time I learn a little bit about food and wine, and lastly, 5. It will be a great opportunity to take some pictures. I was so excited and quickly texted my partner in crime (when it comes to dance, food and concerts). She almost immediately agreed (Thank you!) and had her Bf and BF’s cousin tagged along too.
The event took place last Saturday. To be honest, it was probably one of the things I’ve looked forward to for the long ANZAC weekend. The 1.5hours journey didn’t seemed that long at all especially when we chatted all the way there. I brought a novel just in case I got bored in the bus but nope, didn’t even needed it.
We reached Scotchmans Hill at close to 12 in the afternoon. The weather was fantastic! I was quite worried as it was forecasted to be cloudy. It even rained on our way there. But once we got there, the sun was shining amidst the clouds and it wasn’t too cold. We were directed to the cellar and was greeted by a couple of chefs working on our canapés, which essentially worked out as our first course. We were also given a glass of 2015 Swan Bay sparkling chardonnay and pinot noir. The mix was an interesting blend. I’m guessing the pinot noir had provided a slight pinkish hue for the wine. Being a Chardonnay, you can also taste a bit of sourness (at least that’s my take on Chardonnay anyway), but not too much. It was actually really smooth and I couldn’t taste the crispness or dryness that I hated in wines most of the time. For the first time, I finished my glass of wine. I could’ve asked for more but because the canapés were served while we were standing around the area, I had troubles holding food on one hand, a glass on the other and trying to take photos with a dslr. Lol. I had to give up one of these and I chose to give up the wine (I’m having more later anyways)
We were served with 3 different kinds of canapés. All were done by Head Chef Jake Kellie and team from The Lakeside Mill. The first canapé was seaweed, smoked cod roe and celery. I liked the how they have made the seaweed really crispy. I couldn’t taste the celery to be honest and I think part of the white cream has the smoked cod roe. I only had a serving of this so I couldn’t really make it out. I enjoyed it though. The second canape was yellow beetroot baked in wattle seed topped with burnt butter. I really liked this one. It was actually served with the wattle seed and we were not supposed to eat it. Of course, we didn’t know beforehand and bit through it. Although a little hard, it was actually quite tasty… almost like a salted hard bread. We were then told that we are not supposed to eat the casings and honestly it was quite hard eating the beetroot without getting our hands dirty. That being said, the beetroot was done beautifully. It was sweet and warm, and I was sure if it’s the burnt butter or the beetroot itself but it had a slight caramel taste to it. The burnt butter was salted and so it kinda taste like salted caramel (if that make any sense). The third and last canapé was Jerusalem artichoke, main ridge goat cheese and sunflower seeds. It tasted a little like a fried doughy parcel with hint of goat cheese. I’m glad they didn’t use too much as I don’t really like goat cheese. But because the taste of goat cheese still lingered a little afterwards, I kinda dislike this the most.
We were then given a brief history of Scotchmans Hill by the director (I think?) and was glad when he mentioned that we will be tasting their Riesling for our desserts. Before this trip, I had never enjoyed wine. But the only types of wine that I will drink are the sweet wines like Riesling and Muscato and so I was looking forward to it. We were then hoisted into a cellar and I thought how special this is. Cellars are usually out of bounds for visitors. To see a long table set up in the middle of the cellar was quite unique. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a packet of door gift on each seat and was told that it includes discounts for wines and an apron! The three head chefs each gave a small speech about their team and what they will be cooking for the day. I feel like a real foodie now. Lol.
Our second course was by Josh Pelham and team from the Hellenic Hotel. He did a wonderful job on his charred pumpkin with feta and rosemary. He also had crispy pumpkin served on a log with stones. Very visually appealing and piqued our interest instantly. The crispy pumpkin gave a good crunch and texture when eaten with the rest. The course was accompanied by a 2011 cornelius pinot gris. Again, I was very surprised at how smooth the wine is. Not a hint of sourness or dryness and I gladly drank it.
Our third course was by Mauro Callegari and team from The Independent and they did a fantastic job (prob the crowd’s fav for the day) on his WA scallops ceviche. It was tangy and refreshing. The chillies gave it a little oomph and the crackers were great for the change of texture compared to the scallops. This course was accompanied by a glass of 2011 cornelius chardonnay. I swear I have never liked Chardonnay because it’s always very sour, very dry and crisp and leaves a burning sensation on the throat. Again, I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth it was. Though I do think that this has got to be my least favourite wine for the day. It’s not bad though. Just a personal choice and opinion.
Our fourth course was disappointing. The presentation was okay but it came with a slightly fishy smell. Upon close look, it felt like it was probably raw, but cured? I wasn’t sure. The name of the dish was “Gurnard, sour buttermilk, clams and kaffir lime”. I don’t even know what Gurnard is so we did a quick google. Try google it yourself, the fish looked pretty funky. Not a kind of fish that you’d think is edible to be honest. Okay, was it really that bad? I think most of us on the table agree that it was probably the worst dish of the day. The fish was slightly fishy (mine had some bones). It came with a sauce and helped the fishiness little bit, but only a little. It was topped with small little red round things which at first glance, looked a lot like fish roe. But after tasting it, it tasted nothing like fish roe. It was really sour and tasted almost like a really sour fruit. The only thing that was quite interesting, to me at least, was the green veggies. I don’t know why or how, but it seems like it has bubbles around it. But it’s not ice, nor was it cold. It didn’t give a frizzy taste and the texture wasn’t quite gelatinous. Till now, I still had no idea what it was but it tasted okay. This course was accompanied by a red wine (quite surprised here as well because I always thought you pair a white with a fish dish), the 2013 Scotchmans Hill Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir was really good! I approve. I actually finished it quite easily and it helped cleanse my palate. I even got myself a bottle (or more like bought my dad a bottle).
The fifth course was really special. It came served in a big platter of roasted beef short ribs, smoked maple carrots, potatoes and chimichurri. The beef was so tender it literally dropped off from its bones when you picked it up. The carrots were really good too. Not only was it roasted with maple syrup, there was also a hint of spices and chillies and it went very well together. I can eat the carrots all day but I was already too full. The course was paired with a 2015 Scotchmans Hill Shiraz which was quite tasty too.
By now, I was really full. However, I can’t never say no to desserts and I wasn’t disappointed. The caramelised figs, mascarpone, raspberry and meringue were done beautifully. it wasn’t too sweet and it was very light. Just nice as the last thing you need after a heavy meal was to stuff yourself with a heavy dessert. SO GOOD! This is my favourite dish for the day. The sourness of the raspberry go so well with the sweetness of the meringue. The figs and mascarpone was really light and not overwhelming. It was perfect and what better way to finish dish off with a glass of 2015 Scotchmans Hill late harvest Riesling! MMMppphhh!!! So good!
Good job to the team! Really enjoyed to the day. It was accompanied by great group of ppl who also love their food and wine. Thank you Lime and Tonic and Delicious Aus for organising such a great event. I’m hoping they will organise more events like this. The best part of it all again was the couch transfer. After drinking so much wine, the best way to go back to the city is to relax. I’ve learnt to love wine that day. I’ve realised that most of the wines i’ve drank thus far was crap. This was such a great experience. It was just what I needed to get out of my routine life. Last but not least, here’s a collage of pictures I took that day!
Hope you guys enjoyed the post. Till the next post, keep experimenting~!