As part of this month's foodie celebrations, Malt hosted a Behind Enemy Lines dinner, which is a name that kind of strikes fear into your heart and I half expected to be greeted by chefs with a slotted spoon in one hand and a bayonet in the other. The experience was warm and welcoming though- thankfully the complete opposite of warfare!
The restaurant itself is country-cozy, with dim lighting and exposed wooden beams. It's a nice change to the sleek modernism that is continually dotting the Brisbane skyline.
Paired with dinner were a range of wines from Granite Belt winery Witches Falls. Being situated in Queensland is an instant challenge for any winery; this state is not known for its grape-growing. I honestly was not sure what to expect from these wines, but they turned out to be the surprise of the night for me. Balanced and interesting, they more than did justice to the food.
To kick things off, we were given a gorgeous Tanqueray Cocktail with Apple Juice, Pineapple Juice and Basil which was a really nice touch. To keep us off the floor, we also started with a Tempura Prawn with Pineapple Yoghurt and Corn Basil Aranchini.
The aranchini was served with a 2013 Co-inoculated Verdelho which was probably my least favourite out of the Witches Falls wines that evening, but that really says more about how much I liked their other wines rather than not liking this one. Fruity on the nose and with a light pineapple palate, it was a very nice opening glass.
Below we had a Blow Torch Scallop Carpaccio with Truffle, Celeriac and Pear served with a 2013 Wild Ferment Chardonnay. This was followed by a Duck Duo- Liver Parfait and Crispy Breast with Sour Cherry and Pickled Beetroot with a 2012 Wild Ferment Grenache.
These two dishes were absolutely brilliant. I really cannot rave about them enough. The scallops were sweet and the hint of truffle added a level of richness to this dish. The duck parfait was raved about by everyone at the table- it had the texture of a cloud but still had a phenomenal depth of taste. The little olive oil balls on the plate probably didn't add much to the dish for me personally, but were fun to pop in your mouth none the less.
I really love venison and have had a few disappointing ones in Brisbane lately. This however was cooked to perfection- crispy on the outside and light pick in the middle. I also absolutely loved the "surprise" (read: deep-fried ball of oozing goodness). A couple of others at the table weren't big on the chestnut in the surprise, but I really enjoyed its texture. The chocolate sauce was fantastically balanced as well.
The Prophecy Cab Sauv went down a treat with this dish, it had beautifully balanced ripe raspberry taste and some slight leathery aged notes coming through as well despite its young age.
I have never had compressed watermelon before, and now I'm a bit worried I'll never be happy with un-compressed watermelon. The concentrated flavours in this one piece of fruit were brilliant. I only wish there was a bit more of the mint granita, because it lifted the dish so well. Again, the moscato pairing was perfect with its light melon palate.