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
And here, it’s hard to
go past the excellent
’04 Hennings shiraz
house red from that
most blessed of shiraz
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
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
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 +