We had our second meal at Igni in Geelong in October. We took the train down, meeting up with friends en route. They joined us at Footscray. It was a fun way to travel. Better than driving. In Geelong we had time to check out a Fred Williams exhibition at the Geelong Art Gallery; the paintings of the You Yangs that catapulted him to fame. No photos allowed. Great paintings. And a good demonstration, via pictures and prints of how his print-making influenced his art.
Then off to the restaurant. A lovely sunny day. First up were the appetisers. We’d had these before. The salt bush leaves and chicken skin were delicious. But the most outstanding taste was one given to our vegetarian friend, the bottom, succulent looking leaf in the top plate in this picture, tasted exactly like an oyster. Amazing! Taste sensation.
Next was a real surprise package. It was Shitake, tokyo white turnip served with a 2016 Gini Soave Classico. There is a mushroom underneath the carpet of green herbs in this photo. Subtle and nuanced. Beautiful to look at and beautiful to eat.
This next dish was perhaps my favourite. Marron, macadamia, nasturtium with a 2015 Arweiler Corva Gialla Vino Bianco. Beautifully presented and a delicious combination of flavours. I might be alone in this but I think it is quite hard to present marron well. But here it was nicely balanced against a range of flavours.
Beetroot, whey, mustard leaf was a close runner up to the marron as my favourite dish. This was really spectacular. Hard to describe, but everything about it, texture, taste and look was terrific. It was served with a 2014 Dappled Appelation Macedon Pinot Noir.
I was not so keen on the next dish, photographed half eaten (the wine was having an effect). I gave this half portion over to Joe to finish and he felt my dish was discernibly more sour than his. It’s Pork belly, carrot, emu bush. The pork belly was very sour having been soaked in brine for a long time. The carrot had similarly been grilled for an extended period, hence the blackness. I think my carrot was not sweet enough to balance the sour. We told our waiter that I was not so keen on it, and she conveyed this to the kitchen (not our intention) and as a consequence we were given a free round of drinks at the conclusion of the meal. Unnecessary but a nice touch. It was served with a 2016 Vasse Felix II Syrah.
I remembered from last time, that the cheese dish here is very different from the sorts of cheese platters you get elsewhere and so it proved. Described as Tete de moine, lemon, mountain pepper it looked amazing. I was very sceptical about it being served with 2015 Eric Bordelet Poire Granit (a pear cider) but was very pleasantly surprised about how well they went together. The cheese melted in your mouth. Amazing dish.
Of the two desserts I liked Buttermilk, golden kiwi, red cabbage best. Looked gorgeous and was a stunning collection of flavours. It was served with a 2015 Mukai Shuzo Junmai Genshu, a very unusual, red rice based and therefore rose coloured saki. A lovely conclusion to a lovely meal.
Although, of course it was not the conclusion. There was a second dessert, Davidson plum pine needle, flowering gum. Served with a 2015 Domaine Plageoles Mauzac Roux. I’m probably not able to fairly appraise this dish as I was pretty full. Of both food and drink. I found it a bit cold for my liking. And handed most over to Joe (how does he have room for my left overs?!) Very pretty.
Afterwards we had a walk along the Geelong foreshore to clear our heads! Very pretty. Then we got on the train and came back to Melbourne. I strongly recommend Igni which is winning all sorts of awards. And also getting there by train for either lunch or dinner. You might have to stay the night if training it to dinner, but a very comfortable way to go.