MELBOURNE | Taxi Kitchen started in 2014 as a re-invention of Taxi Dining Room, a traditional fine dining restaurant which was great in its own right however it was not keeping up with the move towards a more casual dining experience. As such Taxi Kitchen was created with a focus on rustic share plates and local ingredients served with Victorian wines in a picturesque yet casual environment.
To continue their celebration of Victorian wines, Taxi Kitchen has created a monthly series carefully matching wines from one featured winery with dishes created by executive chef Tony Twitchett. The first in the series was Dal Zotto winery. Dal Zotto is a family owned and run winery situated in the King Valley. The winery draws heavily upon the Dal Zotto’s Italian heritage as inspiration for the varieties of grapes they have grown hence they produce wines such as prosecco, garganega and sangiovese. As as fan of Dal Zotto I was more than happy to oblige when The City Lane was invited to the first matched 5 course tasting menu.
When you enter Taxi kitchen the first thing you will notice is the breathtaking views of Federation square, the Arts Precinct, Yarra river and the skyline which create a lovely atmosphere for the evening. These events are run in one of the wings of Taxi Kitchen which provides a really cosy environment where you can easily chat with a representative from the winery, the “wine guy” Ben Preston and meet a range of like mind individuals who enjoy food and wine. You never quiet know who you will meet at one of these events, I was lucky enough to meet Ben Preston’s parents who surprised him to show their support. Admittedly I now have a little crush on Ben’s mum she is a rather cool lady. Beside’s Ben’s parents you are able to talk in depth to the people and families behind a wineries. I was sat next to Christian Dal Zotto, the self proclaimed Dal Zotto that “loves to talk”. Christian is truly passionate and proud of his wines, and I suggest you should convince him to show you the photo of him dressed in an ABBA costume – it will give you a good chuckle.
To start the evening we served a scallop with chili mayonnaise topped with Kataifi pastry. The scallop was sweet and tender with just a slight kick of heat from the mayonnaise. It was well balanced textually and flavour wise as the scallop remained the star of the show. This was accompanied by the 2014 Dal Zotto Prosecco. The prosecco’s clean and crisp flavour profile complimented the scallops perfectly.
Following the scallop two share plates were presented. Firstly sake washed tuna with a soybean pesto and daikon salad and secondly smoked Petuna ocean trout, capers, egg yolk, parsley and horseradish. The star of these two dishes was the smoked ocean trout. Visually it was a work of art and when you took your first bite you definitely were not disappointed. The ocean trout was creamy, smoky and flaked beautifully. It was my favourite dish of the evening. The tuna was also lovely, the soft texture of the lightly seared tuna was balanced with the crunchy slightly acidic soybean pesto. Both of theses dishes were accompanied by 2014 Dal Zotto Riesling and 2014 Dal Zotto Garganega. Both wines was great however I preferred the Garganega which Christian described as “more rounded and full bodied”.
To finish of the savory courses a 14 hour slow roasted lamb shoulder with thyme jus and seasonal vegetables was served along with a heirloom tomato, burrata and roasted nam prik salad. The lamb shoulder was heavenly – the juicy, tender meat fell of the bone with no effort. It was an enjoyable dish which very much encapsulated the rustic, family values that represent Dal Zotto as a brand as well as show casing Taxi Kitchen’s more casual approach to food. The tomato and burrata salad was a simple combination which is classic pairing for a good reason. The Dal Zotto 2014 Barbera and 2012 Dal Zotto Nebbiolo were paired with this course. The Barbera had rich dark black fruit flavors, a bit of spice on the palette with a meaty savoriness which worked brilliantly with lamb.
Dessert comprised of a buttermilk panna cotta, blood orange jelly with a olive oil sorbet. I was a little unsure of the dish when I read the menu, I think this stems from the number of bad panna cottas I have experienced over the years. Often they contain too much gelatin, are really sugary or just bland. This panna cotta did not share any of those traits. It was light, creamy, smooth and well balanced. The panna cotta was paired with the NV Dal Zotto Pink pucino which displayed notes of pear and citrus blossom which highlighted the blood orange in the panna cotta.
To finish the evening we were treated to Tasmanian Pyengana Village 24 month cheddar, roasted grapes and grapefruit jam which was served with the 2014 Dal Zotto Sangiovese Cabernet. Simple yet delicious.
I have to say this is one of the most enjoyable events I have been to this year. The food and wine pairing by chef Tony Twitchett and sommelier Ben Preston were flawless.
The next event will occur on the 10th of March during the Melbourne Food And Wine Festival which will celebrate wines from legendary Brown Brothers Estate. Find more details here.
Level 1, Transport Hotel
Telephone: (03) 9654 8808
Mon – Sat: 12:00pm to 11:00pm
Sun: 11:00pm to 11:00pm