Monday, March 14, 2011

Taste of Sydney 2011

As I was purchasing tickets for the Taste of Sydney festival this year, I realised something horrendous... I haven't blogged about last year's Taste of Sydney festival - reason being, I had put my partner in charge of photo taking... and he still hasn't given them to me.

So this year, I was determined to take my own photos. Again, heading for the evening session on the Saturday, we were met with quite a large crowd of fellow hungry food forages. We tasted many a things - from wine to sauces to dips to salmon to icecream - and all were pretty awesome! But in terms of things we used our crowns (the official currency of the festival) for, it was the following:

From memory, I think we had like 4 different wagyu beef dishes last year... this year, fish (salmon and trout varieties) seemed like the new black. Our first pick was from Berowra Waters Inn. I have to say, we smelt this in the cooking from outside the festival gates... and hence we just HAD to have it. They had a seeminly awesome selection of oyster beignets, slow cooked ocean trout, and cheese. I have to say, both the oysters and the trout looked amazing... but we opted for the trout (12 crowns). And trout did not disappoint. It was simply falling off my fork and melting in my mouth. AMAZING texture, amazing flavour - especially when dipped in the french onion soup puree. Accompanying the simply gorgeous (I can eat millions of) trout was a peppered oxtail 'croustillant' which was really, just a fancy juicy beefy spring roll type thing - and that was pretty awesome to... but in my mind, it was the trout which stood out.

We walked past Croquembouche Patisserie and initially, was enticed by the eiffel tower look-a-like thing. After a second of checking the place out, it was their selection of tarts, macaroons and petit fours which enticed me. Even though I had pretty much not eaten anything substantial yet, my stomach was telling me - "dessert time". And so I was coerced into picking a chocolate fondant (2 crowns) and it was simply decadent! Smooth, super rich cocoa mass denseness with a substantially good contrasted biscuity-cakey type base. Topped with just rich chocolate ganache... Mmm... Goes straight to the top of my cravings list :)

Now onto more main meals. I saw this super colourful arrangement from Otto and decided I had to have it. A Regal King salmon carpaccio (10 crowns) with orange bits, shaved fennel, salmon roe, baby herbs and crispy salmon skin, doused in a citrus and chardonnay vinegar dressing... it looked a million dollars. Tasted interesting too. Fresh. Yet the crispy salmon skin was like eating intensely salmon-flavoured chips - slightly hectic. The salmon itself was rather delicious :)

However, I have to say, Regal king salmon - which has a much more intense flavour compared to atlantic salmon - tastes better when cooked (or lightly seared). According to our later watching of Matthew Kemp (Restaurant Balzac) demonstrating his cooking of his seared regal king salmon with pomegrante, mint and feta salad (10 crowns), this is due the the fatty content that is in the New Zealand origin fish. All I can say is that when the fat is melted just a bit, it gives off ZOMG AMAZING flavours (or maybe it's because they cook it well?). These king salmon skewers were pretty damn delicious!

To me, it was dessert time again. I remember tasting absolutely amazingly creamy and rich icecream from the New Zealand tent last year, and surely enough - they were here this year again! Kohu Road icecream is apparently purchasable at any grocery store in NZ... but in Sydney, it's slightly harder to locate. We were given free sample tastings... vanilla (super rich, you can even taste the vanilla beans) was one of my partner's favourites, my friends liked the golden syrup, I thought that cookies and cream was pretty awesome... but after a very long deliberation, I decided to have a scoop of espresso and a scoop of dark chocolate. Both flavours were intense. Intense in a good way. Due to it's melting nature, I gobbled it up in no time and went hunting for the next lot of food with my partner :P

Wagyu beef burger (originally from Becasse store back in the day), currently offered from Charlie & Co is something I think we ordered all 3 taste of sydney festival's we've been to (12 crowns, 10 if you're a HSBCer). I have to say, the very first time I had this thing - it was gorgeously juicy, novel and eye-opening. The second time was good too. This time - I think I've had too much exposure to awesomely juicy beef burgers (maybe just a tad spoilt) and this burger, still amazingly juicy and tasty and yum, lacked a bit of creativity. The weird thing is, I didn't even pick to order this this time - it was my partner (and he was unimpressed with it the first time around). Men are weird. ish.
My partner's last dish of the night was from Four in Hand - the confit pork belly, squid, chorizo and chickpea (10 crowns). The pork belly was deep fried, yet kind of tender. Lots of tomatoey stuff and bits of chorizo, squid and chickpea just kind of swimming. My partner seemed to like this... I didn't enjoy it was much. I don't think I like my pork belly deep fried... or maybe if they deep fry it, it has to be thicker? I'm not sure, but it was a bit too crispy and dry for my liking, even though it was swimming in the choriza chickpea mixture.

So there you have it, our taste of sydney festival experience. I have to say, being a HSBCer, getting a free drink and a free chill out area was pretty cool - you get to enjoy the VIP area without paying VIP. The food and the exhibitors this year was also pretty good - and yes, I think this is the year of Regal King Salmon (can't get enough of that stuff LOL)


Simon Food Favourites said...

always best to take your own photos :-) glad you have a great time. was a lot to take in. i wish the sessions went a bit longer as there's so much to take in and try and do. have added your blog review link to mine.

bbsnoopy said...

Taste of Syd festival is always pretty awesome :) Lots to see and EAT hehehe