After my first visit to the newly opened Pialligo Estate Farmhouse Restaurant for a vegetarian lunch, I was already plotting my return to try out some of the meat dishes. A group of friends and I booked in for a weekend lunch. We were seated in a dark corner so it was difficult to read the new updated menu. I was grateful when the lights were turned on. Similarly to my first visit, we were asked what type of water we would like to start with – still, sparkling or tap. After drinks orders were taken (I chose a Sicilian lemonade for $5), we were able to sit back and relax before some complimentary bread and butter arrived. A few minutes later, an amuse bouche of salmon tartare and smoked salmon sabayon with finely chopped herbs came out. I really loved the creamy sabayon which had so much flavour, and the small pieces of diced raw salmon were delicious. A lovely amuse bouche that readied my taste buds for what was coming next.
Since Pialligo Estate is also a smokehouse, the four of us shared the starter of charcuterie and pickles ($24). Three types of thinly sliced cured meats arrived on a large thick wooden plank with pickles and diced pumpkin. My favourite cured meat was the one on the far end which was completely see-through. I’ve forgotten what it was but I’d never seen something like that before. It also tasted pretty good with hardly any fat. The other meats were equally lean.
For my entree, I ordered the cured blackmore wagyu, sourdough, heirloom beetroot, watercress and brown butter ($21). From the description of the dish I assumed it would be predominantly cured wagyu but this was not the case. The dish consisted of three small strips of cured wagyu and three quenelles of steak tartare. Not exactly what I was expecting. Nevertheless, the dish was nice and presented beautifully. I think the description should mention the raw beef for those that do not like uncooked foods. This was an okay dish paired nicely with juicy beetroots. I do love the freshness of the produce grown on the premises.
One friend ordered the line-caught cobia, young peas, sea blight, Tasmanian wasabi and roasted almonds ($22). Again, she was not expecting this to be served as sashimi as she doesn’t like raw fish. Best to ask for clarification of the menu if you’re not sure about something.
For my main, I ordered the Jumjum Farm duck, Tokyo turnips, grilled sweet corn and blood plum ($44). I was happy with this dish. The large piece of perfectly cooked duck (beautifully pink) was so succulent and drizzled in a delicious glaze. The blood plum gel added extra sweetness and really enhanced the natural flavour of the duck.
There was also a rolled up ‘cigar’ stuffed with pulled duck meat alongside the duck breast. I could taste a slight bitterness in one of the sauces on the plate. Lots of different flavours and textures to this – sweet grilled corn, crunchy turnip, soft duck meat with sweet and bitter sauces playing off one another to provide a balanced dish.
Dessert was a must-have after the amazing dessert I had on my first visit to the restaurant. The dessert menu had been updated and this time I chose the mille-feuille of Williams Pear, dulcey chocolate cream, lemon verbena and kalamansi citrus ($19). It looked too pretty to eat. This was such a light dessert. The chocolate cream ‘pearls’ had been carefully piped onto the wafer thin pastry with a layer of fresh pear sandwiched in between. Again, I found that great care had been taken to balance this dish. The kalamansi gel gives a welcome sour and acidic contrast to the sweet chocolate cream. The lemon verbena gelato was my favourite – lemony, minty and herby all at the same time. An intriguing flavour that provided the required freshness to this dessert.
Another friend ordered the Valrhona Jivara chocolate, passion fruit, dulce de leche and ginger ($20). The passion fruit gel was thick, rich and powerful. Must order this next time. My friend mentioned this was his favourite dish that day.
I noticed four different hot chocolates on the tea and coffee menu. The hot chocolates range from 33% cacao to 85% cacao from various countries. I chose the most unusual sounding – the Mork original dark milk and river salt with 65% Trinitario cacao from Madagascar ($4). I’ve never had salted chocolate before but our waitress states the salt helps to bring out the chocolate notes. There was an initial salty hit on the tongue before I could taste the creamy smooth chocolate with hints of caramel. I thought the saltiness faded away after a few sips. If you like salted caramel, you might like this hot chocolate.
We were then told that our petite fours would be coming out shortly. We were all stuffed by this stage but I was curious as to what these would be like. I think we were all surprised when two of these planks arrived. Chocolate macarons, black truffle infused chocolates, and home made salted caramel taffy. I was impressed with the truffle-infused chocolates – a very rich and strong truffle taste. The macarons were not the best I’ve had and does not beat Dream Cuisine. The salted caramel taffy was very salty and very sweet at the same time. Not my thing but I’m glad I tried it.
Make sure you’re not in a rush to go anywhere. This turned into a 3.5hr long lunch with good friends. Service is friendly and water is regularly topped up for the entire table. Prices are not cheap but the bread and butter, amuse bouche and petite fours are included. The dining pavilions are still being renovated and will fit 20-25 people. They can be hired out for private parties. A separate bistro-style menu will be developed with brunch and lunch options. I enquired whether people could just walk in and sit down in the pavilion rather than in the restaurant, but it seems that this process is still being worked out. This is one of my new favourite restaurants where the menu is updated almost daily according to what’s fresh in the garden. I will definitely be back.
Value for money 7.5/10
FPJ score 23/30
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