Igni | Restaurant | Aaron Turner chef | Geelong

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Review
 
Igni HeartHeartHeart
Restaurants and bars
Geelong
Open: Lunch Fri - Sun, dinner Thu - Sat
Price: Moderate

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +61 3 5222 2266
Address: 2 Ryan Place
Geelong, Victoria
Country: Australia

Igni in Geelong is one of the most exciting restaurants in Victoria. It is a collaboration between talented chef Aaron Turner along with Jo Smith and Andrew Hamilton who look after the front of house and the clever wine matches. The vibe is relaxed, the music is eclectic (think Dan Auerbach meets Nick Cave) and the cooking reveals rather than masks the quality of the excellent produce on offer.
The meal we were served was quite extraordinary starting with delicious snacks such as an extraordinary house-churned smoked butter and a simple slice of house-cured guanciale through to a visually stunning dessert of fresh berries interspersed with orbs of frozen berry juices which was served along with a "cream between" of nori ice cream wedged between two wafers made from quinoa dusted with nori.
One of our snacks appeared to be an oyster served in the shell. However this oyster had been lifted to another level with aged goose fat, rice wine vinegar and a slice of acorn to created flavours above and beyond normal expectations of flavour combinations but all the while maintaining that perfect balance.
There were also snacks that played with your head. Fried salt bush was "dusted" with vinegar tricking your mind into believing that the crunch you hear is you eating a vinegared potato chip!
Chicken skin slathered with cod roe and grilled lettuce spinach with finger lime were equally audacious yet perfectly balanced mouthfuls of utter delight.
The next dish was just brilliant - an early reminder in this meal of how finely tuned Aaron Turner's palate is. Three grains (millet, rye and barley) were fermented in milk and served with spanner crab.
This was teamed with a Le Pelut Merlot called Dithyrambe, a no-added-sulphur wine which sprang from the genius of Pierre Rousse a winemaker from the Languedoc region of southern France and imported to Australia by Campbell Burton Wines. Another reminder that Aaron's seasoning is precise and the balance he achieves in his dishes is a testimony to his skill.
This balance was also evident in the next dish which saw just-grilled marron teamed with gherkin and a fish-based pil pil sauce. Two blades of gherkin cut the richness of the marron and pil pil.
Nick Cave was, at this stage singing I'm a stranger however we couldn't have felt more at home among the wonderful wines and the amazing food.
The next dish brought happy memories to the fore. The dish used a technique that we first came across in northern China where lamb takes over from pork and potato supplants rice. Here we were served on a number of occasions long strings of garlic-enhanced potato that looked like spaghetti as it was placed on the table. And so it was with the next dish which is a testimony to the confidence of the chef that something as humble as the potato can be turned into a stand-alone treat, albeit studded with slices of garlic and garlic flowers.
Cheese wrapped in pork fat and hay from last winter with two types of pickled tomato and pickled onion followed along with a stunning Macvin from Tissot. This revered wine of the Jura even has its own appellation called Macvin du Jura. To make Macvin the Savagnin grapes are left to ripen until quite sweet and then the resultant wine is boiled to reduce it by half. It is then fortified with a marc made from the must of the Savagnin and it is transferred to old wooden barrels where it matures for a period of six years.
We finished the meal with the two desserts mentioned above. Both were sensational.
We returned to the train feeling very satisfied with our afternoon's visit to this wonderful restaurant.
 
     
 

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The editors of foodtourist.com supply some of the wines to Igni through their wine importing business Living Wines.

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