When Brad’s parents first decided to move from their place in Glen Waverly, out to Gembrook (past Belgrave, the end of a train line to give some perspective), which meant that Brad would also be moving out that way, Brad and I were…well let’s say we weren’t over enthused.
However, now that we have been in this situation for over a year, it’s actually worked out better than we could have thought. Fortunately Brad doesn’t mind the 1 hour drive, and since he has flexible hours, can usually miss the worst of the traffic, and I live close to the university that he works at.
It also surprised me, how much I enjoyed going out to Gembrook, and escaping the city just for a night or two. How accessible it was, and what a great base it made, for exploring some of the regional wine country and restaurants out east.
I mean, I otherwise may have never (or well not never, but it wouldn’t have been as high priority on my list) made it to O.My restaurant in Beaconsfield. It was only 20 minutes away from Brad’s place. Perfect.
So I scheduled us in for lunch on a surprisingly warm Saturday in October, I’m not sure why (well other than the fact hat season had just passed and there were given one prestigiouss chef’s hat), but who needs a reason?
Although the sun was harsh and bright outside, inside O.My, it’s dusky and cool, with dim lights, dark walls and rich little details. There’s an immedate relaxed sense of hush, where you automatically drop your voice, but still giggle at each other’s jokes.
I love that the restaurant is run by three brothers, and the fact that for being relatively young, that they have such vision. It can’t have been easy to decide to set up in Beaconsfield, but at the same time, it’s an incredibly smart move, low rent, more resources to go to produce and being inventive and creative, and delivering it to customers at incredibly reasonable prices. Love it (sorry, work brain kicking in here).
Degustation menus are the go here, and we opt for the 4 course degustation (only available at lunch time). You really get so much more than 4 courses though.
Prior to our first course, we were surprised with a couple of snacks to kick start the palate. As we were in Spring, I was thrilled to see gorgeously green spears of fresh asparagus, washed in chilli oil and honey. Oh I loved these. Touch of a crunch, a kick of chilli but with the sweetness of the honey quickly washing in.
Duck leg jerky with raspberry and beetroot dipping sauce is as delicious as you could imagine it being. These aren’t thin slices, loved how chunky these were!
And to wrap up, a mini bouquet of green herbs which were bright and vibrant, perhaps a little tough to chew, but definitely woke up the palate!
Our first proper course was a spring salad with black garlic oil. I was surprised with the earthiness of this dish, as it initially looks light and airy, but there was a unexpected richness and depth with the black garlic oil beneath. Much ‘meatier’ than it appears.
Whilst Brad got to enjoy their beautiful white rye sourdough, made with a 3.5 year old culture that’s baked on site with a sumptuous ball of butter, I got the gluten free option of potato chips with garlic aioli. Oh my gosh, delicious. Devoured in about half a second obviously.
The following course was pork neck, roasted for 24 hours, with apple tapenade, pork stock and fresh sliced apple. This dish definitely spoke of Spring, the crisp sweetness of the ever so thin apples offsetting the richness of the pork neck, which was delightfully tender.
Our next meaty main was definitely a filling one, lamb ragu, with cured and smoked lamb back strap and a garlic puree was rich and delightfully hearty. I felt it might have been a touch of a heavy dish the warm day that it was, it’s just so comforting, but who’s to complain really?
In between savouries and sweets, a beautifully plated dish of ox tail mousse with ox tail sheets. Shut the door. Just eat this. Or give it all to me.
At O.My, the traditional cheese course is given a bit of a turn on it’s head, they make their own vegan cheeses, with hazelnut, cashews and pistachios. It was a bit of an adventure into textures and flavour…as we had no idea what to expect as we tried each one. It’s quite refreshing and definitely not quite as rich as a usual cheese course, especially with the sweetness of the fruit (dried figs, yum!).
I’ll be honest, dessert challenged me a bit, or perhaps just one element of it. The chocolate, milk sorbet, dried blood orange and mixed citrus were all fine; however, it was the burning lavender incense that certainly caught me off guard a little. It smelt great, and looked great in front of us, as the incense wafted under our noses. But eating the lavender itself?
Once you blew it out and chomped on it, let’s just say the lavender flavour was pretty darned intense, but the surprising thing is that later on there’s a spiciness that creeps up the back of palate. It’s also pretty tough to chew on! It’s interesting, but not a flavour I would go hunting for on a regular basis!
The other components of the dessert were beautifully done though, the sorbet’s texture in particular was incredible, dreamily creamy.
The whole experience is capped off with a couple of petit four (which I promptly forgot to photograph), including a salted caramel fudge, and touched lemon marshmallow.
Past the food, which is delightful, curious and thoughtful, the whole experience of dining at O.My is just delightful. Chayse, the youngest of the three brothers, made us feel comfortable and very much at home, telling us all about the sneaky nibbles he tries to get in the kitchen when I wax lyrical about pretty much everything as we eat it with the warmest smile.
There’s definitely been a lot of thought to the whole process, and the experience the customer gets; as we leave, we’re given a slice of the sourdough to take home, and a piece of honeycomb for gluten intolerant little ol’ me (which doesn’t get very far on the trip back home).
If you’re looking for something different, look out past the city, and take a lazy ride out east for one of the understatedly best dining experiences you’re likely to have in Victoria. I’m dying to see what an 8 course degustation looks like next time…
23 Woods St