Sunday, December 21, 2008

Birthday celebrations in the wild?

Joseph's restaurant
Werribee Park Mansion
Werribee, VIC 3030
Phone: (03) 9731 4130

The number of birthdays and subsequent celebratory posts in the past few weeks has revealed a somewhat curious observation-that there's a prevalence of Sagittarian food bloggers out there to name a few... Cindy from Where's the Beef, Ed from Tomato, Dani at The Kitchen Playground, Maria from The Gourmet Challenge, Jenn at The Left Over Queen, yours truly and over the weekend, Magic G over here at FFF.

The latest celebrations involved close encounters with wild animals and a gustatory adventure all within the surrounds of Werribee Park Mansion.After the surprise unveiling we set to working an appetite by exploring the Helen Lempriere sculpture park.

Dinner was eagerly anticipated and there were no signs of disappointment largely due to the fact that Martin Horsley, previously of Fenix, presides as executive chef - though we were unaware of that at the time.

Mushroom cappucino, white truffle foam
with smoked salmon croque monsieur

Crayfish cocktail, avocado mousse, tomato jelly
and caviar mayonnaise

Our entrees consisted of very interesting twists on a mushroom soup and seafood cocktail. The soup was full of savoury goodness which made Magic G's eyes pop out in amazement. My cocktail was also good- smooth avocado mousse, the crayfish sweet and the clear tomato jelly a refreshing palate cleanser.

Pan fried snapper, red claw yabbies, melted eggplant,
tomato carpaccio with fresh white anchovies

Confit of lamb with a spiced olive and onion sauce
with a side of smoked potato puree, broad beans,
braised lettuce and honeyed carrots

The mains came out while our tastebuds were still buzzing. The snapper was delicious - crunchy skin, juicy flesh. Combining it with pureed eggplant was peculiar but great (never would've put the two together). I could imagine the judges on Iron Chef commenting on how the flavours battled each other, yet captured the essence of each ingredient! My lamb was cooked to sweet, sticky perfection and the smoked potato puree was fantastic and must have been infused with something evil like bacon oil!

Deconstructed strawberry cheesecake- strawberries,
blueberry jelly and basil sorbet with pistachio
crumble, cream and cheesecake foam

Turkish delight parfait, rhubarb sorbet, orange jelly
and warm chocolate sauce

Unfortunately the photos do little justice- these deserts were amazing. Both were contrasting in flavour and texture. Thought it didn't look like a cheesecake the taste was unmistakable - cream cheese as foam, moorish crumble and juicy strawberries. Strangely, the most intense taste was the freshness of the basil sorbet- so damn good! Somehow the parfait tasted like turkish delight despite it's appearance and the rhubarb sorbet gave a sharp contrast to the creamy parfait/warm chocolate...mmmm! A wonderful way to celebrate a special birthday!


  1. That looks delicious! A great way to celebrate - Happiest Birthday to you!

  2. Wow, those desserts must have been incredible!

  3. Hi Jenn> Thanks for the comment- twas a very happy birthday indeed and the dinner was such a special treat!

    Hi Cindy> Thanks and yup those desserts sure were mind blowing- the cheesecake especially- so many exciting flavours and textures it was wonderful and definitely worth the effort for a special celebration!

  4. It's a tad late but happy birthday.

    I'm usually a bit wary of deconstructed desserts. They make me think that the chef was just too lazy to actually combine them togethers :-).


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