One small square of Tarra Warra Estate’s 400 hectares – beyond the cellar door, restaurant and art gallery – is devoted to its vegetable garden. There are rows of potatoes, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi and Tuscan kale.
Head chef Mark Ebbels worked in the UK in the development kitchen at The Fat Duck, then in Singapore where he worked for six years as chef de cuisine at Bacchanalia, which was when the restaurant won its first Michelin star.
The food at Tarra Warra is unpredictable and invigorating. Six of the 12 savoury dishes feature meat. The rest of the menu is vegan.
The butteriest sauces are butter-free; mayonnaise and chocolate mousse are made with whipped chickpea-cooking liquid in place of egg whites; a dessert of Jerusalem artichoke ice-cream and ale custard is devoid of cream and eggs.
A Panko-crumbed nugget of cauliflower with a tarragon, parsley and lemon gremolata is topped with shaved truffles. The beef dish is Blackmore’s 7+ score Wagyu short-rib off the bone. It’s sliced so the fat marbling is visible and served with a red-wine jus made from cellar-door leftovers.
The short-rib is cooked for 48 hours using a hybrid confit-sous vide method. The meat is submerged in grapeseed oil in a tray that is lowered into water. The sous vide circulators sit in the water, swirling it at a steady 64 degrees to cook the meat evenly. This is done to eliminate the plastic bag from the sous vide process.
And the kitchen uses as little plastic as possible, with a vision for a single-use-plastic-free restaurant eventually.