On a dark cold night, we were drawn to the glow of a red light perched atop a thick, heavy wooden door. We trekked down thirteen steps into a cozy basement, fitted out with comfy booths, wine bottles, candles and two vinyl record players in the far corner. Both the atmosphere and staff were warm and welcoming – like you had come home for dinner, as opposed to out for it.
|Behind the wooden door under the red light…|
Firstly, I’d like to thank Bright. Thank you soooo much for being so beautiful that you lured Roy Merrington and David Danks to your small town boundaries to settle in for a while. And next, thank you Thirteen Steps for creating a tight little wine bar that had us both smiling from ear to ear from the moment we sat down to the moment we shook hands to say our goodbyes. Okay, onto that tight little menu, too.
We started off by ordering a bottle of Feathertop Pinot Gris ($43/bottle); which was a nice local wine produced at Boynton’s Winery (which you pass on your way into Bright). After an appropriately chilled-out amount of time passed for us to get warm and comfy, our entrees arrived. I had the Haloumi Salad ($16) which was divine. Thinly seared haloumi sat atop soused onion, baby carrots, green beans, and walnuts, all tarted up with a lovely pomegranate dressing. I must have this salad again (and trust me, I did! You’ll read that later down the page).
|Tea Smoked Salmon|
Hubby Bear could not resist the temptation to try the Smoked Salmon ($27). Hot tea smoked salmon was settled atop cauliflower puree, crunchy green apple, tomato vinaigrette. The smoked flavour permeated through the cauliflower and the crunch of the apple was a great contrast to the softer elements. A definite thumbs up!
Our empty plates were courteously swept away, our glasses topped up, and we then sat back to relax to the blues and jazz tunes alternatively spinning out of those beautiful 12-inch vinyl records. We were quite contented by the time our mains arrived…
Hubby had the Scotch Fillet ($34), grilled to medium perfection, the grass fed scotch fillet was topped with a light cafe’ de Paris sauce and complimented with a gorgeous green cabbage & parmesan salad. Gorgeous I say because I was commanded to try it myself, and gorgeous it was. What a clever way to get a fresh, light & tasty crunch (the parmesan throughout it was delicious!) to a dish that can oftentimes be overly heavy because everyone always serves it with some form of potato. Bravo on this guys, two thumbs up!
There actually isn’t a vegetarian main on the menu (wink, nod, nudge to Roy and David…) so I had the Zucchini Fritters ($16.50) come out as my main. I was surprised when the plate was slid in front of me because they looked like Indian spinach pakoras! Despite their undercover appearance, they were moist, tasty and nicely accented with spiced yoghurt and cucumber feta. They were definitely more of an entree to share than a dish to have all to yourself. Having four of these suckers was a bit overwhelming, but I ate them. Happily.
|Beer Battered Chips|
Because Hubby Bear was a little afraid I wouldn’t get enough sustenance with only two entrees for my dinner, we ordered one of the generous sides: Beer Battered Chips ($9.50) which were yummy – cooked just right! We then finished our meal with a suggestion from our accommodating server Kieran, the Creme Caramel ($18) that was a naughty little cup of cream, sweet jellies, and a whole lotta caramel. Ahhhh…..
Yes, we loved all the elements of Thirteen Steps so much (it was that Holy Trio of Foodie Heaven I’ve mentioned before in my other blogs – great atmosphere, food and hosts) that we went back a second night a few days later! For the sake of brevity, I’ll just quickly re-cap the dishes from the second night:
Wifey Bear – Glass of Benjella Shiraz ($12.50/glass) – full and beautiful. Entree of Baby Beatroot Salad ($19) that sat atop goat’s curd, with playful twists fennel, and surprise olive & caramelised walnuts throughout. Delicious. Main was a double-serve of the Haloumi Salad.
Hubby Bear – Glass of Quattro ($14/glass), so good he had a second. He had the Haloumi Salad as his entree, then couldn’t skip the Scotch Fillet again, but this time with the harissa sauce.
We loved the Beer Battered Chips so much the first night we got them again.Then finished off the evening with the Donuts with Hot Chocolate Sauce ($13) which were light & cinnamon-y and well balanced with dark chocolate sauce.
|Donuts with Hot Chocolate Sauce|
Oh! Thirthreen Steps, why aren’t you in Melbourne? Oh yeah, that’s right. Because you’re in beautiful Bright. Stay put, we’ll be back. Thanks for two yummy & fun nights Roy, David, Kieran, Ezra and Tilly. Until next time, cheers!