Sunday, March 15, 2009

Taste of Sydney Festival

The Taste of Sydney Festival was on this weekend at Centennial Park, and boy, did we taste Sydney.

The Taste of Sydney website describes the festival as a "stunning celebration" of the city's best cuisine which showcased the signature dishes of the city's finest restaurants including Longrain, Danks Street Depot and Berowra Waters Inn.

It was hard to decide what to eat from the many dishes on the menu, so many things took my fancy. For entree, I chose the etli borek from Ottoman Cuisine while my husband had the Wagyu beef bourguignonne with truffled cauliflower and onion rings from Restaurant Balzac.

While I waited to be served for what seemed an eternity in the Ottoman Cuisine line, my husband had lined up, ordered, received his food and made it back to me where we ate his entree while still waiting in line. The beef bourguignonne was a wonderful dish, the truffled cauliflower was really sweet and heady with truffle.

When we finally made it to the front of the line and got our food, we realised it had so definitely been worth the wait.

The etli borek were fresh and crisp and the veal melted in your mouth. The contrast in textures was great. However, the highlight was the pomegranate and yoghurt sauces which really turned the dish into something truly special. One thing's for sure - we will definitely be visiting the Ottoman Cuisine restaurant in the near future!

Etli Borek - Crisp homemade filo rolls filled with braised veal shank, currants and pine nuts, served with pomegranate and yoghurt sauce. From Ottoman Cuisine

Next up I ordered the loin and crumbed belly of lamb with basil mayonnaise and tomato olive jus from Assiette. While the loin pieces were tender and flavoursome, the crumbed belly was overcooked and rather dry. There was only a smidgen of basil mayonnaise which was also a little disappointing.

To compound my disappointment, I got home and saw a picture of the same dish as served on Thursday night! The dish as served on Thursday looked amazing, the portions were bigger, the crumbed belly was thicker and the inside was soft rather than dry. Bummer!

Loin and crumbed belly of lamb with basil mayonaise and tomato olive jus. From Assiette

My husband ordered the roast Kurobuta pork neck with fennel and witlof salad. The serving was huge - much bigger than the 'taste' size portion we were expecting! The fennel and witlof salad was rather bitter, but teamed beautifully with the pork which was soft and tender - this dish was definitely a winner!

Roast Kurobuta pork neck with fennel and witlof salad. From Centennial Parklands Dining.

Finally came dessert - I ordered the sponge roulade of goat's curd with Persian figs poached in verjuice from Bird Cow Fish. It was so wonderful - I couldn't hold myself back when I first tasted it, so there are no photos! I picked this dish because I love goat's curd and I love figs. Together they were delicious.

My husband - a tiramisu fiend - ordered the Dolce Sardo from Pilu at Freshwater. He again picked a dish with a monster serve and we were given two big pieces to share. While it was a beautiful dessert - my dish certainly won (not that it was a competition at all!)

Dolce Sardo - Savoiardi biscuits layered with fresh ricotta, Amedei chocolate and mirto liqueur. From Pilu at Freshwater

Overall, we had a fantastic day - lots of sunshine, great food and some lovely beer from Redoak brewery too. But it was also a rather pricey outing - it was $25 per head, just to get in the door, and then we had to pay for all the food. We were being served by some of Sydney's best chefs so (apart from my disappointing dish from Assiette), I think it was worth it.
And on our way home, a lovely little girl pointed out this sweet fella to us!


Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

ooht that is a difference in portion-size at Assiette however on the flip-side I think you did really well with the pork neck and tiramisu!

Annie said...

I know one of the guys that was working at Assiette and he said that towards the end of each day they were running out of food and having to cut portion sizes... a bit of an oversight on their behalf. I am impressed that you guys stopped at 6 dishes though - between 2 of us, we ate 3 entrees, 4 mains and 3 desserts! Piggies!

a good yarn said...

Your dessert sounded divine! What a contrast bewtween the fig and goat curd. I can taste the crispy etli borek - fabulous. Thanks for sharing this wonderful (if pricey) experience.

Cheers...Ann :)

Anita said...

That all looks like lovely food and I can definitely understand being too eager to eat, to take a photo (even though I would have liked to see one of the dessert) :). It sounds like a really great festival with lovely food!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Aww, no, what a big difference with the lamb! I agree the Etli Borek was amazing-we had it at the preview so we didn't get it at the actual event but I have very fond memories of it :)

How cute is that little possum! I only recently discovered that possums are considered pests in New Zealand!

Apples and Butter said...

Sounds like a great festival. I think I would have died for truffled anything, but that dish sounds particulary yummy.

Maree said...

Looked like a Great Time...Good Food & a Great Place..I am an Ex-Sydney sider..have been lurking a bit so thought I'd pop in and say HI..will visit again...happy stitching..