Today we were lucky enough to be invited to Dovetails Restaurant in Ipswich to enjoy a leisurely lunch. We wouldn't normally head west just for lunch, but from our place in Shailer Park the drive went quickly and it felt refreshing to be out of town.
We got easy street parking (!!) and wandered into a beautiful Heritage-listed precinct. The restaurant has a great feel - a newly fitted out interior in a building with great history. Our friendly waitress told us the building was originally a woodworking school and dates back a hundred years.
We were seated on a sheltered verandah alongside a full length of bifold windows. The weather today was rainy and cool; we loved feeling the breeze come in on us as we dined. D and I noted several times how attentive the service was, not to just our table but to all tables.
Wines were ordered and we noted how nice the wine list was - a few well known favourites and a few unknown entities. I ordered a glass of Cloudy Bay Sauv and D ordered a prosecco. Both were delivered promptly and in the most gorgeous glasses. Suddenly, it felt like a special occasion!
The lunch menu is quite pared back from the dinner menu, but there were at least two or three dishes we were struggling to choose between. A half dozen oysters Kilpatrick and the garlic and cheese baguette were ordered as entrees and WOWEE were the oysters fantastic. I mentioned on Instagram that we are generally 'oysters natural' folk, but wanted to see if the chef could do Kilpatrick in a way that didn't overpower the inherent characteristics of the oysters.
Smoky, tender, not overcooked - I could've had a dozen of these and called it a day. The baguette on the other hand was a nice filling starter, but nothing out of the box. There was a bruschetta on the menu and I felt afterward that we might have enjoyed that more.
Our mains of steak frites and prawn and crab ravioli came out soon after we had finished our entrees and we were impressed with both dishes. The steak frites just had the edge on the ravioli: the frites were incredible, the steak moderately sized and perfectly cooked with loads of flavour. It was a perfect dish and I would order it without hesitation on future visits. The prawn and crab ravioli was lovely too: very generously portioned, creamy and comforting. I'm a salt fiend so requested some as I felt the dish could've used a dash more seasoning. If you love creamy pastas, fresh seafood and lots of it, this is the dish for you. Both mains were very well priced at $26.
We enjoyed two glasses of Cape Mentelle with our mains - I the sem/sauv and D had a merlot. Both gorgeous. Would Cape Mentelle please invite us over to WA and bathe us in wine please?!?!
I pride myself on being an opportunistic eater, but I was really quite full by this stage! D convinced me it was our moral imperative to have dessert, we argy bargied over whether we could just share a dessert, but couldn't compromise. We ordered an Eton Mess for him and the Flourless Chocolate cake for me. Both came out promptly, looking beautiful. Extra points to the wait staff who brought out our long blacks straight after bringing our dessert, as requested. I've often found restaurants don't seem to like serving coffee and dessert at the same time, even when I request it! Personally, I love a strong black coffee to complement a sweet dessert. Having it afterward somewhat defeats the purpose from my point of view! Horses for courses.
The Eton Mess was served deconstructed and was generous in its portion - a recurring theme throughout our lunch! The meringues were crunchy and chewy, the passionfruit curd was tangy and the fruit was lush. Personally I enjoy an Eton Mess 'constructed', as it allows for that great mouthfeel of enjoying all the elements at once. If it wasn't so generous it would've risked seeming like a lot of condiments of a dessert without an actual star element. I'm also fairly biased as I'm geared towards old school desserts and hold a quiet disdain for deconstructed fluff. In saying that, we had no reason to be disappointed as all the elements were delicious and there was lots of it! D thoroughly enjoyed the dessert. I felt I won the dessert round though: the flourless chocolate cake was everything it ought to have been: rich, lush and beautifully complemented with quenelles of ice cream, honeycomb and fresh fruits. I'd happily recommended it to any chocolate fiend.
We finished up very satisfied, over-full and wishing there was a convenient place to nap directly afterward!
Rarely have we enjoyed a Sunday lunch as much as we enjoyed our lunch today and we're looking forward to returning with friends! I'd be very keen at the prospect of dinner as the menu looks even more fabulous than the condensed lunch menu.
So, if you're an Ipswich local or a Brisbanite looking to pop out of town for lunch or dinner, try Dovetails. You won't be disappointed!