Homestead Brewery

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Homestead Brewery
Mandoon Estate
10 Harris Road, Caversham
Ph: (08) 6279 0500

Naked Meat

If you have read my barbeque story in this issue, I might seem an unlikely choice to review plant-based food. Yet, here I am, nervously waiting at Mandoon Estate’s Homestead Brewery for what could potentially be a food-reviewing dilemma.

A burger and plate of bolognaise sit before me in a matter of moments, taunting me to taste their plant-based goodness. They look perfectly normal, nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, they look pretty delicious and if I didn’t know any better, I would think they contained meat instead of Love Buds soy protein. In a genius stroke, Mandoon’s Executive Chef and Venue Manager Michael Hartnell seamlessly integrated both plant-based dishes into Homestead Brewery’s menu and shares, “I was initially surprised at how many orders a week we get in the restaurant for the burger, with some patrons just curious to try it.”

If you didn’t read the descriptions closely, you might be none the wiser. The handmade Cassarecce Pasta with plant-based bolognaise and vegan cheese sits alongside the Wagyu Rump Steak. Under the burger section, the Plant Based Burger is a little more conspicuous and served with a plant-based burger patty with cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickle and tomato relish on a standard sesame seed bun, which you could take further with a gluten-free bun.

I begin with the burger. Despite its height, it’s incredibly light and I experience none of the heaviness I often feel after eating red meat. It’s everything a wholesome burger should be – juicy, flavoursome and combined with the salad, there is just the right amount of crispy tenderness.

There’s no aftertaste, either. Matthew Brockliss from Love Buds, is proud of the company’s transparency, which forms part of All G Foods, a start-up in Melbourne nationally distributing meatless beef, lamb, chicken and pork products. “Anyone can go to the website and see for themselves; we’re completely transparent. It’s all natural, containing soy protein, water, oil, natural flavouring, sugar and thickener.”

I move on to the pasta, and being of Italian heritage, I take my pasta seriously. Remembering I’d just sampled a burger, I devoured this dish like no one was watching. The Cassarecce Pasta twisted into short twirls was the perfect vessel for the soy protein, cherry tomatoes, cheese and passata. Once again, the lightness of the dish was the only giveaway, soon dispelled by the richness of the flavours.

More than just a trend, particularly in open-minded Western Australia, plant-based foods are making more of a presence in supermarkets, specialty stores and on dozens of menus across the State. Calling all home cooks, IGA and Spudshed stock the playful Love Buds range, including the cheeky Don’t Be Chicken nuggets and Let’s Get Ballsy arancini served at Mandoon’s functions.

My overall verdict declares soy protein as the new comfort food and high in protein, and preservative-free, it’s even more comforting knowing that it’s healthy and reduces the chance of heart disease and diabetes. But you shouldn’t trust me entirely. A gorgeous day out in the Swan Valley could lull anyone into thinking everything that passes their lips is a culinary masterpiece. With a stand at Meatstock in Sydney in May 2023, even the experts agree that Love Buds is a tasty alternative to meat.

By Carmen Jenner


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