Delicious Magazine

Matt Preston

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La Petanque,this is a top contender for best food on the Peninsula. Chef Simon Buckley’s menu expertly walks the tightrope between being bold and straightforward, as shown in the local Black Angus. sirloin, doused in a bearnaise sauce that’s heady with tarragon, or a butterfly-light dessert of poached rhubarb, panna cotta, rosewater jelly with the quirky but very effective presence of a beetroot sorbet. A warm salad dressed with edible flower petals, herbs and a duck egg is equally as pretty – and pretty delicious, too. Owner Philippe Marquet runs the floor with Gallic charm and offers a tome-like wine list that’s worth lingering over. ______________________________________________________________

Good Food

Larissa Dubecki, Jan 2013.

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Gourmet Traveller Review, 2013

Vines, gumtrees, pines, an olive grove, even an area to play boules: such is the vista from La Pétanque's airy, all-timber barn-like dining room. This pleasant spot is one of the few Mornington Peninsula restaurants not actually affiliated with a winery, but rest assured the list is sharp, whether it's showcasing local wines or French. A glass of Meursault turns out to be just the right white, for instance, for both the house-cured ocean trout sprinkled with dill, and blue swimmer crab meat wrapped in a cylinder of refreshing cucumber slices. It's pinot noir, meanwhile, that complements a spicy, tangy tartare cut from a Hopkins River sirloin and topped with the yolk of a quail's egg, or, better still, a star anise-charged duck breast with nettle purée and hazelnut butter. For dessert, local figs with Earl Grey ice-cream and creamy frangipane biscuit warrants a glass of botrytis riesling. ______________________________________________________________

Delicious Magazine, Posted by Matt Preston, February 2011

This is a top contender for best food on the Peninsula. Chef Simon Buckley’s menu expertly walks the tightrope between being bold and straightforward, as shown in the local Black Angus sirloin, doused in a bearnaise sauce that’s heady with tarragon, or a butterfly-light dessert of poached rhubarb, panna cotta, rosewater jelly with the quirky but very effective presence of a beetroot sorbet. A warm salad dressed with edible flower petals, herbs and a duck egg is equally as pretty – and pretty delicious, too. Owner Philippe Marquet runs the floor with Gallic charm and offers a tome-like wine list that’s worth lingering over. 1208 Mornington-Flinders Rd, Red Hill, (03) 5931 0155. ______________________________________________________________

On The Boule

Escape the tourist buses and the cellar door up-sells at this intimate but buzzing spot with its modern take on provincial French food, expertly rendered by chef Simon Buckley. In a charmingly rustic and recently renovated former barn, generously spaced tables are decked in crisp linen and owner Philippe Marquet chats to diners. A crown of blue fin tuna nicoise with pert green beans and scallops of saffron potato is accented with anchovies and green olive tapenade. Many dishes bend with the seasons - King George Whiting might come crisp-skinned on green and white asparagus with peas and beurre blanc, the flavours offset by fresh thyme. Other dishes are popular fixtures - such as breast of soft-skinned free-range duck served with braised fennel and a sweet star anise jus made from Shoreham honey. Each dish is matched with a wine for those interested. For dessert, a lush, soft-centred fondant-like Valrhona chocolate 'biscuit' with house-made vanilla icecream is worth the possible 20 minute wait. ______________________________________________________________

On The Boule

The Age Epicure. John Lethlean. November 6, 2006.

We described La Pétanque - in Main Ridge - as a "promising newcomer" in this year's Age Good Food Guide and recent developments suggest the potential is about to be more fully realised. With the closure of Marinda Park subsequent to its recent sale chef Simon Buckley has come over to join La Pétanque Simon is steeped in provincial French culinary tradition; our spies report a very satisfying tapenade beurre blanc with snapper fillet and a red pepper/saffron rouille "with really good grilled scallops."

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Lunch at La Pétanque, Spot On

The Age Sunday. Tricia Welsch. Here at La Pétanque, there is a dusty piste and a few sets of well-weathered boules at the ready — and even a Frenchman at the helm. But that's as far as the slow country images go in this tres smart, albeit relaxed, restaurant that serves modern cuisine from the south of France. Everything in this European-style barn is spot-on, with great attention to detail. Tall-stemmed glasses gleam on crisp, white table linen. Attentive apron-clad wait-staff don't miss a beat as they serve the intimate group of some 40 diners inside and a sprinkling outside seated under market umbrellas. So good is this escape to France that the owner, Philippe Marquet, is planning to close his stable doors in July to extend the dining space indoors, add an external deck and move the piste under the trees for those who like to toss a few boules between courses. The wine list has 600 labels but a Miceli Iolanda pinot grigio ($9 a glass, $36 a bottle) takes our fancy while we peruse the menu.

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