09 Oct Lavender & Fare, Armadale
It really takes something to stand out in the cafe scene these days. Lavender & Fare serves brunch, but also a lunch menu that sees some of its dinner dishes brought over to the daytime. The four-month old cafe and restaurant is set in a quaint building with homely decor. Out the back, there’s an outdoors seating area where diners can enjoy their meals under the shade of the centuries-old peppercorn tree.
Chef and owner Kiran Shetty has a long list of accolades and an impressive international resume, including Pastry Chef of the Year in New Zealand and Dubai, and senior positions at Magnolia Bakery, Burj Al Arab and the Lufthansa Sky Group. As a pastry chef he’s had a hand in plenty of lavender themed desserts including ice creams, truffles, pastries and cakes, and this love for lavender inspired him to stamp it into the name of his restaurant.
Kiran works with more than just desserts. The amuse bouche of pumpkin soup has a velvety, creamy texture and has an almost butter fragrance. Thyme roasted croutons floating on top provide a suitable crunch.
Smoked Salmon and Pesto Sauce comes with small cylinders of smoked salmon wrapped in nori. Its platform of sweet potato is surrounded by a sea of pesto sauce. It’s an intriguing mix of flavours. The creaminess of the sauce and its little chunks of crushed pine nuts is offset by pickled ginger, radish, and home-made balsamic caviar.
Braised Lamb Shoulder is wrapped with prosciutto. A free-standing potato cake is topped with a strongly flavoured goat cheese spring roll. The dish comes with rich red wine jus, but it tastes fine even without it.
The Slow-cooked Duck Leg sits alongside a Pom William potato, roasted vegetables, bok choy and orange segments. The accompanying vegetables are prepared simply, but well – they’re neither too soft nor super crunchy. Though the duck is a tad dry, there’s an interesting combination of flavours, including the slightly salty, but mostly sweet blueberry and honey sauce. The crispy crumbed pear-shaped potato is a highlight too.
With Kiran’s credentials it’d be remiss to forgo dessert. We pick the Chocolate Fondant, and what comes out of the kitchen is spectacular. The plate is arranged with numerous elements: walnut ice cream, red-coloured tuille, a wholemeal and molasses crumb, berry sauce and a few pieces which showcase their sugar work, including an absurdly tall spindle that’s weighted to the platter by an almond. It’s not just style without substance; the chocolate fondant itself is done perfectly.
Lavender & Fare presents great value for money for the quality and technique of their dishes, and beautiful plating doesn’t hurt either. It’s a local gem.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Lavender & Fare as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
Lavender & Fare
48 Wattletree Rd
Armadale, VIC, 3143
(03) 9500 1070