Church St Enoteca ‘Tour of the Obscure’ dinner

by April@MyFoodTrail on November 16, 2009

in Food Events

Church St Enoteca
527 Church St, Richmond VIC
(03) 9428 7898

Hubby and I have been meaning to go to Church St Enoteca for some time but never got around to it. I follow Church St Enoteca’s Executive Chef Ron O’Bryan on Twitter and from his tweets, it is obvious that he is passionate about food and using fresh produce at his restaurant.

The ‘Tour of the Obscure’ dinner was a chance to sample 6 wines of the more obscure grape varieties in Italy and the cuisine inspired by each region. The wines were selected first and Ron tasted the wines and researched ingredients typical of the region. He then constructed dishes using those ingredients to compliment the wine.

Upon arrival, there was sparkling wine waiting for us from Sorelle Bronca (a winery) called Prosecco di Valdobbiadene. Prosecco is an Italian wine, usually a dry sparkling, made from grapes of the same name. As we all settled into our tables ready for dinner, we were given a short introduction to the wine by Peter Lortz from Distillery Works and information about the food from Ron.

Peter Lortz from Distillery Works & Executive Chef, Ron O’Bryan

Hubby and I were seated at a table with fellow food bloggers and Tweeps, Tammi, Claire, Joyce and Mat. Meals with food bloggers are always fun, as nobody minds you taking photos of their food before they are allowed to eat!

At the table was some freshly baked crusty bread, served with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Freshly baked bread

I’m no wine connoisseur so I’ll leave the wine tasting notes to the experts and comment on what I know best – the food! All courses, except the second course, were served ‘la famiglia’, which means that large plates are placed in the middle of the table for everyone to share.

The first course was a salad of shavings of prosciutto, raw artichoke, fennel and broad beans, topped with flaked almonds. I’m not usually a fan of fennel as I dislike the aniseed flavour, but this fennel was quite mild. The prosciutto was extremely fresh and all the elements of the salad came together as an excellent starting dish.

Salad of shaved Fratelli Galloni prosciutto, raw artichoke, fennel, broad beans, almond and lemon
White wine: Toscana Bianco IGT 2007, Montauto, Toscana

The second course, the only dish to be served individually, was a rabbit, fennel and Italian sausage broth with two pieces of rabbit cappelletti (pasta). Rabbit is normally on my “no thanks” list, but as this dish was put in front of me, I had to at least try it. With my first mouthful, I realised I didn’t like rabbit because I have never had it cooked like this before! The pieces of the rabbit in broth were wonderfully soft and the rabbit cappelletti was delicious. The broth had a great depth of flavour and the Italian sausage was very tasty without being too salty.

Rabbit, fennel and cotechino (Italian sausage) brodo (broth), rabbit cappelletti, spring herbs
White wine: Verdicchio di Matelica DOC 2008, Collestefano, Marche

The third course was the 12 hour pork belly and the course hubby was most looking forward to, as he has recently developed a pork belly obsession! The perfectly roasted pork belly was cut into cubes and was sitting on top of thinly sliced pickled turnip, served with an apple puree and a dark sauce. You could almost see everybody’s eyes roll into their head in delight when tasting this dish! The crackling was crunchy but chewy and the pork had the requisite melt in the mouth texture. The dark sauce was a well matched accompaniment to the pork. Ron explained the sauce was a reduction of orange juice, white wine, pork stock and veal stock flavoured with cinnamon and star anise.

12 hour pork belly, apple puree, broade
Red wine: Refosco IGT 2007, Primosic, Friuli

The fourth course was twice cooked duck with cous cous. The cous cous had absorbed the sweet juices of the duck and sauce. I thought the sauce of the duck tasted similar to the pork sauce, but Ron said it was simply a reduction of duck and veal stocks with white wine. The breast piece I had was a bit dry, but hubby’s leg piece was good.

Twice cooked duck, cous cous, cinnamon and orange
Red wine: Nero d’Avola IGT 2007, Gulfi, Sicilia

The fifth and final course was the dessert (dolci). It was a plate containing squares of lemon and olive oil cake, passionfruit marshmallow, shot glasses of blackberry jelly with macerated black and blueberries in Framboise liquer and white chocolate and rosemary torrone (nougat) with figs and pistachio. My favourite was the nougat with its chunks of figs and pistachio (hiding in the back of the photo below).

