Edit: So why is this post split into 3 posts when it’s clearly just one meal? Because Zomato are being a bit mean with their policies and won’t let me link to more than one restaurant in the post, even though it’s clearly 3 legitimate posts. Anyway; on with the show!
Three courses at three restaurants, with matching wines, for $65-$85pp? I must be joking! Except if you’ve heard about the Southgate Movable Feasts, you’ll know that I’m not. For those who like to wine and dine, but find that there is never enough time to try all the up and coming restaurants, this is your answer. For the price of a full tank of petrol, you’ll be led on a merry 3-restaurant-hopping trip through Southgate, visiting each restaurant for one course before leaving for the next.
Southgate Precinct, 2/3 Southgate Ave
Southbank VIC, 3006
First on the menu is Pure South, a fireplace-lit haven after the blustery winter weather. The name of the restaurant is an homage to their produce, which they source exclusively from pretty little Tasmania. And yes, that does also include the wines. Though definitely on the smart-casual side, I found the overall vibe to be welcoming and unpretentious. And it didn’t hurt that instead of a single entree, they were going to serve us a smorgasbord to share.
We started with warm slices of rye and sourdough, and I got so excited when Chris, without me having to ask, picked the one I didn’t choose so that we could share, that I almost forgot to take a photo. Whilst the rye was mild and tangy, it was the warm, doughy sourdough that won our hearts.
It’d been a big day for me to say the least, so I felt that a glass of wine was in order. There were not one, but two whites on offer, so I gave both the 2012 The Barracks ‘Madeleine’ Riesling and the 2013 The Heather Sauvignon Blanc a crack. I adored the Riesling, being a light and floral drop with a perfect balance between sweetness and acidity. The Sauv Blanc on the other hand was crisper and more herbaceous; lovely on its own, but a bit grassy when compared to the Riesling.
Our first course was the wicked-sounding Tasmanian Black Truffle Donuts. The first bite tasted like a sweet dough ball with a slow drizzle of honey, but the twist comes in the distinct, musty truffle aroma and gooey melted brie. And you thought jam ball donuts were indulgent.
The Springfield Farm Free-Range Venison ‘Teriyaki’ came as a surprise in and of itself. Instead of being seared cubes as I had imaged, the venison was served as thin, ruddy slices of carpaccio with a subtle sweet soy dressing. Most striking of all was the bed of slippery pickled mushrooms beneath the translucent ribbon of daikon. It was an unusually adventurous take on Japanese food, but it worked extremely well.
The most divisive dish of the night would have to be the Hand-Dived Sea Urchin, the bright roe scooped out and mixed with creamy Jerusalem artichoke foam. Though I found the earthy combination of artichoke with the brininess of the urchin to be a fine match, I was amongst those who just couldn’t handle how strong it tasted.
But the real gem was the House-Smoked Petuna Ocean Trout in a vivid shade of dusky orange. The smoking process had rendered all the fat, leaving the fish with a buttery, melt-in-the-mouth texture.
The smoky saltiness of the fish was complemented by daubs of sweet beetroot cream and baby pickled onions. Add in some hand-picked herbs, and it is as pretty as a summer pond.
Needless to say I was impressed with Pure South. Not only was the produce impeccable, but it was served cleanly and elegantly to really allow it to shine. It was a high bar set for the rest of the meal, leaving us wondering just exactly how the evening would pan out.