Gorgeous weather for a delicious treats, such excitement! Taste of Sydney is an annual festival with the top restaurants in Sydney showcasing entree sized meals that define them in the culinary world. With our crowns in one hand, menu & map in another, and a SLR around our necks, we devour all afternoon.
Restaurant Balzac; Saddle of suckling pig with garden peas & smoked bacon jus
Restaurant Balzac; Warm chocolate fondant with vanilla bean ice cream
Suckling pig was cooked almost to perfection; tender and juicy with crispy crackling to top the guiltiness off. There was a little too much fat left on but the dish fell together perfectly. The dessert was well balanced – rich, warm, gooey chocolate topped with a scoop of light, cold vanilla bean ice cream made both the dishes from this restaurant a guilty pleasure.
Berowra Waters Inn; Quail breast & Truffled risotto croustillant
This was probably my least favourite dish of the day – disappointing and there was not too much wow factor in the presentation or flavours. Funnily enough, many of us felt this dish tasted very similar to Pho, a vietnamese beef noodle soup, and I agree!
Four in Hand; 12 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder, minted crushed peas and feta dressing
Meat that melts in your mouth definitely shows signs of some good love cooking. As Jamie Oliver once preached, the shoulders of an animal need to be treated with greater care and love than back meat and this dish definitely showed that it received some tender loving care. Not so much a fan of the feta dressing but the lamb and minted crushed peas were a treat. It’s also refreshing to see some greens on the plate to help with all of the meat digestion.
El Toro Loco; Paella a la maestre
This paella missed the mark for me. Great flavours and colours, but it missed out the best part of a paella, which is fighting over the burnt bits at the bottom of the pan!
Plan B; Organic grass fed Wagyu beef burger
Becasse; Chocolate souffle
The Wagyu beef burger was simple – quality meat, a dash of sauce, crunchy bread and well melted cheese. Wonderfully cooked but sadly it wasn’t one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, could it probably that it was a little too simple? The chocolate souffle on the other hand, was moist, soft and gooey but its presentation with the vanilla cream resembled the chocolate fondant from Restaurant Balzac a little too much…
Bird Cow Fish; Braised cape grim beef cheek and glazed onion pie in a sour cream & puff pastry case topped with red wine veal jus
A challenge to bring a pastry to a festival event but this dish was absolutely delicious. Think a crispy puff pastry hugging tender meat, with delicious comforting flavours and just the right proportion of sauce – not too heavy, not too light.
Danks Street Depot; Beef ribs smoked in watermelon with a watermelon and avocado salad
The combination sounds bizarre but it works. It takes a little love and appreciation but the freshness and sweetness of the watermelon somehow goes hand in hand with the smokiness and heaviness of the tender beef ribs. One of my favourites but not for my foodie companions… more for me!
Flying Fish; Grilled king prawns with black pepper and curry leaf sauce steamed rice and curry leaf malum
Flying Fish; Yellow fin tuna with sweet pork crackling and ruby grapefruit
Overall, this restaurant impressed me the most – both dishes were mouthwatering on the menu and in my mouth. The grilled king prawns were a little too chilli but the kick was fantastic and welcomed, bite by bite. The rice was a little overcooked for my liking but the flavours from the prawns were seriously addictive. Not a fan of sashimi, but the yellow fin tuna turned my mouth into a party – wonderfully seared with sweet pork crackling and sweet fresh grapefruit to complement. It just shows fruit can be weaved in a savory dish.
Jonah’s at Whale Beach; Vanilla panna cotta with lavender honey and fresh pomgranate
Presentation wise, this dessert hit it into the ballpark. Cheeky presentation that brought along many naughty jokes and laughs. Taste wise, there was a little something missing – and many of my foodies were complaining of sourness of the lavender honey and the texture of pomegranate. In hindsight, it does take a while for your palate to appreciate the texture and occasional sourness of pomegranate – I enjoyed it.
Guillaume at Bennelong; Pistachio macarons
Macarons, the new craze of the dessert world, but unfortunately these did not beat the wonderful macarons I have sampled at Lindt Cafe and Cupcake Family. The flavour of pistachio was definitely subtle but there was nothing that kept me wanting more.
Longrain; Tapioca pudding with poached jackfruit & lychees
Longrain; Ping Pong
Longrain’s dishes of flavours were so refreshing for my palate – the Tapioca pudding became a little too sweet by the end, it was definitely one of my favourite dish and desserts of the day. My Ping Pong cocktail were lychees and passionfruit shaken with 42 Below Vodka with a dash of fresh lime juice; light, refreshing and fruity.
We also scored some free tickets to Jamie in the Park, where it was transformed into Jamie’s kitchen as he cooked up a storm. He’s such a wonderful chef and entertainer, and that addictive British accent….
Taste of Sydney
March 11-14th 2010
Centennial Park, Sydney