An inviting mise-en-scene welcomes guests to the warm, European influenced Bistro Dom. Once a renowned French inspired eatery, Bistro Dom is now home to some hearty yet delicate flavours of Spain, thanks to acclaimed Chef Luke Southwood, who worked in Barcelona in the 1980s. Luke brings his technical skill, knowledge, passion and love of cultural food to each dish he creates.
Upon arrival, I was immersed in the intimate and warm atmosphere of a rustic 1890’s exposed stone wall with amber pendant lighting illuminating and giving the space a unique and aesthetic appeal that’s reminiscent of a little eatery in Europe. Bistro Dom’s recent makeover brings about a scene from a cosy tavern in a Spanish village or an off street bistro tucked away in Barcelona, with the dining area boasting a communal flair and a vertical table stretching to the end of the room. Adjoining benches and wooden seats opposite one another encourage a shared dining experience or close interaction. On first glance, Bistro Dom is the perfect choice for a romantic evening, anniversary, birthday, special event and soiree with friends, family and loved ones.
Guests were spoilt with a delicious French champagne ‘Laurent Perrier’ upon entering the quaint space of Bistro Dom. Adorned with illustrative art works of diverse mediums, styles and techniques ranging from abstract pieces, watercolour skulls, geometric or expressionist colour enriched compositions that strikingly contrast against the bistro walls to create an almost eclectic funky vibe.
As we made our way to our designated seats, customized menus welcomed each guest to an indulgent 5 course degustation menu that included other tasty dishes in between. Special guest speaker The Press Gallery PR formally introduced head chef Luke Southwood, a past contestant of Masterchef the Professionals. Luke’s passion was evident from the get go, with an immense knowledge of ingredients and cooking methods that strive to deliver a culturally inspired experience that promotes sustainable produce and freshly made cuisine, from scratch. His interpretation of food as medicine was inspiring and admirable. Luke strives to cater to diverse dietary requirements through the healing and medicinal properties of his implemented ingredients, particularly the feature of the evening – kefir. This magical element is a probiotic and is similar to Greek Yoghurt, as it helps line the stomach through the overnight fermentation that yields a sour and potent flavour. Not only is kefir good for the tummy, but it’s also great for relaxing the body and mind, as it contains Tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid needed for the creation of serotonin in the body.
An appetizing sweet scented sour dough infused with honey and kefir suited with a salted butter arrived at our table; a perfect winter comfort food that can do no wrong. Getting our appetites going, the next two dishes comprised delicate yet crumbly and light textured parmesan macarons, paired with the best selection of naturally ripened Kalamata olives. The cheesy infused macarons possessed a spicy hint that tied well into the remaining courses of the evening. A starter of Coffin Bay freshly shucked oysters served with wasabi vinaigrette, pickled cucumber and bright orange fish roe accompanied the macarons, which allowed guests to enjoy a variety of intriguing flavours that sparked conversation around the table. Although primarily Spanish influenced, Luke tends to incorporate many cultural identities to his dishes including Italian, French and Japanese. His passion for cultural cuisine is connected to each plate of food, transporting us to another place in the world with each bite.
The first dish from the menu was the Sesame seared tuna that was delicately served in a rustic terracotta style plate, matched with a tangy sweetcorn and ginger puree, and pickled carrot with chive oil. Soft, tender and moist, the tuna was subtle in flavour yet the puree was robust and had a fresh kick that highlighted the tuna’s smoky flavour. A sprinkle of Himalayan black salt added another dimension to the dish, giving it an almost charcoal musky taste that worked immensely well with the relief of the ginger. Served with a smooth 2015 Gemtree ‘Moonstone’ Savagnin from McLaren Vale, South Australia, that was gentle on the palette to kick off the evening.
Onto my favourite dish on the menu, the SA Gulf Prawns with white gazpacho, muscatel grapes, jamon and paprika salt were presented beautifully with a splash of colour to contrast the white Gazpacho base. This dish is close to Luke’s heart and as we tasted each component Luke elaborated on his journey and connection to this remarkable plate of food that had me dipping pieces of crusty bread to soak up every last remnant of garlicky Gazpacho. The prawns were juicy and cooked perfectly amidst pieces of salty Jamon and fine sweet grapes. This dish represented flavour through the suggested sweetness, saltiness and freshness as well as the dairy-free Gazpacho that was made from ground almonds to represent a creamy textured base that looked stunning against the orange and green hues. Not only a scrumptious combination to please anyone’s tastebuds, but also an ideal dish for any lactose sensitive person. The wine to suit was a 2015 Rusden Chenin Blanc from the Barossa Valley, South Australia.
A delectable and mouth-watering pork cheek arrived as our third course, set upon a bed of spicy tomato haricot beans and chorizo. Soft enough to melt in your mouth, the pork cheek had me wanting more. Owner of Bistro Dom Marcus Carter spoke of this hearty winter dish that happens to be his favourite on the menu. The deep red colours of the sauce create a smoky warm feel that’s perfect for these cold and rainy winter nights. Alongside the spicy beans, was a garnish of apple and fennel that provided a touch of relief to the intensity of it all, allowing us to experience a range of textures; succulent pork, smooth beans, crunchy chorizo pieces and strands of freshness. This dish was perfectly suited with a toasty glass of red; Fox Gordon “The Dark Prince” Nero D’Avolo.
Last of the savoury courses was the Shawarma lamb shoulder wrapped in a layer of zucchini and held upright on a bed of creamy puree with dollops of cardamom infused kefir, roasted and fondant turnip to create another winter friendly comfort food utilising turnip in different ways. Packed with loads of flavour, this dish conveyed technique, with an array of texture adding another dimension to this last remaining savoury course. The puree was smooth and gentle, yet the roasted parsnip pieces were like little crunchy surprises. I could’ve devoured an entire bowl of those crispy gems. Cooked overnight at 70 degrees to retain moisture and flavour, the Lamb was super tender as strands of meat pulled apart with ease. A 2013 Hewiston “Miss Harry” Grenache, Mourvedre, Shiraz, Cinsaulta and Carignan was the perfect drop alongside this meal.
To follow,we were introduced to a mystifying pre-dessert that was made from kefir and infused with dill; a very tangy sorbet style component to get our palettes cleansed before indulging in a decadent dessert. Alternate placings of butter-poached pear with nougatine pastry and cocoa sorbet or a steamed ginger pudding with ‘Crema Catalina’ anglaise and rhubarb compote matched with a warm Pedro Ximinez Valdespino from Spain arrived at the scene. The buttery poached pear instigated a sense of cosiness, also reminiscent of a brandy snap with the crispy nougatine pastry. Not usually a chocolate fan, the cool cocoa sorbet complimented the warm butter-poached pear and didn’t overpower the gentle flavours of the dessert.
After devouring approximately seven courses, we were treated to yet another dessert platter of white chocolate balls, dehydrated apple slices filled with cocoa mouse and house made ‘jubes’ with scattered fresh raspberries. This delightful array of fruitiness was a great way to close the evening on a content note. Full and ready for bed, Bistro Dom surpassed all expectations with a yearning to return for yet another indulgent feast.