Taste Of Sydney 2011, Centennial Park

by dylan on March 10, 2011

Taste of Sydney 2011

Taste of Sydney 2011

A festival of food that can give everyone a small glimpse into what great restaurants in Sydney are all about. Still quite young, the Taste Of Sydney festival is a 4 day event held in Centennial Park that showcases the best producers, chefs and food Sydney has to offer. Tickets were purchased for the opening evening and we were ready for a great night out after a long day at work.

Flying Fish | Black pepper and curry leaf prawn skewers with lime and fresh coconut (10 crowns).

Always a great way to start a meal, prawns are light and ever so tasty. Straight away it was the quite generous serving size that had me excited, I had initially expected maybe three prawns at best. Extremely light and refreshing flavours, lovely hints of various spices Peter Kuruvita is known for and the juicy citrus and subtle coconut was a great marriage of flavour and texture with the prawns.

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

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

Restaurant Balzac | Crisp wagyu beef with wild mushroom and truffle foam (12 crowns).

When listed on the menu as crisp Wagyu I had wondered how you would make wagyu beef crispy and keep it juicy and moist. Seeing it come out more like a spring roll I finally understood the description. A small cup with a mushroom soup whipped into a foam like consistency sitting in the bottom and the pastry wrapped beef propped up in it. Taking a bite into the mushroom covered portion my eyes lit up as did everyone else’s. Such an intense hit of flavour, rich and powerful truffle and mushroom, absolutely stunning beef that couldn’t have been cooked any better and the crisp crunch of the pastry. Sensational.

Restaurant Balzac | Crisp wagyu beef with wild mushroom and truffle foam

Restaurant Balzac | Crisp wagyu beef with wild mushroom and truffle foam

Four In Hand | Confit pork belly, squid, chorizo and chickpea (10 crowns).

The rich acidic tomato hit the palate and then the intense smoke flavour of the chorizo took over and gave an wonderful BBQ edge to the pork. Confit pork belly is something to admire, amazingly soft and tender with immense depth and a great opposing texture to the chickpeas with their starchy edge and buttery smooth finish. It was the smoky overtone that made me really love it and I was so wrapped up in the pork and chickpeas I forgot all about the squid, but that didn’t really bother me.

Four In Hand | Confit pork belly, squid, chorizo and chickpea

Four In Hand | Confit pork belly, squid, chorizo and chickpea

Bird Cow Fish | Boned and rolled roasted chicken stuffed with mushroom duxelle; pommes puree (12 crowns).

I didn’t really have this dish on my shortlist but it was on Lex’s so we decided to share. It was probably the longest we had to wait for any of the dishes but even then it was only a few minutes. I was hoping for something in this dish, but whatever that was seemed to be missing. It was almost a distinct lack of chicken, well at least the flavour. The potato puree was sensational and the mushroom duxelle was quite delicate but the roasted chicken just failed to carry its own flavour.

Bird Cow Fish | Boned and rolled roasted chicken stuffed with mushroom duxelle; pommes puree

Bird Cow Fish | Boned and rolled roasted chicken stuffed with mushroom duxelle; pommes puree

Now I must admit that Lex and I had both planned on sampling dishes from a few other restaurants during the evening, but as the night drew to a close we knew it had to end on a dessert. Making our way to Four In Hand with more crowns left than anticipated we found ourselves drawn over to Restaurant Balzac for a second crisp beef and mushroom, and yet again it was amazing. I feel bad we didn’t have more variety but the beef was just that good.

Four In Hand | Dark chocolate snickers (8 crowns).

The only real reason why I feel a Mars Bar is better than a Snickers is that the peanuts seem to just overpower everything in a snickers – the caramel tastes of peanuts, the nougat tastes of peanuts and the chocolate tastes like chocolate with a peanut essence (I do understand that may be the point). Sceptical of what Four In Hand could do that Mars Incorporated could not I decided to give it a go anyway.

Wow, definitely what a ‘Snickers’ should be like in my mind, great chocolate, rich caramel and a generous hint of peanut that doesn’t kill every other flavour. It was just perfect in what it set out to do, and my word was it value for money, so much ice cream and gooey chocolate. If we’d skipped our second helping of Restaurants Balzac’s beef then I would definitely have gone back for another of Four In Hand’s ‘snickers’.

Four In Hand | Dark chocolate snickers

Four In Hand | Dark chocolate snickers

Once again a top evening, it really had been cranked up a notch since last year. There was nothing wrong with last year’s event but this time around everything felt better set out and managed. Never was I hunting to find someone selling crowns and the bars were well staffed and stupidly cheap (beer for 2 crowns ! ! !). I do hope it continues on this trend and more and more of Sydney’s great restaurants get their chance to showcase their fine work in this festival format.

Manu Feildel of L'etoile Restaurant & Bar

Manu Feildel of L'etoile Restaurant & Bar

Taste of Sydney
Brazilian Fields
Centennial Park NSW 2021
(02) 9331 9222 [Brand Events]
Taste of Sydney Website


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Simon Food Favourites April 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm

i have fond memories of the Flying Fish prawns :-) more generous than i thought too.

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dylan April 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Such a top way to start off the night. Now just need to actually get to Flying Fish.

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Lex April 28, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I love Flying Fish!! Just need to get Dylan there so we can blog about it :)

You were lucky to try so many dishes Simon! I saw your post on Taste and really wish I had the ricotta fritters, they were on my short list but so were a lot of other dishes. hehe.

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Emilee May 18, 2011 at 9:51 pm

bring on Balzac hmmmmmm i am craving another one of those crispy wagyu spring rolls,

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