My final post for the year, here’s a list of my favourites this year!
This year it was more about learning about food and cooking, so after our Masterchef Challenges, I took greater interest in molecular gastronomy – making the Chef’s Armoury’s Tokyo Trends class was one of my favourites of the year, with hours of learning, cooking and eating. And of course, another highlight of the year was cooking with Brent Savage from Bentley Restaurant and Bar at the Sydney Seafood School.
Chef’s Armoury, Sphereification
Seafood School with Brent Savage
Cocktail nights became more and more common, so the hunt for the best bar teamed with delicious food and great cocktails was on! My favourite for the year is The Passage, Darlinghurst followed by the asian influenced LL Wine & Dine, Kings Cross. Delicious meatball burgers, salt and pepper calamari, dumplings and chicken san choy bau. And in the world of quirky, alleyway and hard to find bars; Shady Pines Saloon, Surry Hills and The Croft Institute, Melbourne definitely top my list. Think endless beer menu, peanuts, syringe cocktails and delicious long island ice teas.
The Passage, Coconut & Kaffir Lime cocktail
LL Wine & Dine, San Choy Bau
The Croft Institute
The most unique dining experience has to be our dessert at The Press Club, Melbourne. George’s Aphrodite dessert included a scent element which our waitress armed with a perfume atomiser doused us with rose water. Another amazing dessert night at Bentley Restaurant & Bar‘s dessert degustation, especially its opening dessert of beer sorbet, caramelised pineapple and barley crumble.
The Press Club, Aphrodite
Bentley Bar, Caramelised Pineapple
On to the favourite dishes of the year… At the Taste of Sydney, I tasted Flying Fish’s yellow fin tuna served with sweet pork crackling and ruby grapefruit, and not a fan of tuna sashimi, this dish had amazing textures and flavours. With delicious melt-in-your-mouth meats – it has to be Rockpool Bar & Grill‘s lamb cutlet with mint jelly (yes, slowly becoming a lamb fan!) with its perfect crust and oh, that mint jelly!! And of course, Porteno‘s Chanchito a La Cruz, their signature woodfired suckling pig.
Taste of Sydney, Flying Fish, Yellow Fin Tuna
Rockpool Bar & Grill, Lamb cutlets with mint jelly
Porteno, woodfired suckling pig
In Melbourne, my favourite is The Press Club‘s, Tzatziki, a bed of swimmer crab with thinly sliced cucumber swimming in a bed of cucumber yoghurt soup, and Seamstress‘ five spiced quail. Which funnily enough, I had argued not to order but then caved into majority at the table and the dish turned out to be one of the best dishes of the night… oh, the lessons learnt! And not to forget, Gingerboy‘s Bangalow pork belly and their Coconut Chicken salad, a great restaurant bar under the “stars”.
The Press Club, Tzatziki
Seamstress, Five spiced quail
Gingerboy, Bangalow pork belly
Cake, cake, cake, cake!! The ultimate cake time this year has to be Adriano Zumbo‘s V8 cake, with 8 layers of vanilla goodness; rich and overindulgent and an amazing piece of art. But a mention to my wonderful colleagues who organised my surprise cupcake birthday cake at work – they trekked through rain, wind and storm to make sure I had a cake time at work, awww!
Adriano Zumbo’s V8
Cupcakes on Pitt
Best sweets this year that had me going back and forth for… The Cupcake Family, Melbourne has divine macarons and babycakes, especially for green tea fans! Another mouth watering sweet tooth delights are Bourke Street Bakery’s raspberry chocolate mousse tarts, and well in fact, all their tarts are worthwhile… (and their sausage rolls, yumm!)
The Cupcake Family
Bourke Street Bakery, Raspberry chocolate mousse tart
Brunch has been a new Sunday ritual and after countless eggs, bacon and strawberry frappes. Revolver in Annadale has mismatching china, a cute grandma and my all time favourite sumac bacon and eggs, and Bitton has absolutely amazing french toast with orange jelly and club sandwiches (post to come!). And not to forget Brunettis, Melbourne for everything brunch, lunch and cake related!
Revolver, Eggs Florentine
Bitton, French toast with orange jelly
Brunettis, Free range eggs, mushrooms and sourdough toast
Favourite handheld meal this year has to be the Guzman Y Gomez burrrrito! Warm and toasty and the perfect portion that hits the spot. Another favourite is the discovery of Red Star Luxury Burgers in Wanaka, New Zealand that rivals the Fergburger. The Aussies definitely need to learn a thing or two about a good burger because the Kiwis know their stuff! Comforting to know that Grill’d has finally hit Sydneyside though. And you can’t forget the best 3am feed after a night out – Lord of the Fries, Melbourne.
Guzman Y Gomez, Spicy chicken burrito
Red Star Luxury Burgers
Lord of the Fries, French Canadian fries
So that sums off a delicious food and cocktail filled year! I’m off to ring in 2011 in the culinary and shopping genius state of Melbourne. Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a great New Year to come! May next year be filled with sweet delights, mouth watering food and ah-mazing cocktails!