On S’s recommendation, we headed to Virginia Plain for a mid-week catch-up. With a four-course option available for $55 and 7 courses for $89, Andy Harmer’s ‘bring it on’ degustation menu is the way to go. The restaurant is also able to adjust the menu items for specific dietary requirements.
Some bread while we waited for the first course. Sourdough, served in a washable paper bag, was slightly dry.
To drink, we were recommended a 2011 Quealy Friulano Amphora. Introduced by Kathleen Quealy to Mornington, Friulano is a north-east Italian, cool-climate varietal, producing a light, aromatic wine. The wine is also fermented in a clay amphora as opposed to steel tanks. Dry and crisp, this went very well with our food and was an excellent recommendation.
First course, a slow cooked egg (think Cumulus Inc.’s 65/65 egg) on a bed of lightly pickled parsnip ribbons, with sorrel, jamon iberico and a brown chicken sauce, topped with a crouton and shaved parmesan.
Next, Chatham Island cod in an intense, more-ish, lemon thyme bisque emulsion, topped with fresh, shaved green and white asparagus.
The final savoury course was an assiette of wagyuu beef; tender braised beef shin, beef short rib and marrow, caramelised shallot and mashed potato.
For our pescatarian, a perfectly roasted three-cheese crusted kingfish fillet on a bed of spinach and mash, with baby calamari, vongole and peas in a white wine veloute.
Dessert was the chef’s intepretation of a banoffi pie; banana, caramel, sponge and rice krispies, topped with a milk foam. Even C (not normally a dessert person) was won over.
Overall, big ticks for the food; each course featured an interesting contrast of flavours and textures, including classic combinations as well as some different pairings that we hadn’t seen before.
The venue itself is slick and stylish, featuring dark timber furniture in a long, high-ceiling-ed dining hall, which caters for both small and large groups. Service was attentive and efficient, and the atmosphere was lively without being raucous. I’d definitely recommend Virginia Plain as a good option for a special occasion without breaking the budget.