Baume offers birthday bliss
BY ROS BALDWIN
August is birthday month in my family. I secretly look forward to it, dread it and will it to be over from the first day till the last. Not just because numerous family relatives have birthdays, but three of my four children were born in August and so was I! (I know what you’re thinking, and yes, Christmas holidays are fun…)
There is constant wrapping paper in the recycling bin, balloons that never seem to pop in all corners of the house and lollies that can be consumed without regret because it’s ‘birthday month’. Not to mention birthday dinners and birthday parties. Luckily, I’m at the age where big birthday parties are not high on my to-do list, but it is quite refreshing turning 30 every year. No issues here! An evening of family, nice wine and good food is all I wish for.
This year my twins turned 16, it was a Sunday, and a night out was on the cards. There are now quite a few venues to choose from that are open on a Sunday evening in Pokolbin, which is fantastic. I booked Baume at Ben Ean and was really pleased that I did.
Housed within the old Lindeman’s Estate, Baume oozes rustic, casual charm with its inviting unclothed large wooden tables, exposed timber beams and busy open kitchen.
We checked in with the GuestHQ app with the help of very delightful staff, then were taken to our table. A lot of tables were already full which is always a great sign – but we felt covid safe with ample room for social distancing between tables.
Kids were settled with a drink and a nice glass of LWC Barbera ($12 for a 150ml glass, or $48 for a bottle) was at my fingertips, so we perused the quite extensive menu. It comprised a list of well-priced, handmade topped flatbreads, starters and main courses designed to share, along with familiar favourites of pasta, pizza and salads. Enough choice for even my most fussy smallest offspring. No wonder the restaurant was buzzing with similar local family groups and tourists alike.
We ended up ordering some flat bread ($12) and a few starters ($24) to share, followed by a nice selection of sides ($14), the pork belly ($46), as recommended by the staff, and a pizza ($36) for main course. Oh, my goodness – I could have happily stopped after the starters! The fresh local whiting fillets and crispy calamari were so deliciously moorish. The flatbread was topped with mushrooms, feta and fresh thyme and look so inviting, just like a petite pizza. You know you’ve hit the jackpot when the table goes silent and everyone is happily devouring the food.
But then main course came out. Four large pieces of perfectly cooked pork belly with the crispiest of skin, soaking in rich beef jus and topped with pea shoots. Then there was the generous salad of well-dressed classic rocket, nashi pear, parmesan and pine nuts. Wedges of hot honey roasted pumpkin with toasted almonds and beans, and a truly enormous pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil. And just as they promised, you could see our table was full of quite a large selection of quality local produce. Between the six of us we sure did justice to that course as well, don’t you worry.
Baume has such a lovely casual vibe to it. The staff were helpful, friendly and efficient. Tonight, there was a mix of rowdy groups enjoying their evening, couples having a quiet night and birthday gatherings. Everyone was having a great time. But a real point of interest to someone like me, was the open kitchen. I just love to watch the inner workings of a well-oiled, staffed up, professional kitchen in action and this was no disappointment. It just adds that extra layer of interest and intrigue. Maybe my inner crazy, vivid imagination had me waiting for someone to drop a pan of burning hot tomato sauce on the floor with very loud and messy consequences. Or the head chef to go off at one of his chefs, Gordon Ramsay style. Nothing like that did happen, of course.
You may have picked up that we were pretty satisfied after main course, but when dessert menus were offered, it was incredible to witness next level enthusiasm from the birthday kids. Two servings of child friendly tiramisu were a perfect end to a fabulous evening for kids and grownups.
Thank you, Baume, for a great casual dining experience for the whole family. It eased me into the beginning of ‘birthday month’ with a newfound calm. Next up – a nineteenth birthday, a Sydney trip to celebrate with family, then the recurring thirtieth that will involve some wine. September, we detox, but till then I’m embracing ‘birthday month’ with another bit of cake and another glass of red.