This year's Melbourne Food and Wine Festival series embodied the theme of community, and Chefs Thi Le's (Anchovy) and Andrew Beddoes' (The Grand) The Lucky Country series celebrated exactly that.
Both eateries take up residence in Richmond. One with an Italian menu and the other South East Asian, both with Modern Australian tweaks here and there. The two cuisines could not be any more different from one another but they do share common ground in the way of food bringing together family and communities. And while the flavours and essence of both cuisines are quite distinct from one another, they seemed to work seamlessly together to produce a highly memorable and delicious 6 course affair that formed The Lucky Country lunch/dinner, comprising of three dishes from each chef.
There were no 'losers', only tasty dishes with some absolutely outstanding highlights. The lunch kicked off on two high notes with silky tender morsels of wallaby piled high on lavosh, and a sweet and fragrant bite of sage and pumpkin tortelli. The mains also rivalled one another; a hearty combination of braised goat and the cheesy polenta versus a gorgeously roasted fish where the flesh fell away from the bone, accompanied by a intensely flavoursome salad with quite a kick. But the most outstanding dishes came at the end with two perfect desserts. The pairing of lamington cake with a creamy ice-cream, coconut mousse and fresh raspberries made for a very addictive and slightly decadent option. But given my lower tolerance for sweet, it was the fermented rice (a custardy, pudding-like dessert) served with fresh pear and ginger granita that won over my taste buds bite and bite again. Beautiful refreshing notes that served well as both dessert and palate cleanser.
It was truly the perfect lunch, showcasing the gorgeous flavours of Italy, The Orient and their surroundings, starting off on a high note only to end on a higher note still. How every meal should pan out.
Wallaby tartare with wattle seed lavosh | Anchovy
Pumpkin tortelli with burnt butter, amoretti & sage | The Grand
Drink pairing: Stained G+T - Dasher & Fisher Meadow Gin with Okar Amaro and orange
Soused herring with sour cream, beetroot and watercress
Drink pairing: Toro Albala Fino En Rama Bombilla NV
Kohlrabi dumpling with avgolemono and liquorice
Drink pairing: Guilhem & J.Hugues Goisot Bourgogne Aligote 2015
Braised goat with Ligurian olives, preserved lemon & baked buckwheat polenta
Drink pairing: Capezzana Barco Reale DOC 2014
Roasted Sea Bream with tumeric & galangal, cucumber, fig & tomato salad
Drink pairing: Francois Chidaine La Touraine Rose 2016
Fermented rice, pear and ginger granita
Lamington cake with rum & white chocolate ice-cream, raspberry and coconut mousse
Drink pairing: Henriques & Henriques Finest Medium Dry 5 Year Old Madeira
The Grand Richmond
333 Burnley St,
Richmond, Victoria, 3121.
(03) 9429 2530
338 Bridge Rd,
Richmond, Victoria, 3121.
(03) 9428 3526
Disclosure: I dined as a guest of The Grand and Anchovy. All opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit.