In our family, Easter Sunday is a very solemn occasion.
Under no circumstances is it permissible for family members to pull silly faces…
What is permissible, though, is to eat and share lots of delicious food at The Homestead Café.
For example, family members may order the Homestead’s Tasting Plate ($20), which comes with Poachers Pantry prosciutto, Homeleigh olive oil, ciabatta and extra gluten-free bread, caramelised olives (which truly were a mind-boggling blend of sweet and savoury), and basil pesto on one plate…
… and (unpictured) duck liver paté, hummus, and caramelised onions on another. The bread ran out long before the dips did, but Mum and I valiantly ate the paté with a spoon, while my brother and father did the same with the hummus and caramelised onions. (Helen, you would’ve been proud of us.)
Young men may request an entree-sized portion of zucchini fritters topped with pan-fried haloumi and chilli jam ($16), but only if they share with their sisters. I must say this entree was an extremely pleasant taste experience when one made sure to get fritter, halloumi, and chilli jam all in the same bite.
When it comes to ordering mains, a young woman in the family will be given whole-hearted approval for doing something she hasn’t done in years, which is ordering an entire plate of deep-fried goodness all to herself.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Sichuan pepper and salt squid with rocket and smoked garlic aioli ($22). As I wrote on Facebook later that day, there is something glorious about being able to justifiably order a meal which is the equivalent of a plate of chips for lunch (only protein-y).
While the batter was crunchy and the squid a good blend of tender and chewy, I was disappointed by the complete and utter lack of pepper, Szechuan or otherwise, in the flavour. The squid tasted only salty, and while this was a novelty at first, by the time I’d cleaned the plate I was feeling a bit oil-and-salt-ed out.
Other members of the family may order the Homestead pie with braised beef, red wine, and mushrooms ($26), the salmon fillet on asparagus with tomato and avocado salad ($28), and the duck confit with warm salad of kipfler potato, spinach, and hazelnuts ($28). By all accounts, these were enjoyable. Slightly less enjoyable was the considerable delay between finishing our mains and having our dishes cleared, but considering the fact that the staff were flat-chat-busy and my family was in a private room, it’s understandable.
The young lady at the table is required to order the dessert she is almost powerless against: the affogato ($6). While her prior experiences with affogatos have involved small and dainty desserts, this affogato was a gargantuan combination of two large scoops of ice cream and a lot of coffee. Personally, I would’ve preferred pouring the coffee over the ice cream myself rather than being served an already half-melted concoction, but you know what? We know I love sweet coffee treats, so this too was forgivable.
Several people at the table are allowed to order the chocolate pots with Pedro Ximeniz and cherry compote ($15), but they are equally allowed to be disappointed by the arrival of a singular pot rather than pots, by the existence of a mere two cherries in the glass instead of a compote, and by the incredibly liquid consistency of the dessert overall. We’re not sure what was intended, but the chocolate mousse-y thing was so runny that it was hard to eat, always dripping off the spoon. When I grabbed a taste, I found it pleasant but not rich enough in chocolate flavour for my (or my 96 year old grandma’s) liking.
The blogger’s mother may request the meringue topped with lemon curd, seasonal fruit and passionfruit sauce ($15). When this arrived at the table, I laughed and laughed. I honestly believe this was plated by the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. The lack of finesse, the plonking atop the meringue of thirty-six times more lemon curd than anyone could ever need, the very masculine aesthetic to this dessert (somewhat proven, I argue, by the fact that my dad and brother both thought it looked great), was so obvious as to be rather endearing.
All in all, The Homestead Cafe put forth a good spread of dishes ranging from slightly disappointing to enjoyable. The wait staff were lovely, and the ambiance overall was welcoming and delightful. It was, moreover, a great restaurant to attend with grandparents.
And that, dear folks, is how the Wayfaring Chocolate family does Easter.