Quietly confident, The Foraging Quail opened in late April (2014) to little fanfare. No grand opening, no #quirkyhashtags, no smoke and mirrors; rather whispers of an intricate and intriguing menu, flashes of effortless elegance peeking through the construction boards, and an unspoken invitation to discover. Curiosity successfully piqued, we ventured in to uncover the new dining destination for ourselves.
Nestled in next to Chai Thai on Merthyr Rd, the newest restaurant on the New Farm block is the long awaited love child of chef and owner Minh Le. Formerly head chef at Deer Duck Bistro in Auchenflower, Minh’s vision of effortless luxury has well and truly been brought to life.
Decked out in elegant Italian wallpaper, with striking wire cages suspended from the ceiling and subtle gold furnishings glistening in the soft light, the mood is as opulent as it is warm.
Impressive though the interior may be, the real hero here is the food. The share style menu features beautifully plated, sustainably sourced, organic ingredients; many foraged from the gardens of friends. Obscure grasses and seaweeds are married with the likes of Gooralie Farm pork, saltbush lamb and Hervey Bay scallops, highlighting familiar ingredients in new, surprising ways.
Our picks from the menu include the pork jowl, served with apple and celariac, morcilla, brussel sprouts and baby corn, as well as the signature foraging quail, crumbed and paired with mushroom duxelle, watercress emulsion, chestnut and chanterelle mushroom.
Sweet tooths are well looked after, with a range of curiously constructed and creatively plated desserts; think a chocolate forest with seven textures of chocolate and orange marshmallow, strawberry and meringue.
The menu changes with the seasons, with an omnivore and herbivore option available, but favourites return to the tables regularly.
Overall, a curious dining experience well worth discovering for yourself.
Words by Sam Geldard