Ok that title wasn’t my best, but hey, it’s a tricky word to work with!
I’ve lived out in the eastern suburbs for about 6 months now and when I’ve wanted a ‘fine dining’ experience, I’ve automatically ventured into the city and surrounding ‘burbs and not thought to look in my own backyard. Until now!
Friday night a couple of weeks ago, work googling directed me to Altair in Warrandyte. Service from my initial email was brilliant. Best I’ve had in a very long time.
AT and I arrived for date night a little later than planned, due to the brilliance of the Melbourne taxi services. This was not a problem at all and we were seated right away. Previously part of Elwood’s Sails on the Bay team, Michelle and Kelvin Shaw have created exactly what we eastern suburbians needed. Nope I don’t think that’s a word either.
OH yes I took the big camera. That means decent photos. Hai Five!
A brilliant restaurant with quality produce and nothing too pretentious. Ah my type of place. This was evident upon the arrival of fresh, FRESH bread with local olive oil. I could have just eaten the bread all night. Sourced from a close bakery, this bread was perfection. I have a sad obsession with bread. But often go for the gluten free variety to be nice to my tummy. But that night, that wasn’t happening.
Another great point about Altair is that it’s BYO ($10 corkage) so if you have a particular vino that you want to bring along. Go right ahead. We had a lovely Tarrawarra red for the meal ahead. But of course, the cocktail menu sounded ridic so had to try one of those first! I went with the Eastern Mojito, and although not usually a fan of the muchos mintos mojito, this was so refreshing and a great start to the night. AT went with the Pimms mixup which was demolished in about 2 minutes so I am going to safely say he enjoyed his too.
‘Pimms Cup No.1 with Kaffir Lime’ and the ‘Eastern Mojito’
Although I had perused the menu numerous times prior in an attempt to not be so indecisive on the night….when the tasting menu option was presented to us that threw a spanner in the works! Another great point about this place (no I don’t work there, it’s just THAT good) is that not everyone at the table needs to do the tasting plate, although after indulging in it, you would be silly not too! It was decided. We were going to take on the tasting menu. AT, like me, has severe portion control issues. So we were ready for the challenge. Once we had ordered, we were given an amuse bouche which was perfection in a tiny little jar. Yep, I’m going to run out of vocab by the time I finish this post.
Blue Eye Cod Mousse.
The mousse was rich yet light and the salmon roe on top with the micro herbs broke it up perfectly. Was just the right amount as well. Wham. Flavour already and we hadn’t even started the menu. AT’s direct quote – “It tasted like….like YUM”. Oh yes. He is very intellectual.
Just in case there wasn’t going to be enough food in the tasting menu, we ordered a side of olives. WELL aside from the fact they were probably the best olives I’ve ever consumed (also locally sourced), it was probably the biggest ‘side’ of olives ever seen. I could have had a meal of olives. Maybe.
Olives, olives and olives. Oh my!
It was a great atmosphere in the restaurant that Friday. A few couples and a larger group, with enough noise to create a buzz yet not overpower everyone. We were discussing world issues…probably food….coz that’s all I really talk about….At breakfast time I discuss lunch options, lunch time I toss up dinner choices…yada yada yada.
First up was ze tofu dish. I wasn’t expecting too much from this dish as I have never been wowed by tofu. Until now. I should have remembered, anything fried is delicious and tempura tofu is no exception. The tofu came with toasted grains, roasted pumpkin (in two textures) and shitake mushrooms and the combination was delicious.
Tempura Tofu, Toasted Grains, Roasted Pumpkin, seeds and Shitake mushrooms
It was clear from this dish onward that so much care was taken in creating and plating each dish. I must apologise as my photos don’t do the food justice. The micro herbs also lifted the flavours and well yes. This was probably my favourite savoury dish of the night. For this carnivore, that’s a BIG thing for me to say.
If I ever see scallops on the menu, ordering them is usually a done deal. I’ve had some damn good scallops over my many years and years of eating. And as you may have guessed, these were no exception. Delicious. Perfectly cooked. again.
Seared, cold smoked scallops, asian herbs and miso soup
The scallops were delicious and the crisp fried lotus root was a great texture addition. The miso was lovely when eaten with the scallops and herbs although probably a tad too salty for me when tasted by itself.
I am definitely one of those patrons who love to people watch and listen to conversations that I’m not meant to be partaking so we spent the night little while discussing the issues of people around us. Always so entertaining. And then the conversation probably went back to food and how obsessed I am with bacon. I was also probably wondering what I would have for breakfast the next day. It happens.
