Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Champions Bistro @ Bowls Clayton

Hello Fellow Nom Seekers!

 A few months back, Champions Bistro was considered a hidden gem of a fine dining experience in the incongruent surrounds of a lawn bowls club in the middle of Clayton.  With bloggers like Sharking for Chips & Drinks and Good Food Guide covering this from the get-go, word has spread.  So rather belatedly but assuredly, I made my way there too.

The menu is a set degustation menu of 9 courses for $80 pp.  For an extra $50, you can opt for wine matching. Unfortunately, or perhaps rather fortunately for my tummy, they did not have a kid's menu.  So kiddo had the adult 9 course degustation.  She did not finish everything hence the fortunate aspect of this - we polished off some of her's as well.  Champions Bistro did offer to do an abbreviated version of the degustation for kiddo minus a few courses, but we waved that aside.  Greedy, I know.

We were advised the menu changes every week or so depending on seasonal and local produce available.  Here is what we had:

Fried Potato with Scraped Wagyu
Anything with the words 'fried potato' and 'wagyu' has got to be great.  It is a mini steak and chips held together by avocado glue.

Heirloom vegetables, anchovy & garlic emulsion
These heirloom veggies were so delicately sliced, they were translucent.  Almost too pretty to eat but eat it I did.  I couldn't really taste the anchovy in the emulsion but that did not detract from the deliciousness of it all.

Macadamia, crab, butter + sorrel
 This was unusual but sublime.  It was a crunchy meringue-base with crab and sorrel on top.  Light as air.
Ocean King Prawns, first radishes, acidulated water
 These juicy prawns were very refreshing paired with the radish and the tomato-y tasting acidulated water.
"Autumn Harvest" mushrooms cooked in pork juices, sour quince
  OMG, this was my fave - juicy substantially sized mushrooms cooked in very intensely porky juices.  The cinnamon quill-like things in can see in the photo were concentrated pork bits in a dehydrated crunchy form.  I mopped up the pork juices with the sourdough (see below)

House made sourdough and churned butter
 My main dilemma of the day was whether to apply a liberal amount of the house churned butter on the warm sourdough or whether to mop up the above pork juices with it.  *sigh* such first world problems.
Duck, native berries, orange and carrot
 My second fave - the confit of duck.  It literally melted upon contact and had a slightly sweet glaze.  The native berries were delicious.
Pynegana cheddar, black garlic, plum, rye
 We were advised that the inspiration for the pynegana cheddar was the lunchbox cheese and crackers.   I don't know about you, but my lunch box cheese and crackers tasted nothing like this!  The cheese was wonderfully savoury and moussey in texture.  It had a sprinkling of shortbread on top which gave it a sweet and salty element.  The rye was in the form of the gigantic cracker and the plum and black garlic was in the little accompanying jelly.
Salted pop corn
 Now for desserts - I must come clean, I did not eat the desserts as I am on the the I Quit Sugar Program.  Kiddo had both my share and her's.  I asked her for feedback.  This simply named "salted pop corn" dish is a creative and complicated take on the good ole salted pop corn.  It had a meringue-y type base, with a custard made of corn and gooey ice-creamy, cream topping.  The crumbs were crushed pop corn. My sister said it had a sumptuous mouth feel.  I also sought comments from kiddo who did not offer any as she was too busy licking her plate and mine.

Butter, nut, pumpkin
This unassumingly named "butter, nut, pumpkin" was a surprise.  It kept us guessing what was to arrive at our table.  This had a hazelnut meringue, pumpkin gloop and a burnt butter ice cream.  Kiddo gave it two thumbs up.  It is rare for her to knowingly eat pumpkin.

Last but not least, I have to include a pic of the lawns:

Fine dining with an unexpected but fun view.

I think it goes without saying that I will be coming back again.  I was so busy describing the delectable artistry of the food, I almost forgot to mention the service.  The staff were so friendly and informative without being pompous.  They offered Kiddo colouring pencils and activity sheets to keep her occupied - a nice touch.

Champions Bistro on Urbanspoon

Until next time...
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