Thanks to Altair, Warrandyte’s dining scene has been taken to new and unexpected heights. The menu is designed to surprise and delight over perfectly executed dishes that retain your interest from start to finish. 

There was an incredible precision to Head Chef Kelvin Shaw's cooking that spoke volumes about his calibre. It is absolutely no surprise that the restaurant is the highest ranked restaurant in the Eastern Suburbs by the 'Age Good Food Guide'. 

The ambience of Altair is comfortable and relaxed, providing the perfect canvas for the culinary art. The dining room is marshalled by excellent service staff, led admirably by Michelle, who ensures your experience is a memorable one.  
Crab cracker with miso mayonnaise
Matched with: NV Laurent Perrier Brut, Champagne, France

Our meal started with a beautiful amuse bouche. The acid balance of the miso mayonnaise was perfect and the crab cracker had a wonderful textural edge. 
Rose tofu, soy, coriander, prickly ash, chilli & edamame
Matched with: “Muromachi Shuzo” Sakura Muromachi Junmai Ginjo Bizen Maboroshi

Simply stunning. This dish was well balanced, loaded with umami and complex, due in part to the skilfully balanced flavour combinations. The creamy melt in your mouth tofu cradled the fragrant rose elements while the soy reduction brought the whole dish together. Both beautiful and beautifully prepared. 
Grilled Mackerel, clam, saffron, tapioca sofrito, almond gazpacho
Matched with: 2014 Yabby Lake ‘Pink Claw’ Grenache Rose, Heathcote VIC

The mackerel was cooked to perfection.  The almond gazpacho provided a delectably unique and refreshing accompaniment to the Mackerel. We could not fault this dish.
Smoked eel, den miso, Japanese mustard, shiitake, pork floss & green tea
Matched with: 2013 Helens Hill ‘Long Walk’ Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley VIC

Presented beautifully, this dish was yet another highlight. The earthy mushrooms were cooked perfectly giving them a wonderful texture. Combined with the dispersed miso, Japanese mustard and pork floss, this dish was restrained and elegant. 
Venison carpaccio, raspberry, liquorice, wild bush olive, anchovy bavarois
Matched with: 2011 Leconfield Merlot, Coonawarra SA
Corned Lamb, carrot quinoa, celeriac, lavender jus
Matched with: 2010 Tim Adams Cabernet Malbec, Clare Valley SA

The centrepiece course of lamb continued the trend of stunning dishes that preceded it. The lamb was moist and melted in our mouths while the quinoa was perfectly crispy and accentuated by subtle but very much present lavender jus.  Our favourite wine match for the evening, the Cabernet Malbec was a perfect match with its hints of violet which echoed the lavender jus and fresh blackcurrant and vanilla which provided a delicious backdrop for this intense meaty dish. 
Mimolette Vieille, France, Cow’s Milk
Matched with: 2014 the Darling Pinot Gris, Marlborough NZ
Blackcurrant, ginger, honey & myrrh trifle
Matched with: NV Bethany Old Quarry Fronti White Port, Barossa Valley SA

This striking dessert was a playful take on the traditional trifle. A sweet end to a decadent evening. 
Altair is an extremely capable restaurant that offers a wonderful dining experience. We left spellbound - from the amazingly tender lamb to the enticing smoked eel. Each course was well thought out, complex, delightfully balanced and impeccably executed.

Location: 152 Yarra St, Warrandyte VIC 3113
Phone: (03) 9844 5548
Cuisine: Modern Australian

Altair Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Altair.

The [turning] Point

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of The Point.
Open for over a decade, The Point has recently undergone a radical and exciting transformation aimed at elevating it well above its roots as a premium steakhouse.

