About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, May 11, 2009
Sunnybrae Restaurant
It was a gorgeous sunny morning as we headed out to the rolling plains of the western district to celebrate Mother's Day at Sunnybrae restaurant on the outskirts of the tiny hamlet of Birregurra.

There was no scent of discord as we journeyed to George Biron's restaurant and cooking school with a long established reputation for excellence, leaning towards contemporary rustic food, which is such a hit with the locals as well as day trippers like us from the big smoke.

It's a large property with its own orchard and vegetable gardens and the restaurant itself is part of George's home, giving a relaxed feel with excellent views through large windows and plenty of knick knacks scattered around the dining room to catch the eye.

However, for me, a problem arose from the first taste of potato bread, yeasty and warm from the wood fired oven, spread with abundant fresh butter.

It was Mother's Day and all my attention was for the wonderful woman in my life and there was no way I was going to divert myself from the task of providing a perfect day, which was exactly what she deserved.

In short, no blogging. But upon tasting that bread, I flinched.

Alas for you dear reader, my will was strong and I resolved not to tell you any of the details of our meal that brought such great contentment and a not insignificant number of brownie points.

It's a shame I can't tell you about the fragrant chicken broth drizzled with eggy parmesan shards that disappeared all to soon. Nor would you want to hear about the tarama with green beans and carrots, plated with a tangle of salad leaves and topped with crispy fried garlic, pine nuts and breadcrumbs, a play on a Polonaise topping.

Should I reveal to you that I'm going to tie Mr Biron up until he reveals the secret of his lighter-than-air tarama with its extraordinarily delicate brininess that makes a mockery of any that have gone before under the name? Uh uh.

The on-the-spot smoked semi-soft cheese with home grown tomatoes in a creamy basil flavoured dressing will need to go unmentioned too.

Mellow and salty Spanish style jamon contrasted with a sharp Mexican inspired salsa of avocado, tomatillo and pomegranate is something you will just have to imagine as you will also have to do with the unlikely sounding but endearingly earthy flavours of a kohlrabi, parsnip and leek strudel with anchoiade.

I could tell you about the meltingly sticky slow braised goat shank with just enough deep flavoured jus to moisten things along, with any leftovers mopped up with a potato and shallot galette, but I won't.

Since I'm not telling you anything, there's no need to be reticent describing a bayleaf and honey panna cotta as trembling like a breast and having the sweet breath of a bride on her wedding night.

Sorry, I'm not able to tell about such a fabulous meal, no blogging is no blogging, though feeling a bit guilty and wanting to make it up to you, I'll allow for a one word review.


Sunnybrae Restaurant & Cooking School
Birregurra, 03 52362276
Lunch Saturday & Sunday from 12.30 pm
  posted at 10:37 pm

At 11:21 pm, Blogger claire said...

Oh, SWOON! Am resolved to visit very very soon.

Thanks for the tantalising non-review!

At 7:08 am, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Ahem, how can your not telling about this meal bring me to my present state: on my knees with tongue hanging out like a puppy ... and then you dropped the most shattering non-words ever ... kohlrabi, parsnip and leek strudel with anchoiade ... goodness ... how incredible!!

At 7:57 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great non-review Neil!
I would really like to have experienced that same meal, at least once!
Sifting through the attention seeking shenanagins & pr spin of questionably brighter lights in the industry, George it seems has quietly flourished with his garden to table ethos way before anyone else cottoned on or worse, tried to ride on its coattails without any real credentials to do so.
Lucky you

At 10:17 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi claire, swoon you will. We had a wonderful meal, but you do need to be hungry and careful not to fill up on potato bread.

Hi tanna, it's not exactly what you think of when talking about strudel, but then again, black pudding isn't something one expects to see in the dessert menu either! It's a restaurant dedicated to flavour.

Hi steve, good to see you again. George is a real, fair dinkum food hero. Everything we ate was terrific and there was no denying the freshness of the produce as well as some unusual ingredients such as tomatillos. I hope he writes a cookbook one day.

At 6:01 pm, Anonymous kitchen hand said...

Welcome back, Neil. Birregurra is my all-time favourite country towns. But I've never been to Sunnybrae. Will have to be rectified one day.

At 12:13 pm, Blogger Ran said...

we went there recently and i loved it too. Just my kind of food i think. will have to blog it soon with some photos.

that potato bread is good isnt it. and we had the tamara too - yummo

At 6:08 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi kitchen hand, what we saw of Birregurra made us want to go back and stay for a few days. We went early enough for the monthly market, small but a lot of nice things.

Hi ran, can't wait to see your write up. I think I'm going to ask George for the tarama recipe, I didn't lick the bowl clean but it was a close call!

At 3:58 pm, Anonymous Lucy said...

Oh, I reckon Mr Biron wouldn't mind if you licked the bowl clean, Neil. I may have to as well.

Well, thank goodness you didn't review the place...shall do. 'Go', that is.

At 1:59 pm, Blogger Thermomixer said...

Really is a great home serving fantastic food. Did George give you the tarama recipe? We had it last October and it is a winner. The Magic Robot did explain how it is made here: http://sunnybraerestaurantandcookingschool.blogspot.com/2008/11/magic-robot-re-booted.html

At 10:37 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi lucy, I'm sure he wouldn't mind at all, but I restricted myself to a finger wipe!

Hi thermomixer, thanks for that, it is on my list of things to make very soon.


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