Game Season is back at The Highway Hotel and I’m not talking about footy! This annual affair has been popular enough that it’s now in its fifth year. A new game menu has been announced and is ready to challenge your palate.Game Season is all about game meat. Now that’s the kind of season a foodie is interested in. We were invited for a preview of the menu so read on to see what you’re in for this year. All produce has been sourced from local suppliers Something Wild in Adelaide Central Markets and My Butcher.
The night kicks off with something Aussies know so well – Kangaroo. We had Kangaroo Tartare,puffed rice, wasabi créme and radish served with organic buckwheat crackers. I used to find kangaroo a slimy meat but if you get it from a good butcher, sliminess be gone. You may think raw game meat a bit of a tough start but the flavours are quite clean and the wasabi créme cuts through the richness. Don’t worry about the nose clearing eye watering part of wasabi, in this créme form it’s much toned down. The rice puffs added a soft crispiness, nice texture.This ain’t so bad!
The next dish was a bit more challenging. I do eat offal, or rather used to pre-gout days, yet I’ve never tried sweetbreads. What a lovely name for a pancreas. Yes, that’s what it is, the pancreas so before you dive in, it is not sweet and it is not bread. This was crumbed and deep fried because everything deep fried tastes good. Served with dill pollen, parsnip puree, pistachios and foie gras jus, it was the prettiest savoury dish of the night.
Our next dish was something that looked a little more familiar. For the amateurs of game meat, start here. These Alpaca Sliders taste delicious and almost like beef in this form. Alpaca is a really lean and clean meat so they had to throw in some speck fat and grilled speck to prevent it from going dry. After all, speck adds great flavour to anything. Anything. The sliders are also filled with provolone cheese, pickled turnip and lettuce and comes with fries.
As we gobbled down those delicious sliders, we could smell something quite strong coming out of the kitchen. While we were all a bit apprehensive at first, we put it down to strong cheese. Smelly cheese is good cheese. Yes. Instead of a traditional beef or lamb ragu, they’re doing a Wild Rabbit Ragu with pappardelle, preserved lemon, queen green olives and fresh peas.
The last dish was something I really enjoyed. If you’ve never had wild boar think better pig. A deeper slightly more intense pork flavour, definitely gamier and it should be leaner. This wild boar was wrapped in prosciutto served on carrot and swede quenelle, pickled fennel, spiced mead glaze and black garlic puree. It’s a strong dish to eat but not unfamiliar, there’s a few strong flavours going here. The meat is rich and the marinade or sauce it has been cooking in is also quite rich so the pickled fennels were a refreshing change between bites. The meat itself was tender and good. Carrot and swede add a sweet component to the dish and the black garlic, also slightly sweet, was quite interesting. I don’t think I’ve had that before. It is still garlic so go easy if you’re on a date.
We were told to ready our cameras for the dessert, a bit of theatrics was involved with smokey dry ice surrounding this visually stunning dessert. Foie Gras Parfait lifted eyebrows at first as we didn’t know how they were going to make a sweet dish out of it. The chef did just fine, more than fine. It was a dessert all right. The Foie Gras has been mixed in with condensed milk and cream to make a rich parfait. It is then served with freeze dried mandarins and plum gel. My favourite thing was the arch of toffee over it. So pretty! The dessert itself was stunning, creamy and smooth in texture, it does not taste weird at all. The freeze dried mandarins crumble and melt away in your mouth with concentrated sweet and tangy flavour it balanced the richness quite well. I tasted some ginger, not sure if it was in the plum gel but it also kept the parfait from being too sickly. Really well balanced. I challenge you to not eat the toffee after. We each had shards on the plate, deliberately left there till the end thinking we’ll be good but…..Willpower 0 Toffee 1.
Game Season is on from May16th to May 30th in The Highway’s bistro and lounge bar. If you ever wondered what any of these game meats taste like, take this chance to be adventurous!
Disclaimer: Foodie Ling was invited as a guest of Highway Hotel