Thursday, August 5, 2010

Becasse - Farm Producers Lunch

When the invitation goes out to a Becasse Producer's Lunch Forum you don't say no.
Even the canapes of smoked trout, cucumber and saffron creme and aromatic octupus ball had the girls on our table oohing..

The Producers Forums are the brainchild of Becasse owner/chef Justin North. It's a chance for his diners to meet the extraordinary farmers and growers who supply his restaurant with its organic and sustainable produce.

Today Justin wanted to showcase Cootamundra Kid Goat, Freemantle Octupus 'Hands' and Victorian Ash-Elle Park Saffron.

Becasse artisan bread - Saffron, spice and rind brioche.

These rolls displayed wonderful restraint with a subtle use of saffron and tangy pieces of lemon rind.

For many of the food media journalists and wine merchants at our table the lunch also marked a wine first...

.. the first time most of us had tried wine from a tetrapak! (well at least not since the 70's)

The wine was a 2009 Planet Wine, Sarah Fletcher, Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills.

Hard to measure what impact the packaging had on the wine nose and flavour since there wasn't, say, a bottled version to compare it to. But it was an enjoyably complex Sav B compared to the NZ Marlborough variety. The packaging could do with a little bit more design I thought. One of our fellow diners feared her kids would confuse it with the orange juice carton in the fridge!

For entree: slow-braised octopus, dashi jelly, Japanese red beans, ponzu pickled white radish, shiso and coriander

This dish was an impressionsist painting of tastes and textures. This octopus dish needs to become a menu regular. Unless you've been to Santorini you have never tasted octupus this good.

Crisp and clean like a Japanese rockpool

To accompany our mains another tetrapak wine .. this time a 2008 One Planet Wine, Tim Burvill Shiraz, McLaren Vale

Not quite the visual elegance or pouring weight of a wine bottle but easy to throw into an esky and most importantly environmentally friendly packaging. 

Its not often you find goat on a fine-dining menu. But Justin is trying to change that. For mains his kitchen prepared aromatic pot-roast goat with ...

'en papillote' yams

and confit goat and kale salad

I'm already a goat meat convert but it was interesting to see the number of people on our table who were won over by this unfairly maligned meat.

Dessert is one of Becasse's trademarks. Saffron rarely gets used in anything other then rice dishes. So we were interested to see how it could be adapted to sweet treats.

Out came an orange and saffron cake with quince and cardamom caramel, quince paste, almond and toffee florentine and vanilla honey ice-cream.

It tasted even more glorious than it sounded - if that is possible. The cake had a crunchy toffee bottom crust with a barely-there hint of saffron. Moreish.

How lucky we are to have such extrordinarily dedicated producers prepared to go the extra mile to give us such food pleasure.

The seasonal Producers Lunch is available every day at Becasse for $35 including a glass of wine.

Go on... you know you want to.....


  1. This is a great idea. The food looks delicious. It really is time for goat meat to become a regular on tables around Aus - if it were easier to find, I would certainly buy it more often. Fascinated by the tetra bricks of wine, hard to shake the thinking that *everything* tastes better in and from glass though. Glass is 100% recyclable, so I presume the environmental benefit is in energy used for production?

  2. Love your work Indira!! Your photography is very nice too - that Octopus hand looks quite sexy... and considering that I come from Dapto - the home of the Dapto briefcase - I was very interested in your comments about the wine box.
    Do I look like I'm saying a little prayer in the pic?? Or just scoping out the joint via the mirror??
    Talk soon. J. xx