I think it is safe to say that the cold weather is officially here. I know this because a few nights ago we enjoyed our first frost for the year, which is of course the universal signal to break out the beanies, chill some bottles of stout, light the fire (if you havent already) and generally just begin to think like bears preparing to hibernate.
One of the best things about the cooler months is the shift in menus. Those bright, summery dishes start to make way for more comforting fare, best enjoyed within sight of an open hearth and with a glass of red on standby.
The Highway have now (well and truly) launched their Autumn menu, and as always the quality of the produce, presentation and attention to detail is exemplary. We were lucky enough to be invited along to have a look and came away – as usual – very impressed.
Easily one of the stand-outs from the freshly tweaked menu came in the form of the initial entree – which to first glance appear to be just another line up of arancini. However, looks are definitely deceiving here, as they are actually CRUMBED BEEF BRISKET BALLS (capitals absolutely necessary) served with massaman curry marinade and kewpie mayo. Absolutely delicious! A plate of these and a rich IPA and you can just leave me alone right there. Unless I need another beer. Or a few more of these balls. But you get the idea.
However, there was much more to get through (and I didn’t get a whole plate to myself). We also got to try the beetroot and vodka salmon gravlax with candy cane beetroot, pickled shallots, buffalo mozzarella with rosemary and pistachio puree. Such a pretty dish, this had so many flavours and textures all adding to the overall experience. You can kind of tell the kitchen has had some fun coming up with this.
Salad can still have its place of course, especially when it comes from the kitchen looking like this. I love Kingfish however you wish to serve it, and here we have it hot smoked and then paired with pear, rocket, beans, raddish, Spanish onion, potato, with a creamy dill dressing. Loved it!
Next up, we got the bacon wrapped chicken with sweet potato and confit garlic puree, roasted balsamic onions, Dutch carrot, and chicken demi glaze. I think it rather speaks for itself – this is comfort food, pure and simple. Bring on some wind and rain and I will find my way to a plate of this, and happily devour every morsel. Actually, I would be pretty happy if the sun was shining, but that wasn’t the point I was attempting to make.
For a slightly more refined and deconstructed dish, you could go with their roasted pork belly with potato gallette, edamame beans, pea puree and a little jus to keep things on track. Or as a different option, if something a little less mainstream is your thing, then I can highly recommend the rabbit fricassee. Keeping our hopping protein company is mushroom, thyme, shallots, tagliatelle pasta and coated lovingly in a cream sauce. Just divine.
Finally – dessert. Now I do enjoy sweet things, but I am not normally one to bother scoping the desserts menu. However, if you were to miss out on this, I think you might have made a rather regretful mistake. Let me put it to you like this – Malteaser cheesecake cup. Changed your mind? You are most welcome.
All in all, this was another very cleverly designed, deceptively complex and attractively presented menu. The Highway have been on the up and up (in my estimation) for quite a while now, and this does nothing at all to diminish this upwards trend. They can still play the pub favourites game, and yes the lamb brains are still there, but these new dishes really do hit the spot and represent the quality that their kitchen is truly capable of.
The Highway Hotel is located at 290 Anzac Highway Plympton. They are open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.