The Restau­rant at Blue Wren, Mudgee, New South Wales, Aus­tralia

Vacations & Travel - - Tried & Tested - By Lana Bogunovich

Pas­sion, pre­ci­sion and cre­ativ­ity are preva­lent in ev­ery­thing from the dé­cor to the food in this un­der­stated, yet el­e­gant restau­rant, which seats just 12, plus four at the Chef’s Ta­ble – a next-level din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Watch­ing chef and owner Kip Har­ris and sous-chef Steven work in their uniquely cus­tomised, ever-chang­ing kitchen is fas­ci­nat­ing with Kip metic­u­lously as­sem­bling the el­e­ments on each and ev­ery plate, piece by piece. Fluid and ex­per­i­men­tal in his ap­proach, there’s no menu, adding a touch of sus­pense. Quite the Mad Hat­ter in the kitchen, he en­joys watch­ing you ex­pe­ri­ence the var­i­ous tex­tures, shapes, colours and flavours – things are not what they seem, and they cer­tainly don’t taste how they look. Fea­tur­ing sea­son­ally-fo­cused in­gre­di­ents, with each dish finely matched to a Blue Wren wine, our imag­i­na­tive five-course, tast­ing menu had a some­what yin and yang theme – del­i­cate, light, and fem­i­nine flavours har­mo­niously paired with stronger, sharper and mood­ier ones, with each dish plated on a black or white plate. High­lights in­cluded the creamed cele­riac puree with as­para­gus, peas, and broad beans – a thick, creamy broth taken up a notch with a poached egg, truf­fle oil and parme­san, and a chateaubriand steak fil­let with ca­cao, gold and sil­ver black pud­ding, a green sponge bread made from spinach and the ul­ti­mate kicker, a mar­mite foam, with a del­i­cate, bub­bly tex­ture, yet a sharp and salty flavour. The three-hour taste jour­ney was truly ex­cep­tional. When I asked chef Kip how he would de­scribe his food, he sim­ply said “mem­o­rable,” and that, it cer­tainly was. bluewren­

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