Six Truffle Dishes to Try in Melbourne This Winter
From truffle-salted fries to truffle-filled dumplings and a truffle-spiked cocktails.
June 12, 2019
The start of winter means another truffle season has arrived with a bang. Cue all sorts of innovative truffle dishes being dreamed up and making their way onto menus across Melbourne. Plenty of chefs will be taking this high-end ingredient to soaring new heights, working it into everything from cocktails to soul-warming mushroom risottos.
Forget about those winter blues and get set for truffle-centric banquets, wine-matched feasts and of course, the return of Truffle Melbourne's free festival weekend, descending on Queen Victoria Market on June 22 and 23. The luxury fungus is here for a good time, but not a long time – here's our pick of memorable truffle creations to get acquainted with this season.
TRUFFLE GNOCCHI, THE TRUFFLE TRUCK
Truffle Melbourne's roving Truffle Truck is setting up shop at the Queen Victoria Market on market days (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) all throughout winter, dishing up its latest truffle-infused menu to the city's fungus fiends. Proof that a truffle habit needn't cost you a bomb, this lineup is delightfully priced and packed with dishes that are easy to scoff on the move, in between browsing those market stalls. If you fancy easing into the concept, there's the truffle shuffle fries ($9), featuring hand-cut potato chips loaded with gruyere cheese and a generous sprinkle of truffle salt. Bolder still are bites like the truffle-infused scrambled eggs matched with truffle hash browns, and a decadent fresh mushroom gnocchi featuring truffle cream, parmesan and herbs ($12).
TRUFFLE DUMPLINGS, NEW SHANGHAI
This season, New Shanghai is getting well into the spirit of the truffle, offering a reimagined menu of Chinese favourites at both its Emporium and Chadstone outposts. A swag of the classics have been given their own truffle twist, including the black truffle xiao long bao ($12.9 for four), which boast dramatic jet black dumpling wrappers. These little beauties have that same soup dumpling taste you know and love, only elevated with a distinct truffle flavour.
Other limited-edition hits include a truffle and mushroom wonton soup ($14.9), black truffle pot stickers ($16.9 for five) and truffle-infused fried rice ($19.9). We reckon you should aim for truffle overload and order the lot. New Shanghai Chadstone is dishing up the whole menu, while the Emporium store has the dumplings and the fried rice — catch them now until the end of truffle season.
TRUFFLE FIG COCKTAIL, STOKEHOUSE
It turns out chefs aren't the only ones getting crafty with truffles this season. Swing by St Kilda's Stokehouse from June 14 to 20 and you'll also see what happens when the famed fungus is given the bartender treatment. This beachside venue is whipping up a signature truffle cocktail for its annual truffle dinner on Thursday, June 13, though the limited-edition sip will also be sticking around on the drinks list for the following week. Dubbed the Truffle Fig, it's a heady blend of fig gin, Melbourne-made aperitif Forager 1, mezcal and lemon, spiked with a dash of truffle. Indulge in one for $20 from the bar.
TRUFFLE AND FOIS GRAS GELATO, GELATO MESSINA HQ
July is the perfect time to get acquainted with Gelato Messina's Creative Department in Windsor— the ever-innovative gelato masters are adding truffles to all of their dishes for a ten-day series of eight-course gelato degustation dinners. Head chef Remi Talbot has sourced elite perigord black truffles from NSW's Parkesbourne Produce farm, which boasts a similar climate and primo truffle-growing conditions as Frances's Perigord region.
The Messina menu slips cleverly from savoury to sweet, featuring the likes of brioche and foie gras gelato with black truffle sauce; pistachio and black truffle gelato with matcha and white chocolate fudge; and grilled kumquat sorbet with koji cream, wattleseed and black truffle. An equally creative non-alcoholic drink is matched to each dish, with sips including a lemon myrtle and macadamia bubble tea, and a sparkling fusion of pineapple, white soy and shiitake.
The degustation will only be available in Melbourne from July 18–27 and tickets are $160 per person. These dinners are known to sell out remarkably quickly — with only eight seats per night — so grab yours here.
TRUFFLE RISOTTO, TIPO OO
Tipo 00 might be best loved for its stand-out pasta dishes, but it's also doing justice to another Italian classic, the humble, yet hard-to-nail risotto. And come winter, the return of the kitchen's long-running favourite truffle risotto is always cause for celebration among Melbourne's food scene. This one's crafted using Feron Vialone nano rice and a rich, house-made mushroom stock made from field mushrooms that have been dried for 24 hours to intensify the flavour. The base is finished with lashings of butter and parmesan cheese, and elevated with a healthy hit of fresh truffle. It's earthy, indulgent and only around for a hot minute – get in quick if you want to see what all the fuss is about.
TRUFFLE CHICKEN, PHILIPPE
True to form, CBD restaurant Philippe is giving this season's truffles a chic French twist, with the return of its ever-popular truffle chicken. Starring truffles from Manjimup in Western Australia, as well as locally sourced varieties once they've arrived, it's a share-friendly dish designed for two, plated up across two sophisticated courses. First up, tender chicken breast is teamed with a creamy, truffle-infused mashed potato, then the whole leg is served with seasonal vegetables and a rich truffle jus. Both courses are finished with extra shavings of fresh truffle for good measure. It's a luxury two-person feast that'll set you back $130 for the whole chook – now that's date night, done right. It's recommended you order 24-hours in advance.