26 April, 2010

Simone's of Bright

98 Gavan St, Bright; (03) 5755 2266

As a resident of inner Melbourne, I can never complain of lack of choice for exciting places to eat. I reserve some envy, however, for those further afield who may have fewer choices but have one outstanding local. Those who call Bright home not only have ready access to some of Victoria's finest scenery, but also one of its most applauded restaurants, Simone's.

Chef Patrizia Simone has worked the stove for over 20 years, and has been awarded the title of 'Legend of the MelbourneFood and Wine Festival'. The high country is known for its defiant Italian influences, and Simone's reclaims a little part of the country for her home region of Umbria.

Our whole trip to the high country was scheduled around dinner at Simone's, so I was pretty excited by the time we finished a tasting paddle at Bright Brewery and headed across the road to the humble brick cottage housing the restaurant. The welcome was pleasant, and each table holds beautiful crockery.
The menu offered all the promise I'd hoped for, and we started suitablly carnivorously with an antipasto of cured meats:Ours to enjoy were slices of wagyu bresaola, chestnut-fed pork salumi and proscuitto.

My main sang off the page - coniglio con erbe, patate e strozzapreti, and appeared appropriately enticing on the plate:The discs are of Yackandandah rabbit, infused with fennel and wrapped in porcetta, with a braised leg sharing the bed of potato puree.

It was a meal so expertly executed, that it wasn't until after I'd finished it that I realised how worthwhile it had been, and I confess to scoffing it down without taking the time to appreciate subtler flavours and the quality of ingredients.

The desserts at Simone's tip their hat to traditional Italian produce as much, if not more than, the mains.

Here we have budino con prugne e gelato: Flourless blood plum pudding with plum ice cream. Simply perfect for a chilly autumn night.

My dessert didn't quite top off the night as effectively, mainly due to personal taste and a slight disconnect between description and delivery.

Its Italian name is acqua minerale di sambuco, cioccolate bianca, fichi.Its translated description is honey-roasted figs, roasted pine-nut shortbread and ice cream, white chocolate coconut cappucino.

I wasn't expecting foam (OK, it says cappucino, but I was thinking more of frothed chocolate in a cup!). And, while I adore and could live off fig paste, the fruit itself isn't a texture that works for me. So, the fruit part of this dessert - while probably heaven to most fine diners - didn't offer much enjoyment, but that ice cream made up for it. Delicious.

No comments:

Post a Comment