Archive for May 7th, 2009

“Don’t drink too much. I’ve got you tickets for tomorrow” said the text.

Too late. It was already 10.30pm and The Drones were mere yards away, several pints of Goat Hightail had been quaffed (at $10 a pop – Jesus, Corner, what are you trying to be? Riverland?) and a week long booze drought was being broken.

(With hindsight, it would have been sensible not to crack into Jaegermeister chasers once a Kev Carmody cover had closed their set in style, at which point Bruce concluded that his initial impressions of Gareth Liddiard’s mob at Falls, namely “What the fuck is that noise?”, was a little hasty, although in his defence it was early afternoon and the poor lad had fully extended himself the previous night…)

Still, cruising through the Anzac Day game the following afternoon while still drunk from the night before with assistance from the odd glass of wine is one thing (no more shall Carlton Draught be purchased unless under pain of death – and then only maybe). Heading for an evening of fine dining while the last remnants of said booze are threatening to wear off is another.

Who'd have thought these guys would taste so good?

They made it – and were given pride of place at the front of Provenance for the new(ish) restaurant’s second tasting evening, this time based around quince and quail. Thankfully, the quince cocktail (a fruity little martini number) was first up… and several of their fellow guests were equally under the weather in a bout of unwitting, yet welcome, empathy.

So: Provenance. Run by a young whippersnapper of a boy. Aiming to bring exquisite but simple food to Smith Street for little money. Even offering champagne breakfasts in a spot wedged between 7 Eleven and the Australian Cleanskin Group and in easy shouting distance of the Collingwood soup kitchen. Ambitious, no?

Anyway, without wishing to come over all Jabba the Hutt and pretending to genuinely know something about food, here’s what ensued:

  • a minestrone-type soup with a quail and chicken stock and added kidney beans that acted as much as a welcome cleanser as anything for Bruce (i.e. it wasn’t wine, meat pie or chips with chicken salt a la MCG);
  • a nicoise salad featuring seared quail legs and a couple of delicious quail eggs (delicious, apparently, cos they’re fatty as hell. Shame they’re not bigger – like a savoury Cadbury’s Creme Egg but tiny);
  • two seared quail breasts on a bed consisting of such wonders as celeriac, roast beetroot, pumpkin, some form of quince – and stuff (the waitress’ description not mine – and this is not a complaint: charming honesty works every time in Bruce and Fran’s neck of the woods. Also, please refer to the opening line of this paragraph);
  • an Eton Mess (the gift from God that is panna cotta topped with a layer of quince jelly and a mountain of the sweetest cream and meringue laced with roast rhubarb);
  • and a cheese platter featuring Gorgonzola – no wonder Wallace used to get all steamed up about it – and a millefeuille of quince paste and young Spanish manchego that deserves to feature on every cheese platter from now until Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung plays out at the Restaurant At The End Of The Universe.

It was marvellous (and only $75 a head including a glass of wine with each course). Bruce might have added a little something to the quail in either the salad or main course stages to differentiate between the two but then again the philosophy at Provenance is all about simple pleasures so what does he know. The matched wines also proved a good way of staving off the hovering hangover clouds, ensuring that they only kicked in once the crew had decamped to Dirty Little Secrets and fallen asleep.

Sadly, when he checked the papers the following day, Collingwood had still lost the Anzac Day game in the final few seconds and his guernsey (courtesy of a birthday gift from Fran who must have some hidden agenda to turn her husband into a full-on bogan) remained winless for another week. But, thankfully, the memory of the millefeuille kept the hangman’s noose at bay.

Read Full Post »