Glam (and the rest of Adelaide) met Electra around a year ago now, and she’s been an evolving lady about town ever since.
Recent news sees the departure of Electra House’s five star Greek restaurant Olea, with the promise of something new, fresh and different on the cards.
While we wait with enthusiastic apprehension for those big beautiful doors to open, the team at Electra House are keeping us satisfied with the first (of many, so we’re told) wine degustations. Combining their culinary skills with brilliant SA wineries to create a wonderful, delicious and educational dining experience.
We we’re lucky enough to be special guests to the first degustation, hosted by Torbreck Vintners and, of course, Electra House.
Guests were treated to six exceptional courses of regional cuisine paired perfectly with wines from the Torbreck Barossa Valley collection, all enjoyed on the top floor of Electra House, a New York City Upper East Side penthouse apartment. The space is reminiscent of something from Gossip Girl, giving you the air of grandeur but the comfort of being in someone’s home.
As we moved through the courses, hilarious head winemaker Craig Isbel ran us through the tasting notes of each spectacular drop. As an interesting twist to the normal proceedings at a degustation, Craig’s cumulative list read like a Sex and the City script, with wines likened to everything from a great Drag Queen, an old lover and even foreplay.
The result was a night filled with endless laughter and certainly some mental cogs turning trying to figure out the analogies. But while the comedy of the evening was out in the full force the luxury quality of the food and wine was no joke.
The first two courses were seafood oriented. Coffin Bay oysters with cucumber salsa and a beautiful Mexican style king fish ceviche, the first served with the 2014 Steading Blanc and the latter with the 2015 Saignee Rose. Each course and accompanying wine was fresh with bright and exciting flavours. I must say the rose was a particular favourite, with its spicy savoury flavours and a less pink style than a traditional rose, it matched wonderfully with the Mexican ceviche spices.
The beef carpaccio served up next was topped with hot mustard, shaved parmesan and roasted pine nuts. It was delicious, but for those that know me, this isn’t surprising information. I might be a little biased, as I love a good carpaccio, but the dinner guest next to me announced (a little too loudly) he passionately hates eating any raw meat, but adored every bite of this dish. I call that a success.
Personally the next course was the hero of the evening for me. The crispy skin duck served with a quince emulsion, caramelised cherries and kumquat. It was the perfect ode to duck a l’orange but with a wonderful modern Australian twist. The breast was cooked perfectly (not an easy feat when you need to serve up 60 plates of the stuff at the same time) and the sweet and sticky flavours of the kumquats, cherries and quince brought out the beauty of the duck. This also brought us to the first of the red wines, probably also an indicator as to why I enjoyed this course the most.
Next up was the South Australian lamb rack. The beautiful outer smoky charr worked surprisingly well with the green pea puree and confit artichokes. The real highlight here though, was the comparative tastings of the 2006 Factor Shiraz and the 2009 Runrig Shiraz Viognier. It was wonderful to see how different the similar grapes could be in flavour. Both being exceptional, but the 2006 Factor definitely coming out on top.
The final course was a local selection cheese plate served with the 2013 Bothie. A brilliant way to end a stunning meal. The Bothie itself was much more subtle and clean in flavour than your traditional sticky, but that shouldn’t have surprised me as Torbreck have a tendency to do it all a little differently.
As someone who is fortunate enough to taste plenty of food and wine in their line of work I’ve sipped on the fruits of plenty-a Barossa wine. It’s a bold statement to make for a wine lover, but Torbreck’s selections on this particular evening proved themselves to be of such incredibly high quality. It is suffice to say that this amazing winemaking company is going onto my lists of favourites from the region!
The affordability of this range of wines could certainly lend to the thought that other premium Barossa wines were superior, but that’s simply not the case. If anything it’s stronger cause to stock the wine cellar with this wonderful range (particularly the 2006 ‘The Factor’ if you can).
If this is the quality of food and service presented by Electra House with a restaurant under revamp we can only imagine the luxury that will be served up once the new restaurant takes hold.
This was only event one on the list for Electra House’s wine dinners and we were certainly wooed. With this fantastic night under their belt the only way is up for their events. Follow them on Facebook to find out more about upcoming Electra House events.