What happens when a chef renowned for his French and African fusion food decides to go Mexican? It sounds like a culinary disaster waiting to happen but not when Pierre Khodja of Flinders Hotel is in charge. Khodja took the culinary change of direction for one night only as part of Good Food Month’s hats off program and I was invited along to try it out.
The idea is that hatted restaurants do something completely different for one night only. So The Grand in Richmond tried its hand at Italian yum cha and Flinders Hotel entered the imaginary country of “Morrexico”. Staff wearing sombreros and trays of Coronas set the scene in the hotel’s Terminus restaurant.
An amuse bouche of marinated ocean trout became instantly Mexican thanks to the addition of guacamole and tortilla chips. A crisp square of fried pastry was stuffed with fresh anchovies, corn and radishes with a chilli hit. This was fried food heaven. Satisfying but still light.
What’s not to love about plump, burnished scallops marinated in tequila drizzled with a tangy preserved lemon dressing? Arriba!
Steamed barramundi with a fennel and quinoa salad was understated but delicious. It was all about the simple joy of fresh fish with accents of lemon and the aniseed taste of fennel. It was also particularly loved the 2012 Hoddles Creek Estate “1er” Pinot Blanc it was paired with – a light but stunning wine. Mango and clementine were brilliant counterpoints to slow roasted duck – sticky in all the right places.
My favourite dish of the night was the “Morrexican pancake” which was essentially Khodja’s take on a taco. The taco was filled with tequila marinated slow roasted lamb shoulder cooked until it fell apart and teamed with salsa and avocado. If this is the food of Morrexico then take me there please.
Khodja didn’t disappoint at the sweet end of the night with the most amazing passionfruit soufflés cooked to order for a full restaurant. No mean feat and an amazing effort by Khodja and his team who had been in the kitchen from the early hours of the morning and sent out the final course close to midnight. It was an epic effort which translated into a really unique experience for everyone there.
Gourmet Chick was invited to review the Flinders Hotel Morrexico dinner.
Details: The Flinders Hotel, Corner Of Cook & Wood Streets, Flinders (Ph 03 5989 0201)