There's real time and then there's blog time. It's Friday evening, real time and I've had quite a week. I'm recovering in my pyjamas at SSG Manor with a house Bellini to the right of me. I'm not the only person in the world to have had an epic week. Ashton and Demi are no more, for real. Bradley Cooper is officially People magazine's sexiest man alive. SSG Manor is Devastated on behalf of Ryan Gosling.
In blog time, I'm still at Yarra Glen, ensconced in the genteel luxury of Chateau Yering.
For our first night at the chateau, Mr SSG and I had a reservation at the hotel's restaurant, Eleonore's. And what an evening it turned out to be. I think we were both a little jaded about eating out in Sydney. The logistics of securing a booking then what to wear (me) or whether there was any good sport on the telly that night (Mr SSG) and also how to get home proved to be stumbling blocks too huge to overcome after a long week at work. We had none of these problems last week and we took full advantage of this. We both ordered 5 course degustation with Mr SSG going for the matching wines.
When you're on holiday, daylight saving really comes into its own. It was lovely being able to look out onto the chateau's lawns before dinner.
The local rabbit population were also out for dinner. Their nursery area happened to be just in front of the restaurant and the baby rabbits scampered around on the lawn before settling in for the night. There are some years where the entire lawn is a sea of bouncing rabbit tails. Very Beatrix Potter.
Our amuse bouche was made with asparagus and cream.
Yes, I slurped mine up without after the spoon proved to be rather slow going.
Eleonore's was such a pleasant contradiction. It's decor was decidedly old school but the food was very much of the present. It is a one hatted restaurant. The head chef, Matthew Macartney created one perfect dish after another the entire evening. Each dish was so beautifully constructed and the flavours were very unique. The micro herbs and vegetables are mainly grown in the property's own vegetable patch. The menu changes with the season. I think we were very lucky to be dining in spring.
Our first course was the burrato with almond gazpacho. It was served with spring vegetables, olive jam and pine nut mousse. It not only looked like spring, it tasted of it too.
How cool is this next course? And to be savouring it in a dining room with velvet curtains and oil paintings over the fire place?
A smoked duck breast on the right with a foie gras burger on the left. There is a yoghurt sorbet served with the duck and hints of cherry and coffee flavours too. This is not a time to be apprehensive about taste combinations - just go with the flow!
I am not a wine person but Mr SSG was well pleased with his matched wines. There was quite a diverse selection offered with our meal. Wines from all over the world, actually, not just the local region.
The flowers are such a beautiful addition to this dish. This isn't dessert but rather roasted barramundi fillet with rock lobster, fennel cream, bisque and bacon crumb.
The charcoal wagyu fillet is actually soaked in squid ink before cooking to give it that coal like appearance. It was served with a dusting of eggplant ash, that's right, ash plus a white onion puree with a drizzle of elderflower jus on top. I had to overcome a mental block with regard to eating pitch black meat and vegetables reduced to ash but it was a mind game well worth winning.
Pre dessert moved onto more conventional territory with a panacotta topped with pineapple and mint.
Dessert looked very country garden - a strawberry and elderflower consommé, pound cake croutons and cream cheese bavarios.
I haven't had a cheese plate in eons. And I don't think I've ever seen a cheese trolley in my life either. The selection of cheeses at Eleonore's come from both France and the local area. Some are seasonal and available for only a few months of the year.
The trolley is fitted out with sheets of marble that are cooled before being used to present the cheeses. The marble sheets are rotated throughout the evening service to ensure that the cheeses are kept at the correct temperature.
We were able to sample some rather exotic cheeses including some which were aged with a layer of red wine over the top. I love blue cheeses myself and was not disappointed by those that we were offered.
I had no room for the petit fours.
But we were allowed to bring them back to our room for later.
Much, much later as in the next morning with a cup of tea whilst in the bath kind of later.
There's nothing like having a fabulously indulgent dinner and knowing that bed is only a short walk and a hot shower away.
As an added bonus, our turn down service was the bearer of good news - excellent weather for the coming day.