Nestled amongst crops of fruit and veggies, flowers bloom, welcoming creatures both great and small. It is a bug’s paradise. Butterflies flutter past vines of cherry tomatoes, making their way to rows of lettuce and settling on one big artichoke, which spreads its leaves tall and wide. We tiptoe over plants and crouch down to witness zucchinis showing off their beautiful flowers. Matt harvests one and takes it back to the kitchen.
Artistically arranged boxes of produce are scattered between pots of herbs, setting the “Paddock to Plate” theme. Bubbly is poured and we toast to my aunt Susie’s 60th birthday.
Freshly picked oregano is sprinkled on top of wood-fired bread. Bright, colourful heirloom vegetables straight from the garden are dipped in a smooth pumpkin puree, which is highly praised at the table. This is paired with a sweet, citrusy, clear white wine from the Eden Valley, South Australia.
Pheasant compressed into a galantine is subtle in flavour and leaves an aftertaste similar to camp pie. Combined with a chard pickle and quenelle of quince paste makes this entrée divine. A glass of ‘Samson’ pinot noir from the Yarra Valley, Victoria was fresh with a hint of spice.
Mains are shared between all. Juicy, tender beef rib coated in a gleam of café de Paris butter seeps into the crevices of the meat. We savor each bite of Jim Moran’s beef from his farm in Green Hills near Bathurst. With this in mind, the dish becomes even more special.
Crispy cos lettuce leaves tossed through thinly sliced pink lady apples, walnuts, celery and morsels of blue cheese are lightly coated with a delicious mayonnaise dressing. We also enjoy potato chips served with a creamy aioli.
Western Australian pink snapper lies on a bed of banana leaves. It is a showstopper. Moist, sweet flesh teared from the bone and glazed in a red curry sauce leaves your mouth watering. A sip of white wine from the Barossa Valley, South Australia is an excellent accompaniment.
Bowls of strawberry soup lift mounds of vanilla pannacotta, which have the perfect ‘wobble’ to them. Basil leaves float around and add a nice peppery touch to the dessert.
I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a four-course meal inspired by Matt Moran’s “Paddock to Plate” but to meet the man himself at his restaurant “Chiswick” in Woollahra. It was a dream come true!