Sunday, April 26, 2009

Muse, Pokolbin

1 Broke Rd,
Pokolbin 2320 Map

The guide books and Sydney's Good Food Guide all give good reviews to a restaurant called Terroir and the GFG noted that they had a vegetarian menu, so we thought we'd give it a go.

So we went to the Hungerford Hill winery and discovered that Terroir had had a complete change of management, chef and name and was now called Muse. Did they have a vegetarian menu, as their predecessor did, I asked. They replied that they didn't but they could change a few dishes to be vegetarian and mentioned the fettucini and gnocchi dishes.

Not really fancying a double-barrel of “pasta” dishes, I must've looked a bit skeptical. They then said that the chef was extremely good and very imaginative and would sort something special out. Okay, I said and we booked a table.

My wife was a bit skeptical and was convinced that I would just get a plate of uninspiring vegetables or worse. How wrong she was.

Once we had arrived and were seated, the waitress came over and presented me with a list of at least half a dozen vegetarian choices. I chose to start with a Truffle Veloute and to follow with an Assiette of Vegetables.

After an amuse of a single piece of blue-cheese gnocchi served on a teaspoon, the veloute arrived.

It was divine. It was amazingly truffly as you would expect and wonderfully creamy and smooth. I could happily have sipped on that all night.

Before the main course we had a palette cleanser of Lemon Sorbet.

The assiette of vegetables consisted of a plate of small vegetable tasters. It looked great and reminded me a little of the plates that are served at Terre a Terre in the UK. The dish included Chargrilled Asparagus, Kataffi Pastry Mushroom Parcels, Rainbow Chard with Goats Cheese, Fennel with Olives & Yellow & Red Tomatoes, Peas and a Truffle Reduction.

As a complete dish, it didn't work at all, but all the separate parts were really tasty, especially the mushroom parcels and the rainbow chard and cheese.

For dessert I had Banana, Macadamia and Caramel Crepes with Ice Cream which were lovely. My wife had Lemon Meringue Muse which was a deconstructed lemon meringue pie where the curd, meringue and biscuit were separate on the plate. She said it was one of the best desserts she had had.

We both enjoyed the meal, the setting – in front of a huge stone fireplace – was great and the service was excellent. The amount of choice that I had really showed the imagination and versatility of the chef in cooking veggie dishes and those that I chose looked and tasted great. If you're in the Hunter Valley and are looking for a great vegetarian choice, give Muse a call.

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