Sommelier and Restaurant Manager, Joseph Griffiths and Executive Chef Andy Harmer have been charged with the responsibility of bringing The Point to the forefront of fine dining in Melbourne and refocusing this institution on contemporary and creative cuisine, premium wines and seamless service. And based on our recent tasting, this transformation is well underway. The current menu impresses and surprises with elegant dishes of flawless execution which showcase seasonal, local ingredients - and perhaps a few artisan ingredients from our friends overseas. 
Not to be outshone is the wine list which reads like a work of literature, boasting a carefully curated wine collection spanning the best of old and new world wines. Of course if you prefer, you can leave wine matching in the expert hands of Joseph Griffiths. 
Cep mushroom crème fraiche, kipfler potato, ground roast chestnut fraiche, kipfler potatoes, mushroom and ground roast chestnut

Bursting with umami, this luxuriously textured amuse bouche awoken the senses with an outstanding depth of flavour. It is difficult to imagine a better start to a meal. 
Taleggio raviolo, walnut, grape and sorrel
Matched with: NV Dosnon et Lepage Champagne Rose de Saignee, Cote des Bar France

A playful reinvention of a cheese platter, this was a delightful combination of well-considered textures and flavours. The Champagne was the perfect playmate with its summery ripe peach characteristics and citrus aroma. 
Spanner crab, almond gazpacho, sauce Jacqueline
Matched with: 2013 Condes se Alberei Alberino, Rias Baixas Spain

Beneath the dense cloud lay crab meat perched above a moreish almond gazpacho. The delightful sweetness of the crab meat was retained and accentuated by the sauce Jacqueline. This dish deeply impressed with its finesse and textural delicacy.
Autumn in the Park
Matched with: Lustau Rare Cream Sherry Solera Superiore

A masterclass in textural balance and layered flavour. The ground seasonal mushroom powder, scattered morsels of parsley sponge and pine mushrooms evoked feelings of an edible forest floor and was only enhanced by the powerful fragrance of generous shavings of black truffle. The creamy celeriac acted as the perfect canvas and brought all of the elements together. Although initially surprising, the accompanying sherry paired exceptionally well with its sweet yet savoury nuances and taste-bud enlivening freshness.
Murray Cod, fennel and yuzu salt
Matched with: 2012 Cantina Terlano Vorberg Pinot Bianco 

A delicate dish which allowed the natural sweetness of the cod to shine, we enjoyed the interesting textural interplay between the sous vide fish flesh and the intensely crispy shards of skin. The minerally yet fruity pinot bianco echoed the delicate savouriness of the dish and matched well.
Wagyu (marble score 9) short rib, smoked eggplant
Matched with: 2011 Denton View Hill Nebbiolo, Yarra Valley Vic
2010 Pio Cesare Barolo served as a taste alongside

The slices of Wagyu short rib were cooked to a wonderful perfection with the subtle, delicious smokiness of the eggplant elevating the rich, buttery meat to magical levels. This dish highlighted a new wave of steak dishes that occupy The Point's menu emphasising elegance and completeness. The Nebbiolo was a perfect match with its black fruits, aromatic complexity and vibrant acids. We also were lucky enough to try a Barolo side by side in a classic battle of new verses old world - the big, tannic Barolo boasted a bouquet of dark fruit aromas, mint and liquorice.
Pre dessert: Lemon cake, vanilla poached quince and warm white chocolate mousse with lemon and mint water
Honey and eucalyptus parfait, Jerusalem artichoke, milk skin and thyme oil
Matched with: 2010 Kracher Beerenauslese, welshriesling chardonnay, Burgenland Austria

Consistent with the savoury courses, the dessert was superbly executed. The flawless harmony of sweet, creamy parfait contrasted with the savoury crisp, salty Jerusalem artichoke chips. An innovative and well-executed dessert. Once again, this dish was matched beautifully with welshriesling chardonnay - thick and syrupy with intense honeysuckle aromas and a fresh acid finish.
Under the careful guidance of Joseph Griffiths and Andy Harmer, The Point has shown itself capable of exceeding the legacy forged over the past decade. Having experienced these very exciting changes firsthand, it is clear that The Point is establishing itself firmly in the upper echelons of Melbourne’s premium culinary institutions. 

