A picnic feast from the Beaufort Street Merchant, Highgate
The weather this weekend has been absolutely gorgeous, which has been great news for me because it has coincided with my boyfriend Jeremy's birthday. After last weekend's wet and wild antics, I'd been keeping a close eye on the weather report because I had decided that during the day of his birthday I'd like to take him on a picnic.
The take away kit
We live really close to the beach, so we're blessed with some amazingly beautiful locations to picnic at, and with what I often call my rolls royce of picnic baskets, it can be a great day out.
Picking the restaurant to supply the goods for our picnic came down to two different choices in my eyes - Smoult's Deli in Maylands or Beaufort Street Merchant in Mount Lawley. In the end my overwhelming love for the latter won out, and so I called them in anticipation of the feast that they could provide. It would seem this was a little trickier than I'd have guessed, with an email and three phone calls placed before I finally was speaking with someone about the menu. But that said, they were quite apologetic that my phone messages and email had been left unanswered, and I was quickly provided with the information I sought.
We arrived at Beaufort Street Merchant around 11.30am, and only a couple minutes later our food was presented to me in two functional hessian bags that were bursting at the seams with containers of food. How exciting! I was about to see what my $99 had bought us and having skipped breakfast for a lie in, our tummies were rumbling.
Spelt and charred sweet corn shard salad
Before we knew it we'd arrived at Trigg Park, setting up shop away from the groups of families and soccer playing guys under a tree. The rug we'd lain on the floor was quickly covered in a spread of all different foods - and ones I'm happy to say were different than your standard picnic fare.
- garlic, thyme & chilli marinated olives
- lingot d'argental triple cream brie
- freshly baked garlic brioche
- lamb croquettes with basil & tomato passata
- pistachio and herb crusted lamb loin
- smoked salmon
- spelt and charred sweet corn shard salad
- lavosh crackers
- homemade rocky road
- sparkling water
- cutlery, plates, napkins, cups and a garbage bag
All items in our picnic had been refrigerated, which at first we were a little apprehensive about seeing as there were croquettes and brioche, but we dove in nonetheless.
Starting the chorizo, it was grilled and tasty. There was a slightly gelatinous paste in between slices which was the congealed oil and sauce, which made the taste sweet, but with a good chilli kick. The fresh herbs scattered on top were a nice touch.
The lavosh crackers were a handy vessel for scooping the smoked salmon (cool, refreshing and not overly smokey like some can be) and the tripe cream brie (absolutely heavenly in its decadence). They're cold from being in the fridge, but they're still crisp and crunchy. These are a regular crisp in my home rotation when I go through cheese binges, so I already knew they'd taste great!
The lamb croquettes were definitely one of the highlights of the meal, and were the first croquettes I've ever consumed cold. The texture inside was fluffy and ethereal; little strands of lamb threaded throughout. What made this dish though was that basil & tomato passata - it's a luscious sauce that basically exploded in your mouth with flavour. We ended up using the leftover with some of the other picnic items!
Crusted lamb and marinated olives
The pistachio and herb crusted lamb loin was calling out to us both - the plump segments of lamb sitting modestly in their container. One bite in and I'm quite impressed just how tender the meat is - it's plump to the touch, with a lovely pink centre.
The pistachio and herb crust is more of a topping than a crust, and while it tastes nice, there isn't much punch to the flavour. It could have used a bit more zing and some salt for my own personal taste, but that said since the lamb was cooked so well it didn't bother me too much.
Jeremy had the olives to himself since I'm not a big fan of them, but he reassured me these tasted good - sweet, just slightly soft and a good level of flavour from the marinating process. I'm sure they'll be snacked on over the next couple of days since there was a big serving!
Salad and smoked salmon
The spelt and charred corn shard salad was an extremely generous combination of spelt (hulled wheat), corn, red onion, cherry tomato and spinach leaves. The corn was not charred as promised, but it was sweet and popped in your mouth as you bit down. I love corn!
I like the salad, it was fresh and worked well with the other picnic items such as the lamb loin. However I would have loved some creamy feta or goats cheese throughout the salad to give it a textural difference and some added saltiness. But then again, I am a bit of a cheese fiend... There was so much of this salad that we actually had this for lunch the next day - great value for sure.
The freshly baked garlic brioche (one mini loaf each hooray!) was just divine. I say it often on my blog, but brioche literally is the best bread ever. Sweet, buttery and oh so soft. This one was just as good - even though it was cold. I could only imagine how amazing it would be hot and crusty on the outside.
The garlic and buttery spread inside is rich and tasty; a nice addition of herbs inside giving it a burst of freshness and colour. While I don't eat a huge amount of bread, I have to be honest and admit I cleaned my bun up as did my boy!
Rocky road and macarons
By the time we got to the sweet section of our spread, we were definitely too full to attack the items at that point. We had a mountain of salad, lamb loin, olives and salmon left over to take home as well as the bright macarons and marshmallow chunked rocky road.
Later in the day we tried them out and are happy to say that the macarons were wonderful. Crisp on the outside with just the slightest softness to the centre, as well as some lovely sweet fillings. I haven't been paying too much attention to macarons lately but I think I've been dragged back to my one time obsession again.
The rocky road is full of marshmallows, with the smallest slivers of cherries. I love a good rocky road so shamefully I may have consumed more than my fair share. Whoops!
All up, I have to say the Beaufort Street Merchant delivered as per usual. A couple minor details not to my own personal preference, but all up a great meal. It's no wonder that this place always comes up as a favourite for so many people I encounter.