The benefit of a work lunch can be twofold – firstly the chance for a temporary sojourn from the daily grind and in some instances also the chance to try somewhere new. Such was the case on a recent work lunch at Firewater Grille, a new addition to the Duxton Hotel. They’ve gone with quite a plush fit out, complete with very impressive water feature. Massively on board with waterfalls in restaurants, I find it a little relaxing to have flowing water so close by. So here we were on a fine week day and it was time for lunch.
Quite an interesting menu and I was intrigued by the prospect of structuring a two course Coat of Arms experience. So this meant that my entrée was to be Seared Emu fillet, Shitake mushrooms, asparagus, ginger plum jam $25 and for my main I would be enjoying Kangaroo loin, fenugreek-pumpkin puree, courgette, rosemary olive jus $38. Around the table in our group of five there was quite the varied range of choices, from the Kilpatrick oysters to the Confit of ocean trout, matcha ice cream, salmon caviar $21. Lots of dishes sounded appealing which made for some tough decisions as to what folks would have.
While waiting for our meals to arrive we were offered a selection of fresh bread rolls. I opted for an olive roll. Delicious! Wonderfully fresh and very pleasant with a generous spread of some of the butter that had been brought to the table. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, good bread and real butter is one of life’s joys.
There wasn’t a huge crowd in attendance on the day we rocked up, but it was a Monday and I suppose I was fortunate to be lunching it up on the first day of the working week
The entrees all presented beautifully and I thought size wise were more than decent. I’d only ever had emu as part of a Coat of Arms burger and while it was delicious, I can’t say it had an overly distinct emu flavour. With this dish though, emu was the star and I had the chance to really appreciate its flavour. I think I had assumed, because it’s a giant bird, that emu would taste like, well a giant chicken I suppose. It’s actually more of a red meat. It had been cooked to pink perfection and had a strong but pleasing meaty flavour. Ticking the gamey box I suppose. The inclusions of the crunchy asparagus and mushrooms, along with the sweet spiciness from the ginger plum jam really made this an enjoyable dish. It was a really pleasing and interesting first introduction to the Firewater Grille’s offerings.
Around the table folks seemed equally pleased with their choices. Boss B gave approving nods to his half dozen Kilpatrick oysters (Australian finest oysters: Half Doz $22) and even the soup, pumpkin, carrot and saffron with goat’s curd $17, was said to be a winner.
We sat and chatted and at another table I noticed that a group of ladies were enjoying high tea. Nice to know there’s a place that does high tea on a Monday. Soon enough though it was time for mains and my kangaroo hopped its way to the table. Ok, it didn’t really hop…. that would have been a worry. It was elegantly presented and I thought it looked good. Again a generous size and the kangaroo had been cooked to a pleasing pink. I have eaten roo on a few outings and it is gamey. Strong, meaty taste but with this dish I quite liked the sweetness that was matched with it from the pumpkin puree. It was lovely.
Of my entrée and main I was probably slightly more wowed by the emu but as a two course experience it had been pleasing.
Around the table folks seemed generally pretty pleased, but from what I could glean entrees had been the winners over mains.
Amelia Park lamb cutlets, mint jam, lyonnaise potato $46
Linley Valley pork cutlet, apple cider jam, colcannon $37
Treeton Farm 200g Fillet Mignon $46 – All steaks are served with gratin potato, asparagus, herb roasted cherry tomatoes and your choice of sauce with condiment service Sauces – Béarnaise/Mushroom/Pepper/Garlic cream
We had toyed with the idea of dessert or cheese but service, which had generally been ok during the meal, seemed to weaken towards the end and getting anyone’s attention was a bit of a mission. So after working towards putting a dent in the bottle of red, which again we had only ordered late because of the lack of staff to place the request with, we decided that dessert could wait for another day and we made our exit.
Company wise no complaints and I quite liked the dishes that I had tried, but I think Firewater needs some improvement on the service front to match the plush surroundings and to lift this from just a “hotel” restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, service had been friendly, it could just have been slightly more attentive. There’s always next time.