If wining and dining is one of life's greatest pleasures, then a degustation with matched wines must the ultimate way to enjoy life.
Well, tonight, the Taste Of Sydney crew took this up a notch by taking me and a few other bloggers on a progressive degustation (a fancy term for 'restaurant crawl') around some of Sydney's finest eateries. A taste of Taste Of Sydney.
We all start with the Tasty Budo cocktail at Sake restaurant, which is a luscious concoction of fresh grapes with Kozaemon 3 year old junmai sake and citrus.
We're here for a small taste of all three dishes which Sake will be serving at the festival. This is the Hiramasa kingfish ceviche. The kingfish is delicate and pure, and the tangy dressing offers a refreshing touch.
The pan seared ocean barramundi is wonderfully crisp and well balanced with the sweet and salty flavours in the salsa.
This double crunch Hiramasa kingfish nigiri is my favourite of the three. I love the extra texture, the tempura flakes on top is such an ingenious addition. It's so exciting that despite Taste Of Sydney being in its fourth year, this is just the first year there will be sushi served at the festival!
Sake Restaurant & Bar
12 Argyle Street, Sydney, NSW (The Rocks)
Phone: (02) 9259 5656
The group splits into two so we can cover more restaurants.
My group heads conveniently next door to The Cut Bar & Grill for the charcuterie tasting plate with cornichons and mustard fruits which features Prosciutto di San Danielle, Calabrese Salami and Papandrea Fennel Sopressa.
The serving at the Taste Of Sydney will be slightly smaller but there's no doubt this is good quality stuff - a great dish for sharing at the festival! In particular, I love the peppery sweetness of the mustard fruits, it just pairs so well with the salty savoury flavours of cured meats!
The Cut Bar & Grill
16 Argyle Street, Sydney, NSW (The Rocks)
Phone: (02) 9259 5695
For our main course, we're picked up in a hire car (that's just how I roll!) and driven to Westfield to check out Spiedo Restaurant and Bar's housemade pasta.
This is the handmade wholemeal strozzapreti with zucchini, prawns, cherry tomatoes and saffron.
There's a funny story behind the name 'strozzapreti'. I'm told it means 'priest choker' in Italian because gluttonous priests used to eat this too quickly and then choke! LOL!
But that's beside the point - the texture of this pasta is really delicious. There's a slight bite within each tube and the shape of it allows it to hold the gorgeous prawn broth sauce liberally. Delectable!
Spiedo Restaurant and Bar
Level 6, Westfield, 188 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 8072 9999
Dessert takes us to Darlinghurst's A Tavola for their famous cremino al cioccolato which has remained on the menu for over a year due to popular demand.
But first, more wine. The waiter suggests the 'Normanno' Zibibbo which is a delightful recommendation. It's a delicate Sicilian white grape muscat that complements the rich robustness of our chocolate mousse.
The cremino al cioccolato consists of three layers; the 'amedei gianduia chocolate crema' is a sumptuous hazelnut mousse that is topped with a salted caramel gelato and finished off with torched Italian meringue.
Don't underestimate the look of this - it is absolutely decadent! Eat it like a trifle, digging into all three layers.
It's quite dark in the restaurant so please excuse the poor lighting in this photo, but here's the inside:
348 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, NSW
Phone: (02) 9331 7871
And to finish, we all meet-up at Longrain to sip cocktails and swap details on the progressive feast we've just had.
You may remember that I've previously had the Ping Pong cocktail (second from the left) at last year's Taste Of Sydney event... Because I again couldn't resist the idea of lychee with passionfruit, I ordered it again tonight. There are some cocktails which have my name all over it and this is most definitely one of them! So tangy, sweet and Summery!
Here's a peek at the cocktails which will be available at the festival: from left to right - Stickmata is Eristoff sloe berry vodka with a berry overload of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries shaked with fresh lime; Ping Pong is Eristoff vodka with lychee, passionfruit pulp and a squeeze of fresh lime; Acapulco Gold is Cazadores tequila over crushed chunks of lemon and lime with chilli, vanilla and citrus soda; and Ginger Rogers is Bacardi Gold rum and Grand Marnier muddled with fresh lime, shaken over ice served tall and topped with ginger beer.
Longrain Restaurant & Bar
85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, NSW
Phone: (02) 9280 2888
Taste Of Sydney 2012
So this progressive degustation was simply a tease of what's really to come... Imagine that... over 15 restaurants at your fingertips! Taste Of Sydney 2012 is definitely just getting bigger and better!
Held on 8-11 March (9 days away!), this pop-up restaurant festival promises to deliver your dream degustation, prepared by a selection of Sydney's leading and hatted restaurants (preview menu here). There will also be award-winning wineries, artisan producers and boutique exhibitors, plus cooking schools, tasting masterclasses and chef demonstrations to not only win over your taste buds, but to give you some new skills to take home!
Thanks to Stellar* Concepts and the Taste Of Sydney organisers, these amazingly indulgent prizes are up for grabs!!
Major Prize: VIP double pass valued at $200
- Redeemable Friday/Saturday/Sunday
- Access to the exclusive HSBC VIP Lounge
- 6 complimentary drinks
- 60 crowns
Runner-up Prizes: 5x general admission double passes valued at $50 each
- Tickets can be used for any session -
Thursday 8 March: 5.30pm - 10.00pm
Friday 9 March: noon - 4.00pm
Friday 9 March: 5.30pm - 10.00pm
Saturday 10 March: noon - 4.00pm
Saturday 10 March: 5.30pm - 9.30pm
Sunday 11 March: noon - 5.00pm
To enter the competition, simply leave a comment below in 25 words or less, mentioning two or more of the participating restaurants or chefs in one sentence! The sentence can be about anything - just make me laugh :)
The Three Blue Ducks were an unusual sighting at The Veggie Patch. I Otto-matically thought about having duck for dinner.
Here's all the info you need --
Taste Of Sydney 2012 restaurants and chefs:
A Tavola - Eugenio Maiale
Charlie & Co. - Justin North
Efendy - Somer Sivrioglu
Flying Fish - Peter Kuruvita
Four in Hand - Colin Fassnidge
L'etoile - Manu Feildel
Longrain Restaurant & Bar - Martin Boetz
Ormeggio at the Spit - Alessandro Pavoni
Otto Ristorante - Richard Ptacnik
Quarter Twenty One - Justin North
Saké Restaurant & Bar - Shaun Presland
Spiedo - Alessandro Pavoni
The Cut Bar & Grill - James Privett
The Montpellier Public House - Matthew Kemp
Terms & Conditions: Competition closes 5/3/2012 at 11:59pm
AEST. Winners will be judged on creativity and entertainment value.
Winners will be announced on this page on 6/3/2012 and will be notified via
email. Best of luck!
Plus the brand new Sustainable Pop-Up Restaurant featuring:
Fish & Co. - Tom Kime
Three Blue Ducks - Darren Robertson and Mark LaBrooy
The Veggie Patch - Georgie Swift
Agapé Organics - Simon Lawson
*** UPDATE 06/03/12: THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED.