The Q Train may have been up and running for only a short time, but it will fast become another feather in the Bellarine’s cap. Starting at Drysdale, and continuing through to Queenscliff, then back to Drysdale over a three hour dining journey, this is the perfect “something special” night, and one you won’t forget.
I was fortunate enough to undertake this fine dining experience with my wife last Thursday, and for me, it was unlike any experience I have had before. Not just because it’s the only travelling fine dining experience you will have on a train in Australia, but also because the food was truly unique.
Being greeted at the train and welcomed by the bright lights and the camera flash on the red carpet was a swish start to the journey, followed by an escort to our table. I didn’t really know what to expect as I am a bit unadventurous when it comes to food – especially with six courses of dishes I’m generally not inclined to eat.
The house-made Ricotta was the first time I’ve had a steamed quail egg, but it was the Wattle Grove Lucerne honey which cut through the rest of the flavours that was quite amazing. Following that was the Sage Farm Salted Beef. One of the highlights. While this is not how I would usually eat a steak, it was delicious! I could not do this at home on the Weber, I assure you (and I like to think I can do a lot on it!). Wasabi Aioli, Pear and Sesame Oil, among other ingredients, really made this a unique dish that I wouldn’t expect to come across any time soon.
A quick stop at a couple of the old stations for a stretch and look around was a nice addition, and by the time the forth meal – a perfectly cooked Pork Belly/Shoulder with Crackle (and soy caramel, mmmm, soy caramel – was done, we were at Queenscliff.
Not long after we began our return journey, we stopped and looked over Swan Bay at sunset. A sophisticated, but warm, comfortable and relaxing atmosphere was at its peak at this point. Some well-chosen table lamps only accentuated that feeling. There was laughter aplenty, and many smiles on board. Everyone appeared to be enjoying themselves.
Lamb is not one of my favourite meats, but the Sage Farm Braised Lamb Shoulder was beautiful. Served alongside a cutlet soaking up the Chimichurri and Red Pepper Puree, I saw lamb in a new light. By this point, I was well fed, but like any smart person, there was still enough space left to fit in the Wattle Grove Honey and Chocolate Parfait. Accompanied with Candied Citrus Zest, and Orange Blossom Honey Curd, this was absolutely divine!
Before we knew it, three hours had gone by and it was a short while before our journey had finished. An extensive list of wines, beers and ciders are available and along with the produce, which for the most part is locally sourced. Spirit drinkers are catered to, and for the more adventurous, the Cocktail and Mocktail list looked rather tempting, to the point I had a delicious Bellarine Breeze Mocktail. The Free Trade Diva Coffee got the tick of approval from my wife, which as we all know is an important thing to many people in this day and age. There is also a disco carriage for those wanting to party, and pregnant women and vegetarians are catered to, and in a sign of the times, the whole menu is Gluten Free.
Whether a special night out with that someone special, a social outing, or celebrating an occasion, The Q Train is a perfect fit. Operating Thursday through to Saturday every week, this is the perfect excuse to treat yourself and experience something different.
Written by Glenn Lynch