Public Wine Shop Egg Mayonnaise

With oeuf mayonnaise, the devil is in the details.

The surprisingly simple classic French dish of hard-boiled eggs and mayonnaise is taken very seriously in its homeland; The New York Times Magazine recently published an article titled “The egg dish is so good they have a society in France to ‘safeguard’ it.”

In Melbourne, it is decidedly less important. But the version at the Public Wine Shop, a small but mighty new bar on St Georges Road in Fitzroy North, is a feat of simplicity that steals the show while staying more or less true to its roots.

Behind is Ali Currey-Voumard, one of the country’s most exciting young chefs, who made a national sensation as head chef of Tasmania’s acclaimed Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, a sustainability-focused restaurant and cooking school in New Norfolk.

His prowess is outshone only by his modesty. He’s upside down, order up for Currey-Voumard when bed sheet You visit on a Tuesday night. It’s a full house, and she works methodically, single-handedly, hunched over a double-plate induction stove in the back corner of the bar. It’s an unassuming open kitchen that belies the understated refinement of its largely French-leaning menu (it spent time in France under chef Harry Lester at Le Saint Eutrope).

This refinement is perhaps clearest in their silky-smooth, perfectly balanced, ooft-worthy oeuf mayonnaise. “They are basic flavors,” she says. “But it’s really about nailing down those basics.”

She says she tells diners unfamiliar with the French bistro staple, plainly, that, “It’s just eggs in mayonnaise… And once you say that, people tend not to need to know much more. They just get excited about the egg.”

To make it, boil Chooks in Rooke’s Eggs (from Cororooke in western Victoria) for five and a half minutes. Next comes the mayonnaise, which she says requires a lot of flavoring and fine-tuning to get the salt-to-vinegar ratio right. “You’re just dealing with an egg, which is obviously delicious, but can be bland if it doesn’t taste right.” The egg is then cut in half and drizzled with enough mayonnaise to make it disappear on the plate.

(Currey-Voumard was inspired by London celebrity chef Anna Tobias at her Bloomsbury restaurant Cafe Deco. “It’s so delicious,” she says.)

At a glance, it could be burrata. But a still stuck yolk lies underneath. It ends with a drizzle of oil, a crisscross of anchovy fillets from Cuca (an “extra treat”), some sort of herb (Currey-Voumard prefers celery leaf), and a piece of baguette cut in half, which you’ll need to clear the plate of each and every sign of eggy excellence.

While oeuf mayonnaise isn’t impossible to make, or even master, at home, “it’s a lot of effort,” says Currey-Voumard. “But I will say that it is a pleasure, for me, to do it well.”

So put your hand mixer down and leave it to a professional.

“This Melbourne Dish” is a new series about dishes that have caught the attention of bed sheet‘s publishers, or the ones the city has instantly fallen in love with.

publicwinshop.com.au

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