Bar Barossa Blogger Dinner
Blogging (or is it pronounched ‘yohging’?) has not quite taken off in Brisbane as it has in Melbourne, Sydney, and especially North America. Usually when I tell people I have a blog I am met with a blank look. It was, therefore, a nice relief to attend a recent bloggers dinner and find out that there are lots of other Brisbane bloggers out there.Originally GG’s idea, the blogger dinner was set up by Kerry and was held at Bar Barossa. A new-ish restaurant, Bar Barossa specialises in wine, particularly from the Barossa Valley (who knew). It has a casual feel, and is decorated with all things vino-oversized wine bottles, a welcoming bar, wine glasses, photographs of such connoisseurs as Peter Lehmann, and some sweet grape-like chandelier things. The space has a very clean and modern feel, which wasn’t what I was expecting-I hear ‘wine’ and I think warm, cosy spaces.
We had a wine tasting on our visit, and tried about seven wines. I have been trying to get into the wine lately, people. And by ‘try’ I don’t mean I’ve been smacking the Sunnyvale every Friday night (but that’s not to say I’d oppose/judge/not join in those who are). I’ve been trying to develop more of a palate for vino, so the tasting was rather timely. We started with a Clare Valley 2008 Riesling, from the Wilson Vineyard. What does this all mean? I don’t really know. But it tasted good. Next up, we were the first ever customers to sip the Semillon from the Cirillo Estate. Winemaker Marco described it as a good oyster and seafood match. This wine was a little lighter in alcohol content, which was probably a good thing, as there were plenty more to try.
I’m really not a good wine critic, so I’ll just briefly go over the others: the 2007 Picardy Chardonnay was fruity, but still a little dry for my liking. The Rose, again from Cirillo, was really good and not overly sweet. This was because it was a dryer red, with only 3.4 grams of sugar per litre. It wasn’t as bitter as the other reds, and Marco said it was because there wans’t as much oak.
The wines were all tasty and complemented the food well, which coming from a newbie to wine, is really saying something.
I was disappointed to see the all-day tasting menu wasn’t on our tables, and assumed we had to order from the main menu (the waiter told us later that it was in fact available-it would have been nice to know this). Bar Barossa’s menu is fairly small but covers a good range of entrees, mains, and sides. I stuck with a main and promptly got food envy as entrees came out, and on either side of me was plonked half a dozen Coffin Bay Oysters, served with a Verjus Salsa, and a Slow Roasted Tomato and Basil Tartlet (both $18). The oysters looked very fresh, and were presented on a bed of ice. The tart was a pretty generous serve, and had very flaky pastry. I didn’t try either, but that was ’cause I was getting me some SALMON, baby.
For $30, I was really impressed with the size of this dish. The Grilled Atlantic Salmon was really quite big, and had a nice crispy skin. Salmon roe was on top-this was my first salmon roe, people. It was goood. They were little balls of sweetness that burst in my mouth. It was a rather exciting experience for my molars, let me tell you. The salmon came with celeriac mash and some steamed asparagus and snow peas. I would have preferred a higher vegie: mash ratio, but the huge mound of buttery, creamy mash made it a very filling meal. In fact-wait for it-I couldn’t finish it. Huh?
Kay-Lynn beside me was on fire. Both entrees she picked were delicious and excellent value for money. I was really jealous, especially when i tried her House Made Pasta wth Scallops, Prawns, & Salmon in Saffron Salmon Cream & Pearls ($18). The scallops (a generous serving, too) were very tender and were cooked perfectly, while the pasta sauce looked really rich but had a light flavour.
I also tried a little of GG’s Salt & Pepper Quail on Shaved Cucumber and Watercress Salad ($18), which was accompanied by a lovely sweet dressing. The serve was pretty small though, I have to say-and I always find this really funny with salads. Lettuce is cheap, right? Why not chuck a few more leaves on? The presentation of all of the dishes was beautiful, and they came out in an ideal time frame.
If you blog, or review, or whatever, you know that the most stressful part is taking a photo of the food. Some people have no problem with this and will just whip it out (filthy). I get massively stressed out, and am convinced everyone is looking at me and thinking I am a restaurant spy. Or, that they’ll be like the charming girls who sat near me recently at The Cupcake Parlour and loudly discuss why the hell “that girl is taking photos of the cupcakes. OMG she is taking photos of the cupcakes!!11!!”
So. A moment of acceptance washed over me as as soon as the first dish landed on the table, and a dozen cameras were whipped out and people began busily snapping away. Yay!
GG and I were keen for some cheese, although we were pressed for time and had to forgo it in the end*. I was intruiged by the Ciresa Gorgonzola Dolce ($8 for 50g)-sweet cheese?? Yes please.
Service throughout the night was friendly, efficient, and professional. Wine lovers will no doubt adore the place, and it’s refreshing to see such a specialty establishment opening in Brisbane.
*I may or may not have attacked a block of cheddar when I got home
Restaurant and Wine Bar
545 Queen St, Brisbane
(corner of Adelaide & Macrossan Streets)
(07) 3832 3530