Recently I was invited by the team at the Joondalup Resort to attend a degustation at their in-house restaurant – Bistro 38. The $75 ticket included 7 courses which included produce from Yarra Valley Dairy with wine to match each course by Sticks Winery, also from Victoria’s Yarra Valley. My ticket was free however we paid for Mr. Spittoon and he said that even with a mans appetite it was well worth the $75!
Having visited the Yarra Valley in 2012, it was a great chance to try more from this spectacular Victorian wine region without the costly plane flight!
Not being a cheese buff myself, I have to admit I was confused with what was what when reading the menu. So to make it easier to understand for those like myself, I have hyperlinked all the names of the cheeses in this post through to their product pages on the YV Dairy website so you can find out what’s what.
The evening started off with canapes and a few glasses of Deakin Estate Azahara bubbles. By the end of the night I wished I hadn’t devoured so many canapes and saved the room for more of the goodness off the menu!
The Azahara sparkling wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and it really was a pleasant way to start the evening. On the eye it was a pale hay colour with aromas of lemon citrus and fresh white bread on the nose. On the palate it had a nice balance of acidity and orchard fruit flavours with creamy bready notes. It was lovely and I’m looking forward to hunting out another bottle to try one of the recommended cheese matches – “a nice soft cheese like Havarti or Camembert. And it would be divine with a bakes cheesecake or creme caramel”.
It did feel like the canapes part of the evening did linger on a bit. When we were seated the dishes came out fairly quickly which was great to see. We were lucky enough to be seated near the Yarra Valley Dairy team so we got all the juicy goss on the different types of cheeses and how they are made. It was a great insight. During the degustation, Jack the Cheesemaker and the WA distributor for Sticks Winery did stand up and speak a few times, however due to the size of the group and the size of the restaurant it was a bit hard to hear. So I’m glad we choose some good seats!
Let’s get stuck in..
As soon as we sat down there was a fresh baguette and butter to share (10 points for it being spreadable butter!! I hate when it’s not!). Prior to taking our seats the Bistro 38 Restaurant & Beverage manager did explain to us that the first 4 dishes were to be shared, followed by 2 individual dishes and then the petit fours to share at the very end. It was great to be given a heads up on this, so that no one was surprised/hoarding the food. I have to mention the staff were also very attentive with filling up our water glasses which was great for people like me since I was the designated driver for the night.
The 1st & 2nd course..
The first course, was probably my favourite. It was a Persian Fetta Cheese Tart with Poached Quince and Caramelized Walnuts. Truly divine! It was a bit difficult to eat with a knife and fork, but being my unclassy self, I gave up on that after a few minutes and got stuck in with my fingers! Next up we were served a Black Savourine Cheese, Grilled Eggplant Croquette Roulade. Loved the presentation on this one and the berry jam the croquette’s sat on was divine!!
While munching on the above courses we enjoyed the Sticks Winery 2013 Pinot Grigio and 2012 Chardonnay. Both wines were really great with the food, fantastic matching right there. The Pinot Grigio was a lemon colour on the eye with a fleck of green. On the nose it was full of floral notes, just struck matches and booze soaked pears. The palate had rather subtle fruit flavours with a touch of spice. Whilst the Chardy was a more golden-yellow colour on the eye with aromas of melon, nuts, vanilla and tart grapefruit citrus. In the mouth those citrus flavours came through with a touch of peach and nectarine. It’s an easy drinking Chardonnay without too much complexity.
The 3rd course..
The third course had everyone literally drooling at the table. Everyone was taking photos and I swear at one stage it seemed like the entire room went quiet. The dish was Le Jack Cheese Baked with Truffled Honey, Roast Winter Fruits and Rye Bread. I had the honours of cutting into our baked cheese and I’m sure everyone “oooooo-ed” when I did it as the cheese gushed out in all it’s ooey-gooeyness, just like we were all hoping. The Le Jack was rich and intense and it married well with the Sticks Winery 2012 Pinot Noir.
The Pinot Noir nearly looked like a rose, I find this typical of Victorian Pinot Noirs. On the nose I picked up a medley of plums, cranberries and strawberries. On the palate it had apparent but light tannins, it was juicy and as Mr. Spittoon put it “candied fruits upfront with an acid party at the back”. I love how he describes wines!!
The 4th course..
By this stage I was truly rammed and I couldn’t believe yet another dish was being put down in front of me! We were finally up to our individual main meal which was Chevre Cheese Medallion, Confit Potato with Roast Blackwood Beef and Shredded Beetroot. Mr. Spittoon declared this was the best steak he has eaten in a long time. One piece was smoked and the other was normal. He was totally crushing on it and he said he would drive the 70km round trip from our house back to Bistro 38 just for a mouthful of this steak.
While Mr. Spittoon was having a love affair with the steak I was head over heels with the wine match which was the Sticks 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. This was the wine of the night for me and it was a seamlessly perfect match to the dish. On the eye it is a bright red-aubergine colour. The nose was fruity yet earthy and I picked up a touch of smoke amongst the black currant aromas. On the palate it had a good oomph which neither overpowered the dish nor was washed out by the dish. Blackberry, coffee, oak and dark chocolate dominated the flavours. Mr. Spittoon had to steal the glass off me in the end, I could have sat there and drank it all night. Perhaps next time we will have to book a room at the hotel, so no one has to drive!
The sad thing by this stage of the night was that I could hardly eat half of the the dish. I was so full, but alas, I could not give up before dessert!
The 5th course..
It’s like the chef had consulted my stomach prior to designing this dessert, it was me down to a tee! A Gentle Goat Cheese Yorkshire Curd Tart with Cream & Rhubarb. I loved it! The caramelization on type of the tart was brilliant and it looked just so darn pretty! Between this and the petit fours, I knew I was going to be rolling out the door of the Joondalup Resort! The desserts were matched with the Sticks Winery 2010 Botrytis Riesling. The zesty lime flavours and apricot plus honeysuckle flavours in the wine were a fantastic match (yet again!) for the sweet finish to the night.
Everyone around us by the end had glazed over food and wine coma eyes. It was a fantastic meal, a fun night and to be honest with you all, I can’t wait for the next Bistro 38 Degustation! For more information on Bistro 38 and to subscribe to their newsletter to keep up to date with all the upcoming events, click here.