Located at the five star Rydges Hotel, Bacchus South Bank is what the ‘Brisbane socialite sophistication & lifestyle’ looks and feels like. The award winning venue boasts a chic alfresco lounge area with an open aired bar and of course, a pool in case you fancy a cocktail sunday session under the Brisbane summer sun. The whole atmosphere changes at night, the pool lights up, the music becomes more chilled out and adopts a real romantic vibe. During the Sunday sessions be prepared to hear a lot of Marvin Gaye remixes and even a live sax player. Not that it’s a bad thing!
Last night was Mr.Z’s last night in Brisbane, he’s starting his new life in Perth where he got an awesome promotion and of course, I wish him all the luck in the world but at the same totally gutted that he’s gone. The degustation and wine pairing at the Bacchus was an excellent choice for his last night in Brisbane, let me take you on our journey.
We were welcomed and seated by the Italian sommelier with a glass of Dom Perignon to start our degustation adventure. Unfortunately, I found our glasses of bubbly to be quite flat and of course made a remark which resulted in our glasses being efficiently replaced with the more ‘vintage’ 2004 version which was of course smoother and more to the expected Dom standard. “Champers” – easily my favourite alcoholic beverage, just something about the bubbles that makes me so giddy.
First up was our mini appetizer, the duck consommé with what I think was duck lard? I couldn’t hear what the waiter was saying and he disappeared quicker than he arrived. This was a tad under salted as I expected to get a strong hit of salted duck concoction. I always look forward to the pre-meal teasers!
Excited for what was to come, the sommelier came over and served us our first white, a 2012 Riesling, Mitchell ‘Watervale’. This wine was powerful and had a very concentrated aromatic intensity showing hints of both lemon and lime with a hit of spring flowers when inhaled. The palate was ultra dry, incredibly long and gave a combination of complex but fresh flavours.
The prawn-dominated dish consisted of a ‘King prawn’ and cucumber terrine with a preserved lemon puree and Marie Rose dressing (more commonly known as thousand island or cocktail sauce). I loved how the prawn was captured in a jelly-like cube, wrapped like a fusion sushi piece with dipping sauces around it, and a side of crunchy pastry to even out the textures. I feel indifferent about preserved lemons. Personally, I could’ve done without the puree as the wine pairing already gave off a strong citric acidity.
“Mr.Z and I”
After chowing down the prawn over ridiculous jokes and laughter, our next glass appeared at our table. This time, a Southern Australian Barossa Valley 2013 Palomino Kaesler ‘Stonehorse’. I absolutely loved how the sommelier described this wine to us. In his very Italian accent he said it was very nutty (which it was!) and gave you liquid walnut explosions but I also felt hints of white peach, white nectarines, slight hints of green apple and very fresh and clean on the palate with a dry finish.
The dish that accompanied this was interestingly called a ‘Panna Cotta’. A masterpiece of goats cheese, braised witlof, baby beets & turnips with quinoa, candied pecans wattelseed biscotti & pernod vinaigrette.
Of course they were trying to give us the impression of eating a savoury panna cotta. They did a really good job of it too. All the textures resembled one but of course was broken up on the plate.
The goats cheese was very rich and before reading the menu I swore I tasted star anise, of course it was the pernod vinaigrette! It formed a powder while you put it to your mouth which was very creative. I particularly enjoyed the hints of braised witlof as I am used to this being crunchy and not soft, a great variety overall.
Trying to keep up with our wine drinking and getting even gigglier it was time for the 2007 Tyrell’s Vat 1 Semillon from the Ozzie Hunter Valley. A classic white scented with a floral and almost lavender-like perfume of honeydew melon with a waxy undertone and a slight hint of clove. If this wine were a woman it would be described as voluptuous and juicy! The finishing leaves your tongue lingering with a mineral and almost earthy presence. This wine has won three gold medals!
The wine choice was perfect for the Kingfish dish that we were presented with. The highlight of this dish was the smoked oyster aioli, a perfect partner compared to its less admirable supermarket lane ‘Kewpie’ Japanese mayo. The fish was cured and the dish was comprised of wild garlic, a miniature soft boiled quail egg topped off with Sturgeon caviar, radish, edamame beans and of course, the aioli. My only criticism to this dish was that I didn’t particularly enjoy the random edamame bean. I thought it was bland and unfitting. Great for color contrast but not too fancy on the tastebuds.
Of course they saved the best for last, I could have had three serves of what was to come. This rabbit dish was to die for! It was cooked to perfection in a fricassee served with divine potato puree and pommery mustard marscapone.
A fricassee is a traditional French stew which is prepared slightly differently from the usual braising technique. Instead, the meat is cooked in oil or lard but at a much lower temperature so that the meat stays white and tender. Usually rabbit tastes so ‘game-like’ but not this time, so soft to the touch. The potato puree was salted perfectly and even stuffed a small pasty lookalike with rabbit meat to give the dish that extra bit of texture. I thought the rosemary leaves were a smart addition as well as the creaminess from the marscapone. Big thumbs up!
The rabbit was obviously served with a red wine. More specifically, a 2010 Pinot Noir Maison Joseph Drouhun ‘Laforet’ Rouge. I’m no red wine connoisseur so I can’t comment too much about the taste and finishing but I felt that it was fitting.
Lastly, the dessert. Not one, but two! When I read ‘lemon polenta’ I was twiddling my thumbs as I felt quite confused. From my recent trip to Italy, all ‘polenta’ was savoury and creamy so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Turns out, the ‘polenta’ was moulded into a small cube which they call ‘sticky polenta’ alongside small scoops of almond scorched butter milk ice cream and served with a surprisingly fruity and may I add tasty, almost ‘mango like’ 2006 Chateau Du Pavillon dessert wine.
“Sticky Lemon Polenta”
The final dessert was the masterpiece and the tastier out of the two desserts. Quote on quote, Mr.Z said “the best dessert I have ever had!” He particularly loved the gold engraved “B” chocolate piece. Everything about this dessert was appealing. The miniature crunchy chocolate balls were probably my favourite. This is actually a white chocolate parfait with amaretto and coffee foam. The broken down and crumbled chocolate cake on the side of the dish was intriguing and equally delicious.
The creator of this dessert is simply genius. I’m no fan of Moscato but this is what was paired with the dessert. Mr.Z had to finish my glass, it was too overbearing. If you are a Moscato lover, it was the 2012 Massolino Moscato D’Asti from Italy.
“White Chocolate Parfait”
Just as we thought the food was over, the head waiter surprised us with an amazing combination of petit fours! The winner of the four was the mini magnum ice cream sticks made from cocoa seeds (no sugar added at all) imported from 15,000 miles away. The interesting French restaurant manager gave us a funny accented history on the cocoa seed and how each and every petit fours is crafted and handmade by a 25 year old pastry chef.
What a satisfying and incredible dining experience! Service was wonderful and the staff were helpful and friendly.
My only complaints are that the interior decor is not as upbeat as their food and since we happened to be the last two in the restaurant (due to a later booking) they were rushing about and preparing for closure while we were still dining. Throw in a few candles or install mood lighting and it would have been exceptional.
$150 – Degustation
$180- Degustation with the flight of wines (aka wine pairing)
$199- Degustation with wines and a glass of Dom Perignon
(Closed on Mondays)
Podium Level, Rydges South Bank
Cnr Grey & Glenelg Streets
+61 7 3364 0843