Yotam Ottolenghi hardly ate more than a few mouthfuls of food as he generously gave his time, chatting with his Brisbane fans. Talk about a fleeting visit to sunny Queensland. A little less than 5 hours to spend in Brisbane and attend a lunch hosted by Gerards Bistro and goodfood.com.au.
By the time dessert was served, everyone was in love with Yotam.
On arrival guests were served a glass of Vinaceous ‘Burlesque’ Blanc de Blanc, Great Southern WA along with the following pretty and very tasty morsels; cured mackarel, piel de sapo melon, orange blossom, puffed skin and scales (this was my favourite), Blackmore wagyu basturma, buttermilk and pickled chilli, beetroot croquant, labne and spring flowers.
This was followed by a glass of Yalumba Viognier, Eden Valley SA 2013 and shared entrees: Murray cod and spring onions, grilled over coal, warm yoghurt, braised broad beans, lemon and coriander, Batata harra ( a Lebanese vegetable dish consisting of potatoes, coriander, chili, and garlic which are all fried together in olive oil.)
- Earliest food memory: Semolina gnocchi with cheese and nutmeg made by grandma.
- Favourite cities to eat: Istanbul and Tokyo
- Last meal: rice and lentils with fried onions, allspice and yoghurt. A dish he would eat with his family.
- Must have ingredients: lemon, allspice, coriander, pomegranate molasses.
- What ingredients are gaining in popularity: black garlic, miso, tamarind.
We then enjoyed shared mains of Holmbrae duck legs braised with Jerusalem artichoke, preserved lemon and olive, lemon and curry leaf rice and roasted pumpkin, cardamom and nigella seeds, served with Yalumba Old Bush Rine Grenache, Barossa Valley SA 2013.
Shared dessert included the sensational ricotta fritters wth orange and honey and the Turkish apple sorbet, spiced rum cake, salted caramel and milk chocolate with your choice of a Spring Seeds ‘Sweet Pea’ Moscato, McLaren Vale SA 2014 or the Yalumba FSW8B Botrytis Viognier, Wrattonbully SA 2014. The combination of apple sorbet, spiced rum cake and milk chocolate was smile inducing.
Ok, so this little lunch outing was somewhat of an indulgence for me. $175 a ticket, but this also included a copy of Yotam’s new book ‘Plenty More’ and a little goodie bag with a wee jar of ‘Bee One Third’ honey, some biscotti from Jocelyn’s Provisions and a copy of the Brisbane Good Food Guide.
With a menu inspired by Yotam’s recipes, chef Ben Williamson and the team at Gerards certainly lived up to my expectations with a very memorable lunch. Now I look forward to discovering all that ‘Plenty More’ has to offer and enjoying more ways to use my bottle of pomegranate molasses.