Next up was rabbit done 3 ways, or maybe 4. Either way, the chef was just showing off! A very gamey meat I found with rich flavours so this was probably the least preferred dish for my palate but AT loved it and it was definitely full of flavour.
Braised Rabbit, truffled apricot, wakame and radicchio
When combined, this dish was the stuff of legends. The sweetness of the apricot, the radicchio, the rich rabbit. Oh lordy. Delish. As I said it was very rich so a smaller amount would have been fine for me, but AT demolished his, so I definitely recommend you try it.
I am very lucky I am dating a fellow portion control issued individual otherwise he would have thought I was a human trash can for powering through this menu. Even if you felt full, the flavours were just so delicious, you couldn’t stop eating! Go on, try it.
Soon after Bugs Bunny, we were served a very fancy pork and apple dish. Pork Jowl. Tick. Pancetta. Tick. Boudin Noir Coulis. Tick double Tick. Once again this was another rich dish and the pork jowl just melted in the mouth. The crackling was quite chewy which was disappointing but the moist meat made up for that and then some.
Pork Jowl, Boudin Noir coulis, yoghurt, pancetta, Chinese apple, cider jus.
Pork and apple, obviously a match made in food heaven. (Gah apologies for the oh so masterchef-y comment…but you know it’s true). Bravo chef man on this dish. Everything together was a fancy partae in my mouth.
So yes, you can imagine the stomach was indeed creepy towards capacity at that time. We had tried about 12 different proteins. But the last savoury dish was one which we were both salivating over from the get go so it was game on.
I give you. Black Angus Scotch Fillet. Oh hellll yeah. Accompanied by creamed potato, horseradish and a Bordelaise jus. Want me to repeat that so you can get the imagination going? No need here’s a couple of brilliant snaps by moi so you can share the experience.
Black Angus Scotch Fillet. Enough said. I wanted to drink the jus. Ok I admit, I did drink it.
Close up. He wasn’t camera shy. Melted in the mouth. Gah I’m salivating again.
All night we were served by Michelle Shaw and she was lovely and answered all of my silly foodie questions and gave us the low down on the place, the food, the suppliers and THAT night when THE Larissa Dubecki came in for a review. I’m sure she is just as nervous about my review as she was Larissa’s. We are pretty much on the same level….Larissa has about a million readers….I have…my mum. See? The same.
It was time for the dessert tummies to do their thang. Sticky date pudding has a special place in my heart and so when I saw that on the al a carte menu, Michelle was lovely enough to trade the tasting menu dessert (which AT had) with their Sticky Date. Salivating again.
SO the tasting menu dessert was a dream for dark chocolate lovers, so it was a big deal for me to swap it out for the sticky date. Dark Chocolate ganache to be exact.
Dark Chocolate Ganache, Bergamot orange, kumquat, rice pudding sorbet.
I have no idea how I got in to take a photo of this before AT came in, guns blazing. This was gone at lightening speed and he had this ridiculously satisfied look on his face the whole time. Just look at it. It’s so perty.
My sticky date was by far the best I’ve ever had. That’s saying a lot. A 70 year old family friend named Betty used to hold that title and unfortunately she’s been superseded by Altair. As I said to Michelle, it is great to seeee the dates in the sticky DATE. Take note other restaurants, we like to SEE the ingredients.
Sticky date pudding, dulce de leche, spiced ginger icecream, pecan and butterscotch.
I’m now wondering whether Altair is open right now and whether they will give me this. right now. It was incredible. Beautiful rich flavours with a great balance of every foodie word I can think of. Didn’t think I’d be a fan of the spiced ginger ice-cream but it went with everything so well. There was not a morsel left on that plate. Luckily surrounding diners had left by this point as I was scraping the bowl trying to get to the very last morsels of the b’scotch sauce. YUUUUUM.
Because we clearly had not eaten enough, the lovely Michelle brought over a special treat from the kitchen and when you see it, you’re going to want to go there. right now. I warned you.
Cinnamon and Ricotta donuts with a Kiwi jelly
These little babies were off the chizang. I don’t even know if that makes sense but the brain goes numb thinking about these delicious balls of goodness. Perfect example of #cleaneating #naaaat. Try to look at that photo for more than 2 seconds without salivating. I’m tempted to go into the herb cupboard and just eat cinnamon….sadly I don’t think that will be the same thing.
Overall. A fantastic experience and we will definitely be back asap. Thank you to the team at Altair for such a brilliant night and they well and truly went above and beyond our expectations.
Go there. now. Eat. ALOT.
79%?? Fellow voters. You cray cray.