I had heard about this restaurant from friends who live out that way, and with one of those friends celebrating her birthday we headed out. Wow….what a gem in Wattle Grove – it was a complete, and welcome, surprise.
In a small shopping centre around the corner from Aldi, Quills has a lovely ambience – a large, airy dining space – with attractive booths along one wall where we ensconced ourselves, tables and chairs scattered about, including an al fresco area out front, and an eye-catching bar. Friendly, welcoming waiters add to the charm.
The wine list while small is well curated – a selection of local wines being, for me, a highlight. During the evening we had a bottle of Hainault rosé and another of their Cabernet Sauvignon.
Made from Pinot Noir the 2016 Rosé has a gently fragrant bouquet of red cherries while the smooth, dry palate has notes of strawberries, cherries and a hint of earthiness.
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, with 10% Merlot, from Bickley Valley shows blackcurrant and mulberry aromas, a lilting note of eucalyptus, while the full bodied palate shows flavours of plums, blackcurrants and minty spice.
Excellent wines, but it was the food that shone brightly.
The menu is made of Scratchings – very small share dishes – Small Plates, Full Rations, along with Sides and Desserts. The Scratchings delivered us white anchovies – salty, fresh tasting – pickled Guindilla chilli – sharp vinegary flavours overlaid with a dash of chilli heat – and grilled chorizo with lemon – tender and spicy –a squeeze of lemon freshening up palate for that to come.
Two chunky fillets of salmon, pan roasted resulting in crispy skin over tender salty flesh, sat alongside a couple of classic fishcakes – crumbed with a filling of fish and potato; grilled zucchini salad and a scatter of roasted cherry tomatoes – this was beautifully presented dish and the flavour and textural combinations spot on.
Then slow cooked brisket – three meltingly tender portions of smoky barbequed brisket, sat on a bed of garlicky mushrooms, a drizzle of green dressing, and slices of crisped bread to mop up the juices. A generous serve and plate lickable.
Crumbed baby whiting fillets – six good sized crumbed fillets, juicy and tender, were served on a bright green mash of peas and lemon, along with crisply fried chats and butter sauce adding a creamy and velvety note. Another sizeable serving, and hit all of the markers.
The final of our mains, roast confit pork belly – a large wedge of succulent pork belly – came with a pork croquette sitting in a puddle of puréed carrot, fresh crunchy fennel, orange and coriander salad and a couple of curls of crackling. This one added to the lustre of the night.
Our accompanying chopped salad – green leaves, tomato, red onion, red capsicum, crumbled feta sat perfectly with the meals.
Well although somewhat replete we felt at least one dessert was warranted – and the class of the place and skill of the kitchen was replicated here as well. Chocolate mousse served with caramelized popcorn, caramel shards and crisp crunchy tuille – again great look on the plate and wonderful array of flavours and textural contrast.
Quills surprised and delighted us – great atmosphere and décor, friendly and professional waiters, a skilled chef turning out excellent food, well put together wine list – a wonderful evening and somewhere to return to soon….you should get along as well. It is really a neighbourhood gem.