Location: Aquatic Drive, Albert Park Lake
Phone: 03 9682 5566 
Cuisine: Modern Australian 

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Event: Noosa International Food & Wine Festival 2014

Thursday 15 to Sunday 18 May 2014 sets the time to celebrate the next Noosa International Food and Wine Festival.
Over 250 invited chefs, producers, winemakers, entertainers and media will descend on Noosa and its iconic surroundings to join foodies from all over the world to party and celebrate the good things in life. 
Highlights of the 2014 Festival will include: 
  1. Foodie Fandango Opening Concert. A delectable confection of mouth-watering music will be served up by musical ‘chefs’, David Hobson, Taryn Fiebig, Jud Arthur & Guy Noble, accompanied by the fabulous Queensland Virtuosi Orchestra, 
  2. A fun Sixties Beach Party on iconic Noosa Main Beach. Patrons will slip on their 60s gear and Twist, Mash Potato and Limbo the night away to the Beach Boyz cover band in the Qantas Beach Marquee. A retro BBQ will be prepared by six of Australia’s hottest chefs: Jonathan Barthelmess, Colin Fassnidge, Dan Hong, Justin North, Louis Tikaram and Matt Wilkinson. 
  3. Two Qantas Seafood Feasts on Noosa Main Beach with Neil Perry AM preparing award-winning seafood with wines from Qantas epiQure. 
  4. Two fabulous International Premier Degustations featuring world renowned chefs. 
  5. The Platinum Experience –the ultimate way to enjoy the Festival in the prestigious Westpac Platinum Lounge with private bar and concierge. 
  6. Australia’s Best Home Cooked Dish. The Festival’s exciting new competition will bring competitorsfrom all over Australia to compete in the Grand Final for over $23,000 in prizes including atrip for two to London. 
  7. The spectacular entertainment line-up will see festival-goers enjoying a broad range of music including classical, pop, opera and rock. Amazing X-Factor winner Dami Im will get the crowds partying at Friday night’s Welcome Party as will great vocalist Paulini on Saturday night. Thomas Crane’s Bohemian Rhapsody will return to cap off Festival fun on Sunday. 
  8. The weekend will culminate with a sunset concert performance by Maria Venuti at Noosa National Park’s Lookout and a stunning eight-course Italian feast at Berardo’s restaurant & bar prepared by Lucio Galletto, Guy Grossi , Massimo Mele, Alessandro Pavoni, Tony Percuoco, Giovanni Pilu and Nino Zoccali.

The Sunshine Coast is the perfect backdrop to the Festival offering a myriad of accommodation options from luxury hotels to quaint hideaway cottages. 

A range of ticketing packages are available at or by downloading the free Festival Smartphone app. Buy tickets before April 1 and receive a 10% discount on most Festival events. 

  • Daily General Admission prices: $40 (adult); $20 (child) - include Celebrity Chef Cooking Demonstrations, Culinary Exhibits, The Courier-Mail Annexe, Food Critics’ Cooking Competitions and live entertainment. 
  • Weekend Gold Pass price: $330 - include entry to the Seppelt and Westpac Hospitality Pavilions and preferential concert seating.

Program and other information

Restaurant Review: Attica

Location: 74 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea
Phone: 03 9530 0111
Cuisine: Modern Australian, Vegetarian
Overall Impression: 9/10 

On Tuesday nights, Attica serves new ideas and test dishes that challenge and please. The menu is different every week and seasonal. Priced at $95 a head for 5 courses, it is no surprise that there is a consistently long waiting list.
It was a privilege to trial some of the latest cooking ideas from the Attica kitchen. I dined here with a few colleagues so the photos are secret shots I have taken with my phone (I keep my food blogging antics a secret from my work life - I fear this may be career limiting as it may conjure images of me obsessing about food every hour of the day and not being able to concentrate properly at work although this may very well be the case?). Needless to say (although I will say it) the photos are of a less than desirable quality. 
The food on the other hand was quite simply, fantastic. Well-balanced flavours, creative and beautifully presented. I look forward to returning with J to test drive the weekend dining menu! 

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