Blue Tongue Wine Bar, Elwood

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MELBOURNE | Blue Tongue Wine Bar has been a fixture in Elwood since the 1990s and has fed many a happy local during that time. Times change though and things were starting to get a bit tired. Last year, when it was purchased by new owners Rabih Yanni (Grosvenor Hotel), Nic Gordon and Sebastian McQuarrie (ex Church Street Enoteca, Dutchess, Donovans) there was much excitement about their plans to modernise the venue into a lunch, dinner and late-night drink spot. Blue Tongue re-opened in November last year and, on day 2, the whole places was gutted by fire. Another 5 months passed and Blue Tongue re-opened again – thankfully there have been no fires since April and The City Lane was invited to take a look at the updated venue.

Exposed brick, tiles and wood make for an interior that’s modern and welcoming, and a space that works well both as a restaurant and a bar, especially on Friday and Saturday nights when there are live DJs on the decks.

The drinks menu consists of a decent selection of Australian and International wines – and around 13 available by the glass and a full list of bottles, most of which are priced between $40-$60. There are 6 beers and a cider on tap, along with a few bottles of craft and non-craft beer. Cocktails are classic, with a few interesting creations filling out the list, and the ever popular espresso martini on tap.

Head Chef Sebastian McQuarrie’s previous experience is evident when looking at the food menu which contains a focused selection of Modern Australian dishes, and particular attention to steaks. All of the beef comes from grass fed cows from a variety of local producers. The restaurant has built a relationship with their butcher who focuses on providing Blue Tongue with meat that he thinks is the best that can be sourced at any given time. It’s a bit different than the more direct relationship with farmers that we’ve become accustomed to seeing in recent years however the end result is the same – high quality, locally sourced, ethical meat.

The menu might be focused, but that doesn’t make ordering any easier. On our visit we had trouble deciding what to order as there was so much that appealed, but with the help of our waitress we got there in the end. We were guided to the duck tortellini and seared duck breast which is served with daikon, brussels, carrot and vanilla and were very happy with the dish. All pasta is made fresh on-site daily and the perfectly cooked al-dente morsels of pasta totally hit the spot. Mixed with the fattiness of the duck and the sweetness of the carrots, it all comes together wonderfully.

The steak also impresses. We ordered the 250g Porterhouse cooked medium and it came out cooked just right, with a nice salty char on the outside. There’s a jus and an assortment of mustards served to accompany the steak but with steak this good, nothing additional is needed. Instead use the jus as a dipping sauce for the beans that come with the steak.

The rare venison loin served with smoked bone marrow cream, tamarillo, parsnip and coffee sauce was our highlight. The venison is beautifully pink with a brilliant texture and gamey flavour and is delicious in its own right but balanced with the beautifully creamy whipped bone marrow and the tart tamarillo sauce each bite is elevated to the next level. Light yet indulgent with brilliantly contrasting flavours, this is one the best things we’ve eaten in 2016.

The sides are a mixed bag. The roasted and creamed corn with lemon, chilli, black garlic and paprika isn’t bad however the black garlic is overpowering and the texture and consistency of the dish resembles that of a soup rather than what’s expected when one sees creamed corn on the menu. If it was advertised as soup it would be a different story but as a side it’s an odd choice. The large serving of chips is sprinkled with chicken, bacon and celery salt and, while tasting delicious and cooked perfectly – about as good as you’re going to get with the humble chip, we struggled to tell the difference between the salt used and regular salt. Neither were bad but the menu descriptions had us anticipating something different.

Dessert is a simple affair and it’s difficult to choose between the ten layer tiramisu with salted caramel and espresso and the chocolate lover’s plate. The latter is what we ultimately decided on and features an assortment of chocolate delights. The components aren’t fixed, and will rotate depending on the season and what the chef wants to do. Our chocolate plate contained mousse, cake, custard, brownie, ice cream, bourbon jelly cubes and a shot of hot chocolate. A mixture of light and dark, mild and rich elements makes for a chocolate plate that’s quite diverse and varied in both flavour and texture. The chocolate plate is well balanced, not too heavy and not overly sweet. Our only complaint was the cake, which was unusually dry.

If you’re in the mood for just a simple snack to enjoy with your drink while you sit at the bar, there’s the always reliable charcuterie selection and we’ve heard great things about the pork-skin puffs and the chicken crackling.

The revamped Blue Tongue Wine Bar is ultimately a success. The menu has more hits than misses, and the hits are outstanding. The space is great and staff are friendly and passionate. Just don’t look for the sign – for some odd reason there isn’t one.

Blue Tongue Wine Bar

62 Ormond Road
Elwood
Victoria 3184
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9531 2562
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.bluetonguewinebar.com.au/

Open
Sun – Thu: 12:00pm to 11:00pm
Fri – Sat: 12:00pm to 1:00am

Blue Tongue Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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