Last week, Jenny made some commendable life achievements. What better way to celebrate than with food? Another mate of ours recommended the degustation from The Foraging Quail and the menu looked good online so we went with that. The Foraging quail offers a discount off their degustation options if you dine on Wednesday or Thursday night and are seated before 7:30pm.
I took this 'seated before' business a bit too seriously and booked us a table at 5:30pm. Due to some crummy navigational mistakes, I got there 15 minutes late, which left Jenny alone at the restaurant for an embarrassingly long period of time. I think her glass of wine was the only thing that kept her going. The restaurant stayed empty until after 7. It was fairly lively by the time we finished. I felt like a complete nanna eating as early as we did!
The Foraging quail is located on Merthyr Road in New Farm and there are plenty of street parks available at that end of the road. The restaurant is styled in a clean and contemporary manner that suits its food quite well. The menu is wordy but doesn't cause much indecision. There are 2 main options for degustation, the 6 course or 9 course. On the website, there is a further choice of 'omnivore' or 'herbivore' (vegetarian). Jenny was actually interested in the vegetarian menu but I believe the kitchen needs to know in advance so they can prepare the vegetarian courses. I was actually asked when we confirmed the booking whether either of us had food intolerances and I had answered 'no'. I didn't consider a preference for the vegetarian menu a 'food intolerance' so maybe they can make that a bit clearer. I heard another table of girls run into the same problem.
We both ended up both choosing the 6 course ominvore degustation. This was in fact slightly more than 6 'courses' because there were a couple of complimentary mini courses added on. The first of these was the amuse bouche and house baked bread.
House bread and amuse bouche
The bread had an Asian steamed bun glossiness and texture. It was a bit tough for my liking. I did enjoy the shot of seafood stock. It was creamy and very potent. It worked as an amuse bouche but I wouldn't be able to handle an entire bowl's worth.
Slow-braised octopus - with chili jam, Thai pesto, thai peso, pickled leeks and capers
Our next course was the slow braised octopus. The octopus itself was lovely and tender without a hint of rubberiness. It was nicely complimented by the pesto and salty capers.
Yellow tail king fish - with spiced coconut broth, bok choy and Vietnamese salad
The catch of the day followed. On our night, it was yellow tail king fish and it was served in a spiced coconut broth. This course had a nice Asian flavour profile. It was built up with herbs that added a welcome freshness.
Pork jowel - with apple and celeriac, morcilla, brussel sprouts, baby corn and broccollini
The pork jowel looked simple but gorgeous on the plate. Jenny and I both really enjoyed this one. The pork was tender but also crisp on the outside. Brussel sprouts were left relatively plain and unadorned but with pork being such a rich protein, this worked well.
Beef - with mushroom forest, confit garlic, truffle mayonnaise, pea and wattle seed
My favourite course of protein was the beef with mushrooms. The beef was so tender it could be cut with a spoon. I loved the earthiness from the mushrooms and the sweetness of baby peas. The wattle seed crackers added a nice element of crunch.
Baked caramelised pear - with walnuts, jamon and gorgonzola dolce
Before we got started on dessert, we had a fun cheese course. Normally when you order your meal, you have to choose between cheese or a sweet dessert. I liked that we got to taste both on the one night. This wasn't a conventional cheese platter but rather a pretty arrangement of gorgonzola, baked pear, jamon and walnuts. Anyone who is a fan of cheese knows those flavours work exceptionally well together. It was a cheese course that could be enjoyed without the task of cutting and layering cheese with crackers.
Mango sorbet appetite cleanser
We were treated to a palate cleanser of mango sorbet with a crumble. This was light and sweet but not too sweet. There was a clear mango flavour and the sorbet texture was smooth.
Eight textures of chocolate - with peanut butter log, sponge cake moss and blood orange sorbet
The dessert course, our last dish of the night, sounded explosive on paper. Eight textures of chocolate? Unreal. It actually wasn't as overbearing as I thought it would be. The chocolateyness was definitely present but none of the elements were too sweet or cloying. There was a blood orange sorbet for us to turn to to cut through the richness but I didn't even need it until right at the end. We loved the dehydrated white chocolate mousse shards and the peanut butter log was yummy too.
Visually, all of our dishes were stunning. Whoever is responsible plating has it down to an art. Our courses came out quite quickly too. I suppose this is an advantage to having limited choice in the menu. All the dish elements can be prepared and ready to plate.
We had a wonderful and filling meal at The Foraging Quail. I think that degustations are a bit too full for an everyday weeknight dinner but for a special occasion, it has that added element of excitement. There was a good variety of foods represented in the courses and service was friendly throughout the night.