Sometimes you want to have a special night, but you just don’t know where to go and what to eat. How about all the luxurious flavours from fine dining in the comfort of your own home? I joined power couple Ellie and Oli Mistry and some of the food blogosphere elite for a lavish personal chef experience by At Your Table. A deluxe 5 course degustation was personally crafted by Rory Taber of The Fat Duck and Eau de Vie recognition, and matched with the perfect wine by Stuart Knox from Fix St. James for an intimate night of fun, laughter, and good food.
Our feast began with the Duck Liver Pot matched with a 2010 Pichot Vouvrey Demi Sec from Loire Valley France, which has elements of asparagus, pain de pise bread, and cherry that has been soaked in port for 6 months in Rory’s fridge. Everything complements each other, in a savoury starter with a bitter port kick. The cinnamon in the bread left diners at the table yearning for more and it was stated that the meal could end here and she would be satisfied. But there was much more to come!
Not what, but who, came before the next dish was Baby Mistry – Loki. He must have sensed the fun we were having and sat squarely on Oli’s knee and ate all his cinnamon bread, upon which Ellie generously said she would share hers so everyone would have some. This was a perfect showcase of the ease of in-home dining – no more babysitters for little loved ones!
The next course came sitting on a non-assuming spoon of salsa verde, Tomato Consomme / Basil Tortellini had a hint of peppery truffle essence that pulled out the flavours of ricotta and basil in the tortellini. This was served with a 2012 Salomon Weiden Gruner Veltliner from Austria, a wine that is similar to Riesling, but from a lesser known, and thus more unique gruner veltliner grape variety.
The Smoked Ham Terrine was hand-smoked by Rory for a robust, smooth flavour, with the salad cutting through the palate for freshness. A 2011 Charvin Cotes Du Rhone from France added some floral notes to the wine stories told by our charming sommelier. He explained that wine is poured first to the host in traditional times so that they could check that it was not poisoned, and that the sommelier will go around the table (instead of behind the host) to top up their cup, so that they could see that no one else has attempted to poison them during the course of wine-pouring!
The Pan Fried John Dory was one of my favourite dishes, and was gorgeously buttery. The flavours melted in the mouth and was a balance of delicately sweet and salty from the dory, while rich with the pumpkin mash. My only criticism is that I wanted more of those smoky, aromatic explosions of tomatoes delicately placed on the edge of the plate – they were just that good. What’s better is that, because Rory was cooking in the open kitchen just behind me, I could literally just reach out for more. And reach out I did. A 2011 Pooleys Butchers Block Pinot Noir from Tasmania gave the dish an acidic element that suited the buttery notes perfectly. We’re told that, in blind tastings, our wines from Tasmania can compare to the taste of France!
Our dessert came in the form of a highly alcoholic Rhum Baba with a 2011 Chateau Boucasse Pacherenc “Les Larmes Celestes”. My favourite element was the passionfruit sorbet made from the fruit tree in Rory’s backyard – you can’t get more homegrown than that! Although the rhum baba was too boozy for my palate, there were joyful remarks from the table that it was like “eating a shot!”
Wife and husband team Ellie and Oli
All in all, it was a night of gastronomy and laughs that brought fine dining into the comfort of a cosy home.
The At Your Table Personal Chef service can be booked online here and is $115 per person for 3 courses, and $135pp for 5 courses with a minimum of 8 people. A minimum of 2 people can dine for $259 per person. A waiter for $25 per hour and wine is available at an additional cost. BYO wine is also available.
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of At Your Table.