I HAVE no boundaries when it comes to food.
Nothing is off the menu and I’m willing to give anything a go.
At primary school I was introduced to the basics of indigenous cooking via Aboriginal Studies.
We enjoyed crocodile, emu, kangaroo, goanna and buffalo prepared by local elders.
We learned how to forage for witchetty grubs and cook our wriggly bounty over hot coals.
The larvae’s nutty flavour was the perfect accompaniment to the tender base of a Grass Tree leaf, which tasted just like coconut.
While other pupils squirmed at our ochre banquet, I dug in, encouraging their disgust so there’d be more for me.
During high school, friends would look at me sideways when I told them how good Nanna’s oxtail stew was, or that Pop’s pig’s trotters were to die for. In later years my efforts to convince friends and roommates to try something other than beef, chicken and popular seafood was futile.
They just wouldn’t budge.
So I almost fell off my chair when Bel, a friend of 30 years, agreed to share the veal tongue ($18) during a recent catch-up at Gucce in Applecross.
I was so glad she did.
The paper-thin slices of smokey tongue were soft and airy and melted in my mouth, while the salsa verde offered a zesty punch.
Spreading the tongue on a piece of crusty wafer, with a mound of fresh rocket, was the most heavenly mouthful of food I’ve ever had.
Kudos to head chef Giovanni Di Serio for this masterful plate.
I ordered the cavatelli ($28) for my main.
The chewy pasta is served with tender rabbit thigh, chestnut slices and creamy montasio, an aromatic cheese from northeastern Italy.
I was delighted to learn the perfectly al dente pasta was made in-house, and it was clear a lot of love had gone into making this dish.
I never underestimate Bel’s petite frame when it comes to food—she sure can pack it away.
Her generous serve of lamb rump ($33) fell apart with the slightest touch of her fork.
The thick smoky jus was intense, but it was kept in check by the sweet, roasted beetroot wedges. An ingenious combo.
There are so many options on the menu including a long list of woodfired pizzas, salads and desserts.
I’ll be back, that’s for sure.
by MATTHEW EELES
36 Ardross Street, Applecross