As a regular reader of this blog you’ll know that (a) I love movies and (b) I love food.

So when one of my local favourites The Commoner invited me to the launch night of their first movie-inspired multi-course menu I could hardly say no. And the theme was chooks! Roast chooks! In the form of Poultrygeist (duh duh duuuuh).

Movie-themed meals may sound like something put on by a theatre restaurant frequented by screeching hens nights but The Commoner is much classier (and tastier) than that. Every second month this year they’ll be offering a special dinner or cocktail food menu – starting with Poultrygeist for February then Claws, Whisky Business, Back to the Butcher, Belicatessen and Planet of the Canapes. They will be available along with  The Commoner‘s standard menu.

So, back to our ghostly feathered friends….

First course were canapes of Ossau Iraty (a French cheese), a sliver of crispy chicken skin and onion jam. Never mind crostini,  just pile everything atop that fried chicken skin! The bites were paired with a cider from Bress, a small winery in Harcourt (apple country) which my friend M enjoyed the most out of all of the matched drinks. So much so she had 2 glasses of the Bon Bon Cider and then snuck in most of my glass as well!

If you feel that five courses of poulty is too much for your stomach, don’t worry it’s not just all hunks of meat on a plate. Second course was a perfectly seared scallop unfortunately overpowered by a rather salty ‘barnyard’ stock jelly, fresh peas and carrot crisp matched with a Mon Redon Cotes du Rhone Blanc.

My favourite course was the third course – Scotch egg with piccalilly [sic], pheasant terrine, spiced duck neck sausage and mustard fruits. The plate was artfully presented and I loved the repetition and alternation of savoury and sweet, savoury and sweet in each mouthful. Despite the presence of not just one but three different meats in a single dish it didn’t leave my stomach feeling hard and heavy, with just enough kick in the fruits and piccalilli to lift the savoury meatiness from the palate. The plate of small bites was accompanied by the  Bress La Gallina white blend viognier, chardonnay and sauvignon.

The main course was a brined and wood grilled quail, pickled butternut, quinoa and date puree.  The Commoner has a wood-burner in their courtyard so their roast meats are not to be missed – and this quail diving head(less) first into the pool of full-bodied gravy was no exception. Expect to roll your sleeves up and dig in with your fingers as the quail’s small proportions and rotund back-end makes slippery work of any attempt to carve it daintily.

Both M and I agreed that the quinoa and date puree were excellent accompaniments to the quail but neither of us much cared for the crunchy and sour pickled butternut. Call me traditional but a simple pumpkin mash would have been perfect.

The main course was paired with the  Bress La Gallina red blend of tempranillo, garnacha and syrah.

To finish, a very rich duck egg brulee with a side pot of tart summer rhubarb and two small rounds of shortbread dusted with sumac. Small but just right and matched with a glass of Pennyweight Gold.

If you want to enjoy the same poultry experience get along to  The Commoner  this month and make sure you book. The movie-themed menus are $60 for cocktail food, $80 for 5 courses, $120 with matching wines. Gather your friends or go for a romantic tete-a-tete on Valentines Day.

The Commoner, 122 Johnston St, Fitzroy +61 3 9415 6876

Wednesday & Thursday for Dinner – 6pm ‘til Late
Friday, Saturday & Sunday Lunch 12pm-3pm, & Dinner 6pm ‘til Late

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