Kicking off in late January 2019 is Cellar Door Sundays at The Bird Mess Hall in Northbridge. The guys here have teamed up with some of Australia’s best wineries to bring cellar doors out of wine country into the city.
How it works: each Sunday we’ll see a new winery pop up in the space to showcase their wines and wares. Most weekends this will be kickstarted with a long table lunch that includes careful wine pairings (tickets available on The Bird’s website), before tastings with the producer that will also be available to members of the public. The chefs behind the food will be rotated each week, meaning no cellar door experience will be like any other.
To celebrate the launch of these events, I was invited to a preview in December with Vinaceous Wines as the main attraction. On the pots and pans was Chef Tomas Bidois from Clarences.
Firstly, the space looked great. I love The Bird Mess Hall with all that lush greenery and bright light filtering in. With a glass of NV Vivacious Burlesque blanc de blancs greeting us on arrival, we settled in to the long table and eagerly awaited our food.
The first course: Albany rock oyster with apple cider vinaigrette, paired with a 2017 Reverend V Riesling. If you know me at all, you’ll know I just love oysters – especially with vinaigrettes to get that lovely sour, sparkling note. This was delicious and kickstarted my appetite for what was to come.
Next up was the raw albacore tuna, bottarga, tomato water and basil oil, accompanied by the 2017 Vivacious Impavideo Vermentino.
I do love fresh fish – it’s such a treat. Though I generally prefer a fattier cut for tuna like the belly (of course this is a lot more expensive!). This one was delicate and light, well accompanied by the umami rich ingredients on the plate that elevated each bite.
The pigs head croquette with apple ketchup was my favourite dish though, which was served with a glass of the 2016 Clandestine Vineyards #1 Grenache. I could have eaten five more of these at least, with that perfectly crunchy outside, and the gelatinous, soft meat inside. The apple ketchup was a deft touch, providing sweetness to the very savoury bites. This wine was also one of my favourites for the afternoon, and worked well as a combination with the croquette.
On to the main course for our long table lunch: whole grilled market fish, brussels sprouts and smoked potato, served with a glass of 2017 Reverend V Chardonnay.
YUM. This was delicious, and a nice difference to the style of cooking normally enjoyed at Clarences while not compromising on flavour. Fresh fish that flaked ever so carefully away from the bone – it was juicy and well seasoned. I’m a big fan of brussels sprouts, and was in heaven munching away on these. And the potatoes, well those were obviously tasty – crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and had just the right amount of smoky flavour thanks to the creamy accompanying sauce.
We finished off our meal on a sweet note of pavlova with seasonal fruit and chantilly cream. It was a cherry based rendition of this Aussie dessert (yes I know that’s a contentious thing to say) and was more elevated than the style I usually enjoy at home. I thought it matched really well with the 2017 Vinaceous Salome Tempranillo Rose, which is a bit more savoury to compliment the sweetness of the dessert.
Once we wrapped up dining, we made our way to the other room in the Mess Hall to try the rest of Vinaceous’s wines and learn about the varietals. Considering I love cellar door experiences whenever I’m in Swan Valley or Margaret River, this was right up my alley. And I’m looking forward to a summer of more cellar door Sundays right here in Northbridge. I can’t wait to see which wineries are next!