Time Out (Melbourne) - - Food & Drink - Larissa Dubecki

NEPTUNE IS BRING­ING its A-game with a host of qual­ity seafood in a can – the way the Span­ish have done it since the in­ven­tion of the can opener. There are few things bet­ter in life than a glass of Ries­lingf­reak No. 3 mar­ried to an ex­tended fam­ily of meaty lit­tle cock­les tinned in their prime. Load them up on a potato chip, add a dash of herby ca­per sauce and a squeeze of lemon and con­sume. Re­peat. Just as com­pelling is the tarama-like cod roe, beaten to within an inch of its life with sour­dough and topped with a flour­ish of bot­targa. And the ’nduja jaf­fle, a cheesy, but­tery, high-gi white bread beauty in thrall to the chilli thrill of the Cal­abrian salami paste. But you’ll prob­a­bly ad­mire the chutz­pah of call­ing the halved red grapes grac­ing but­ter­flied sar­dines a gre­mo­lata more than the dish it­self. Snap­per crudo is like a ce­viche lost a bet, the in­tegrity of the protein cor­rupted by a whomp­ing hand on the acid. And in 2017 the use of truf­fle oil, seen here adding its Lynx ef­fect to a rus­tic plate of soft po­lenta and a braised mush­room jum­ble, is cause for spank­ing. Fun­nily enough, one of the best dishes on chef Daniel Natali’s menu is steak frites – a fullflavoured piece of full-blood Wagyu hanger cooked to the per­fect, dark livery cen­tre. Steak some­how makes sense af­ter all that seafood. As does a dessert of poached quince and Chinotto quince jelly with a calm­ing snow­fall of bur­rata granita.

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