Archive for ‘Taste of Sydney’

March 13, 2014

Taste of Sydney 2014

by minibites

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With sunnier skies and the smell of balmy Summer nights still lingering around, it was a great night to check out the Taste of Sydney festival – back on this week until Sunday 16th March. It’s excitement all around as there’s a ton of new faces to the scene, more seating, IconPark and the 21st century has kicked in so long gone are the crown coupons, there’s a card!

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Grabbing a refresher before we do the rounds, the ‘Rekorderlig Star’ marquee is unmissable with a spot in the centre and with plenty of lounging, sitting, beach-chairing or high table options with table tennis and giiiiant connect 4 – it’s the place to be! Not to mention the happy loving DJ spinning reminiscing the ultimate feel good tracks from the past.

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The cider range has since expanded and it’s perfect since my palate has moved on from drinking super sweet liquors; the new Apple & Guava was pleasantly refreshing and not too sweet with a wedge of lime. The Pear is also a personal favourite and there’s a growing lean towards the Orange & Ginger for a bit of zesty experience.

IMG_06694Fourteen/Four in Hand; Suckling Pig

Perched on one of the bar benches, we take turns relaying to the nearest restaurants for some culinary goodies. 4Fourteen/Four in Hand is a stone’s throw from Rekorderlig and with some suckling pig, there’s no resistance from neither of us. Pulled threads of suckling pig sit amongst a smoked potato salad and plenty of crushed apple; although tender, I would have preferred some jus to soften the meat.

IMG_0683Efendy; Duck, Holoumi & Wild Weeds Gozleme

Next stop are Efendy with a hot Turkish grill smoking out the neighbours, and while their gozleme was absolutely delicious, it was a little disappointing of its size.

IMG_0675Longrain; Crispy King Prawns

Longrain dish up their usual repertoire of flavours with crispy king prawns with a kickin’ green chilli and lime on top. Tempting but resisted, their beef jerky in a lettuce cup was flying out of the kitchen like hot cakes.

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A lot of hustle and bustle was happening in the IconPark, and without doubt one of the highlights this year. IconPark is a fantanstic concept taking on for 6 bidding restaurants to win a 3 month pop-up on Stanley St, Darlinghurst.

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IMG_0690 Sedgwick Ave; Brooklyn’s Finest De-Boned Chicken Wings

After being swayed at the front gate by a suave Sedgwick Ave member, we support the American feel-good team with some of the Brooklyn’s finest de-boned free range chicken wings. Hesitant at first of being just same ol’ buffalo wings with cheese whacked on the side in a wicker basket, I was knocked off my socks how deliciously tender and spiced the chicken pieces were. And oh, that blue cheese sauce and grilled watermelon, crave-worthy!

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Stanley St Merchants; Paperback Smoked Whiting

Craving something that didn’t moo or oink, Stanley St Merchants displayed a stunningly colourful dish with promise of heirloom tomatoes, herbs and fennel salad (yay some refreshing greens!!). Impressed, but the generosity of the smoked fish was a little too overwhelming. Fresh and the smoking technique presents an unique taste nonetheless.

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The Larder; Tiramisu

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The Cut Bar & Grill; Cherry Ripe

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4Fourteen/Four in Hand; Peanut Butter Popsicle

Dessert is on the mind so we backtrack and make quick decisions before heading back to lounge off our food bellies. A delicious tiramisu, modern take on the cherry ripe but honourable mention to the peanut butter popsicle rolled in dulce de leche and honeycomb crunch. Hmmmm!

Minibites attended as a guest of Exposure PR & Marketing. All dishes were chosen & paid for personally.

Taste of Sydney
March 13th-16th 2014
Centennial Park, Sydney

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March 20, 2011

Taste of Sydney 2011

by minibites

It was time once again to whip out the picnic blanket, loose shirts and expandable pants because it’s Taste of Sydney!! A showcase of Sydney’s top restaurants offering mini versions of their best.

