Hi, My Name Is: Hayden McMillan

Published on July 11 2019.

Photo: Chef Hayden McMillan

Brunswick East’s loss is Windsor’s gain, as former Etta chef Hayden McMillan crosses town to head the kitchen at Neptune. With an assured take on casual wine-friendly food, McMillan has written a new menu that’s full of promise. Get excited.

Hi, my name is Hayden McMillan

You might remember me from such establishments asEtta in Brunswick East, and The Roving Marrow in Carlton.

My brief for my new gig is to take seasonal Victorian produce and look at it through a coastal Italian lens. Think charred octopus with potato aioli and ’nduja dressing, spanner crab and saltbush spaghetti, and Gippsland grass-fed scotch fillet with kale and balsamic jus.

I’m passionate about ethically sourced and sustainable seafood.

Which means I’ll be cooking lots of oily fish, mussels and sardines. My favourite dish at the moment is our crumbed King George whiting. Panko crumbs are nothing new, but they add an amazing texture to fillets of whiting. This fish is outstanding when it’s in season.

I’d like you to come in and see us at Neptune so you can drop into the bar, grab a bottle of wine off the cellar wall and cosy up with a couple of our pastas on a cold winter’s night. My pick is the artichoke à la Grecque rigatoni with stracciatella. The artichokes have an acidity which cuts through the stracciatella nicely. It's simply delicious.

My favourite winter drop on our wine list right now is Dalrymple Coal River pinot noir; it's really versatile. I like it with our veal tartare and the chargrilled porterhouse, which are both great shared with a few people.

If there’s one thing you can’t leave without trying it's the pine mushroom gnocchi. This dish is built for winter. There’s a hearty mushroom broth, pillow-like potato gnocchi, roasted pine mushrooms and shaved Manchego – you can’t beat it.

See what’s cooking at Neptune: 212 High St Prahran, (03) 9533 2827, neptune.melbourne or over at @neptunefoodandwine