Lunch 6 May 2014
It was back to normal with our weekly lunches, but that didn't stop 42 members and guests from rolling up to sample some good comforting food from Gary Patterson, assisted by James Tinslay. Proceedings were launched with well -prepared crab and corn fritters from James, nice and soft inside and crunchy out. Washing them down were the usual mixed bag of wines, notably an impressively fresh and balanced 2008 Hunter chardonnay from Den mar, and some even more impressive 1999 Richmond Grove Watervale riesling, wonderfully young and limey, a great match with seafood.
The main course saw a generous chunk of pork fillet, topped with an intense apple sauce made with cinnamon and citrus juice. The inevitable plate variation in the doneness of the meat was evident, but it was superior quality and tender. With it, an unusual "cigar" of filo pastry enveloping a vegetarian mix of corn, mushroom, beans and dill; good presentation, and even better for those who got them warm. To finish the plate, a simple salad of iceberg lettuce, julienned carrot, sliced cherry tomatoes and sliced raw onion. A lucky few got dressing, but without it, the salad was dry and overwhelmed by the onion. A curious match of wines was served with it: a 2011 Picnic Pinot from Central Otago NZ (from a vineyard owned by Sam Neill, we were told) and a Warramate Yarra Valley from the same year, made on malbec grapes. The former was ok, with identifiable fruit but simple; the latter was certainly dry as some commentators pointed out, but finished hard for a rose, with no distinctive palate.
The cheese maintained its expected high standard: a Soignon Buche Blanche chevre from France, made in a large log and showing developed lactic characters and a lovely soft but not mushy paste. The warm sliced figs served with it were ideal; not so a couple of big reds, 2004 Bethany shiraz from Barossa, and the Zema Coonawarra cabernet from the same year. The Bethany was dark and intense, with ripe fruit still well integrated but a bit coarse, while the Zema was a more stylish wine, with solid and still developing fruit and tannin, still too much for the cheese.
There was a gap in our world coffee trip, with beans from PNG, an estate plantation. It showed good and strong in the cup with some bitter notes, but lacked the acidity to give it length and zest