Brae11/14/2015 01:42:00 PM
|Brae Autumn Menu|
4285 Cape Otway Rd
Birregurra VIC, 3242
Ph: (03) 5236 2226
As you might be aware, Sandra and I have a tradition with our good friend An where we shout each other fancy degustation meals for our birthdays. This year, we took him to Brae. This meal was back in April, and I'm only finally blogging it now - whoops. This wasn't through any lack of enthusiasm on my part; it's just that the meal was so delicious, so overwhelmingly good, that I just didn't know where to begin! But I've finally sat down, processed the photos and am ready to share!
Our little rotating degustation group has actually done two more fancy meals since this one (Quay and ESP Estelle by Scott Pickett, in case you're curious), so look out for posts on those soon. Or at some stage.
What you see below is Brae's Autumn 2015 menu. Brae places a great emphasis on local regional produce and cooking with the seasons. I'm sure they'd be well into their Spring menu by now, so rather than being a mirror of what you might experience if you were to visit now, I expect this post will give you an idea of the type and quality of the food at Brae, as well as the overall experience.
Brae offers a degustation menu at $180 per person, with the option of matching wines at $120 or matching non-alcoholic beverages at $60. We did two standard menus and one vegetarian, as well as the matching non-alcoholic beverages. (I was designated driver that night!) The menu was structured in such a way that you get a wide selection of amuses bouches, five savoury courses and two desserts, followed by petits fours.
I'm going to try and keep the text very brief in this post, and let the photos speak for themselves.
+Jasmine, tonic, pink grapefruit
Salt and vinegar potato
Burnt pretzel, treacle, pork - Burnt pretzel, treacle, sea lettuce
Hapuku and crisp skin - White onion and black cabbage
Otway shiitake, eggplant, white miso - Otway shiitake and fermented lentil
Iced oyster - Crisp autumn blossoms
Beef tendon and mountain pepper - Rice paper and mountain pepper
That beautiful and colourful "crisp autumn blossom" that you see on the side of the bowl was the vegetarian alternative to the iced oyster, and you may recognise it from the Royal Mail Hotel, where Brae's chef Dan Hunter used to be head chef. (When we visited the Royal Mail Hotel back in 2013, it was shortly after Dan had left, and I don't think the kitchen there had quite hit its stride).
Radish and jersey cream
Cucumber and lemon myrtle
Turnip and brook trout
Prawn, nasturtium, finger lime
Carrot and sheep's curd, summer harvest honey
Corn and nasturtium, tamarind and finger lime
The bread was incredible! It was a house-baked sourdough, with a wonderful crust. The butter you see behind was churned in-house, and only lightly churned, so that it stayed light and creamy. (Think: the flavour of butter with the texture of ricotta). We ate So Much of that delicious butter!
Tomatoes and mussels gently braised in sea butter
+ Watermelon, sage, olive
Tomato on toast
Crayfish and burnt potatoes, flathead roe, milk and mustard
+ Lapsang Souchong, burdock root and echinacea, fennel and orange
Egg yolk and new potato, wild mushrooms, comte and amontillado
Warm ricotta and nettle, roasted chicken and brassicas
+ Oolong 'Iron Goddess of Mercy', Fujian, China
The Vegetarian Option for this course was warm ricotta and nettle, dried leeks and brassicas. As you can just see on the right hand side in the above picture, it looked very similar to the omnivore option, so I won't post a separate picture of it.
Barbecued wallaby not barbecued
+ Berries, leek ash, mountain pepper, ginger
Charred radicchio and beetroot, quandong cooked with rhubarb
Aged Pekin duck wood roasted on the bone, quandong, dried liver
+ Larsen & Thompson 'Organic Rooibois' with honey from our hives
Eggplant in white miso, dried grains, cured kelp
Quince simmered with onion, honey, cultured milk
+ Coconut, orange and rhubarb
Parsnip and apple
+ Pink lady and chamomile
I absolutely loved the parsnip dessert! (Both desserts were lovely, actually, but the parsnip dessert was particularly memorable). The cone-shape you see on the plate was deep-fried parsnip skin, which was filled with a sweetened parsnip and apple cream. There were also pieces of dehydrated pink lady apple on the plate, which provided a nice sweet crunch.
Rhubarb and pistachio, blood and preserved blackberry
Rhubarb, pistachio, preserved blackberry (vegetarian option)
Yes, that does say "blood". I was worried the little sweetmeat might taste strongly of blood, with that ferric tang, but it was quite mild. Indeed, it was more like chocolate. (Sandra let me taste her blood-less, vegetarian petit four, and it was missing that earthy chocolate taste, so I assume it was the blood that provided that flavour). Either way, it was a lovely and non-confronting way to finish the meal!
I actually drove to Brae from Melbourne and back again that night; however, when we left we saw lots of local taxis waiting outside, and I believe that there are accommodation options nearby, so definitely check those out if you don't fancy making the four hour round trip.
Check out our other degustation experiences: