Monday, 13 October 2008

Meandering at Meadowbank

Lunch today was at Meadowbank, and what a lunch it was. I was joined by one of my regular commenters on this blog, LT, who is also an extremely keen eater-outer and great human being and dining companion as well. (It was actually a working lunch, but let’s not muddy the waters here).

The food was sublime. It was amongst the best I’ve had, and I hate to say this, but my undying devotion and allegiance to a few local well known chefs now needs to be shared with Simon West. Thank god I’m not so easily converted to religion or sports!

I have tried to find something to fault and so far haven’t succeeded, so you’re just going to have to read on as I exhaust my adjectives for ‘perfect’.

Meadowbank’s menu encourages patrons to go more for the ‘grazing and ordering as you feel like it’ style, than the previous traditional way of ordering an entrĂ©e, main then dessert. I much prefer the Meadowbank way. They also have the ‘food miles’ noted on each menu item as well, which is important for those of us who actually care about this issue.

Today’s menu was such a hard one to select from that we ended up telling our attentive, meticulous and personable waitress Nina to just let chef send out whatever he wanted from the menu, and we’d eat it. So he did, and we did.

We started with a platter each which contained one Dunalley natural oyster with beetroot vinaigrette; a demi tasse of celeriac soup with (a slice of) chorizo and smoked paprika, and a smoked trout fritter with lemon aioli. We were hard pressed to pick a favourite amongst these 3 first offerings, but I think mine was the trout fritter.

Simon said they were all about natural flavours and letting the tastes speak for themselves, and that is indeed exactly what his food did. The above wasn’t tizzied up in any way, but perfect as it was.

Next came 2 plates to share, then another 2. The first two dishes were the Sugar cured ocean trout served on a perfect potato pancake topped with crispy bacon and horseradish cream (pictured above), and Carpaccio of Marrawah beef, confit beetroot, aged pecorino and truffle oil. LT loved the trout better but my fave out of those 2 was the beef – believe it or not! (Yes, I, the well done steak eater LOVED the carpaccio!!).

Then we shared the Char grilled yellowfin tuna, grapes, white anchovy, capers and pinenuts which was to die for, and Spring lamb – a lovely tender piece of braised leg served with crushed broad beans and salsa verde, plus a crumbed cutlet with a tablespoon of ratatouille.

A saucer-sized serving of Leek and Sage risotto was then placed in front of us, which also was beautifully ‘saged’.

We nibbled on bread with a lovely olive oil, as well as a delicious olive tapenade. I didn’t need these but wanted to try both, so did. In another restaurant I would have been more than happy to eat the bread along with the oil and tapenade, but given the high standard (and amount) of the rest of the food, this was easily dismissed as superfluous.

We finished off sharing an individual lemon tart topped with early season raspberries and vanilla bean icecream.

Total cost for the above was $108 for the two of us, which included 3 bottles of Gillespie’s Ginger Beer – superb value for what we had, but I must be honest and disclose that a few items were provided as ‘tasters’ and not included on the bill.

There was nothing tricky or wanky about this food. It was simple, straightforward and honest to true cookery, and eating. It is what I would love to be able to produce were I talented and skilled enough to do so. The ingredients were top quality, and it shone through quite obviously.

I was taken to task by Head Chef Simon West, quite rightly, for not having either mentioned or visited Meadowbank before now. I was stupid to have left it so long since my last visit there which was years before I’d even heard of the word ‘blog’. I hereby formally apologise to Simon, and Meadowbank, for this oversight.

It won’t be that long before I return, believe me. To sum up – I loved it there. I can’t speak too highly of everything we experienced today – the food, the service, the ambience, the venue, the company. I am proud to live in a place where we can experience, if we want to, such a high standard of excellence in hospitality.
Posted on by Rita


sir grumpy said...

Well, that's Meadowbank off my list, Rita.
This food miles business is the latest bullshit.

Rita said...

