Knife and Fawkner - Yes_ I have many livers to toss

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					                                        Knife and Fawkner


                                          The old pub smells great again, writes Bob Hart

                                                                                                                                                What we drank
                                                                                                                                                FOOD as polished and
                                                                                                                                                 as down-to-earth as
                                                                                                                                                the fine tucker served
                                                                                                                                                here deserves the
                                                                                                                                                company of a wine with
                                                                                                                                                similar qualities.
                                                                                                                                                  And here, it’s hard to
                                                                                                                                                go past the excellent
                                                                                                                                                ’04 Hennings shiraz
                                                                                                                                                house red from that
                                                                                                                                                most blessed of shiraz
                                                                                                                                                regions, Heathcote.
                                                                                                                                                  It is full, rich,
                                                                                                                                                balanced and very
                                                                                                                                                keenly priced at $53 a
                                                                                                                                                bottle, $8.50 a glass.
    The Fawkner                                                                                                                                   With crisp, wintry       Rich: 2004 Hennings shiraz
52 TOORAK RD WEST, SOUTH YARRA                                                                                                                  days now in play, it is
Ph: 9867 5853                                                                                                                                   well worth considering ending a robust pub lunch with a
Lunch Tue to Sun, dinner Tue to Sat,                                                                                                            tumbler of something of substance from Rutherglen, our
breakfast Sat and Sun. Licensed. Expect                                                                                                         fortified wines Mecca.
to pay $55 a head plus wine for three                                                                                                             So with our dumplings, we looked no further than the
courses.                                                                                                                                        Chambers Rosewood NV Muscadelle (Tokay) on offer at a
                                                                                                                                                modest $7 a glass. Yum.

        REATHING new life into a faded
        old dame with a golden past and                                                                                                         ley dotted with fresh chestnuts was
        a sagging bottom line is never                                                                                                          topped with slivers of pink-centred,
easy. And in the case of South Yarra’s                                                                                                          imaginatively spiced duck breast.
once-legendary Fawkner Hotel, it has                                                                                                               My mate’s selection — chargrilled,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             F B 1 2 3
taken two extensive bouts of surgery.                                                                                                           marinated chicken thighs topped with a
   The first, a couple of years ago,                                                                                                            tarragon and tomato vinaigrette and
resulted in a place with early promise                                                                                                          served with a dome of rice pilaf —
eroded by a daft name modification and                                                                                                          distracted him effectively from my
a gradual loss of focus.                                                                                                                        duck, which was comforting.
   But new owners and fresh ideas have                                                                                                             A generous bowl of mixed-leaf salad
put the place back on the map — as a                                                                                                            was served with a fine, creamy dressing
bistro serving precisely the sort of food                                                                                                       on the side, which led to some rather
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Polished pub:
                                                                                                                                                unseemly dipping of baby cos leaves,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             C M Y K
expected of a polished pub these days.
                                                                                                                                                                                               new owners and
   A lick of paint here, a tweak there,                                                                                                         but we survived it. And thoroughly
                                                                                                                                                                                               fresh ideas have
cooking smells of distinction emanating                                                                                                         enjoyed it, actually.
                                                                                                                                                                                               put the Fawkner
from the kitchen, and all is well with the                                                                                                                                                     back on the map.
                                                                                                                                                         FEW of the usual suspects — a
world. At last.

