Pei Modern is a relatively new institution for Four Seasons Hotel Sydney, but the harbourside incarnation of Mark Best’s popular formally-relaxed Melbourne bistro has won plenty of fans for its fresh, modern Australian fare. The first Paddock to Plate dinner of Wednesday 28 October was a chance for LATTE and other guests to get to know the producers behind the meals, showcasing wines by Craggy Range of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, and succulent grass-fed meats from Victor Churchill Butchers.
The menu was a celebration of beef in all its forms, from cured Blackmore bresaolo and steak tartare to a Rangers Valley fillet served with leek ash, beetroot and red miso, and slow-roasted Blackmore beef shin, accompanied by sauce Bordelaise. A cheese course of Pyengana cloth-bound cheddar with compressed apples and lavosh allowed for a palatal respite before a stunningly rich dessert of doughnuts, blood-orange jam and whey caramel.
Four wines from Craggy Range accompanied the creations by Mark Best and his new Sydney Head Chef, Joachim Borenius, including the 2013 Te Muna Sauvignon Blanc, the 2012 Te Muna Pinot Noir, the 2013 Gimblett Gravels Syrah and the 2013 ‘Sophia’ Bordeaux Blend. Craggy Range is a labour of love for owner Terry Peabody and his family, who looked to start a family legacy through wine and now have a distribution that spreads over 50 countries. In fact, only 15% of their high-end wines are sold within New Zealand, so high is the demand for this drop.
The Paddock to Plate dinner was a unique opportunity to learn about the produce that distinguishes Pei Modern’s cuisine. With its focus on seasonality and locally sourced ingredients, an insight such as this is a rare opportunity.