The December lunch did not disappoint as there was a definite seasonal festive air in the room. The last lunch for the year was attended by 38 ladies, 6 of which were guests. 3 of the guests were from associated Wine & Food Societies. The lunch was organised by Mary Capetan with help from our committee co-ordinator, Annie Straiton.
We were fortunate enough to have the upstairs room of Bishop Sessa to ourselves which allowed the popping of christmas bon bons and lucky door prizes to take place with as much gusto as we wished.
On arrival we were greeted with a Nova Vita Firebird Sparkling Pinot Noir NV from Adelaide Hills.
Mixed reaction to this aperitif wine as some found it too sweet.
As is normal at the December lunch, all attendees donated christmas gifts for children and food for families which will be distributed to unfortunate families by a well known charity.
One of our long standing members, Pam Callaghan, kindly arranges the transportation and delivery of these gifts.
On sitting down at the tables we were presented with a plate of amuse bouche of potato skins with garlic aioli and a parmesan and tomato square.
As the chef explained later on, the restaurant uses all of the produce wherever possible thereby eliminating food waste and these two flavoursome nibbles were an example.
The three course meal had a choice of 3 items for each course :
Smoked and macerated heirloom tomatoes, miso and mustard ice cream, watermelon, sour onions, olive
Scallop Ceviche -carrot, ginger beer sorbet, lime, fennel, avocado cream
Spice and Macadamia crusted Berkshire Pork, apple, kale, pork broth.
The heirloom tomato dish and the Scallop Ceviche both received rave reviews. The flavours in the tomato dish resulted in a comment “the best entree I have ever had”.
The scallop ceviche was full of differing flavours and textures and the ginger beer sorbet cut through the sweetness of the fresh scallops.
The Berkshire pork dish received good reviews as the meat was tender and balanced with the spice and macadamia crust.
The white wine with the entrees was a 2014 Walsh and Sons Little Poppet semillon/chardonnay blend from WA.
This wine was presented masked and no one could guess the wine. This wine did not rate well.
Mains on the day :
Pan fried Cone Bay Barramundi, fennel barigoule, preserved lemon, clam and garlic
Herb crusted Cowra Lamb, pea puree, miso, asparagus and pepper sauce
Braised David Blackmore’s Fullblood Wagyu Girello, vegetable ash, red pepper oil, bone marrow sauce
The Cowra lamb, although presented without a herb crust on the day, was the most favoured main dish. The pea puree was subtle and made with stock, not cream.
The Barramundi dish was well cooked and presented perfectly. Unfortunately, the Wagyu Girello was over braised which resulted in dry meat and more sauce was needed on the plate.
The wine was a Castillo Rodafuerte Tempranillo 2014 La Roda, Spain and matched well with the food.
The desserts were :
Milk Chocolate tart, salted peanut caramel, popcorn, peanut butter ice cream
Apple terrine, walnut, coffee mousse, apple cider ice cream
Baked vanilla cheesecake, apricot jelly, honeycomb, green tea and apricot ice cream
Owner and chef, Paul Cooper, earned a reputation as a great dessert master at a Michelin star restaurant in London and the three desserts did not disappoint, each one was perfect.
Firstly, we were treated to a dessert amuse bouche of a ginger biscuit with marshmallow on top
The chocolate tart was a flavour bomb of sweetness and salt in the mouth.
Comments on the apple terrine were that it could have been warmed up slightly.
The vanilla cheesecake was light and tasty.
All agreed the restaurant served well balanced flavours of food on each plate.
Top marks also to the artful presentation of the food on the plate.
The service was a bit slow and disorganised but that could be because we were upstairs.
Many advised they would return.