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This year in June, some of Melbourne’s famous dining establishments celebrated the best of Victoria’s winter produce in the Melbourne Food and Wine Roast Collection. After perusing the event calendar and narrowing down a few choices, Fakebooo and I decided to venture to Newmarket Hotel for a Sunday winter roast lunch. The feature was a “Cal-Mex” roast buffalo, centered around a three course meal for $55.
Newmarket Hotel is an interesting mix of spaces. There’s dark alcoves sheltering plush leather chairs, perched seats reaching onto bright polished wood, outdoor dining amidst sunlit green flora and a handsome dining table from which strung herbs dangle.
We started off sharing an aromatic dish of vermicelli with prawns and mushroom. It was similar to paella, with strong hints of saffron and prawn stock. I didn’t really see the need for the bread or pears. Anyhow, I helped myself to almost half the pan. Carbs be damned!
Our main of roasted smoked buffalo was beautifully pink but slightly deceiving. I found myself masticating somewhat like the poor animal I was consuming and putting my jaw muscles to good use. The meat was full of flavour, not at all gamey, and had hints of smoke. The accompanying cavelo nero, a favourite of mine, was tender and had absorbed the juicy meatiness from the buffalo. The quince aioli provided a surprisingly sweet balance. Unfortunately I lacked chewing stamina and was defeated after a couple of slices.
The side of crisp potatoes was wonderful. Once again, carbs be damned, for it was everything roasted potatoes ought to be: crispy skins, fluffy insides, lip-smacking seasoning and oh-so-finger-licking-good. Fakebooo was enamored by these and found himself reaching for them again and again. And again.
We ended on a sugary high with a chocolate and dulce de leche tart. The base was not the usual shortcrust pastry that I was expecting but the filling was rich, smooth and sweet. The stout ice cream was lovely, with the beer flavours just peeking through.
Having been to Newmarket previously and enjoying my meal, the winter roast lunch lived up to my expectations. The food remains well-executed and well-presented.
On a side note, the reason why some of the winter roast events didn’t suit was because The Angmoh, Fakebooo and I were in the Northern Territories for a little break. I leave you with some of the breath-taking scenes of the outback.