Cuisine: Modern Australian
Location: Caversham, Swan Valley
Last week I was fortunate to attend a blogger’s night where I was treated to a wonderful evening enjoying the creations of the restaurant. They also advertised an 8 course degustation the following week and after having a look at the menu I was sold and so here I am to devour the 8 course degustation that will be served before me.
As I don’t drink I was instead offered.a complimentary glass of verjus. I was more than happy to accept and enjoyed the delicious light white wine tones I sipped on last week.
Course 1: Mushroom, Truffle
Mushroom Soup with Bruschetta and Truffle
A smooth mushroom soup was presented which was really delicious. I really enjoyed the earthy tones of the mushroom which were tempered and not too intense. The soup has a slight resemblance to that of pea and lettuce so I’m wondering if one or both elements were used to dull the intensity but still allow the mushroom flavour to shine through. I saved the bruschetta for last and the truffle on top was simply divine. What a finish to the dish. I don’t want to get that truffle taste out of my mouth. Superb.
Course 2: Tuna, Avocado
Tuna and avocado tartare served with a lime and coriander dressing, and topped with sesame seeds and sour cream
The avocado had been cut in the same sized chunks as the tuna but having the sensation that they are larger has the effect of feeling kind of meaty. This effect and creaminess helps to combine with the freshness of the tuna which has been slightly cured by the lime. The coriander adds a slight spiciness to the tuna and the sesame seeds provide a textual contrast via the crunch. An interesting dish. I think the avocado overshadows the tuna but maybe it’s supposed to.
Course 3: Bug, Saffron, Pancetta
Saffron linguine, tomato and parsley, bug, crispy pancetta
I really like blistered tomatoes which produce a lovely juiciness and concentrate the tomato flavour. The linguine is really yum, encasing the oil, juices of the tomato and the bug. It’s very moist, well seasoned and really delicious. The bug is perfectly cooked and I really enjoyed the flavour along with the slight salty tones of the crispy pancetta. Each of the elements work together, yet still allows the bug to shine.
Course 4: Kangaroo, Emu, Bush Tomato
Layers of emu chorizo and kangaroo atop potato rosti, bush tomato chutney on top and jus sprinkled around the dish.
I was also offered a glass of Edenvale non-alcoholic shiraz which I accepted. I’ve previously only had non-alcoholic whites, not red’s. It had a strong distinctive smell and a dry red grape taste though kind of muted, unlike the verjus. Interesting, though I much prefer the verjus.
I’m looking forward to this dish as I’m quite a fan of native Australian ingredients and flavours. I love chorizo and the emu chorizo was a surprise packet! I’ve eaten emu though not in a chorizo. The smoking of the emu really ramps up the flavour. It’s paprika spice is wonderful and I love it. The flavour is quite intense so a few sips of the shiraz cleanses the palette ready for the next layer. The kangaroo is so tender, moist and juicy and just oozes flavour. With the jus and bush tomato chutney which is excellent in it’s own right, each bite is so delicious. The chutney adds a nice sweetness but what really surprised me is the lack of gaminess of the kangaroo. It tastes like a juicy piece of roast meat. The bottom layer is a crisp and well seasoned potato rosti which just keeps on delivering in the happiness stakes. Who doesn’t like chips? This may not be a chip but fried crisp crunchy potato is a real winner and rounds out a wonderful dish.
Course 5: Lemon Granita
The interesting thing about really good sorbets is the ability to trick the mind into thinking you’re eating the real thing the sorbet is supposed to represent. The chef’s have definitely translated that effect into the granita as the strong lemon flavour smacks you in the face. The crushed ice carries the lemon flavour and presents a refreshing wave in your mouth, definitely cleansing the palette. They probably need to provide smaller petite spoons to reach inside the shot glass. Yum.
Course 6: Beef, Foie Gras, Mushrooms
Beef fillet, duxcell, foie gras, shimji and oyster mushrooms around the side, beef jus
I started with the mushrooms which were delicious, plump and juicy with a lovely buttery flavour. The beef fillet is perfectly cooked, tender, pink, and juicy. The beef is a tad under seasoned but this allows the flavour of the beef to shine through. The deep flavour of the jus helps to add additional flavour, so too the duxcell and the rich foie gras marries perfectly with the beef. The duxcell adds a lovely texture to the dish. Very satisfying.
Course 7: Peach, Vanilla
Poached peach, on a crumb, underneath that is a peach custard which is not visible, vanilla panna cotta, mascarpone
What a beautifully presented dish. The peach is super tender and immediately evokes the taste of summer. The mint gives a lovely peppery flavour with the juicy peach, the soft crumb adds depth to the dessert and a slight textual contrast. The peach custard hidden underneath is also tasty and helps keep the crumb together. The mascarpone adds a lovely touch of creaminess to the dish. I love panna cotta and this version was fantastic. The vanilla flavour is wonderful, my only complaint is it’s too small. What a tease! Excellent creative dessert.
Course 8: Coffee, Cream
Coffee panna cotta, kahlua syrup layer, cream foam, biscotti with a touch of citrus
The biscotti is thin, crunchy and carries a lovely flavour with a touch of citrus towards the end reminding me of gingerbread. I’m not a coffee drinker but I love coffee or mocha flavoured desserts. I was very much looking forward to this dessert and was extremely pleased. First spoonful in and it was OMG! Oh wow. So so delicious I’m in dessert heaven. Silky smooth panna cotta with a lovely coffee flavour and cream just makes my taste buds sing! What a fantastic dessert to end an excellent meal.
RiverBank Food Review Summary
Verdict: Last week’s blogger’s dinner gave me a taste of what Chef Darren King and his team can produce. One look at the degustation menu the following week had me quickly making a booking. The night started with a mushroom soup with flavours tempered and magnified by the truffle upon the bruschetta which was excellent. A tuna and avocado tartare was then served up which was am interesting pairing of creaminess balanced against the taste of the sea. The saffron linguine was just swimming in wonderful flavours and the bug was perfectly cooked and allowed to shine as the star of the dish. The emu chorizo in the next course is one of the best chorizo versions I have eaten. The super tender and not gamey kangaroo slices were delightful, along with the crispy potato rosti and sweet tones of bush tomato chutney. Definitely the favourite savoury dish of the night. To cleanse the palette, an in your face lemon granita did the job before tucking into a super tender, moist, and pinkish beef fillet which was enhanced by the jus, rich foie gras and duxcell. The juicy mushrooms around the side were also delicious. The first dessert course served up a summery poached peach which paired well with mint, mascarpone, a peach custard and a fine crumb which added depth. I loved the vanilla panna cotta but was disappointed at the mini portion on the side which was a tease! The next dish presented a coffee panna cotta with a kahlua syrup layer and cream foam that had me in dessert heaven. An absolute knockout dessert, it’s how you want to finish the night on a high. Fantastic experience in a lovely ambient setting with excellent service.
Recommendation: Highly Recommend
RiverBank Estate Winery and Restaurant Details
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