Some friends and I took advantage of a Livingsocial deal a couple of months ago from Vitis Eatery which offered 6 courses for 4 people at a great discounted rate – around $30 per person. I can’t say no to a good food bargain! The last time I was here was over a year ago, so I was keen to go back to see how things had changed. The menu is updated regularly with various sharing plates, small and large, with a Mediterranean/European influence. We didn’t know what was coming out as it was the chef’s choice but we were happy to be surprised.
First out were the Batemans Bay oysters topped with champagne granita and lime. The natural oysters’ freshness were amplified with the cold granita and zingy lime.
The scallop tartare on toast with avocado and wasabi was a wonderful little morsel. The diced scallops were juicy and sweet, and cooked perfectly. The careful balance between avocado and wasabi was just right. Not overloaded with wasabi to make you cry but gave a hint of spiciness on the palate. And if you did like extra wasabi, there was some on the side.
The twice cooked lamb ribs with grain salad, and a honey garlic yoghurt dressing were very small but cooked to absolute perfection. The meat fell off the bone with the slightest touch. The blend of crispy outside and succulent meat inside, not to mention the seasoning that had been rubbed on top, made this a winner. I cannot stress how juicy these ribs were! The salad of grains and greens provided a nice earthy accompaniment to the ribs to break up the meatiness. Two plates were provided to share between the 4 of us.
The caramelised pork belly was smothered in a sticky sauce. I liked that glistening sheen. We again received two plates to share. The pork belly was soft with quite a bit of belly fat on top which I removed. Not my favourite dish as I’m not that keen on pork belly, but I did appreciate the sweet and sticky caramelised sauce.
The stuffed roasted quail with baked potato and grapes came out next. This was one big bird. Quail is usually rather tiny so we were all surprised at its large size. Or perhaps I’m just used to eating quail wings rather than the whole thing. Presentation was impressive with slices of baked potato and stewed grapes on the side. We received 2 quails to share between us.
The quail was cooked perfectly and it must have come straight out of the oven as its juices were still dripping when cut into. A most succulent bird. This was brilliantly paired with the stewed grapes which added a tart sweetness to the quail. I was so full by this stage but I couldn’t stop nibbling on everything. Nothing beats this home style cooking.
Dessert were hot Italian fried doughnuts that came with a side of white chocolate and liqueur (I forget which one) sauce topped with milk chocolate. These were hot and crunchy but slightly overcooked and a tad too oily for my liking. The waitress told us we could pour the sauce directly over the top of the doughnuts but it was a very rich in chocolate and liqueur so I’m glad I only drizzled mine with a spoonful.
Vitis Eatery provides an intimate but casual setting for diners with dim lighting, candles on the tables and quite a decent range of dishes on the menu. There’s also a selection of wines if you just want to pop in for an after work drink. The small plates (up to $18) are great for snacking on while the large plates offer a good sized sit down meal. The large share plates (around the $30 mark) we received all had good flavour combinations. Not surprisingly, the chef’s credentials include Ottomon and Watersedge with stints overseas. The meat was cooked fabulously and all were juicy to eat. The website states that protein is sourced primarily on local and free range principles ensuring higher quality meats and better welfare for animals. Service was pleasant and the length of time allowed between each dish was appropriate. We didn’t wait too long and it was just enough time to digest for the next dish.
Located on Lonsdale Street in Braddon, (pretty much opposite The Hamlet), Vitis Eatery is open Tuesday for dinner, and Wednesday to Sunday for both lunch and dinner.
Value for money 7/10 (based on menu prices)
FPJ score 22/30
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