Archive | August, 2012

Ten minutes by tractor

22 Aug

Having not known what it means to have a weekend off in what seems an eternity, I relished in being able to join in when N + J  very generously offered to take us all out for lunch.  It was actually more for my Grandma, who came down from Hong Kong to spend time with us, and most importantly, the new little bundle of joy grandchild… but i’m going to see it as a reason to enjoy a weekend off, over a long boozy lunch and wear my new shoes (no place like a winery to break in my new 6 inch) !!

N + J organised lunch at Ten Minutes by Tractor, a restaurant out Mornington way, one of many great wineries in the region.   The place was sleek and rather modern, with amazing views of it’s vineyards.  Also very high heel friendly with its wonderfully paved entrance!  Clean and minimal in it’s interior, the place wasn’t too big so it still felt cosy without feeling like you were in a tin of sardines.   I’d like to say so far so good… but i’m yet to be offered to have my coat hung…

Each table had an Alessi center piece (i thought for bread but actually it was just for colour) and clear condiment disks…

When bread is served each disk is filled with olive oil, salt and the smallest for butter

The ends of my jacket remained dragging on the floor for the duration of the meal, though thankfully for them, I have the attention span of a sparrow and am quickly distracted and rather entertained by the fancy clear disks on the table and the bread basket that is offered around the table…

Warm Olive, sour dough and multi grain rolls

Olive bread roll

So service is a little slow to start.  But once we get the ball(s of dough… ) rolling, we get our wine, menus and settle in for a nice 2 course meal.  There is quite a lot on offer, including a 6 course degustation, as well as a full A la Carte menu with entrees, vegetarian, and a mains section that is full of what I’m assuming to be ‘from the garden’ (judging by the size of the menu with most of it being dedicated to explaining where every single last food component is from…) Again!  Short attention span!  My eyes instinctively pick up on words ‘tuna & scampi’ and ‘duck’!

Sashimi tuna, sautéed scampi, saffron aioli, cucumber purée, confit tomato, sauce fresca

So this was my glorious entree! Don’t let those seemingly small blobs of food fool you! That sweet sweet succulent little scampi is cooked wonderfully.  Still full of that natural sea sweetness and the texture was a perfect mixture of melt in your mouth without being chalky.  (Nothing sends shudders down my spine like an overcooked crustacean).  The tuna part was fresh!  Taste as raw tuna should… gotta say though, amidst that jumble of crap, the tuna didn’t really speak for itself or stand out.  Not even the apple shavings gave it life… thinking about it and the rest of the lack lustre meal kind of makes me want to do ANYTHING  but talk about it.  So, from here on in I’m going to give in to my sparrow attention span and just show you the rest of the entrees in pictures:

Mushroom velouté, pumpkin mousse, pumpkin crumble, celeriac, pearl barley

With the veloute added

Roasted quail, Jerusalem artichoke risotto, chestnuts, dates, truffle marshmallow

Granny’s Blue Cheese open ravioli, buckwheat pasta, parsnip purée, hazelnut vinaigrette, parsley juice

Most notable of the entrees was actually the Mushroom (… saying a lot.  Given my usual penchant for having selective taste buds for anything that isn’t a vegetable…).  That fragrant Veloute added around the cluster of mixed mushrooms was the perfect collection of textures, the round disc of pumpkin adding a sweet balancing situation to the fungus party!

Now onto mains:

I went with the Duck, which was pretty much duck with bits of duck… even a duck jus!  Again, this looked beautiful but I was disappointed to find the duck to be a little over cooked.

