Wine Degustation with Quarter Twenty One

I thought I’d try my best to recall step by step the wonderful experience Mr.HEA and I had on our latest date night, celebrating the end of last week at Quarter 21. I’ll let on soon enough what we were celebrating, but this post is dedicated to a first experience for me, Wine pairing with food. Whilst I’ve always loved wines and good food, it has always been a bit too much for me to have more than a bottle’s worth of wine so I have been apprehensive. This experience however, it just seemed apt as we had received a gift voucher for our wedding and Mr.HEA wanted for me to experience this. He didn’t go for this as one of us had to be the responsible one for the night.

Mr. HEA’s Basil Martini

Amuse bouche

 Just a burst of flavour that leaves you wanting more.

Salad of beetroot with endive, Baw Baw blue, hazelnut and pear
2010 Coombe Farm Pinot Gris, Yarra Valley, VIC, Australia

 One of my obsessions at the moment is beetroot with a goat’s cheese so this salad was right up my alley. The wine smelt strong, to take on that Baw Baw flavour was in fact a really light wine, almost like water, very refreshing to wash down the cheese with.The pear, if saved for just the right intervals, leave you with a good crisp sweetness to tide over the bitter endives and cheese with.

Raviolo of ocean trout and king prawn with fennel and ginger
2009 Hugh Hamilton Viognier, McLaren Vale, SA, Australia

 We really enjoyed the fresh and sweet seafood in this Raviolo. The stock was just as sweet. Whilst the Viognier might not have been too palatable by itself (Mr.HEA scrunched up his nose), paired with this dish, the dryness takes away the sweetness to prepare you for another bite.

(not pictured)
Bourride of ocean jacket with mussels, squid and saffron rouille
2008 Victory Point Chardonnay, Margaret River, WA, Australia
There are several reasons why this dish wasn’t picutred. Firstly, we were told this dish was scallop and I was very distracted because it didn’t look like scallop. Then the Chardonnay was delectable with a smooth buttery finish, and with this silky ocean jacket, I swooned throughout the flavours.

Seared Queensland scallop with boudin noir & Jerusalem artichoke
2010 Yering Station Pinot Noir ‘Village’, Yarra Valley, VIC, Australia

 I questioned the waiter as to why the scallop dish was paired with a red wine. He assured me it would be fine. And this was because of the boudin noir, which in my innocence, I did not realise was a blood sausage. Just as the irony taste gets too much, you chew a bit of scallop and then wash it off your tongue with the Pinot Noir and finish it all off with the charred leek. Quite a divine mix for the tastebuds after all.

Slow cooked Riverina lamb with broad beans, artichoke & piperade jus
2009 Hugo Shiraz, McLaren Vale, SA, Australia

 Mr. HEA got this dish and thought the lamb a little bloody, but overall very tender and with good peppery flavours.

Slow-cooked Glenloth Farm pheasant, braised endive, raisin, caper & Grand Marnier
2010 Woodstock Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, SA, Australia

 I took on the Pheasant cause Mr.HEA in his ignorance thought this meant rabbit and didn’t like the thought of it. I knew it was a game bird, laughed haughtily and enjoyed it tremendously with the soft CS they served with it. Rather mellow flavours here, both the dish and the wine and I am beside myself.

(palate cleanser not pictured)
Champagne chiboust, mint & rockmelon
 Mr.HEA detests rockmelon, but his mother would have been shocked to see him down this sorbet with gusto. Perhaps with Champagne to mask its flavour, he is easier to please.

Banana crème brûlée, salted peanut brittle & milk coffee sorbet
Domaine des Bernardins, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Rhone Valley, France

Oh, really the best creme brulee I had ever had. The crunch of the caramelised top usually is enough to keep us going, but the hidden peanut brittle was a lovely delight and overall, the mixture of the salt and bitterness from the coffee sorbet was washed down surprisingly well with the French Muscat. I am bewildered as to how a sweet wine is just the thing to take the edge off a rather rich dessert as this, but the sugars counter each other it would seem and I am left with a balanced palate.

Warm 68% Alto Beni Zokoko chocolate pudding, honeycomb & pear sorbet
2008 Cookoothama Botrytis Semillon, Darlington Point, NSW, Australia

 Mr.HEA’s dessert for the night, which he adored, gaga-ing when the chocolate oozes out of the fondant and really loving the crackle of the honeycomb.

Mr.HEA orders a flat white that is all heart…

Complimentary madeleines which I didn’t quite need nor fancy.

Other things deserving a mention were the extremely fantastic crusty Becasse bread they serve at the beginning of the meal; our waiter’s wonderful attention to detail (bringing exactly the right wine for my meal pairing, waiting patiently for Mr.HEA and I had to taste both dishes and then swap based on which one we prefered); and the beautiful ambience of the restaurant – I really liked the luxurious chairs and the french white brick walls.
I wish Quarter 21 will stay around for a long time. It is a good unpretentious place with great service and fabulous food. Word is they have gone into Voluntary Administration, but if they keep up doing all this great work, I really cannot fathom that this isn’t their pathway to suceed.

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