PICTURESQUE is how I describe Podfood – a charming restaurant set among beautifully established gardens at Pialligo Plant Farm, only minutes from the city.
At Podfood you can dine inside the quaint 1930s cottage or on the deck or garden terrace. Outdoor dining is north facing, making the eating areas lovely and warm in cool months and lovely and cool in warm months.
Owner/chef John Leverink worships food and plates up well. Some might think a few dishes are “fussy” but that is part of the experience. John loves seasonal produce, including from nearby Pialligo farms.
I started with beetroot and gin-cured ocean trout – a rich ruby colour – served with crème fraiche, salty capers, mustard and tarragon ($16). The trout was super fresh and mouth-watering. All elements looked glorious on the dark, rectangular slate plate (although I find cutting food on slate plates sets my nerves on edge… the sensation is equivalent in sound and feel to nails running down a chalkboard).
My friend enjoyed two entrees, starting with the seared scallops (always a treat), octopus, artichokes, chorizo (to spice matters up), crunchy apple and green olive salsa ($18). At first we thought “hmmm… perhaps too much going on here”, but the elements worked remarkably well together and the scallops were cooked to perfection.
Next was a divine spinach, leek and walnut tart, made with butter puff pastry and served with a dill emulsion, lemon and a thick slice of taleggio, a strong-tasting Italian cheese ($15). It was presented on a wooden cutting board, adding an element of fun.
My duck breast, carrot, buckwheat, rhubarb and radish was a winner ($33). Duck and fruit marry so well and rhubarb is such a seasonal delight. The duck was super tender as and the portion just perfect.
We shared a dessert (most are $14) and were happy, happy, happy we did. Podfood’s meringue with tangy lemon curd was not too sweet and we enjoyed the citrus sand and lemon foam.
For two years running Podfood has received Australia’s wine list of the year award (Fine Wine Partners and “Gourmet Traveller Wine”). It is an impressive list and the staff are knowledgeable on what is on offer.
The service at Podfood is impeccable and nothing is too much trouble, starting with when I made the reservation. We could not arrive for lunch until around 1.45, but that was not an issue. Towards the end of our meal, when most patrons were gone, we asked if we could switch tables for dessert and a few moments in the sun. This was not an issue either. Indeed, the staff quietly went about their business and just left us to enjoy.
Podfood. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (various days so check). 12 Beltana Road, Pialligo Plant Farm. Reservations very wise. 6257 3388.