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Steer Dining Room Winter Degustation Dinner

Steer Dining Room is one of the gem premium dining experiences of Melbourne. Everytime we've visted we've been richly rewarded. The World Loves Melbourne was invited along to experience a degustation featuring the non steak selections of the menu. This was a dinner showcasing the finesse and versatility of Steer Dining Room and its penchant to add a little spice. For when the icy winds blow through the alleyways of our soul, the fragrant spices, like an open flame, bring respite and take us back to the warmth and happiness of days-gone-by...

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Canapes on arrival including steak tartare (ok so there was a little bit of steak at this event) and a welcome Chicken Liver Parfait. The canape selection was exceptional.

Winter is upon us and with it we find solace in all things warm including those foods which warm us from within. In this winter’s seasonal menu, Steer are focussing on rich and warmly spiced sauces and braises using the comforting flavours of cardamom, star anise, ginger, cloves, paprika, coriander seed, mustard seed and the like.

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Boat O'Craigo Winemaker (left) engaging with diners.

When you think of Steer Dining Room, you would be likely to envisage full-bodied reds, steak, steak and of course, more steak! You are not wrong. But there is so much more to discover within their humble seasonal menu. It often gets overlooked, so they wanted to shine a bit of light on the unsung heroes of this winter’s new menu. Head Chef, Jeffry Lim was asked to craft the entire non-steak menu into a degustation-style menu for a special dining event.

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Boat O'Craigo Methode Traditionnelle Sparkling in hand and Sydney rock oyster, pickled nashi pear, black pepper pictured on the table.

A highlight was matching their six-course plus canapé degustation dinner with wines from a local family operated vineyard. Boat O’Craigo is a boutique vineyard, nestled in Healesville, Yarra Valley and renowned for producing some of Australia’s finest estate-grown, hand-crafted wines, which James Halliday awarded the ‘Dark Horse Winery Of The Year’ for 2018.

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At Boat O’Craigo they hand-pick at lower yields to concentrate the flavour of fruit and ensure they end up with wines of premium quality and character. This very closely echoes the philosophy of Steer Dining Room, where we carefully select every ingredient to highlight the season’s produce in a distinctive way.  We were impressed by the elegance, uniqueness, and the balanced and complex flavours of both Boat O’Craigo wines. 

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Hiramasa kingfish is a rich, yet delicate dish, enhanced, but not overpowered by coconut broth infused with hints of lemongrass and ginger. Avruga caviar gives it a burst of character with a smoky and slightly salty finish. Thai basil completes the dish, bringing it to a herbaceous conclusion. The Boat O'Craigo 2017 Black Spur Gewurztraminer was the perfect crisp pairing.

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Jerusalem artichoke veloute, coddled egg, baby fennel, truffle oil was a decadent creamy dish that hit the high notes. A surprise highlight served with elegant Boat O'Craigo 2016 Chardonnay.

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Luxe dish.

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Steamed barramundi, woody fungus, supreme broth, baby corn was another engaging rustic dish with a compelling broth. Served with Boat O'Craigo 2018 Black Spur Pinot Noir.

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Kudos to the chefs on a non steak degustation triumph. 

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Braised pork belly, master stock, chilli pineapple, Char Siu caramel. Served with Boat O'Craigo 2015 Braveheart Cabernet Sauvignon.

When it comes to Steer's master-stock slow braised pork belly, there is a lot happening. Char Sui caramel glaze takes centre stage with sweet and salty balance. To give it a bit of depth in flavour, we have added chilli for a touch of heat and pineapple for sweetness.

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Give me some of that Boat O'Craigo Black Cameron Shiraz everyday.

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Beef cheek, carrot puree, pearl onion, pepper sauce was my favourite dish of the evening ticking all the boxes for a rustic winter dish. Served with particularly captivating Boat O'Craigo 2015 First Duke Reserve Shiraz.

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Melt in your mouth beef.

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Winemaker of Boat O'Craigo chatting with John from Gastrology. 

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Boat O'Craigo 2016 Late Harvest Sauvignon for dessert.

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Finally, for dessert, condensed milk custard was infused with warm, aromatic cardamom. Green tea granita stood out with citrus notes of yuzu to give it refreshing and tart characters. The dish is complete with the sweet component of black sugar ice cream.

Service throughout the night was outstanding as always. The event threw a spotlight on the fact Steer Dining Room is a top notch restaurant in every respect; both steak and non steak. Highly recommended.