It is now week two of both July and Mushroom Mania and your intrepid correspondent is very happy to be pursuing another magnificent mushroom meal. Of course, I don’t just do this because mushrooms taste divine and lend themselves so well to a wide variety of culinary uses, but also because they are so very good for me too. Mushrooms are a great source of fibre, the minerals selenium and copper, provide more than a quarter of the vitamins riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and biotin and are one of the highest known antioxidant foods in the world. Further, they are virtually fat-free, low in sodium and have now been found to play an active role in lowering cholesterol – why on earth wouldn’t you eat them!
A hunt through the Mushroom Mania website list of participating hotels and restaurants led me down Anzac Highway to The Highway, a spot I haven’t been to for way too many years – and, wow, has it changed! An amazing facelift has rendered it unrecognisable (to me, at least) and now with an excellent – and very busy – dining room. Their chef, Nicholas Finn, has embraced Mushroom Mania month wholeheartedly and has a special ‘shroomy menu which changes weekly during July.
Sharing lunch with a good friend, our first course was the mushroom entree of this week, the Forest Mushrooms Croquettes. This was a blissfully creamy blend of forest mushrooms and Taleggio cheese encased in a deliciously light and crunchy crumbed coating. Very subtle in flavour, but not bland, the croquettes were nudged up to the next level by a golden yellow and generously saffron-infused rouille, making what could have been a slightly plain dish just that little bit special. The serve of four pieces was ample for the two of us to take the edge off our appetite, without making us feel overly full, leaving plenty of room for the main event.
Looking to maximise our fungal fun, we both chose dishes from the mushroom menu for our main courses and shared. My friend opted for the Duck ravioli. Served with wilted spinach and a mushroom cream, this dish was the absolute winner of the day. The ravioli were full of delightful ducky goodness and sat in a light, but creamy mushroom sauce which was just bursting with flavour and complimented perfectly by the wilted spinach. This plate was cleaned off thoroughly, accompanied by decidedly satisfied murmurs.
A brie girl from way back, I opted for the Brie and Portobello pizza (one of a couple of dishes that will be available for all of Mushroom Month) and was no less satisfied with my choice. Served on a tasty pesto base with generous slices of both the brie and portobello mushrooms, the pizza is finished with a surprising frizzle of deep-fried enoki mushrooms. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to deep-fry these tasty little morsels, but I am very pleased that it occurred to Nicholas and, once again, this touch nudged the dish just up and out of the ordinary.
Although we were there on a Tuesday lunch-time, The Highway‘s dining room was completely full, so if you are contemplating a visit to sample some of the mushroomy marvels, I’d suggest that you call and book ahead. Even though they were busy, the floor was well staffed and the staff were very professional – when informed of our fairly limited time frame they made sure we were served promptly. Chef Nicholas Finn has clearly given some careful thought to his participation in Mushroom Mania Month and it shows, both in the dishes on his menu and the care in presentation – I might just have to wander back there to try out next weeks offerings …
Prices – $$-$
290 Anzac Highway, Plympton.
Ph 8297 8155
Lambs’ Ears and Honey dined with the compliments of Mushroom Growers Australia as part of Mushroom Mania Month.