On the night of our visit to the Buffalo Club for my birthday I was lucky that there were no large group bookings because that meant my family of four got to sit at the chefs table. When we arrived a waitress led us up an elevator to a warm candle lit dining room with leather chairs and dark wood floors. This fourty seat restaurant overlooks Fortitude Valley.
I found the menu quite intriguing with not only the choice between an eight course and twelve course meal but also with the words Happy 13th Birthday Elliot written up the top. The four of us decided on the ultimate experience, the twelve-course degustation.
We were first given our amuse bouche which was a tomato consomme with shaved Brandenberg (cheese), pesto, dried tomatoes and olives. It was sublime and a great start to the degustation.
We then moved on to the 1st course, which was on the menu as as Spring – Duck, Radish, Honey but explained to us as thin slices of cured duck with radishes and a fresh spring salad. I found that there was not much duck and it was more like a salad.
Our 2nd course was read as Octopus – Aubergine, Samphire, Bottarga. This translates to Confit octopus, smoked aubergine (eggplant), Samphire (kind of like asparagus that grows near the sea) and Bottarga on top which is a Mediterranean fish roe which has been hand massaged, dried and then cured in salt for weeks. I found that it was smokey with an intense mushroom flavour.
I was quite looking forward to the 3rd course because it was new to me – foie gras, read as Foie – Watermelon, Rhubarb, Coffee. It turned out to be French foie gras, rhubarb and watermelon in different textures, coffee foam on top and ground coffee representing soil on the bottom of the plate. A gel I couldn’t make out was the highlight of the dish, it was like a champagne watermelon gel. The coffee gave a nice richness to the meal.
The 4th course was read as Trout – Almond, Pea, Gem, the best sounding one to me and it didn’t disappoint. It was a beautiful pea puree beside a cold roast almond soup, barbequed baby leek and a generous piece of Tasmanian ocean trout. The fish was delicate and perfectly cooked.
The 5th course read as Asparagus- Yolk, Chervil, Hazelnut. It consisted of a slow cooked hen egg yolk slightly overcooked, chervil puree and dehydrated bread that created the crunch. I loved how the bread gave the meal a different texture.
Course 6 was a favourite of the night. It was read as Pork – Kim Chi, Soy, Coriander. It was explained to us as a beautiful pork that had been cooked overnight, tofu, soy sauce, kim chi sauce and sprinkled coriander on top. I loved trying the pork with its Asian sauces.
Halfway through and I still had plenty of room left in me.
The 7th course said Squid – Gnocchi, Cauliflower, Tendon. There was a tender confit squid with homemade gnocchi at the bottom of the bowl absorbing all the lovely juices that came from a tendon jue. The cauliflower was in various textures that also absorbed the juices. We ate this meal with a spoon made out of buffalo horn.
Our 8th course was read as Lamb- Courgette, Olive, Pecorino. In this dish there was a confit lamb sirloin, courget done in different ways and a beautiful olive mash which was sublime and contrasted beautifully with the lamb.
The 9th course was Wagyu- Onion, Garlic, Tomato. The Wagyu was a MARBLE 9 which means there was a large amount of Intramuscular fat in the meat. This also means that it was rich and flavoursome. The Marble 9 wagyu was served with a tomato jam and onions done in various ways.
The 10th course was a cleanser. Mum and Dad had a Gin and Tonic sorbet served in a chilled limestone box topped with a salted cucumber. I had the non-alcoholic version of this, which I didn’t really like but Mum and Dad loved theirs.
The 11th course was read as Curd- Broad Bean, Barley, Linseed. Instead of serving a cheese platter Ashley Hicks and his team created a dish that was creamy and as the Waiter/Part Owner Daniel said: ‘A hell of a lot of things on the side’. These ‘things’ was a mixture of pine nuts, cashews, candied chili, barley, linseed, kin wah and to hold this mixture on the side of the bowl… goats cheese. On the bottom of the plate was a broad bean puree.
The last course of the night was of course the dessert. This was read as Strawberry- Chocolate, Meringue, Short Bread. This was presented as a 72% chocolate mouse, crumbled shortbread, dried strawberries, torched marshmallows and mini meringues. It was a scrumptious dessert that had all my favourite ingredients in it.
To end off they gave us what was read on the menu as Candy. This consisted of a coconut and strawberry milkshake. The Waiter told us its best if you start down the bottom of the glass with your straw and suck your way up. Candy also included apple doughnuts, which were delicious. We decided to take home the 3rd component of Candy- ginger lollypops with star anise sherbet. I could see the humour in making customers suck on lollypops late at night. If you have made it up to this point of reading all 12 then WELL DONE and I hope I have expressed one of my biggest food nights ever for you in great context.