Having been invited down for this review, I was intrigued as to how the restaurant could top my previous visit. And dear heaven, it does.
This place used to be called Scarvelli Cafe and located on 143 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn. However, the owner Clare Voltin wanted to take the concept of Paddock to plate to a whole different level. Admittedly, when I reviewed Scarvelli, it was the first time I ever tasted this concept. The whole thing with The Proviodre Swan Bay Cafe, is that you can taste the love in the way it is prepared. That would be giving too much away so let’s get into the why I say that!
We managed to sample the entire tapas menu for the night. And the ability to eat in such a quaint place with some amazing food and great surroundings is truly inspirational. I love that they have opened up their restuarant to the night time visitors and it’s an experience that you need to savour for yourself.
We started off with the Organic sourdough EDS bread with golden Triangle extra virgin olive oil and The Providore dukkha (6). The bread had that freshly baked smell and the dukkha was beyond phenomenal. Dipping it into the olive oil and the dukkha is the right combination. But be warned… do not fill yourself on this dish, because you will want to have some space for what is yet to come.
The second dish we had was the Wattle Valley goats cheese with toasted roti and The Providor honeycomb (12). That cheese. My gawd. That cheese is amazing. I could have eaten an entire wheel of it.
And the honeycomb. My gosh! It is their own concoction from their chef. A simple recipe that is a total secret but the texture and flavour is amazing.
Then came the Swan Bay Farm Berkshire pork rillete, caramalised pear, crispy sage and crispy bread (15.5). The caramlised pears were amazing. From all the dishes so far, the pork whilst great on it’s own, didn’t compare to that damn cheese. DEAR LAWD that cheese.
The twice baked cheddar souffle, rocket, shaved parmesan, The Providore sweet & salty walnuts and lemon curd (16) – and this was the best challenger to the cheese.
The lemon curd and the salty walnuts is insane. And the taste of the baked cheddar souffle – is simply one of the nicest delights and the closest to a home cooked meal from Mum that you can ever get to from a restaurant.
Swan Bay Farm beef cevapcici, celeriac & truffle remoulade, The Providore pickled onion petals and chilli jam (18) was the next one. And what can I say? The beef was cooked like a medium rare steak that you would expect from a specialty steakhouse.
Except this was done so much better. The chilli jam alone was worth it. And then through in the celeriac and truffle remoulade and there’s a party in your mouth!! This is another clear and simple winner from the menu.
And then the final meal was the Swan Bay Farm 12-hour braised lamb lollipops, bashed minted peas and the The Providore gentleman’s relish (13.5). The lamb was perfect. And those peas were so damn fresh, that when you chewed it, it just popped in your mouth. It reminded me that it’s been a long time since I have cooked with fresh food that I almost forgot about it. So thank you for reminding me what good fresh food tastes like.
And then finally the sweet – Textures of chocolate, the providore honeycomb, raspberry, popcorn & local mandarin.
The mandarin ice cream was phenomenal. But the chocolate and honeycomb and the popcorn was just scrumptious. The brownie? Yes. Just, yes.
During the mains, I was recommended a bold shiraz from the Barossa called the Scarlet. And yes, it was everything I could hope for.
As I was invited to do this review, the meal was complimentary. In saying that, the price point is completely moot. You could pay twice as much and it would still be worth it.
The Providore has changed it’s atmosphere. The ambiance is even more like home than you can imagine. With the chef in the back and the smell of the food in the air. It just felt right. What’s even better? The customers. It felt like each table was it’s own little home party. It was simply delightful. And the music. Wow. They were covers of pop songs but done at a slow, jazz like place and it was brilliant. Yes, I do love Jazz – so I am completely biased
The service was always epic. I did my utmost to not let the staff know that I was there to complete a review and it was interesting to note how the behaviour honestly didn’t change even after they found out I was there.
You know what I can say? This latest evolution to the restaurant, is clearly a step in the right direction. Even more so, that the only words I can remark about this place is subtlety. Everything we tasted, everything we experienced, was subtle. You could have each of the meal as a combination or eat it separately. And the flavours challenged your palette. Clare, you have done a simply wonderful job. And your chef, is simply amazing. Thank you for all that you both do and continue to do.
To my great readers that have asked, I say, simply “yes”. You will love it.