Monday, March 23, 2009

Taste of Sydney: The savouries

The Taste festivals have been started in Sydney and Melbourne to show case local food suppliers and restaurants. had a spare VIP ticket and so off we went to foodie it up. The tickets came with $30 of Crowns, which they insisted on using as some form of gourmande Itchy and Scratchy Money. For the purpose of this blog though I will use dollars as the crown to dollar value was one to one.

To be honest I will definitely be coming back, it gave me a great chance to try some restaurants I haven't been to in Sydney yet as well as sampling some gourmet ingredients from the local area. The VIP tickets were of questionable value as the VIP marquee didn't have enough spaces to sit nor did it have air conditioning. If I had been less tired and more inclined to take advantage of the endless Chandon NV this would have made it worthwhile but I had slept for 2 hours after working an overnight shift and knew that too much alcohol would send me straight to sleep.

The prices on the dishes was a little high for the size but not necessarily unexpected given the quality of the restaurants involved. My largest complaint though has to be the timing. It was about 34C most of the day and the entire festival was outside with very little seating in the shade. The entire festival would have been vastly improved by being held 6 weeks later. I am told that the dinner session got rained out.

My highlight for the day (apart from the mouthgasmic beef) has to have been the hungry eyes of foodies everywhere unashamedly dashing up to you and squealing "where did you get *that*!?" while pointing gleefully at your plate. I love that shared obsession.

We ate a great deal on the day so here are the savoury dishes only to start with...

Plan B: Wagyu Beef Burger $12

I'd been hearing about this burger via the blogosphere for quite some time so I was really looking forward to it, it seemed so were the rest of the festival. The line was about 5 deep when I got to the stall and seemingly everyone was carrying one and eating while rolling their eyes in pleasure. For the sake of it I've been trying to remember a better burger that I've ever eaten but I can't even with a standard bun in place of the brioche loaf used at the restaurant. Plan B is the cafe that hangs off of Becasse restaurant in Clarence St in the city, and worth a trip for the burger which is on their standard menu at $10.

Danks Street Depot: Pastrami of Kingfish with Smoked Oysters and a Cucumber and Apple Salad $14

Danks Street Depot is a particular favourite of and a large supporter of the slow food movement.

Bird Cow Fish: Braised beef cheek and roasted onion & Jerusalem artichoke pie; red wine jus (sour cream and Careme Puff Pastry) $12

Assiette: Loin & crumbed belly of lamb with basil mayonnaise & a tomato olive jus $12

Berowra Waters Inn: Arancini Of Truffle Risotto & Buffalo Mozzarella, Spinach & Fennel Sauce $10

Balzac: Wagyu Beef Bourguignonne' with Truffled Cauliflower and Onion Rings $10

The rich beef and crisp pastry of this dish came with a truffled cauliflower foam and fried onion rings, the meat was so rich and tender it melted in the mouth. I literally could not stop thinking about this dish for days.

The entire Balzac menu is that particular form of rich European style food that reaches out and strokes my brain into paroxysms of pleasure. Enough that I went back for second servings, spoke to the staff for several minutes and then insisted the boy book us for dinner for our anniversary... so keep an eye out for the upcoming blog entry.

More to come with sweets tomorrow... in fact now that my project release is in expect a swathe of "catching up" entries of food over the last fortnight now that I have free time to blog once again


  1. I went to the media launch of Taste of Sydney, and after trying Balzac's dish there immediately booked in for a review of The Burlington! Was wonderful, you'd enjoy I am SURE!

  2. I was not aware they had another restaurant. Excellent, more food for the discovering.

  3. i had a bite of the wagyu burger and actually found it to be quite heavy and sickening. May be it was the way it was prepared though because we ended up buying some organic wagyu from the hudsons meats stand for tataki and that was absolutelly beautiful!

  4. Yeah, we cut up the Wagu for Tataki, served it with a tasty sauce, you could really taste the difference in the meat.

    I actually got both mains from Longrain, while there were plenty of entrees that I liked the mains didn't really appeal... I wanted to try the burger, but I didn't go all that way to eat a burger.

    Did you try the duck ravioli? With the truffle oil?