by MATT EELES:
Except for reading the latest Aquaman comic book or smoking a Romeo Y Julieta surrounded by friends and family, there’s no finer pleasure in life than dining at a great restaurant.
Over the years Kylie and I have gluttonised at eateries all over Australia and when we’re one day blessed with kids, it’s inevitable our over-indulgence will come to an end.
Partridge breast with foie gras and roasted quail with duck confit pie will be replaced by over-heated baked beans and a dirty microwave.
But I’m sure it’ll be worth it. Right? We decided to celebrate my 29th birthday at Jacs: As we grip tightly to our 20s, the wife and I are trying to eat more out-of-area and this Applecross eatery was recommended by a work colleague.
The dinner menu is simple with an ample selection of tapas including oysters three ways, crab quesadilla with avocado and corn salsa, and Morbier cheese and tomato jam toasts with pesto.
It all sounded great but we couldn’t go past the pork and pumpkin croquettes ($14) and the rare tuna ($16). The tapas were beautifully presented, encouraging us to jump in quick.
Perfectly deep-fried and glistening a golden yellow the croquette are accompanied by a spoon-smeared applesauce. They were grandiose and incredibly crunchy. The pork was moist, tender and tasty but sadly the pumpkin lacked any real flavour. It even left Kylie and I wondering if it actually was pumpkin or incredibly under-seasoned potato.
The raw tuna was a different story: A generous portion, paper-thin and sesame-encrusted. What a delight. The salty soy sauce enhanced the delicate flavour of this beautiful fresh fish and I quickly jumped in to grab the last piece before Kylie had her chance. That’s what I call sel-fish.
For her main, the frugal Kylie couldn’t see past the Wednesday night sirloin special ($29). It was served on a timber chopping board with a home-made béarnaise, chips and caramelised onions. Her medium to well-done steak was just that with a red, juicy middle layer that was tender and delectable. She complained the onions were too sweet but after tasting a sample I told her they were perfect, with just the right amount of sugar to balance the sharp mustard-seed flavour.
My palate demanded something a little more gourmet and it was my birthday so I decided on the beef fillet ($45). It had travelled all the way from Cape Grim on the Apple Isle and was served with truffle mash. The treasured fungus gave the dish a subtle, earthy flavour intensified by the incredible wild mushroom jus. It was a stunning dish but I was left disgruntled by it being served well-done rather than my specified medium to well-done.
It was a long wait between our main meals and dessert. We were left waiting for a passionfruit soufflé (a quick Google told me it should only take around 14 minutes in the oven) and a piece of cheese. We forgave the delay because when they arrived they were something special. The soufflé was the perkiest I had seen and the taste faultless. The passionfruit tart was well partnered with a créme anglaise.
My cheeseboard was exceptionally presented: A large piece of Yarra Valley Bullseye cheese was set next to a big piece of French d’Argental Lingot, which was my favourite. Spread on a cracker with quince paste, apple slices and topped with a strawberry half, the towering delight made for a sumptuous end to an amazing repast.
1/45 Ardross St, Applecross
Wed-Fri 11.30am till late
Sat-Sun 7am to late