Friday, 1 January 2010

The Long Table

159 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South
Visited 31 December 2009

New Years Eve down the Peninsula and instead of the traditional barbie and midnight skinny-dip of my youth, I found myself being all sophisticated and mature. We were invited through a friend of a friend for dinner at Red Hill's the Long Table and I was overjoyed to be spending new years with the lovely couple whose wedding I celebrated a year ago. Red Hill is a bit of a gourmet hub with a brewery, cheese factory, cafes, produce store and ensnarling ring of wineries. The restaurant is an open, airy affair featuring plenty of rustic bricks and timber.
They were running a special New Year's Eve dinner menu and we were restricted to a choice of four entrees, mains and desserts; though choosing still wasn't easy. To start I went with the crowd favourite; pork belly and scallops. The tender (but tiny) square of pork was accompanied by beautifully well cooked scallops, apple and a scattering of crunchy black rice; tasty stuff. Though tempted by slow cooked beef fillet for a main, I went with Port Lincoln seabass. The well cooked crisp fish was served with an enticing side of smoked potato, mussels and chorizo; again delicious stuff and obviously top quality ingredients. Joey's juicy chicken with pear, artichoke and witlof salad was also an excellent dish. I wasn't interested in dessert, but the little samples of cheesecake and chocolate bar I tried were superb. Their winelist is pretty impressive; it’s stacked with local offerings, alongside and a fair bit of interesting international stuff. However we kept things simple and went for carafes of the house wine. The white; a mystery local Pinot Gris was unfortunately pretty average, but the red was tasty; a delightfully, fruity local Pinot Noir cleanskin.
For me sweaty crowds vibrating at a doof or gazing vacant eyed at fireworks holds absolutely no attraction on New Year's Eve. I much prefer to spend the evening with friends; enjoying good food, wine and maybe even a bit of intelligent conversation. It’s never pleasant to work on New Year's Eve (and I’ve done my share), but the staff at the Long Table were outstanding; friendly, efficient, knowledgeable and most importantly possessing the sense of humour needed to get through the night. I was obviously impressed with the grub and considering it was New Years actually thought it was a pretty good deal at $50 for two courses or $65 for three. The litre carafes of Pinot were also OK at $30. If you ignore the spewing beachside suburbs filled with overpriced monstrosities, the Mornington Peninsula is a great spot for food and wine; the Long Table just another feather in its cap. A lovely evening.

Visit restaurant website.

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