I was invited to Bene, for a tasting of their ongoing Australian food and wine festival. There were a host of vegetarian and various meats on the menu. To whet the appetite, and also to taste the wines, the first wine brought out was the Penfolds Chardonnay. This is one of the featured wines on the Starwood’s Wines of The World, and a fresh fruity aromatic wine, that was paired with the starters on the menu. Starting with the tomato tea soup poured over the smoked tofu, shallots and greens, a very light beginning to the meal. The soup was very refreshing, and felt therapeutic even! I also tried the lamb broth, and it was a very nice wholesome soup with shredded meat, celery, onions, and crushed root vegetables. Moving onto the antipasto, the chef recommended the mud crab ravioli. This was made with the fresh catch of the day, and was dressed with herbs, tomato and avocado salad. The ravioli itself was a large sized piece stuffed with finely shredded crab meat and scallops. The beurre blanc was just the right bit of cream and buttery, the perfect sauce for this dish. This was definitely the best course of the evening!
For the mains, we tried 3 dishes to cover some meat and a vegetarian selection as well, the Antarctic Toothfish, Smoked Lamb Rack and King Oyster Mushroom. The tooth fish was moist and supple, and was served with crispy asparagus tempura, quite a good complement to the dish and dressed with miso. While sea food lovers would probably dig the preparation and the exotic fish, I preferred the lamb rack with parsley oil and smoked labneh, a delicate dish, with a well done piece of the meat, presented beautifully. The vegetarian dish was a pleasant surprise as well, the king oyster mushroom with barley risotto had a blend of cream and slightly tough mushrooms.
The dessert, after such an elaborate meal, was a simple one. The Peach Melba was a rush of fruity flavors of peach, raspberry sauce and ice cream. It was a served pretty large portion, but was finished in practically no time! The Rosella Flower Cheesecake balanced with coconut ice cream was a delicately presented dish, almost arty, was an experience in itself, the muted flavors blended so harmoniously. Amazing!
Chef Marty discussed his menu, and recommended some amazing dishes. I was honored to be part of this specially curated event. Our server was a young chap, who was extremely enthusiastic and helpful, went about explaining their wine selection and pairing. A wonderful evening, and a truly eclectic food festival.