Lemon, passionfruit, blackberry and olive oil
Dessert wine: Passito Bianco DOC 2006, La Cappuccina, Veneto

3 of the wines we had during the night: a red wine, the dessert wine & a white wine

Hubby and I had a wonderful time at the dinner and the food was fantastic – the best dinner we have had in a while! Ron is only at Church St Enoteca until 23 December, before moving on to a new venture in St Kilda. He will be revamping a St Kilda icon and launching a new concept that focuses on local and seasonal produce with a focus on ethical and sustainable and organic/biodynamic and whole animals where possible. Hubby and I have made it a point to make it back to Church St Enoteca before the 23 December!

Rilsta and hubby dined at the ‘Tour of the Obscure’ dinner courtesy of Ron O’Bryan. Thanks Ron for the superb dinner and it was lovely meeting fellow food bloggers!

Over & Out, Rilsta xx

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah November 16, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Wow, that crispy pork looks incredible!!!

xox Sarah

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penny aka jeroxie November 16, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Crispy pork! And wine! Yummmmmo!

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Jetsetting Joyce (MEL: HOT OR NOT) November 16, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Ah you managed to photograph the brodo! Great to read about some of the other details I missed of the night and of course to meet you in real life!

Jetsetting Joyce

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ms s loveridge November 16, 2009 at 11:34 pm

the food looks gorgeous and i had made up my mind on "no thanks" to rabbit – but maybe.. just maybe i'll give it another go 😉
you make me hungry again! at 11:35PM too! 😛

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MEAN EIRENE November 16, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Wine….mmmmmm…

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MEAN EIRENE November 16, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Wine….mmmmmm…

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Conor @ HoldtheBeef November 17, 2009 at 2:51 am

I really like the idea of being exposed to the more obscure grape varieties, as I always just go for the safe ones that I know I'll like, or sometimes there are only safe options to choose from.

Glad you enjoyed the rabbit! I didn't realise I liked rabbit either until my Italian friend's mother served me her special rabbit dish (in Italy) and turned me into a rabbit eater 🙂

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Cherry Blossom Cupcakes November 17, 2009 at 11:20 am

Oh YUM!! Nearly every dish made me want to lick the screen. Glad you've become a rabbit convert, as with most things it's how it is prepared that makes it delicious.

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Betty @ The Hungry Girl November 17, 2009 at 11:20 am

The pork belly sounds amazing. I love the sound of these kind of events that expose you to different kinds of things you wouldn't normally be inclined to try!

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Vee - A Melbourne Munchkin. November 17, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Oh I loveeee crispy pork (throwback to all the Chinese Roast BBQ Pork I consumed growing up) – thanks for doing this post, I'm considering this place for a very classy hen's night! =o))

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Tammois November 17, 2009 at 4:39 pm

Great post with awesome photos! When I get mine up in the next day or two I'll simply point to yours and @jetsettingjoyce's for details and nice images! Was very lovely to meet you IRL too. 🙂

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Anita November 17, 2009 at 10:58 pm

The pork belly looks and sounds perfect… along with everything else served.

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Elliot and Sandra November 17, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Hi
I love your site and what a great idea 52 weeks is. I only came across it because you left a comment on 1001dinners.com which, for some reason unknown, I did not see when you posted it.
As a result I am going to include month and year of posts in he index in future.
Good luck and good blogging

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Rilsta November 18, 2009 at 9:40 am

Hi Sarah: It was! I could have eaten just that crispy pork the whole night and I would have been happy!

Hi Penny: I know! Such a great combination!

Hi Joyce: It was fab meeting you too! I asked Ron for some of the details!

Hi ms s loveridge: I'm not sure I would intentionally order rabbit again as I would normally choose something else first but the rabbit broth was GOOD!

Hi Mean Eirene: The wine was mmmmm! 🙂

Hi Conor: I didn't realise Italians cooked rabbit so well! It was good having a wine tasting so you could try other varieties from the normal ones you always order!

Hi Cherry Blossom Cupcakes: Haha! I have been known to *almost* lick the screen on many occasions! 🙂

Hi Betty: Yes, it's always great to try new things!

Hi Vee: No worries! It would be great venue for a classy hen's night. They have function rooms too.

Hi Tammois: Thanks and looking forward to your post!! It was great to meet you & S too!

Hi Anita: As I said, it was one of the best dinners I have had in a while!

Hi Elliot: I left that comment ages ago but glad you finally found it! Thanks for stopping by!

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Maria@TheGourmetChallenge November 20, 2009 at 9:38 pm

that pork belly looks absolutely perfect, and sounds heavenly! I think I would have consumed the entire tables worth to myself!

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Rilsta November 23, 2009 at 10:23 am

Hi Maria: It definitely was heavenly! 🙂

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