Last Sunday was the long awaited day of the inaugural Peninsula Picnic on the Mornington Peninsula. When I woke up in the morning I couldn't believe that the Melbourne weather had actually held its promised and the sun was shining from a cloudless sky.
We packed my camera, our picnic rug and sunscreen and headed on over to the Peninsula.
Parking was within easy walking distance and soon we were standing in between lots and lots of picnic rugs, marquees and could smell the different food flavours wafting through the air.
We had a look at the menu and decided we really wanted to try Max's dukkah crusted Scoth Eggs with fresh figs and a celery and walnut salad from Max's at Red Hill Estate. I have to admit, that this was my first ever Scotch egg, I've always loved the sound of it and I sure wasn't disappointed when I had my first try. It was soft and waxy inside and juicy with a nice dukkah flavour on the outside.
The next two things we chose from the menu were the soft shell crab slider with harissa mayonnaise and the steamed lamb shoulder with couscous and mango chutney from Terminus at Flinders Hotel. Initially I was excited to see the generous serve of two sliders but was a little underwhelmed with the amount of soft shell crab in each of them. If they had put the filling of both those sliders into just one it would have been great!
The lamb shoulder with couscous was very delicious on the other hand. The meat was very tender and juic and we loved the pearl couscous!
After careful deliberation as our stomachs were slowly getting full we picked out Ian Curley (Executive Chef at The European) for our last mains.
I'm a lover of all things pasta so couldn't go past the duck tortellini with pea puree, raisins & Heronswood Diggers carrots. L chose the smoked and braised short rib of beef with crispy shallots and horseradish.
Just visually they were already the best looking dishes of the day already. The tortellini was nice and big, with silky pasta encasing tender duck meat and duck pâté. If I had to pick one dish at the picnic it would have to be the tortellini.
L loved the short rib, it was cooked perfectly with a slight smokey note and so tender that it melted in the mouth.
While enjoying the weather, the live music and a glass of wine we thought about what we should have for dessert.
The smoked yoghurt ice cream with raspberry and pistachio from Pope Joan had definitely piqued my interest. Smoked yoghurt... I was keen to give it a go! It was amazing! The very first mouthful tastes just like normal yoghurt but then you get this distinct hit of smokey flavour which goes surprisingly well. Probably not suitable for young kids, but great for the big kids!
The last dish of the day for us was the Montalto kitchen garden rhubarb & almond tart with kitchen garden verbena anglaise and lemon confit from Montalto.
The tart wasn't what I expected but still very delicious. The little almond cake had a dense consistency and a lovely almond flavour. The rhubarb on top was hiding underneath a layer of the smooth anglaise and little crunchy bits of lemon.
I think The Peninsula Picnic was a great idea, bringing together the best things in life: Food, wine and music. They couldn't have been luckier with the weather. The atmosphere was great, I don't think I saw a single person that wasn't happy.
It would be perfect if next year they could expand the space a little bit (not too much though) and add some more shade. Apart from that, top points from me.
L and I received tickets to enter The Peninsula Picnic. However, all food and drinks were paid for personally.