7.38am, Tuesday 17th April, McDonalds McCafe – love the free wi fi compared to $24 a day in the motel!, Canning Highway, South Perth, WA, Australia
Morning, folks – a lovely cool breezy morning here in Perth as the start to what is obviously going to be a lovely clear warm day.
Now sometimes in my travels I have managed to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to see something very special! Alas, it will not be this morning! Where should I have been? Cottesloe Beach, near the North Cott Surf Club! Why? Because at 6am this morning, most of the delightful blokes that were at our Yalumba Rare & Fine dinner last night – location Kim’s Food Bar on the sharp Napoleon Street alleyway in the suburb of Cottesloe, just a hop, step and a skip across the railway line to the beach itself – would have been part of the “early morning get your Speedos wet in the surf” brigade. And I for one would have liked to be there to see that, especially as they emerged one by one from the waves, like Daniel Craig in that last memorable James Bond movie moment! In particular, there was one pair of blue and white striped speedos that would have caught my complete attention – no names – you know who you are!
We had a magic autumn evening to work with last night, which totally suited the open air single room cafe that is Kim’s Food Bar. It’s the latest food house from Kim Gamble, who is well known in this part of Perth for several legendary beachside restaurants – The Blue Duck and Barchetta with their own bakery and pasticceria attached – both of them built in and around old North Cottesloe Surf Club change rooms. Yep, that’s where the surf club crossover comes in … which invariably involves Speedos! Kim is a member of the club, and that’s why a lot of the local folks at our Rare & Fine dinner last night are tangled up with the club and why I know where they would have been this morning! I did get an invite, but honestly … I look rubbish in Speedos!
So to our event.
Kim’s seats about 35 people, and they do ‘simple Italian style food, using local producers’. Their credo ‘simpatico rispetto pasione’ is over the front door, and the crew – front of house Matt and Anna, with Ben and Steele at the stoves – absolutely nail it. They matched their rustic food flavors in complete ‘sympathy’ with the set of wines we gave them beforehand – no three dimensional food sculptures trying to use every condiment known to man – and handmade ingredients like naturally 36 hour raised pizza dough and homemade salsiccia (that’s Italian sausage, folks) that just tasted great.
This is The dining room – check out the lovely old green enamel tin lampshades over the bar – salvaged from the Albert Park tennis club.
The evening opened with our 2011 Eden Valley Viognier – all apricot, lemongrass and slippery – and the boys sent out skinny wedges of thin-crust pizza topped with braised onions and fleshy anchovy fillets – straight out of their own wood fired oven at the end of the bar in front of the open kitchen – perfect Italian style version of sweet and salt. Oh, and then they chased that with some char grilled prawns.
Then we ran three red wine doubles – starting with the Cabernet Sauvignon contrast from our Coonawarra vineyard. You’ll find this on the genuine ‘terra rossa on top of the cigar shaped limestone reef” that defines this particular wine growing region. We are just north of the Penola township, southern end of the Coonawarra.
The two wines – lush and forward, red berry-dominated 2010 The Cigar – Cabernet with a dash of Merlot – and the serious 2008 The Menzies 100% Cabernet – long, silky, French oak tannin-spined palate topped off with traditional cassis, mint eucalypt and earthy aromatics … Ben and Steele chose homemade Italian-style spicy salsiccia sausage – skewered to a sprig of fresh rosemary, on a bed of sliced and grilled pepperoni.
On we went to keeping the old school Australian blend of Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz alive with the 2009 The Scribbler – younger vineyards, rearing to go out of the blocks, fresh fruit drive of 2/3 Cabernet 1/3 Shiraz, mostly from the Barossa floor so a touch ripe and rich in there – and the stately gentleman charmer of the Cab Shiraz world, the 2008 The Signature. This wall of elegant star anise, coffee mocha, cracked pepper layer cake is built for the long journey and – in keeping with Yalumba tradition – is named for someone that’s made an outstanding contribution to that world – this vintage being the Judy Argent, great character and long-term fixture in the Angaston winemaking team.
And for this, the boys brined some local lamb rump and slow roasted it – so that you could push it apart with a gentle nudge of the fork – and sent it out on a bed of single grain (they got it absolutely right! ) risotto. Yum!
Getting a bit artistic folks – that’s the lamb with the new tall shoulder bottle, new label 2010 Patchwork Shiraz – which was served the other side of the lamb dish – and was jumping out of the glass itself.
****Early Warning Folks! 2010 will be something special as a vintage for red wines of serious merit from The Barossa!
The Patchwork was doubled with the deep, dark plum and choc cherry-laced 2006 The Octavius Old Vine Barossa Shiraz, and was a doubled barreled big red finish to the new Rare & Fine lineup.
There was a light vanilla bean pannacotta to end the evening, designed to go with our 2011 FSW8B, our Wrattonbully ‘Fine Sweet White’ botrytis Viognier. And yes … the pannacotta did ‘quiver’ when it was turned out onto the plate, and merged beautifully with the honey, nougat and apricot of the Viognier. A lovely spot of food and wine crossover finish to our big night out in Cottesloe at Kim’s Food Bar. And what a way to start our week’s events over here in The West!
Thanks to Brian for setting the whole thing up, to Kim, Ben, Steele, Matt and Anna for opening up their house just for us on a Monday night, and for all the local Cottesloe folks for coming out on a school night to see what we’ve been up to for the past 163 years at Yalumba!
With any luck we’ll see you at least this time next year … and I promise that next time I’ll hold the towels whilst you brave the early morning surf! Ciao for now!