The menu reminds us of Cumulus, of Anada, of the Builders Arms in that it's about sharing and grazing on small dishes and bigger ones. We're curious about the "birthday chicken" and get told a lovely story of how it's a dish now recreated but taken from the owner's mum who would make it every birthday for each of her 7 children when they lived on a farm in South Australia. KFC would be advertised all the time but they wouldn't be able to get any as they lived in a rural and remote place so mum would make her own version using cornflakes as the crumb!
Well with such a nostalgic story, how could we resist?
- Goats cheese zucchini flower, Plevna honey, fennel pollen
- Boccerones on crostini, sweet pepper, aioli
- Birthday chicken, bread and butter pickles
- Cheese and onion croquette
Oh my - so traditional and classic on one plate - roast beef, bearnaise, just and then so ethnic on the other what with cous cous, harrissa and labna.
The beef was cooked to perfection - look at that ruby rareness and rested so well. The bearnaise was well flavoured with a tang of tarragon and vinegar but without the heavy creaminess as it textured more like a foam than a condiment.
The chicken was darn good chicken, moist and flavoursome. I would have liked a slightly stronger chilli heat from the harrissa I think but then I have a palatte for heat and others don't. I loved that I felt relaxed enough to pick up the chicken by the bone and eat it like KFC.
The potatoes were yummily crispy and we expected the chicken skin to be too but that was more chewy so we didn't quite understand its place...maybe for flavour?
The tomato salad was piquant and fresh and so pretty look at. Great tangy flavour to cut through the rich potatoes and to enhance the spiced chicken.
What a great Sunday lunch...and we made short work of it! Every plate was cleared!
Service was so friendly too and we were invited to enjoy dessert and the rest of our wine indoors where it was cooler and we certainly welcomed that.
If my dish was Summer, Steve's would be more Autumn I think. It was enjoyable and the lechè merengada was like a yoghurt sorbet but the cinammon and sticky orange moved it beyond Summer.
We enjoyed a glass of sherry from Beechworth with our desserts and I enjoyed looking at the blackboards scattered around which listed special wines and food. They even had a UK sparkling wine!
We had a wonderful Sunday afternoon lunch here - it was so relaxed and so pleasant. I'm looking forward the return visit.