In what was to be my last lunch with my old boss as part of his farewell tour I had a lunch lined up with him and a client at In Contro the week after he had lef (because his calendar had been so full on the down hill slide to his departure hes had to schedule this one in July)
So Thursday lunchtime it wasn’t overly busy that side of the river. We were lucky enough to have a table in the front section of the restaurant and the view really is spectacular. We started with a cleansing ale of the Peroni persuasion. It was actually the first time I’d tried Peronis, quite nice and light. So while we enjoyed our beers the friendly waitress outlined the specials of the day for us and I was pretty impressed, there were a lot of them and they all sounded amazing. At In Contro one thing they do which is quite good is do tiered share plates for their entrees, which for our group of three was a popular idea. The toughest part was choosing which three items to fill the tiers – the options included, scampi, arancini, lamb culets, prawns, beef – they were some tantalising choices. In the end we went for the Scampi, the Lamb Cutlets and the arancini. We were then asked if we would like bread and again it was a tough decision. There was one bread with truffle oil and another than came with a tasty sounding mix of prosciutto, radico, goat’s cheese and marinated capsicum. Hard to go past that one, so we ordered some of that.
With the bread and the starters locked in we then cast our eyes over the mains. And it sounded really amazing. Two of us, including myself, couldn’t go past the duck and the other member of our group chose to give the fish special a go.
Didn’t take too long for the entrée to arrive and during that time our water glasses were constantly topped by and we also shifted from beer to wine. Service was attentive and friendly without being intrusive – the perfect mix really. And the food – oh the food. The bread was presented so beautifully. Toasted Turkish, fresh from the pizza oven, drizzled with olive oil and a little rosemary and sea salt. Then decoratively layered along side was the colourful rainbow of toppings. And they just complemented each other perfectly! From my first bite I was in heaven and eagerly anticipating the dishes we still had to come.
The tired platers are a creative and visually very impressive way to serve a shared entrée.
It was my first time trying scampi, which I suppose is just like a big prawn and they looked so plump and delicious, on top of a bed of cous cous with pomegranates. An interesting conversation about pomegranates ensured where the boss claimed that he didn’t eat the seeds…. I would have thought its too hard to eat around the little seeds on the little red gems and given it had been some years since he had had one, he found on this outing that they are quite easy to eat with the seeds included. The scampi was flavoured with a divine garlic butter and the combination of that with a little of the spiced cous cous was very, very good.
The harissa spiced lamb cutlets were equally as impressive – cooked to pink perfection with the right about of spice in the harissa.
And finally the arancini, which had been my choice as soon as I had heard they had blue cheese – were indeed very tasty.
Quite a filling entrée really…. I hoped that the main wasn’t too massive as I wanted to do it justice. It really was the perfect size. Which isn’t to say it was small. It was a generous piece of duck on top of some celeriac puree then with this totally refreshing radish and apple salad on top. I really enjoyed it, re-affirming my love of all things duck this year.
Was there room for dessert? The client insisted that while he didn’t have room that we were more than welcome to partake in something sweet. There was one option on the menu that just looked to delicious to not give it a go, so the boss and I both order that. Trio of vanilla panacotta, hazelnut brulee, berry bavarois – ($16)
It was a vision when it arrived. Dainty little glasses full of decadant looking desserts. Which one to start with? I tackled the hazelnut brulee first – creamy and delicious and the nuttiness to it was a nice change from the usual straight vanilla. From there I moved to the vanilla pannacotta, a smooth, clean flavour, another winner. Then I ended with the berry bavarois. Great place to finish with the burst of sweetness from the berries. Definitely did not want this course to end. It was the perfect end to a perfect meal.
I thought In Contro was a wonderful place, made all the more memorable for me because of the high quality of the company. The food was sensational, service polished and the view is really just a bonus. Definite one to go on the special occasions list!