Winter is on the menu at Alchemy | The Gourmand & Gourmet

Winter is on the menu at Alchemy

July’s icy winds have us facing the truth: winter isn’t just coming, it’s here. So we returned to the river-side restaurant whose autumn menu was instrumental in easing our transition to (slightly) cooler months: Alchemy. One of the most exciting things about any change in season, is the new produce that becomes available. After twelve months of not gracing our tastebuds, favourite ingredients return to the hands of chefs who continue to experiment and deliver fresh genius year after year. Combining a fierce dedication to serving only the finest in Australian produce, and the creative brilliance of head chef Brad Jolly, Alchemy’s degustation menu is the ultimate way to celebrate (or adjust to) the change in seasons. Comforting winter flavours greeted us at the table as our waiter presented an amuse bouche of duck pieces, shitake mushrooms and duck consommé. Soon after came a reunion with our favourite dish from their previous menu – crispy courgette flowers harvested from Noosa Hinterland with goat’s cheese and truffled honey. We took just a moment to appreciate Alchemy’s kindness in gradually easing us into the season by including an autumn highlight before clearing the plate. Australia’s iconic seafood followed, in the form of South Australian kingfish with compressed cucumber and black garlic, chased by the winter rendition of an Alchemy favourite, impossibly tender Hervey Bay scallops. While every wine was faultless, the scallops and Rockford Alicante Bouché won pairing of the night – the Barossa Valley rosé perfectly balanced the sweetness of chestnuts, Jerusalem puree and Swiss brown mushrooms cushioning the scallops. Dish of the night was a contentious issue. On one hand, there was the Kingaroy pork belly, slow cooked to tender, saucy perfection with a crisp and succulent layer of fat, topped by tangy confit apple and fermented cabbage. On the other hand, a strong rival was the deliciously earthy duck offering: duck breast from Grimaud in NSW, with a generous pool of sweet salt-baked beetroot, and tart fromage blanc, complemented by the equally earthy d’Arenberg ‘The Derelict’ Grenache from McLaren Vale. Between the two contenders: a sweet palate cleanser of yoghurt sorbet so daintily served it was almost a shame to mar it with a spoon. And then dessert. Oh, dessert. Take everything you thought you knew about deep-fried chocolate and throw it out the window. Alchemy’s crumbed rocky road ensures no Mars Bar will ever be up to scratch again. Sinking a fork in to this golden log resulted in the crisp crumb splitting, giving way to molten chocolate that spilled across the plate complete with roasted nuts. Surrounding the main event were fluffy caramelized marshmallows, dots of raspberry coulis (winter berry season, how we missed you) and a blood orange gelato so refreshing you could almost do the degustation again. Alchemy’s front entrance is currently surrounded by scaffolding from nearby construction, but don’t let it deter you – navigating the temporary maze will give way to one of Brisbane’s best views and a menu that will make you fall in love with winter. Words by Jessimin Horder & Ranyhyn Akui