GG and I have been together now for more than 3 years – amazing to me, where does the time go! And our first every degustation meal together was for his 29th birthday and we went to Divido. It’s a fairly small restaurant, quaint you could say or maybe cosy is a better word, and it is entirely unassuming from the outside. It would be very easy to drive past and miss it if you weren’t looking specifically for it. We’ll put it on the hidden treasures list. Anyways way back then on our first visit we were both very impressed with the delicious food, fabulous matched wines and brilliant service. And it was the start of our love affair with degustation dining. We actually returned the following year on his birthday again to relive the magic. But the years have past and a few other places caught our eye and we ventured to them instead, always knowing that an occasion would present for us to return to Divido. We had some friend that we struggled to find a day that we could all head out for dinner together and so thought we’d line up a ‘Champagne Monday’ catch up at Divido.
Champagne Monday is a wonderful promotion that Divido started last year and continued into 2011, where for $65 you have your choice or entrée, mains and dessert and also receive a glass of bubbles. A totally great deal and a real bargain given the high quality of the food. It also meant that at looooong last I was going to get to try the highly acclaimed wood roasted duck! So I was more than a little excited about that.
It wasn’t overly full when we arrived for our 7pm booking, but within the hour the majority of tables were taken. Service was as good as I had remembered, with everyone friendly and helpful. Knowing that Divido is also well known for their home made pastas I couldn’t go past the Potato Gnocchi with Tomato, chestnuts, spiced sausage for my starter. Served in a round ceramic dish it had quite a rustic look when presented. The gnocchi was so good – light, fluffy pillows of potato, enhanced by the flavour filled sauce. The addition of chestnuts was something different, not an item I’d previously tried with pasta or on many occasions really. They added a nice crunch to the dish. I really enjoyed it. Perfect for the wintery weather.
Around the table, GG spoke highly of the Wood Roasted Mushrooms with Taleggio, farro salad, hazelnut dressing he had…..
And the Rottnest Island Scallops with Chorizo sausage, borlotti beans, fennel, tomato, cinzano brodetto and Honey Cured Ocean Trout with Cucumber pickle, quail egg, smoked paprika also received rave reviews. The presentation of the ocean trout entrée also deserves a mention. So artistic! Bright and colourful with a generous splash of micro herbs – it was pretty as a picture, and tasted as good as it looked I’m told.
Then for mains, both GG and I went for the Wood Roasted Half Duck served with organic buckwheat polenta, mustard fruits, spring onion, porcini sauce. It presented well and it was a really generous amount of duck I thought, with only one bone in it as it turned out – bonus! The skin was wonderfully crispy, while the duck breast was perfectly moist and so, so tasty. With a forkful of duck, a little of the polenta and the delicious mushroomy shallot filled jus, it was as fabulous as I’d hoped it would be. Happy days. Ahh ducks, you’ve been the big winner of 2011 for me. I should really give cooking one of them a go myself one of these days…
Then onto dessert. The bitter chocolate torta did sound divine, but given I’d attended the Death by Chocolate cooking class the previous night I think I’d hit my chocolate quota at least for the next week. So I turned my attention to the Caramelized Lemon Tart with Crème Fraiche ice cream.. Presentation was fairly simple but the flavours did the talking. Zesty lemon was well balance with the caramelised sugar top on a perfect thin pastry crust. And crème fraiche ice cream was another welcome inclusion. A lot more flavour to it than the usual vanilla.
Now while I was completely happy with my dessert when I spied GG’s Baked Mascarpone Cheesecake with Pear and grappa sorbet, almond biscotti, I was perhaps a little envious as it just looked so pretty with its tuft of green tuille on top. And given that he polished off every last bite and I suspect would have licked the bowl if not for the fact we are in a restaurant, I think speaks volumes about what he thought of it.
So I’m always happy when you return to a place and find it just as good as you remembered. Divido has wonderful food, a solid wine list and excellent staff. It made me really glad that I am returning on July 28th for their tribute to the truffle degustation dinner. I’ve always wanted to give a truffle degustation a go and I’m sure that the high expectations I have for the night will be met. See you soon Divido!