Shantell….kinda sounds like Show and Tell, in like ‘ermagherd’ speak. Get it? Sha-n-tell. Show n’ tell. Show and tell. HA brilliant JP, brilliant.
So, to the food. I have already instagrammed a ridiculous amount of photos from our delicious meal at Shantell winery, but thought I’d tell you a bit about it anyway. Instagram is @jpandmelbs_ in case you were wondering. Shameless plug. I know.
After a 12.5 hour engagement party the day/night before, yep we like to party, we like, we like to party…the Vengabus is comin’, and everybody’s jumpin…you know you were thinking it! Anyhoo, sorry Vengaboys, this ain’t about you.
SO, as I was saying before I was rudely interrupted by my ability to become distracted by everything, after fiancé and I had our second engagement party, we were keen for a good meal, so decided to venture to Dixons Creek with our parentals to sample their fare. And what a fare it was.
My new buddies Shan and Turid, own the winery and have managed the winery since it opened in 1987. Shan is like superman, essentially. Doctor by week, Winemaker by weekend. Crazy man. But he does it oh so well. Shantell Winery produces some fantastic wines from Semillon through to Cab Savs. After sampling them all (of course), I’d have to say I was a fan of the Semillon and the Pinot Noir, although the Shiraz deserves a mention too. Yes I just named half the wines…shh..
The Shantell chef, Philip Oliver, is a freakin’ miracle worker. From my spying efforts, I am pretty sure he was almost the only one in the kitchen, and as you can see below each dish looked incredible and the taste, well, wow.
Even the seating area of the restaurant is brilliant. So full of natural light with fantastic views of the vineyard. Great space. I don’t know how people haven’t raved about Shantell already as it deserves some epic cheers. You also get a sense of intimacy, oooooh, as the place only seats about 30-40 people. That’s a guess. I was hopeless at maths so you better go check it out for yourself to see if I’m right.
Just saw Urbanspoon only has Shantell sitting at 76%. Please do not go by this rating. Go by mine! Gah delicious. Avoid the crowds at the bigger places, such as those that rhyme with Mandon and head down to Shantell.
Ok so finally, I will get to the food after all my ramblings. We were given a small amuse bouche of pea soup to start and that set the day off oh so well. It was delicious. Everyone was silent. Simple pea soup with a foam consistency with a few chives on top. Mhm.
As my parents have portion control issues too, we of course had to get some share plates prior to making the big main meal decisions. Between the 6 of us we shared a Seafood share plate and an Antipasti share plate of sorts. Perfect start. I probably could have demolished both plates by myself, but I am not a regular human when it comes to eating.
Shantell Grazing Plate for 2…or 1 if its me.
This ‘grazing plate’ was once again faultless. Lots of nerdy foodie words coming at you today, it was just too good and I’m salivating writing this blog! There was cured beef, melt in ze mouth trout, marinated mushies, smoked chicken….the list goes on. Spec-freakin-tacular. Even the bread looked good….
Fantastic fresh bread, and still don’t know what the crazy crackers were!
The bread was fresh baked and oh so tasty. Most of it was gone before the share plates at the table. Bit of that fresh bread with the brie and I was in food heaven. We sat there with the brown bark-like crackers for ages trying to pick was it was but still don’t know and completely forgot to ask as I was in awe of all the other food on the table. Bad blogger, bad blogger.
Seafood Share plate…yep that’s tempura oysters.
Although it didn’t look as impressive as the grazing plate, the quality of the produce on this plate was amazing. As the ‘blogger’ I am also entitled to try more than everyone else in order to ‘capture the essence of the place properly’….yes it is a fantastic excuse to eat the last of everything. You should try it. Blogging. A perfect way to gain a truckload of weight. Should be our slogan.
The crab mousse was epic, so full of flavour, tempura oysters were fab, and even the herb mayonnaise packed a punch. Yep totally ate some of that by itself.
Standard glass shot
The conversation was brilliant of course and was accompanied by some fantastic Semillon and then Pinot Noir. Most of the chatter was about the various engagement attendees, who was with who, getting excited about awesome presents (marble cheese board say wahhhh) and of course who ate the most cake. Yep I think I came 2nd. But do leftovers the next day count?
Mains soon arrived and it was just a sea of “oooh” and “yuuuum” as the dishes came out. So many benefits of having 6 people at lunch. Main one of course being the potential for 6 different meals aka lots of photos.
Fiancé’s other love, Lamb.
First up was fiancé Beyoncé and his beloved lamb. Although he perused the menu for a while, the lamb was where his heart was. Hopefully I have a bit of that heart, considering I’m his fiancé….but I do believe most of it belongs to lamb. And our Puggle.
The Lamb Baron was served with a bean medley, diced potatoes, pea puree, confit garlic (A LOT of confit garlic) and rosemary jus. The standard “So yum” was received so that means it was delicious. And it only lasted about 5 minutes which also confirms the “so yum” standard. Mother dearest also chose the lamb and she wasn’t disappointed! Being a glutard, fine, a coeliac, she was a tad nervous about the choices initially, but with fantastic produce being served, the only dishes she couldn’t have was the pasta. Shows quality. Bravo Shantell. Again.
How do you like them scallops?
Poppa always manages to choose the dish that gets the eyes staring and this was no exception. The dill linguine with scallops, pippis, urchin, and a Semillon emulsion. Would you like some linguine with that seafood? And mark my words, I don’t mean that in a bad way!