Meadowbank is way too expensive for a guy like you who has openly stated his preference for cheap and cheerful Sir G! Having said that, amongst the many things LT and I discussed at lunch, your name DID come up, and we both expressed sorrow at not having read any of your ascerbic comments lately, so I'm overjoyed to hear from you tonight!

sir grumpy said...

I like to stir the pot, Rita. gets them lazy readers responding and giving us all much more fun and information in the process.
But I'm a big softie at heart.
Had some great food coupla weeks back,,,nothing too fancy mind.
Will mention them as they come up
in relation to other bits.
I'm even more clapped out than usual, which explains my ``quietness''.
But I've been reading you. Have had visitors, great company, but it always wears you out. (Well me anyway).
So a general fuck-off to anyone I've missed lately!

the Gobbler said...

Great to see you have finally 'discovered' & enjoyed the mostly unsung talents of Simon West & his team Rita, what took you so long! I love his food & in my opinion, he is one of the best chefs cooking in this State.

Rita said...

Sir G - I'm totally aware of the reasons why you act like such a grumpy shit! I too like to play the game sometimes.
I'm so ashamed Gobbler. I hope any other similar venue that has been overlooked by Rita will be pointed out to me, but I must correct you - I had discovered MB years ago, in fact just after they first opened. I went there frequently and religiously recommended it to anyone asking my opinion on where to go for a fabulous meal. Time just got away from me, and many other newer places opened, so I never got round to returning.

Anonymous said...

Rita - on your comments about MB - agree to disagree. Over-rated and over priced.

Anonymous said...

Rita, I must say I did wonder how on earth you were going to capture our experience at Meadowbank in your blog, but you have done perfectly. It trully was a faultless, value for money, dining experience. Thank you for lunch, thank you Simon and Nina. Here's to more working lunches just like this one!


Rita said...

Anon 11.48. That's fine, and I appreciate your feedback and opinion. That's exactly what this blog is about - me describing an experience, and anyone who wants to either agreeing or disagreeing, and comparing experiences.
LT - thanks for that, and I'll drink to more working lunches!

Forde Montgomery said...

To be fair to MB they were doing the 'food miles' concept long before it became trendy and the subject of media attention. Plus their approach is more about buying local produce than simply limiting the distance of imports, EU style.

Food wise I havn't been for 6 months however it's good to see tuna served with grapes, a winning combo!

Rita said...

Thanks Forde - I should have elaborated more on that particular statement at the time of writing. The food miles concept to me is about the more sensible and practical approach of buying locally whenever you can, rather than importing from wherever.
And in hindsight, I think that Tuna dish with the grapes was equal top with the carpaccio. The tuna flavour was lightly smokey, and the texture JUST cooked, so still slightly pink. Mmmmmm. Can taste it now.

Anonymous said...

You have exactly described the experience a group of us had a couple of months ago Rita. We are going back again soon for an important family celebration. It's great to have the confidence that things will be perfect every time.


sir grumy said...

The only grapes I want to see with my tuna is out of a bottle!
Any colour you like.

Anonymous said...

The only grapes available suppliers at the moment come from overseas - the USA features heavily in the out of season in Oz fruit and veg.
Food miles ????


sir grumpy said...

Where did the tuna come from, the pecorino, risotto rice, anchovies.
Not that I mind, because this whole food miles stuff is bullshit.
Let's keep the wheels of world food trade turning, not grinding to a halt.

Anonymous said...

Sir Grumpy - You sound like my kind of guy - let's get together and kick the shit. Where do I find you?

sir grumpy said...

I haven't even found myself yet.
As for where I'm at...fuck knows.
But thanks.

Mareelouise said...

As a tourist to Tassie, and absolutely enamoured of the fantastic produce available there, I found the whole food miles thing interesting. I loved as well how our waiters knew what produce was driving the miles up.

Anonymous said...

happy easter Mareelouise.hope u come back soon.

Anonymous said...

i think lethlean was right on the money with this place......

Anonymous said...

One of the worst reviews I have ever seen.

reb of Hobart said...

I've been to Meadowbank a couple of times in recent months an enjoyed it tremendously. Can't be faulted as far as I'm concerned...