A candelabra would not be entirely out of place in the middle of a linen-decked table, as a black and white cuff artfully arranges a diminutive plate of food at a 45 degree angle to it.
At New Farm’s Allium though, there is not one white tablecloth in sight leaving the food to stand on its merit alone.
So how does the dressed-down degustation experience compare to its starched-up counterparts?
Let’s take a look.
As already mentioned, gone are the white tablecloths, but gone too are the expensive prices that go with having to cover excessive laundering costs. The ambiance is still chic though and service here was on point all night.
An amuse bouche kicked-off the night for us, which was a sweet little bite of house-made potato chip with Jerusalem artichoke puree. It was highly appetising.
Opting for the food-gods to do the deciding for us, we made our one meal choice for the night and elected for the seven-course degustation menu to let the kitchen do both the thinking and the cooking tonight.
Our first three dishes out of said kitchen gave us an initial inkling of the delicious night we were in for:
- Confit Tomato, Maleny Milk Ricotta, Rockmelon, Basil, Kalamata Olive
- South Australian Hiramasa Kingfish, Cucumber, Apple, Buttermilk, Dill
- Seared Scallops, Caramelised Cauliflower, Pickled Grape, Caper and Raisin
Each of these dishes were stand-out in their own way. On the first plate, the freshness of the tomatoes and melon were allowed to shine without too much meddling going on. The Maleny milk ricotta tasted like soft pillows of milk which was just a delight.
The next dish that came out was my pick of the night. Beautifully light sashimi kingfish was topped with an apple sorbet that added a freshness and temperature contrast that made each mouthful genuinely exciting. Buttermilk was poured over the dish, offering a velvety creaminess that just worked so well.
Our third dish was seared scallops which are a personal favourite of mine, and I wasn’t disappointed. The scallops were firm on the inside and beautifully charred on the outside. I’ll be honest and say that the cauliflower was quite nice but not particularly caramelised, however the pickled grape added a nice subtle sweetness.
- Borrowdale Free Range Pork Cheek, Celeriac, Date, Puffed Rice, Sherry Caramel
- Cone Bay Barramundi, Japanese Turnip, Crispy Kale, Lemon, Smoked Mussel Veloute
- Darling Downs Wagyu Striploin, Roasted Shallot, Baby Carrot, Mushroom Ketchup
The pork cheek was so tender that it basically fell apart as the fork neared it. Contact barely had to be made. The celeriac was lovely and creamy and the crispy puffed rice added a fun crunch to each mouthful.
Heading back to the sea, the barramundi dish was another winner, served with kale that was so crisp you could hear it snap across the room. The smoked mussel veloute was poured on top of the dish as it was served and added some beautiful ocean minerality to the plate.
Our last savoury dish of the night was the wagyu striploin which was beautifully rare but with a nicely seared exterior. The mushroom ketchup was rich and earthy and tied the dish together well.
Finally, we reached sweet o'clock with a:
- Belgian Chocolate Cremeux, Honeycomb, Chocolate Mousse, Milk Ice Cream
This dessert plate was rich and decadent, and a really satisfying way to end the meal. The milk ice cream tasted exactly like fresh milk which was exactly what was needed to balance the lush chocolate two-ways that we were savouring. The crunchy honeycomb again mixed up the textures in a really nice way.
Allium is proof that you don’t need all the trappings of a fine dining establishment to create a fine dining establishment. You just need the creativity and the know-how.