At long last we made it to lunch at Ten Minutes by Tractor on the Mornington Peninsula. It was divine.
We made reservations as a treat for my mother-in-law, who was in town visiting from Texas. Unfortunately, we ruined her for any other fine dining.
Reservations were vital. On a number of occasions we had stopped by Ten Minutes by Tractor to see if there were any last minute cancellations that would allow us to have lunch. Each time, we were rebuffed. Upon actually entering the hallowed ground for the first time, the reason quickly became apparent. The dining room seats 50 in a pinch and the tables did not appear to turn during the meal service. In short, call early.
For our lunch, we opted for the five course degustation menu (A$109) with matched domestic wines (A$62).
Our meal started with bread, butter and olive oil. The bread was fresh, moist and with just the right amount of saltiness. The butter was a whipped and a creamy perfection. And the olive oil, which was served in a petrie dish and is sourced from the vineyard, was fresh with a robust olive taste.
I was so taken with the olive oil, known as “Tractor Oil” at the restaurant, that I purchased a bottle for home.
Bread and Butter
Pink Salt and Olive Oil
We were then warmed up with a couple of amouse bouches. One was red quinoa with Main Ridge Cashmere, which is a slightly sweet curd. The other was a snapper balantine with lime gel sitting on top of an olive crisp. Personally, I was partial to the red quinoa.
Red Quinoa and Main Ridge Cashmere
The first course was a deconstructed beet salad with herb panacotta, freekah, more Main Ridge Cashmere and an apple and walnut vinaigrette. It was the dish favorite of the table—a surprise given that none of us are particularly fond of beets in general. The dish featured three types of beet and the flavor combination in every bite was perfection. We were all taken by the herb panacotta, which was a decadent but of flavor and virtually unrecognizable. It was like velvet on the tongue with a savoury taste that was not overwhelming herb like.
Next up was crispy skinned snapper topped with squid and accompanied by compressed cucumber and tomatoes. I have been loving squid lately, so it was nice to have it accompany a meaty dish. The “compressed cucumber” was by my estimates a light pickle. But the best part was the fluffy puree on which the snapper/squid tower was placed. I have no idea what it was, but it was frothy and had a light cream taste. A splash of squid ink on the side gave the dish panache.
We then headed into the hearty meats with a bit of glazed quail breast accompanied by onion tapioca and fig. What was distinctive about this dish was the brown blob you see on the side. It was like a cross peanut butter and halva. Though it was bit dry to the tongue, when mixed with the tapioca and succulent quail it was the perfect flavor profile.
One of my favorites of the lunch was the crusted lamb rump with baby fennel, confit tomatoes and olives. My favorite lamb preparation is rubbed with mustard, and that mustard taste was apparent in this dish.
At this point, I knew my lunch would be ending soon and I was feeling a bit nostalgic already. A palate cleanser of rhubarb sorbet with yogurt espume was served. Usually, when I have seen sorbet palate cleansers I have been limited to a spoon. Here, a generous cup was offered up.
We were given a choice of three desserts. We all opted for the Michel Cluizel chocolate with rosemary infused cherry compote, sesame tuile and brioche ice cream. I am actually not much of a chocolate person. My favorite part of this dish was the fact that the chocolate wasn’t too dark. Rather it was a silky, milky mouse in a bar.
A few other things worth noting:
- Eating at Ten Minutes by Tractor is an event. This post was written with the help of a custom menu that the staff kindly gave each of us at the end of our meal.
- If you have one wine from Ten Minutes by Tractor, go with the cool climate Pinot Noir.
- Our final dish was served with a 30 year old Pedro Ximenez from Dandelion Vineyards (Legacy of the Barossa). Raisins and toffee with a strong kick. Thank you!
- The name “Ten Minutes by Tractor” comes from the fact that the estate was originally comprised of three separate tracts of land—each ten minutes by tractor from each other.
Ten Minutes by Tractor
1333 Mornington Flinders Road
Main Ridge, Victoria 3928
+61 3 5989 6080