A warmly lit interior greeted us on Friday night as we arrived at The Academy Kitchen & Bar, highly anticipating their new Autumn menu. We were seated by our lovely waitress Krissy and informed that owner/chef extraordinaire Will Manning would be cooking us up a feast. It’s an instantly comforting feeling being part of the lively atmosphere at this popular Richmond hot spot, and having Manning at the helm was exciting.
Our starter arrived and our mouths began to water when we viewed our bowl of succulent croquettes ($8). Filled with macaroni and gorgonzola these balls of deliciousness literally melted in our mouths. The cheese oozed out after a satisfying crunch, and the macaroni added to the creamy texture.
For entrees our eyes lit up as we were presented with Salmon Terrine ($16) with dill crème fraiche, saffron aioli, caperberries and sorrel; and Potato Gnocchi ($17) with butternut pumpkin sauce, pickled shimeji and crispy onion rings. The salmon was fresh, cooked to perfection, and was combined with a beautiful accompaniment of flavours. If you love your seafood, this is the dish for you! I felt slight trepidation when the gnocchi arrived, as I’m extremely picky when it comes to my pastas, especially gnocchi, but thankfully this dish was made up of soft, silky pillows full of flavour; enough to let me breath a sigh of contented relief. The crispy onion rings were a great contrast texture wise, and the butternut pumpkin sauce was just divine. I could easily have eaten seconds.
By the time our mains arrived we had been lulled into a small food coma, however the inviting aroma reawakened our appetites. We were presented with Squid ink Tagliatelle ($26) with soft shell crab, chilli, fennel and lemon; and Goats cheese Tortellini ($25) with ratatouille and tomato bubbles. The pasta is hand made and tastes absolutely exquisite. The presentation of the Squid ink tagliatelle was breathtaking, and the tomato bubbles on the tortellini were actually quite exciting! I love the use of fresh herbs in so many of the dishes, and the fact that risks are taken when it comes to flavour combinations.
Desert! My absolute favourite part of the evening. Orange panna cotta ($13) with basil granita and liquorice; and Tiramisundae ($13) with coffee mascarpone, marsala soaked sponge and chocolate sorbet were our dishes of choice, and we were definitely not disappointed! The panna cotta was covered with fresh herbs that balanced the sweetness with this beautiful freshness, and the basil granita was the perfect palette cleanser. Juxtaposed to this was the rich and creamy tiramisundae, dripping with decadence. The chocolate sorbet was the standout of this dish with a beautiful consistency.
I love the modern edge to this menu, and the fact that so much thought and creativity has gone into each dish. It has this beautiful upmarket home-cooking feel to it that I just love. The pastas were all so lovingly hand made, and the flavour combinations were thought out and synchronised perfectly. A beautifully crafted Autumn Menu and another reason to revisit one of Richmond’s most essential casual kitchens.
Academy Kitchen & Bar
Address: 318 Bridge Rd, Richmond
Contact: (03) 9427 8231
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Friday 7am-11pm; Sat-Sun 7am-11pm