Charcoal bbq cooking adds a smoky flavour, charred surface, and traps in moisture. Normally associated with meat, charcoal transforms vegetables too, making it an ideal style of cooking for vegetarians too!
When invited by McFuzzlebutt’s Manchen to dine on a preview of the Hoosegow Charcoal Restaurant Wine Degustation, to take place with winemakers from Yalumba / Running With Bulls, flamenco dance, flamenco guitar on August 6th $99pp – bookings at https://obee.com.au/hoosegow/?date=2015-08-06 – I jumped at the chance to sample vegetarian, charcoal cuisine.
Hoosegow is tucked into St Morris on Magill Rd, with a cluster of shops including a yoga studio, and a handy car park.
Distinctive signage and warm pink light welcome you.
Inside the restaurant is richly decorated with black partition bars, concrete tables, black metal chairs, red walls and coffee bag upholstered booths line the private dining room.
Puzzled by the name? So was I.
Husband and wife owners Shadia, of Middle Eastern background, and Ara of Armenian background, adopted the name as it is unusual, and then played with the meaning of jail with the decorations and tag line, “you’ll be a prisoner to our food”.
Head Chef Somerled ‘Sam’ Mackay (from Honduras) crafts Latin American influences to Eastern/Asian cuisine, using charcoal cooking. The restaurant features a custom charcoal pit, fuelled with Mallee-root charcoal. From this, Chef Mackay crafts the Signature dish, charcoal chicken with the jalapeño aioli. The other unique feature is the kitchen garden of more than 10 types of chilli, which feature in varied forms on the menu.
To start: Sparkling Shiraz.
Well Lookie Here
Fine bead, dark red with crimson rim.
Blackcurrant jam, hint of caramel and smoke. Anise and dark choc.
Fruit sweetness make a it dangerously easy to drink. Dark fruit, tongue tingle from the bubbles. Lasting smoky blackberry flavour
First course is a grilled haloumi, eggplant, fava bean, and chilli salad served with 2013 La Maschera Vermentino. Roast capsicum & habanero sauce creates real heat. Crunch from cucumber, juicy tomato, flavoursome parsley, spring onion, raw garlic, and contrasting yield from eggplant and fava beans combine. Lovely salty, creaminess from the haloumi creates a dish of harmony, in a spicy take on a warm haloumi salad.
First Course Wine Match: La Maschera Barossa Vermentino 2013
Well looky Here
Pale straw leaning to green.
Floral hints, lemon, minerality.
Nice mouth coating feel draws out the ‘meaty’ flavours in the onion/Haloumi salad combo and metres the chilli.
Acid is balanced well to the medium bodied, medium full mouthfeel.
Second Vegetarian Course: Ratatouille with polenta chips and goat cheese.
Lovely cheesy crunchy flat polenta chips, have great texture and rich flavour. By cooking the ratatouille vegetables over charcoal, the earthiness and natural sweetness is emphasised, such that it is not tart like some.
Second Course Wine Match: Pre-Release Running With Bulls Barossa Grenache 2015.
Well Looky Here
Light cherry pink
On the nose are redskins, a hint of mint, and a little bit of earth.
On the palate are bright red fruits, currants and raspberries. Nice acid but still a bit soft. Hints of toffee.
The sweetness of the ratatouille is accentuated, as is the acid line in the Grenache, from this match.
Third Vegetarian Course: Cassava chips with “Cuban Mojo”pickles.
Nice, fluffy, potato like centres are in the cassava chips, napped with savoury spiced salt. Flavoured garlic oil is perfect for dipping. Cuban mojo adds a pickled piquancy that lightens the lot. Caramelised garlic sings through it.
The cassava and ‘Cuban mojo’ pickles accent the sweetness of the wine, adding a caramel note to it and de-emphasising the spice and savouriness.
Third Course Wine Match: Running With Bulls Barossa Tempranillo 2014
Well Looky Here
Dark dark stormy night, with narrowest red rim, and sexy long legs.
On the nose, there is earth, and stewed plums with baking spices.
On the palate, the savoury flavours impact first. Softly tart blackberries. Some green, bent and snapped branches. Powdery tannins. Food friendly wine.
Fourth Vegetarian Course: Charcoal Root Vegetable tarts with Goat Curd, Potato Mash and Creamed Spinach.
Beautifully short, biscuit like thin crisp pastry cases in a beautiful shape impact first. Caramelised, charcoal root veg is earthy and pure. Tiny dots of goat curd add piquancy. Peppered, smooth potato mash is hot and delicious. Unbelievable creamed spinach is beautifully smooth, bright green and neither wet nor dry.
Fourth Course Wine Match: Yalumba The Signature Barossa Cabernet Shiraz 2012
Well Looky Here
Purple crimson, with ruby hued rim. Sexy long legs.
On the nose this is a rich, big boy. Smoked dark chocolate, sweet black fruit. Roses. It opens up to reveal aniseed and star anise.
On the palate this has nice juicy acid, gentle tannin on the mid palate. Savoury, with smoked dark choc. Fruit cake spice but also tart, green branch savouriness.
With the lively earthy roast veg tarts, mash and creamed spinach, the spiciness and warmth of the Cab Shiraz shines though and add contrast.
Fifth Course: Chocolate peanut fondant sweet sour cherries, salted caramel brittle, served with Yalumba Museum Muscat
Oh wow. You need this in your life. I’m such a sucker for those sweet-sour morello cherries. Matched with the oozing, yielding chocolate fondant it hits all the right notes with crisp top and crunchy, nutty, toffee shards.
Fifth Course Wine Match: Yalumba Museum Stock Muscat
Well Looky Here
Nutty brown with slight red tinge to the rim
On the nose is toffee with roasted Willunga almonds.
On the palate there is liquid silk. No heat, just enough acid. With the choc and cherry dessert, the nuttiness in the muscat is accentuated.
If this preview whet your appetite, book your ticket to the special 5 course degustation on August 6th with Running With Bulls winemaker to introduce the new release 2015 Garnacha, flamenco dance and a flamenco guitarist on 8332 6599 or https://obee.com.au/hoosegow/?date=2015-08-06 for $99 per person – and tell them Willunga Wino sent you! 🙂
What at Hoosegow took your fancy the most? Comment below!