It was our 7th wedding anniversary yesterday. We celebrated over the weekend with a five course dinner at The Long Paddock in Lindenow. We’d been there for lunch before and love their philosophy on celebrating local East Gippsland producers. And this year they have started doing five course dinners on a Saturday night.
We love a fancy meal to celebrate our anniversary (we went to Loam for our first wedding anniversary, Brae for our second, Oakdene for our third and Little Green Corner for our forth, IGNI for our fifth and sadly we let work get in the way last year). So when a beautiful local friend of ours was happy to have Elliot for the evening and then have us crash at her place (because getting back in to Wollangarra, late, after Elliot has already been asleep is not really a thing) we jumped at the opportunity.
We arrived and were seated in my favourite location, right next to the kitchen and I took the seat where I could see what was going on. There were these gorgeous cheesey tapioca balls for us to start with. We chose the obvious option, 5 courses and wine matching. But as Jay was driving he just had a taste of each wine and then poured the rest into my glass.
The wines were beautiful matched and we found so much joy in drinking a nice wine, not something from a cask (easy to carry in and out of Wollangarra). This One Block Pinot Gris was crisp and light and went beautifully with the pigs cheek croquette.
This was the plate I was given, beautiful, crisp and white, but Jay’s plate, the one below was cuter, so we swapped. The menu was quite meat heavy, my idea of heaven to be honest and it took everything in my power to not just devour every course.
I affectionately nicknamed the second course “fish and chips”, it was really Kingfish tartare with cultured cream and nori. It wasn’t whole unless you had a little of each element all together. The softness of the fish, the sourness of the cultured cream, the crunch of the chips and salt from the nori. Just perfection!
Possibly my favourite course with my favourite wine. Beef cheek wellington, Gippsland Pearls Oyster mushrooms, Riviera spinach paired with Amulet Barbara from Beechworth. The meat fell apart with your fork, the sauce rich and the pureed spinach almost creamy. The wine was deep, Jay said it took him places that he’d never been. That he could have bathed in it and that it was as enjoyable to smell as it was to drink and he didn’t want it to end.
I loved my seat. I watched the wait staff move smoothly through the 5 courses, serving wines and quietly doing dishes. I watched the chefs plate up, dancing around each other getting ready to move on to the next course. And I watched other customers come and go, enjoying the meals, laughing and celebrating.
The forth course was delicious but big. It felt slightly too big for a forth course, but I ate it all up. Lamb rump, braised borlotti beans and cavil nero. It was rich, deep and hearty.
This cocktail was divine, light, sour and refreshing. Bees knees it was called, honey syrup, gin and lemon juice. Jay’s done some research and found that honey syrup was used for cocktails during the prohibition era and is making a comeback. And it has now come back right into our kitchen, as he has replicated it and I am currently enjoying the fruits of his labour.
Dessert was individual apple tart tartin, cinnamon ice cream and creme fraiche. We both admitted that we’d never eaten creme fraiche and we loved it. The dessert was delicious, the cinnamon flavour wasn’t too strong and the flaky pastry, with the sticky sweet apples and the creamy condiments was the perfect way to end the rich decedent evening.
The food was delicious and I do hope we get to go back before our time in this area is up. But the best part of the evening was that Jay and I got to spend 5 hours together with no interruptions, we could converse about things other than work, in fact we tried really hard not to talk about work (tough when you work together), and to do something ‘normal’ away from Wollangarra.
If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend The Long Paddock in Lindenow.