Originally published in Peninsula Essence
When you enjoy dinner at the Winey Cow, you are not only sampling magnificent food but being taken on a journey of flavours created by executive chef, David Ryan.
Since launching the dinner menu last month, the Winey Cow has transitioned from day time service to fine dining with a unique edge.
“We opened a few weeks ago to fabulous reviews,” said Chef David whose menu is inspired by his own travels through Asia. “Our menu is unique as it reflects my experience in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, using Australian produce with Asian flavours and Asian cooking techniques.”
The executive chef, who has been kitchen head for the Winey Cow and other affiliated venues for several years, David is putting his heart and soul into creating the perfect dinner menu, using a Japanese barbecue called Konro Hibachi.
“Using the Asian barbecue cooking technique, we have been able to create flavours that are unique to the Peninsula,” said David who started as a chef 16 years ago straight out of high school. “The dishes we are trying to create are based on my travels throughout Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. This is the food I go out to eat and my interpretation of the flavours. Using the Konro which is a Japanese coal fired barbecue lets us create the food and flavours as it was cooked back in the day. The Japanese barbecue insulates the coals creating an intense heat that cooks the food quickly, and keeps the flavour in.”
With this modern Australian, Asian inspired menu, Davis has created a wonderful balance of food that is very sweet, salty, sour and a perfect match with the Peninsula wines the Winey Cow has in abundance.
It took a couple of weeks to get the menu to where I want it, playing with lots of flavours and working with different ideas to incorporate the Asian influence,” said David, who designed the menu around the Konro barbecue. “I had always wanted to use a barbecue like this, love cooking over coals and smoking is becoming quite popular now in restaurants but there’s nothing like it in other places on the Peninsula.”
David says the response to the dinner menu has been outstanding, with customers returning for dishes like the salmon tartare, ponzu, saltbush, finger lime, and salmon skin cracker, or the five spice fried chicken with ginger vinegar, Sancho pepper and daikon.
My favourite thing on the menu is anything cooked over the grill, the rib eye is delicious with the charred spring onion, oyster mushroom and marrow. But I also love the vegetarian options. The sweet potato cooked with fried tofu, coconut laska and lemon myrtle is delicious and I am not normally a tofu person,” said David who uses ingredients like yuzu kosko, a paste made from chilli peppers, yuzu peel and salt, which is then allowed to ferment. “That is an amazing flavor that complements the richness of the lamb.”
As for desserts, David has created some unique dishes like the The Halia Brulee.
“In Singapore and Malaysia hawker stalls you find a drink called the The Halia which is a gingery spicy hot or cold drink that they eat with hot food spicy. It has a real cleansing feel and settles your stomach, so I have translated that to a brulee for the menu. We also have the Milo Parfait which is inspired by a dink in Asia called the milo dinosaur. It’s a fun dessert and everyone loves milo in Australia,” said David, who sources the bulk of his produce from local suppliers and a small amount of Asian ingredients from overseas. “I get the meat, fruit and vegetables locally as we have great suppliers on the Peninsula, while some of the Asian style ingredients come straight from Japan.”