How many times have you ordered the seafood pasta and had a couple of chunks of white fish and that’s it? This gives new meaning to the term ‘seafood linguine’. Those scallops were huge. I mean wow. The smell of the delicious fresh seafood was so incredible. I had to turn away otherwise I was going to eat it straight off his plate. Pasta was al dente to boot. No complaints down that end of the table at all.
Pork & Carrot Cake. It happened. It was goooood.
My future-mum-in-law, wow what a title, went out on a limb with this one and went with the Pork Loin that was accompanied by some pretty impressive dehydrated carrot cake, a kimchi croquette, caramelised pear, carrot and thyme puree and a grain mustard jus. So many flavours and it all went together like bacon with more bacon. She was very impressed. Wilbur was cooked perfectly as well. How that chef managed to get all our meals out hot, fresh and perfectly cooked is incredible with little to no help. Maybe there are kitchen elves. Yep that’s definitely it.
Wagyu. Need I say more?
Although it definitely wasn’t presented as well as the other dishes, that meant nothing when that boeuf hit the table. Future-dad-in-law was onto a winner with this delicious wagyu rump with crispy-as shallots, bacon (BACON) potato and cheese gratin with a Shiraz Jus. It was gone in record time. A clear sign of a delicious dish.
Finally it was my dish. Hooray me!
Confit Quail. I needed a flock of quails.
Of course it took me the longest to decide on which dish to choose. The Semolina Gnocchi sounded awesome as did the cured salmon with poached scampi but as I rarely choose it, I went with the confit quail and seared breast that was served with sautéed shitake mushies and a quail egg. Fantastic. I could just push the meat of the tiny bones. The shitake mushrooms were a great add in and gave that extra texture to the dish. I did my balancing skills oh so well and lifted the little egg onto the meat and then broke it which was delicious. I could have demolished the rest of the quail clan but, as we all know, I have major #portioncontrolissues, some may also say I have hashtag issues.
Everyone kept raving about how their dish was definitely the best and we were gobsmacked as to why, on a brilliant Sunday afternoon, the place wasn’t overflowing. Being one of the 2.5/1000000 places in Melbourne that you can make a reservation, I say book, and book quickly! Fantastic venue for the warmer months and there’s also a large fireplace to snuggle up next to with a glass of Cab Sav when Jack Frost visits us again. Which could be in the middle of January in Melbourne. Who knows what you’re thinking, Mother Nature.
I soon tuned out of the conversation as other tables were ordering desserts and my eyes were darting around to what everyone had chosen and what each dish looked like. Fiancé can attest to the fact that there is no point in trying to hold a conversation with me when meals are being served. I have the attention span of …something that has very little attention span when plates are arriving on tables.
As desserts were looking incredible, it would have been rude of us not to order them.
Pecan Pie. With Bacon. Ice-cream. Bacon.
Dad was tossing up on whether to order this one based on the fact it had maple bacon ice-cream. This made me think, maybe I am somehow not related to my own father. Who would reject a dish that had bacon in it? This made me concerned. Until he ordered it. Then I knew he was definitely my dad. The Pecan Pie was served with Vanilla Mascarpone and Maple BACON ice-cream. Dad was in hog heaven and powered through the pie in record time. It smelt soo goood. Little bacon bits throughout the ice-cream to boot. Bravo. Again Shantell.
Stop. Crumble Time. Do do do do do do.
Future-dad-in-law went with the Apple and Blackberry crumble which I do believe ended up being an apple and blueberry crumble….the blueberries gave it away. I was wondering whether one of them was my friend Blueb who rolled away from me at Rubiki a few weeks back. Check out that blog post if you are uber confused. The Dulce du Leche ice-cream was a great side too.
Take a breath. In and out. Now embrace the Salted Caramel.
If 2013/2014 could be summed up in two words for dessert, I do believe it would be Salted Caramel. And what a marvellous couple of words it is. Fiancé and his mother dearest both chose this after I was raving about how good it looked on someone else’s table. See my food spying ability helps everybody.
This was Salted Caramel mousse, with chocolate gel encasing it. Like Ice Magic for grownups. If that wasn’t enough drool-worthy dessert, it also came with chocolate caramel popcorn and malted milk ice-cream. So many delicious words in there, I think I’ll let it speak for itself. Let’s just say they were very quiet, and rather protective of their dessert until the plates were wiped clean.
Goats Curd. In dessert. Need I say more?
I was umming and ahhing for a longggg time over the dessert choice. They also have the option of a selection of the desserts, one option being a selection of ALL the desserts. I was tempted but this one kept jumping out at me and I am so glad it got my attention. This is definitely a dessert I’d never had the honour of demolishing prior and I will be searching for it on menus for years to come.
I present to you, the Goats Curd Parfait, with Yuzu Panna Cotta, with passionfruit curd and coriander soil. Want me to repeat? Goats Curd Parfait, with Yuzu Panna Cotta, with passionfruit curd and coriander soil. It was incredible. Like a fancy pants deconstructed cheesecake of amazingness. Both the Panna Cotta and the Parfait were to die for and I was scraping the plate by the end of it. Very rich and regular eaters should probably share it with their other half. But my other half and I eat like sumos so there was no chance of that happening!
Overall, a spectacular feast and I was even too full to visit the Yarra Valley Chocolate Factory on the way home. That’s saying something!
Lovely service, where nothing was a problem, coeliac accommodation is fantastic (top marks from my mother dearest) and what incredible food. Not only presented so well, but the flavour combination were off the chizang. Oh yes, that’s a word.
I kinda don’t want to tell you to go there, coz I don’t want to share Shantell. But hey, it’s ma job.