In a culinary coup for the Central Coast, Avoca restaurant Bombini partnered with Bowral’s Biota to present an epic Sunday feast.
Combining the flavours of the Southern Highlands with fruit and veg plucked fresh from Bombini’s organic garden, the joint lunch was a celebration of regional produce.
Despite the incessant rain, it turned out to be a smokin’ hot Sunday lunch.
More like apron-clad stand up comics than two of the State’s hottest regional chefs, Bombini’s Cameron Cansdell and Biota’s James Viles clearly share a sense of humour as well as the same food philosophy – a focus on sustainable, regional produce.
They also share a postcode – James is an Avoca native when he’s not cooking up a storm at Bowral.
He’s only arrived home from the Southern Highlands in the early hours and is straight to Bombini to dig a hole for his piece de la resistance – suckling pig.
James loves the distinct flavours from wood cuttings (or fruit pits if you’re fresh out of wood) so just about everything on the menu has been smoked over the fire.
There’s a burnt chilli and pumpkin salad, charred eggplant with toasted garlic, and suckling pig with crunchy crackling and sweet onion shells.
There are also lots of Bombini trademarks sprinkled throughout.
We’re greeted with a cucumber spritz, bright sunflower heads beam up at us from the pretty table setting and classic Italian primis – burrata with salsa rosa, chilli and basil pippies, octopus with chickpea puree – are served on the restaurant’s sunshine-yellow plates.
The shared garden-to-plate ethos is evident throughout the three-course meal, which actually ends up being more than a dozen tasty share plates with matching Krinklewood wines.
The slices of black radish mixed up with raw white fish are foraged from Bombini’s sub tropical garden – the frilly dianthus flower garnish is courtesy of Biota.
As are the black pigs from Red Leaf farm – so “bloody tasty”, according to James, because they have been roaming wild on 200 acres grazing on wild berries and the like.
These Coastie chefs have whipped up what appears to be a very sophisticated menu only a few days ago, based on what’s in the garden.
There’s even a surprise dolci – pineapple (found in the Bombini cool room) and figs, that have been cooked over the same flames as the pig, are served with a burnt butter and honey sauce.
That’s in addition to an exquisite cocktail of Cam’s famed Jersey milk gelato with James’ caramelised pomelo and delicate flakes of dried milk.
Biota and Bombini exist in vastly different climates but for one day there is a definite Southern Highland chill in the air in Avoca – perfect for a menu infused with fire.