A long overdue return to Attica last night for the Chef’s Table Tasting Menu, when Ben Shewry tries dishes cooked for a capacity audience. Ben gives the background thus:
Three years ago Chef’s Table was born out of a desire to progress faster with the development of our cuisine, throw caution to the wind and to offer guests more variety at a reasonable price. The menu is a living, breathing thing that evolves week to week. I work on it during the weekend and let the seasons dictate what they may in terms of ingredients; many of the dishes are inspired by memories of my childhood in rural New Zealand and by sights of nature and life that I discover on my drive to work from my home on the Bellarine Peninsula. Some dishes are just inspired by common sense and beautiful produce.
My team and I arrive each morning to begin the day’s preparations, we gather around a bench and discuss how we will go about forming these new ideas and thoughts into something cohesive as a menu. The evening’s food will take about 50 hours to produce.
None of these dishes have been prepared before...
The menu (with matching wines) was:
Button mushroom, nashi, goat’s milk curd
Crittenden Pinocchio Arneis 2009 (Mornington Peninsula, Vic)
Sticky rice, Chinese sausage, poached chicken
Rimauresq Rose 2008 (Cotes de Provence, France)
Crystal Bay prawn, tofu, shitake broth
Monredon Cotes du Rhône Blanc 2009 (Rhône Valley, France)
Lamb neck, garlic, silverbeet, quinoa
Finca Flichman Gestos Malbec 2007 (Mendoza, Argentina)
Mandarin, lemon myrtle, tamarillo
Plantagenet Ring Bark Riesling 2008 (Mount Barker, WA)
The sommelier Ainsley (ex The Royal Mail Hotel at Dunkeld) has a fabulous wine list at Attica, and came up with very imaginative wine matches. For me the Lamb neck was the outstanding dish, closely followed by the Crystal Bay prawn and Sticky rice/poached chicken dishes.
Time will tell whether any or all appear on the ‘normal’ menu available through the rest of the week.