Sous vide duck breast, duck leg croquette, savoy cabbage, cider apples, duck jus

Actually on second thought, despite being well done, the Sous vide breast was still relatively tender and not too dry.  The Croquette was well done, with that sesame crust giving it a good nutty after taste.  Everything else on the plate was better to look at than to swallow… (Sorry i’m making this sound almost uneatable!! It wasn’t!  It just wasn’t anything to write home about… or in this case, write a blog…)

Again, I’m going to just post the images of everyone else’s mains (there’s only 2 as we all doubled up on orders):

Lamb rump, braised shoulder, white beans, eggplant, lamb jus

Special: Wagyu beef, braised beef cheek, sweet potato crisps and some sort of creamy mash

The beef was actually pretty tasty.  Unfortunately, we didn’t stay for dessert due to a bit of an altercation whilst our plates were cleared… (basically the waiter was being lazy and decided to shove past the extremely small gap between the pram and the waiters station instead of going around.  J cracked it and called him an inconsiderate idiot.  We did not ask for the dessert menu.)  We decided to drive to T’Gallant Winery down the road for the after party…

I think all in all, this place could be amazing.  It’s a lovely area, the venue is new, modern and extremely high heel friendly (happy to report no ankles were snapped throughout the lunching adventure) and the food presentation is brilliant.  But there just seemed to be something missing… like some seasoning… and personality!

Ten Minutes by Tractor

1333 Mornington Flinders Road
Main Ridge, Victoria 3928 Australia

Office + 61 3 5989 6455
Restaurant +61 3 5989 6080

Brother Burger & the Marvellous Brew

18 Aug

Its been a bit quiet on the DDO front, but that’s what having a little one does. Not that we have stopped dining out completely, but dining options (read pram friendly) and time is limited when there is a little one dependent on you pretty much 24/7. So the past weekend JP and I decided to take a bit of time to ourselves to celebrate 3 years married and apart from the fine dining (at Ezards which we thoroughly enjoyed) we also did a quick and dirty option which on this occasion meant burgers (because lets face it, how do you enjoy a burger dripping with sauce with a baby) at the newly established Brother Burger & the Marvellous Brew. Arriving for an early dinner, we eagerly headed in through the black door underneath the neon burger at the side of the large site that used to house Retro and Eat Drink Man Woman. Brother Burger inhabits the back section of the cavernous site (the front will be home to an Argentinian bakery of sorts – yet to open), and despite the new use of space, it still feels rather large. Inside the open kitchen runs the length of the room, bar stools lined up against the countertop with booth style seating against the windows.

We settle into a seat next to the window and are promptly greeted with some menus, which apart from the burgers, offers some entrees, counter meals and desserts that represent a modern take on traditional (daggy) Australian pub fare (think Chicken Kiev, the Pie Floater and Seafood Mornay).

We started with the Corn Hush Puppies – essentially corn fritters – which whet our appetites for more, and we weren’t disappointed.

Corn Hush Puppies

The burger offering is generous, with bacon, egg, cheese, pineapple as optional extras. For those not wanting the wagyu beef patty, there is a chicken, a fish and a vegetarian offering. Yes – the Magic Mushroom is just that and does not come with a patty (clearly having a child has killed some brain cells of mine – as that is the only way I can explain how I came to order the vegetarian offering). Despite my mistake, I thoroughly enjoyed the crumbed mushroom and the juicy peppers that were squashed between the fresh buns. The goats cheese provided a refreshing bite which finished off the burger beautifully. JP opted for the Royal Blue which came oozing blue cheese goodness all over that juicy wagyu patty. The only (small) complaint would be that it was impossible to eat the burger without dripping those tasty juices everywhere – but that’s to be expected with a fresh burger offering.

The Magic Mushroom (Onion Rings at back)

The Royal Blue

A side of onion rings (HUGE!!) and french fries (hmm satisfactory, but not crispy enough for me) rounded out our feast. We did consider getting the lettuce (for maybe one split second), but let’s face it, any goodness harnessed from a few green leaves would be cancelled out by one onion ring alone. All in all a great meal – here’s hoping that Brother Burger lasts the distance.

(P.S. as the name suggests there is also a good selection of Victorian artisan beers, including a Stout from Hargreaves Hill, as well as a couple of wine options)

Brother Burger & the Marvellous Brew

413 Brunswick Street
, Fitzroy (03) 9419 0088