Over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend D and I went up to Mildura to get away for a few days. Before we booked our flights we made sure we could get into Stefano’s for dinner – we figured there was no point going otherwise! Normally they aren’t open on Sunday nights but they make an exception when it is a long weekend.
The weekend started out badly – we missed out flight on the Friday night, had our taxi stolen at the airport and then I found a hair in my lunch at a winery that shall not be named.
Thankfully, things got better from there 🙂
For those that don’t know, Stefano’s doesn’t have a set menu – it changes daily and is “subject to the whim of the chef and the seasonal produce available”. Essentially you book in for a five course degustation that is somewhere in the $120 price range (I can’t remember exactly). The price doesn’t include wine, but they will match wine and do either full or half glasses – D chose to match wines and they made me a cocktail concoction – my only real requirement was that it was sweet.
Before dinner they asked if we had any dietary requirements and I told them I didn’t eat seafood. This didn’t turn out to be too much of a problem in the end because only the first course was seafood based, and I was given an alternative.
Course 1: Olive oil poached octopus with lemon mayonnaise and crostini / roasted pumpkin and goat’s cheese tart
Course 3: Homemade ricotta gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce
Course 4: Braised Nhill magret duck with soft polenta, peperonata and snowpeas
Course 5: Tiramisu / crème caramel with apple compote (we had a choice between the two and split our choices)
We loved everything we had with the exception of the gorgonzola sauce on the gnocchi, but that was more because it wasn’t to our tastes, and not because it was bad. We were told the gnocchi was made from 100% ricotta and texturally they were perfectly light and fluffy.
D said the octopus was succulent and tender while the duck and pork were cooked to perfection. They were incredibly tender and were well complemented by their accompaniments, although I did think serving snowpeas with duck cooked in such a wintery braise was a bit odd.
The desserts certainly didn’t blow us away presentation wise, but they were the perfect size to finish off the night’s eating.
The service was impeccable and our waiter kept us entertained all night. The timing of the meals were well spaced out and overall for the price, it was incredible value.
We finished off the night with tea, served in proper tea cups! We had a great night and it certainly meant the trip finished much better than it started 🙂