                                                             This is yet another in the lengthening line of pubs
   Well-regarded Melbourne chef And-               try       with top tucker. Here are a few more:                                                       vanilla creme brulee, a warm
rew Bates — whose family, he assures                                                                                                                     chocolate brownie with a port
                                                                                                                                                                                               peppered duck
me, were not in the motel business — is                                                                                                         wine poached pear and a slice of lemon         breast on a
one of a gang of four who have bought             Bouzy Rouge, 470 Bridge Rd, Richmond. Ph: 9429 4348                                           tart — were offered up for pudding, but        chestnut and pearl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                             DHS 31-MAY-2008 PAGE
the freehold to the ground-floor pub              The Court House, 86 Errol St, North Melbourne. Ph: 9329 5394                                  we let the chef choose for us.                 barley risotto.
complex.                                          The Montague, 355 Park St, South Melbourne. Ph: 9690 9044                                        He sent out an order of warm, fat,
   But this week, it was the bistro bit that      Healesville Hotel, 256 Maroondah Highway, Healesville. Ph: 5962 4002                          custard-filled dumplings with a globe of           Kids, beware:
held our attention and was the source of                                                                                                        fine vanilla-bean ice cream, over which        (far left) custard-
the aforementioned cooking smells —                                                                                                             battle was resumed: they were excel-           filled dumplings
                                               like his tucker almost as much as I do:             and anchovies. One between two serious
notably a waft of truffle rising from                                                                                                           lent.                                          with vanilla-bean
                                               knives and forks flashed, and food                  eaters was nowhere near enough.                                                             ice cream.
steaming bowls of chicken and barley                                                                                                               By which point, we agreed, the edge
                                               disappeared at a cracking rate.                       The pate en croute calmed us down,
soup, which had my telly-chef mate and                                                                                                          had been effectively taken off our
                                                  The duck liver fell first — half a dozen         however — an impeccably coarse con-          legendary appetites, and the day glowed           Refined:
me scurrying hungrily towards our table.
                                               fat lobes served on grilled brioche, and            struction of duck and pistachio locked       with new promise.                              the pissaladiere —
   We chose to begin our meals, how-
                                               in a sauce made by deglazing the saute              inside a perfect, cold pie crust with just      Chef Bates told me his approach at          a civilised French
ever, not with the soup, but with a trio
                                               pan with sherry vinegar. Glorious.                  the right amount of meat jelly. Aus-                                                        mini-pizza topped
of fine entrees that we shared: a                                                                                                               the Fawkner is to maintain the casual
                                                                                                   picious beginnings.                                                                         with black olives.
delectably correct pate en croute, an             Next, the pissaladiere — a wonder-                                                            bistro approach we had experienced.

order of sauteed duck livers (recipe           fully refined treatment of this civilised             I then locked on to an offering on the        ‘‘I like to keep things nice and simple,    Pictures:
below) and a pissaladiere.                     French mini-pizza, made here by placing             specials board: peppered duck breast         a place I would bring my kids to,’’ he says.   DEAN CAMBRAY
   It’s a dangerous business, of course,       the onion and tomato mix in an imposs-              on a chestnut and pearl barley risotto.         Which is all very well. But if the little                                 WE
sharing entrees as good as this, esp-          ibly light tart of short-crust pastry and           And it was outstanding.                      tykes expect me to share my dumplings
ecially with a telly-chef who appears to       topping it with the obligatory black olives           Beautifully cooked and seasoned bar-       with them, they can think again.

                                                Yes, I have many livers to toss
                                                             IT’S a simple enough                  good, EV olive oil in heavy           keep warm. Add 50g unsalted
                                                                                                   frypan and saute livers briskly,      butter to sauce and reduce,
                                                 recipe formula, but seriously                     until lightly coloured on all         stirring, to coating
                                                             delicious: fresh duck
                                                             livers, sherry vinegar                sides.                                consistency.
                                                and grilled brioche.                               Add clove of crushed or finely         Lightly grill four thick slices
                                                                                                   chopped garlic and toss for           fresh brioche, ideally on hot
                                                  But the magic, as always, lies in                another minute.                       ribbed grill to leave scorch
                                                the way the dish is put together,                                                        marks, and place on four
                                                                                                   Deglaze pan, while the livers
                                                and here is how chef Andrew Bates                  are still cooking, with 4tbs          warmed plates.
                                                goes about it:                                     good (Spanish) sherry vinegar          Divide livers between plates,
                                                    Clean about 600g fresh duck                    and add cup of concentrated           positioning on brioche slices.
                                                    livers and season well with                    veal stock (reduced from              Add chopped herbs (parsley,
                                                    salt and freshly ground                        1 litre).                             tarragon, chervil) to sauce and
                                                    black pepper. Heat splash of                   Remove livers from pan and            spoon over livers.

                                                                                                                                                                                     May 31, 2008      weekend 27        +

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