February 13, 2011

On the weekend we all went out for a casual dinner to Rennie’s, which is a wonderful place just outside of Acheron, NE of Melbourne. Marian Rennie, who runs the place, is a local artist and has some incredible work, some of which she displays around the restaurant which is what gives it the charm I like so much. I have my eye on a series of paintings of women with burnt orange backgrounds; there’s an amazing one of two women dancing, as well as this fabulously enormous painting of pomegranates (unfortunately which I don’t think is for sale). But anyway, I’d just like to empahasis the positive atmosphere/ambiance/karma/feng shui etc going on.

Rennie’s has split up it’s menu into antipasto/pizza and what they call the “Chef’s Menu”, which is seasonal (hooray!) and usually offers about 6-8 different entrees and mains. Firstly let me say from previous experience that the pizzas here are good. Both A and I were disappointed when they got rid of our favourite pear and ham pizza, but the options are still excellent. D and A went with pizzas last night, with D choosing the chorizo, roasted capsicum, spanish onion, spinach, feta and paprika pizza (which I didn’t get a picture of), and A going with the blue cheese, pancetta, roquette and caramelized onion pizza. I tried both and both were tasty with thin crusts, but I have to say I preferred A’s. Something about the pungency of the cheese and the sweet onions. A simply said “amazing”.
M went with the dish of wild rabbit loin, confit rabbit leg wrapped in prosciutto with garden grown beetroot done five ways. She also enjoyed her meal, saying that the loin was a little tough, but the leg in prosciutto was delicious. The beetroot was (anti-clockwise from the top left of the photo) baked. mashed, pickled (yum), chipped, and powdered/crumbed. It was an inventive dish and I am a fan of beetroot and rabbit so what’s not to love? In the background of this photo you can also see out side salad, which was yummy but I’d just like to mention the tomatoes that actually tasted like tomatoes!! You remember that taste? The taste that supermarket tomatoes don’t have anymore and you can only get by raiding your grandma’s vegetable garden? Well it was fantastic and much appreciated.
Y and I both went with the pan-seared salmon fillet with tahini, coriander, walnuts and red onion, served with asparagus spears and herb risotto. The salmon was very good, nicely cooked and fresh, still pinky-raw in the middle which I liked, and I especially liked the occasional salty pop from the salmon roe. The tahini and topping was my favourite part of the dish and I would have loved some more to eat with my fish, although I do have an unnatural love for tahini so perhaps for everyone else the proportions were correct. The asparagus was nice, my only problem was the risotto, which was a little too dry (I prefer risotto wetter and runny), and sort of bland. Easily fixed with a few more herbs and some seasoning though!
We also got dessert and coffee afterwards, but I COMPLETELY forgot to take any pictures! Ahhh well, looks like I’ve got a while to go before I get the hang of this blogging thing… But just to give a quick list, D had the summer pudding, M and Y shared a green rhubarb and apple crumble, and A and I went halfsies on a lemon tart and Rennie’s trifle. Dee-licious! Coffee was very good too, reasonably strong, good froth, nice temperature, and served in a glass as lattes should be. All in all, a very pleasant evening at Rennie’s with good local food. As D said, the best thing about it is the feel of the place, the sense of being somewhere where someone has put a lot of effort into it, a place that is unpretentious and genuine. And as a special extra treat, look at who we ran into on our way to the restaurant! He was so cute, waddling across the road, but by the time I had my camera out he’d curled up so I couldn’t get a picture of his face.

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Filed under: Country Victoria, European