A Nibble, a Bite and a Taste of Sydney
We are spoilt with good restaurants in Australia. A few weeks ago, a collection of Malaysian restaurants help launched Australia’s first Malaysian Food Kitchen Fair, last week, many were involved in Melbourne’s Food and Wine Festival. This week, Sydney restaurants shared their creations at the Taste of Sydney.
When I was offered VIP tickets to the Taste of Sydney and savour plate after plate of restaurant-quality dishes, I just couldn’t say no. This year, Sydney’s Centennial Park was transformed into a culinary arena for the city’s best chefs from the finest restaurants and premium food and drink producers. Imagine walking into a park and having the option to handpick your rendition of a degustation menu. Restaurants like Warren Turnbull’s Assiette and District Dining, Jared Ingersoll’s Cotton Duck and Dank Street Depot, Peter Kuruvita’s Flying Fish, Justin North’s Becasse and many more were all showcasing their award winning dishes.
Armed with my crowns (tokens used to buy the food from the stalls), I prepared myself for a gastronomic journey. As I made my way towards the food stalls, I was distracted by Sensology’s ‘Art of Cocktail Mixing’. Expert mixologists were exhibiting and demystifying the science of cocktail mixing. These guys make some of the world’s iconic cocktails turning any average person into a pro bartender. A cosmopolitan, a pina colada, and a mojito later, I decided that I’m more of a drinker than a mixer.
I continued my mission for my ultimate degustation menu. I started with oysters. The first was from Assiette and District Dining - oysters with Vietnamese dressing, crispy shallots and coriander then followed by Ad Lib Bistro’s chilled vichyssoise, oyster beignets and salmon roe. Pumped with nature’s aphrodisiac, I was ready to devour the next course.
Regal King salmon was my target. A product of the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand, this salmon has double the Omega 3 of Atlantic salmon and is harvested and delivered globally in less than 48 hours. It has no antibiotics and is more flavoursome than Atlantic salmon. All there is left to do now is to try it. I started with a salmon curado with chilli and star anise from Aperitif and followed that with Bird Cow Fish’s salmon and potato fishcakes with tartare sauce. Still unsatisfied, I moved on to Otto’s where I had the salmon carpaccio with orange segments, citrus and chardonnay vinegar dressing, shaved fennel, salmon roe, baby herbs and crispy salmon skin. A perfect finish to these New Zealand beauties!
No meal is complete without pork, so staying true to my inner cinnamon pig, I continued my degustation of the nation with a series of pork dishes. The confit of pork belly with squid, chorizo and chickpea from Four in Hand meant I was on a slippery slope to becoming a pork-a-phile. The penultimate dish was Balzac’s saddle of suckling pig and baby garden peas but nothing can beat Assiette’s crispy pork belly, cashew nut caramel, watermelon and mint. I was as content as the proverbial pig in mud.
What is a degustation without dessert? As I wandered off looking to satisfy my sweet tooth, I was lured into the De Dietrich cooking school. Executive chef Vincent Gadan from Patisse was demonstrating his version of carre framboise. The name itself, or possibly how he said it, made me salivate. Translated, it means square raspberry. I was asked to be his assistant for the demonstration. There I was, on stage, surrounded by all things sweet and raspberry – dacquoise, mousse, marshmallow and spun sugar. The demonstration was brief but the taste of Vincent’s carre framboise lasted a whole night.
We are spoilt for good restaurants in Australia. This week, we were spoilt rotten in Sydney.
Alvin Quah for Citysearch, March 2011
March 22, 2011
Very fruitful week that you have Alvin. Keep up the good work, and you will be well respected by many of us! WELL DONE.