We hear The Palace by Luke Mangan is now just The Palace, although we have high hopes for new head chef John King (ex-Church Street Enoteca and Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld – click here to check out our review).
So it seems there is no time like the present to put up this post – to celebrate all that Luke achieved at this great South Melbourne eatery. We recently attended a wine-matching dinner presented by Coldstream Hills Winery at The Palace by Luke Mangan.
The Palace is what Londoners like us refer to as a gastropub. A mutation of top-notch pub with the addition of a new breed of chef willing to cook pub meals at a consistently high standard in a refined but unpretentious setting. There usually serve a pretty good drop, too. Plus boutique beers and ciders, you get the picture.
The place is in an unassuming building along City Road and walking through the doors you find it harbours a bar and seating area. Continuing through a doorway you enter the dining room proper but if you bypass this you get to a great outdoor seating area – I will definitely be back to try it out in the next few months.
The Coldstream Hills Wine Dinner was to take place in a separate are behind the bar where gold framed prints and large mirrors line the walls. As we were taken to our table we were offered to start with a glass of Coldstream Hills NV Sparkling. It was a great glass of bubbles that kicked off the first of four courses. Rob Hay from Coldstream Hills took us through the wines that were going to accompany the meal and gave us insight into the peculiarities of grape growing in the region.
We started off with a sashimi plate. This dish was a hit with everyone. New Zealand King Salmon on confit potato, ponzu dressing.
Sitting next to that was Kingfish sahimi, ginger eschalot dressing. Kingfish is the seafood of choice of WordMonkey and this did not disappoint her one iota.
To finish off the trio Scallop, cauliflower puree, black bean dressing, baby shiso. I tried to take my time to savour each flavour but as I was attempting to do that, all the plates around me were wiped clean in just a few minutes.
The next course for me was what I would term a revelation. People who know me know I have more than a slight aversion to anything ‘egg-y’. Well, the second course had to be prawn omelette, bisque sauce, truffle oil didn’t it…. I had an unhealthy urge for all the other ingredients. Well, after WorkMonkey said that if the dish passed my lips, the perfect combination of flavours would mask anything to do with egg. And for the first time in my life I not just swallowed egg but ate the whole dish leaving nothing on my plate. This was matched well with Coldstream Hills ‘Deer Farm Vineyard’ Chardonnay – nice and smokey to complement the truffle.
Onto the reds we went – Coldstream Hills Reserve Pinot Noir. Dear Lord, this was the stuff dreams are made of. If I could drink one red for the rest of my life, then start stocking the cellar. Yes – you may think I am going overboard but I have good reason so don’t knock it ’til you tried it my friend. This was served alongside Confit duck, Asian style brique pastry, char sui mushrooms, duck and ginger broth. The duck looked like it was encased in a spring roll and the pungent broth was poured over the duck and into the bowl. light, tasty and tender wrapped in a crispy shell. Yum.
To finish the evening off chai panna cotta was cleverly matched with Coldstream Hills Reserve Shiraz. Not normally one to opt for chai anything, this turned the tide and we wiped the decks with this light sweet dessert.
So there you have it – Luke Managan had a darn good gastropub going here. Watch this space for what the future holds, and Follow @shark4chipdrink
The Palace by Luke Mangan
505 City Road
South Melbourne, VIC 3205
Tel. (03) 9699 6410