Word on the street was that Vasse Felix restaurant was doing good things, great things in fact. Everyone who’s anyone was singing their praises. So I thought it was about time I found out what all the fuss was about. I have been to Vasse Felix several times but not for about a year.
So, on a wintry day, we decided to indulge our senses. Now, let’s move past the negatives, there are only two and they are minor. I just feel like we should get them out of the way early. Number one, the restaurant very much feels like a ski lodge, think lots of exposed wood and a strange floating fireplace. Number two, they kinda, mighta put gluten in my gluten-free meal. For this I am willing to forgive them but only because what is to follow is nothing short of spectacular…
Vasse Felix offers a menu like no other in the region, it is as inspiring as it is creative. As much as I hate the phrase, it is Mod Oz all over. There is a definite leaning towards Asia, there is emphasis on seasonality and provenance.
However, it sidesteps the common pitfall which is confusing menu syndrome, you know when you read a menu and it’s like looking at a world map. Every country is listed but you’re not sure which country (or restaurant for that matter) you’re in. Vasse Felix’s menu is cohesive, enticing and has a clear sense of identity and originality. And the presentation is superb.
Mr T had the cured ocean trout, edamame, wakame + sesame, fresh wasabi, yuzu gel. And it made me jealous… Mr T has an annoying habit of picking better menu items than me, very frustrating but at least I get to taste it. The trout was perfect, every facet of the dish was integral to the overall success. The trout was silky and lustworthy and the wasabi did its job of giving everything a kick up the bum. I chose, seared scallops, surf clams, bouillabaisse flavours. My scallops were very good, seared well, the bouillabaisse did not immediately grab my attention but with every mouthful became more swoon-worthy.
For the main course I picked the best dish. I win, I win! I truly felt like I had won the jackpot. Glossing over the fact that the first rendition of my dish had unwanted gluten in it, when the second attempt appeared I was restored. All was right with the world again and all because of this dish. Duck breast, pressed leg + celeriac, quince, farro (nearly minus the farro). For a brief moment, everything else just melted away and it was just me and a damn fine plate of food. The breast was pink and succulent, meltingly tender and full of flavour. There was a silken celeriac puree and an impressive celeriac terrine which had a layer of pressed duck leg running through its core, making it all the more seductive. Shining on the plate were little gleaming slivers of quince which I was told were poached in cane cut semillon, a classy touch. These details are what elevates Vasse Felix to a level above its peers. It is not merely the originality but the lightness of touch which makes this menu great, it all somehow seems effortless. And of course it is not. Many, many hours go into making food taste this good.
After sparkling wine, chardonnay and amazing food I was being rushed by Mr T. I had my eye on a dessert but time was of the essence so I asked for a scoop of the turkish delight ice cream. When it arrived, I was greeted by not one but two scoops of delightfully peachy, pinky ice cream topped with saffron pashmak (candy floss). It was a heavenly mouthful, buttery and rich and tempered by the delicate touch of rose water. The perfect way to end a perfect meal.
Clearly Aaron Carr knows his stuff and must have an awesome team behind him, he has been manning the stoves at Vasse Felix for 17 years and my god is he good. I implore you to visit, if only for dessert but really you should go and eat the entire menu, I wanted to! If you live nearby, go there. If you live in another country, go there. If you live on the moon, go there. It’s simply that good.