Tani Eat & Drink Bright was awarded the award for “Best New Regional Restaurant” in The Age’s Good Food Guide 2014 and awarded its first hat a year later. After eating dinner here it’s easy to see why.
Chef Hamish Nugent worked alongside Michael Ryan at the Provenance and the influence is evident here. The food is Japanese influenced contemporary Australian with a focus on high quality local, seasonal produce, but where it differs from the Provenance is that the Japanese influences are a touch stronger while the overall vibe is more relaxed. As well as the main menu, for example, there’s also a bar section with a more informal bar menu on offer.
Co-owner Rachel Reed works the floor and is full of enthusiasm and passion which makes the whole experience even more pleasurable.
The space is modern and bright, with clean lines and simplicity dominating.
A good mixture of local and international wines and beers are offered, along with a selection of sake and some spirits and cocktails. The Billy Buttons Gerwurtztraminer was what we had to drink and it was a brilliant example of the variety.
Oysters, Ponzu Dressing, Sea Succulents ($4.00 each)
I generally eat oysters in one gulp with a vinaigrette or a squeeze of lemon but these were designed to chew, with the ponzu dressing adding an different flavour than I usually get with oysters and the sea succulents adding a crunch.
Pork Buns, Pickled Cucumber, Kanko Mayo ($7.50 for 2)
We accidentally ordered 4 of these as we didn’t realise that each serving contained 2 buns. I’m glad we did as these were delicious. Tender, juicy pork, soft buns and beautiful simple flavours. I could have happily sat at the bar and filled myself up with a bunch of these to be honest. Really good.
Victorian Squid, Lime, Yuzu, Kiwifruit, Shiso, Apple Ice ($19.00)
This dish was a real mish mash of texture and flavour. The squid was cut into very thin strips which reminded me of eating jellyfish and more than squid and it went really well with the crunchy and soft textures present on the plate. Flavour wise the combination of lime and yuzu gave it a real citrus hit with the kiwifruit, shiso and apple ice providing a balance.
Milawa Quail, Fermented Cabbage, Fennel, Red Miso Sauce ($24.00)
Does fermented make this an “on trend” dish given the current rush to get fermented items onto menus across the country? Perhaps, but on the other hand fermented items are a staple of real Japanese menus. In any case, it tasted amazing. The quail was really tender and all of the flavours were really complimentary – a very subtle dish with delicate flavours and nothing too overpowering.
Sher Wagyu Rump Cap MS7+, King Brown Mushroom, Kale, Potato Crisp, Onsen Egg, Pork Salt ($39.00)
This dish was big on flavour with the star most definitely being the rare cooked wagyu rump cap. The crust was perfectly salted and charred while the inside had that melt in your mouth fattiness that’s expected with wagyu of this quality. Everything else on the plate was really tasty too, and the egg was especially rich and gooey, but it really was all about the beef.
Potato Chunks, Lime Mayo ($10.00)
The description of these on the menu really didn’t do them justice. The potato chunks were cooked perfectly – crispy on the outside and really soft on the inside and had a beautiful smoky flavour to them. The mayo was lighter than expected too. We were happy with some decent chips, which is what we were expecting but these really were a lot more than that.
Lemon Curd, Mandarin Cremeux, Frozen Whey, Ginger Meringue, Yuzu & Thyme Sable ($15.00)
It was getting late, and if we wanted to be back home in Melbourne we’d have to leave soon however this dessert sounded far to good to pass up. I’m glad we ordered it because it was a real highlight. Texturally there was a lot going on here – soft, creamy and crunchy. Flavour wise, everything worked so well together with citrus being the star attraction – it was light, refreshing almost, and utterly delicious.
Tani Eat & Drink is a real gem in Bright. The food and service are brilliant and my meal here totally justified not getting back into Melbourne until midnight that night.
Tani Eat & Drink
100 Gavan Street
Telephone: (03) 5750 1304
Email: [email protected]
Wed – Thu, Sun: 6:00pm to 11:00pm
Fri – Sat: 4:00pm to 11:00pm