I rushed to book a table at Champions Bistro after the article appeared in the Age in Nov last year and had to settle for a weeknight dinner as all weekends were booked out till March. At that time, the chef and his lady love were supposed to leave Australia after that and head off to South America so there was no time to waste in getting a table. Since then, they’ve extended their gig at the bowls club, so don’t rush people, plenty of seats for all!
I was very impressed by the food, and loved the juxtaposition of the location. Fine dining at a humble bowls club in good old Clayton. I am a bit over the minimal descriptions of food, but in this case all is forgiven as the food delivers.
It was love at first sight for me when the “crispy chicken, sour cream, onion, chive” starter came out. Anyone who serves me crispy chicken skin I will love till my dying day.
Deep fying “beef tendon, native pepper leaf, lime” means you get something totally unexpected from just reading it off the menu. Again, a very good dish and intriguing start to the evening.
Another pretty and unexpected dish: “raddish, smoked butter, pork“.
Now, I would have never put this combo together, but the “lamb sweet bread, leek, tatsoi, mussel, grape” seemed to work. Lamb and mussels…. right. Bear in mind, for me to say this dish was okay is big praise considering a) I only eat sweetbreads when it’s cooked really nicely and b) I don’t eat mussels.
Mmm this was delicious. Soft, delicate and tasty: “Southern squid, buttermilk, kohlrabi, cabbage”
Upgraded the menu and go the “Aaco Darling Downs Wagyu Tenderloin BMS 7/8, pear, Tasmanian wasabi, daikon” dish. It’s a small dish but because it’s so rich and packed full of flavour, it was the perfect amount.
This was described to us as a fancy vegemite cheese sandwich, and it was! “Pynegana cheddar, vege paste, crackers” was delightful!
The “smoked chocolate, tarragon, malt and black truffle” dessert was good, but compared to all the other dishes we had that night, it was like a big clumsy giant as it was too big! And eating so much truffle on a dessert dish really freaked me out.
Finished off with a beautiful light dessert of “summer corn“. It was sweet and creamy and cold. Delightful.
Loved dinner here. They don’t do matching wine’s but there’s a good little wine list. They’ve upped the price since the article in the Age (and why wouldn’t you?) so don’t expect a $50 dinner (it’s $80). Totally worth it and I’m totally going back!
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