Assisette; Crispy pork belly, cashew nut caramel with palm treacle and roast cashews

District Dining; Spicy free range Lilydale chicken with lime aioli and coleslaw

To kick start us off, it was first up to Warren Turnbull’s Assisette and District Dining. Pork belly was slightly undercrisp on our dish, but the watermelon, cashew nut caramel and mint all worked wonderfully. Would have been perrrrrfect if only the pork belly was super crispy! Next up was District Dining’s famous fried chicken, and mmmm! Everyone loves a slightly healthier version of KFC. Great tender juicy chicken on the inside with a spicy crispy outer and cooled down with some lime aioli and fresh coleslaw.

Four in Hand; Confit pork belly, squid, chorizo, chickpeas


Four in Hand; Dark chocolate snickers

To feed our expanding bellies, is another pork belly. This dish was a meaty delight with the pork belly, tender and falling apart and sitting in a bed of Mediterranean flavours. Their deconstructed dark chocolate snickers was a chocolaholic’s delight with warm caramel, oozing chocolate, nuts, ice cream.

Etch Dining; Seared scallops with cauliflower bhaji and curry

Justin North presents this seafood delight that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and palate. It had wonderfully seared scallops with a little curry oil and cauliflower bhaji; an Indian vegetable fritter filled with herbs and spices.

A Tavola & Omerta; Potato gnocchi with slow cooked lamb ragu

The Italian duo, A Tavola & Omerta from Darlinghurst, presented an amazing dish of super soft melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi with creamy also melt-in-your-mouth slow cooked lamb ragu. Delight! Also, on a random note, they own Messina on the same street (Victoria St), and it has the absolutely BEST gelato in Sydney.

L’etoile; Slow cooked shoulder of lamb, smoked potato puree and jus

We definitely couldn’t go pass the opportunity of sampling Mr suave French man, Manu Feidel’s L’etoile. Manu serves up a generous portion of slow cooked lamb shoulder on a bed of smoked potato puree (amaaazing!) and they were a little light handed on the jus, I wanted more! He also stopped to take a breather by taking photos with the swarm of girls (and men!) making their way towards him. Sweet!

Flying Fish; Black pepper and curry leaf prawn skewers with lime & fresh coconut

Flying Fish; Seared petuna ocean trout with a white curry sauce, jasmine rice, raw vegetable sambal

Last year, Flying Fish had my favourite dishes of the day with prawns and tuna with crackling. This year, they’ve done it again – bringing generous portions of black pepper and curry flavoured prawns and ocean trout. This year, the prawns were nicely skewered, and topped with lime and fresh coconut. The second dish was a slightly seared trout sitting on a bed of fluffy jasmine rice, white curry sauce. Slightly seared meant the fish was tender and soft on the inside. Can I say amazing any more times in this post?

For the first time, Taste brought along the Sensology Bar; with the option to have your cocktail made or learn to make your own! With the classic Pina Colada song pumping in the background, we learn in a quick 15 minute class the basics of cocktail making, the equipment and ingredients for our Pina Colada. Muddled fresh pineapples and coconut juice, sugar, ice, rum and shake, shake shake! Top with more ice and a pineapple leaf and viola!

Bird Cow Fish; Tiramisu roulade with caramel sauce

I’ve always been a fan of tiramisu so I definitely jumped at the opportunity to try Bird Cow Fish’s tiramisu roulade. Simply delicious, with the perfect balance of chocolate, coffee and marcarspone – even my fellow anti-coffee foodie granted it a “mmmm!” and took a second spoonful.

Victor Churchill; Creme brulee

Lucky last, one of the best desserts is Victor Churchill’s creme brulee. For those who haven’t been to Victor Churchill, it’s definitely worth an excursion. This butchery (yes, butchery that makes desserts) shows others in town how to make raw meat look super sexy by hanging hams and pork legs elegantly behind glass cabinets. On a totally unrelated talent, Victor Churchill makes one of the best creme brulees I have devoured. A crunchy sugary top protecting a chilled creme brulee with hints of vanilla bean baked through.

Another year gone, can’t wait till next year!

Taste of Sydney
March 10-13th 2011
Centennial Park, Sydney

March 24, 2010

Taste of Sydney 2010

by minibites

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