words by: tara wesson  photography: the wine room balgowlah

The bitter months of winter now come with a sweetener as The Wine Room releases the latest iteration of their menu. COVERED. did the hard yards and ‘investigated’ the menu a little further.

Executive Chef Shane Rider

Executive Chef Shane Rider

The dessert menu has been completely revised and does not disappoint. You get the sense that Executive Chef Shane Rider simply had a play with the ingredients and flavours that floated into his mind, making for imaginative and surprising creations.

Try the warm banana and brioche pudding with banana date ice-cream. Or, there’s the vanilla bean brulee with candied popcorn and salted caramel ice-cream. Coconut panna cotta, spiced pineapple and white chocolate sound like an impossible combination, but served together they melt in your mouth.

For all you coffee lovers, try the affogato - vanilla ice-cream, Frangelico and espresso. If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, try the strawberry mousse  meringue, macadamia granola and yoghurt ice-cream and tuille.

Our pick though is the chocolate, ricotta and hazelnut ravioli with mandarin gelato and mint syrup. Locally sourced, the ravioli comes from a pasta maker in Five Dock who can put pretty much anything into ravioli. That’s how this dish came about. Shane went, ’Hey, what if you could make chocolate ravioli?’ And the rest is history. The Mandarin ice cream brings on a jaffa combination. “It’s those little things, just pulling from people, being a bit imaginative,” explains Shane.

If you can’t decide, The Wine Room has a sampler option for their dessert menu, which has a little bit of everything, perfect for sharing, or for those of you that want it all to yourself and simply can’t settle on one (we don’t blame you!).

The menu’s inspiration is drawn from a mix of culinary and cultural backgrounds. Shane himself has an Asian background in his cooking and began his career working abroad. The light, simple, easy flavours are a basis for him; for example, the roaringly popular Peking Duck dumpling came from his time living in Hong Kong where, after sampling a fair share of dumplings he thought, ’I’ve never had a Peking Duck dumpling, why not put it in?’ Naturally, this crowd pleasing entrée is handmade.

“We’re not themed, we’re Australian. Which is everything. A little bit of everything.”

One of Shane’s staff is of a Thai background, bringing her own ideas to the table. Another chef, Dave, is Nepalese and uses a curry recipe from his family which ‘walks out the door.’ It motivates him because he’s proud that it’s his dish on the menu and it’s authentic. Shane is learning ‘all the time’ because of these constant influences, and each iteration of the menu is an expression of that.

So, let’s talk mains. Since it’s The Wine Room, we thought we’d suggest our favourite food and wine pairings. Their newest addition, the Thistle Hill Organic and Preservative Free Shiraz doesn’t compromise on flavour, with its berry notes and dark chocolate hints. Best enjoyed with the incredibly soft Sous Vide Lamb Sirloin, with capsicum pesto, eggplant fritters and lemon thyme.

The pink tinged Derwent Estate Pinot Gris from Tasmania has an aromatic blend of citrus and stone fruits, balancing perfectly with the Salmon in Shiitake Shell with tempura oysters, wasabi slaw, toasted nori and sesame seeds. The mains are designed so that everything is shareable, perfectly for families if you want to try a bit of everything.

We’re talking ‘explosion in your mouth’ type flavours, people. Book in for a night with the girls, a night with the family, or a night with that special someone. The Wine Room is a classy spot with a passion for taste and brilliant taste experiences, whether it’s in the wine, desserts or mains. •

Located in Balgowlah RSL - 30-38 Ethel Street, Seaforth  |  02 9949 5477  |  www.balgowlahrsl.com.au Wednesday to Saturday from 5pm  |     thewineroombalgowlah