Jared said he chose to do a 10 Mile Dinner for the simple fact that a 100 Mile Dinner would be too easy. Nice, 10 Miles ain’t that far when you think about it. Sure you will still have access to a lot of produce in that small area but unless that area happens to contain a farm or two your selections of protein are going to be very limited.
Crave Sydney International Food Festival: Cotton Duck’s 10 Mile Waddle – $85.00 per person including a glass of bubbles on arrival
- Borambola blanc de blancs served with breakfast radishes and salts (Gundagai, Haberfield, Murray River). Salad of nasturtium, baby zucchinis, leaves and flowers (Haberfield, Windsor, Hurlstone Park, Chippendale, Surry Hills)
- Bread made from stone ground, organically grown NSW flour (Gunnedah, NSW). Pepe saya’s butter made from organic, pasture fed cream (Hand made in Enmore and seasoned with Australian salts).
- Celeriac in earth with fermented garlic (Windsor, Glebe)
- Slow cooked and bio-dynamic egg, kedgeree of feverfew and smoked tomato and wood sorrel (Lonstock Hunter Valley, Queensland, Surry Hills, Haberfield, Surry Hills)
- Braised cos, steamed and raw salad of flowers, served on green stuff (Windsor, Hurlstone Park, Randwick, Surry Hills)
- Black flat-head roasted with native mint, cinnamon, myrtle and leek (Northern Rivers, Surry Hills, Windsor)
- Mulloway in paperbark, Warrigal greens, dry curry of mustard and broccoli pods and mustard salad (Hawkesbury, Haberfield, Randwick, Surry Hills, Hurlstone Park)
- Fennel panna cotta, beetroot sorbet, fennel sherbet and cornflower (Haberfield, Windsor, Haberfield, Hurlstone Park)
- Tomato jubes (Haberfield)
(Ingredients NOT within 16.7kms (10 miles): Cream, Picton, NSW / Flour, Gunnedah, NSW / Eggs, Hunter Valley, NSW / Rice, Queensland / Flat-head, Northern Rivers, NSW)
Borambola blanc de blancs served with breakfast radishes and salts (Gundagai, Haberfield, Murray River). Salad of nasturtium, baby zucchinis, leaves and flowers (Haberfield, Windsor, Hurlstone Park, Chippendale, Surry Hills).
When we were seated we noticed the first course was already on the table. Four big plates of salad adorned the large wooden share tables. Our glass of blanc de blancs was poured and we were encouraged to start on the salad while other guests were arriving. The salad was just your usual fair, nice crispy radishes, slices of zucchini, nasturtium leaves and flowers and a light lemon dressing to finish it off.
Bread made from stone ground, organically grown NSW flour (Gunnedah, NSW). Pepe saya’s butter made from organic, pasture fed cream (Hand made in Enmore and seasoned with Australian salts).
The mini bread loaves were nice and crispy with a soft centre, lathered up with the hand made butter they did not last long at all. I wish sometimes they just left a basket of these things on the table with a sign marked ‘eat at your own peril’ cause really it may be death by bread, but what a way to go.
Celeriac in earth with fermented garlic (Windsor, Glebe).
With the salad being a messy display I almost thought that it was going to set the tone for the night in terms of how the dishes were presented. When the celeriac arrived I was quite please to find a precise cube in the middle of the plate glistening with oil. Sprinkled over the cube was the ‘earth’ a mix of burnt onion, celeriac skin and dehydrated mushrooms giving quite a nice impression and tasting suitably earthy. The fermented garlic was considerably chewy and intensely addictive, and thankfully quite subdued with little fear of killer garlic breath to follow.
Slow cooked and bio-dynamic egg, kedgeree of feverfew and smoked tomato and wood sorrel (Lonstock Hunter Valley, Queensland, Surry Hills, Haberfield, Surry Hills).
This dish really looked a lot like something you would have for breakfast, a roast tomato and the rice looking a lot like scrambled eggs. Cracking the slow cooked egg was pretty cool, not the normal ooze you would get from being soft boiled but more of a firm and silky texture. The rice was perplexing, it really reminded me of a sweet rice pudding, but it worked and was akin to eating a sweet risotto. The smoked tomato stole the show in terms of outright flavour, intense acidic tomato and soothing smoky overtones mixed with the eggs and rice to make it a nice dish.
Braised cos, steamed and raw salad of flowers, served on green stuff (Windsor, Hurlstone Park, Randwick, Surry Hills).
If you are sourcing ingredients from within 10 miles of Sydney a salad would definitely be the easiest to do. With over 50 herbs and vegetables in my garden alone finding what you need is easy. With such an abundance of greenery around braising lettuce would be the VERY last thing I would ever think of doing. Obviously the guys at Cotton Duck thought why not. Without going on forever I found it to be nice and easy going, kind of like bok choy or other watery greens. The cool part was the ‘green stuff’, more or less the chlorophyll extracted from the greenest of greens and reduced into a little sauce.
Black flat-head roasted with native mint, cinnamon, myrtle and leek (Northern Rivers, Surry Hills, Windsor).
Flat head, it had been quite a long time since I had seen it on a menu, and even then it was at the local Fish & Chip shop. It came out with quite simple presentation, looking vaguely like the frozen fish fillets you get at the supermarket. I got right into the baby leek and it was cracking, super soft and subtle enough to be enjoyed on its own. Roasting can sometimes take a little too much out of fish and this was definitely the case here, while seasoned nicely with a great herb coating the fillet was too dry for me and with no sauce there was nothing there to help it out.
Mulloway in paperbark, Warrigal greens, dry curry of mustard and broccoli pods and mustard salad (Hawkesbury, Haberfield, Randwick, Surry Hills, Hurlstone Park).
Well this was it, the last of the savoury and by no means the least. We could see the chefs getting this ready along the pass as fish after fish, wrapped in paperbark were lined up. One by one they made their way to the tables and were placed between diners. The bark was unwrapped to reveal cos lettuce leaves and finally the whole steamed mulloway.
It just fell apart so easily and it took no effort at all to fill your plate with loads of moist fish. The sides were intriguing with the first being a dry curry with fried off garlic, chilli, broccoli seed pods and mustard leaves. The second was the Warrigal greens, a spinach like plant with a firmer texture and flavour.
Once my plate was loaded up with all of the essentials I got right into it and found the dry curry brilliant. So punchy with big flavours, I ended up eating all of it before even getting to the fish or greens. Maybe it was the big flavour hit from the dry curry but I didn’t find the mulloway all that special, it was a little watery and missing some depth of flavour. The Warrigal greens were so-so, but I was happy nonetheless as I had nabbed the last of the dry curry and was more than content with munching on it.
Fennel panna cotta, beetroot sorbet, fennel sherbet and cornflower (Haberfield, Windsor, Haberfield, Hurlstone Park).
The panna cotta was formed in a cone and to plate this up they were tapped out onto the plate and then the point was drooped over the sorbet. As the waiters brought them to the tables a few feebly wobbled around while others seemed to flip over the complete opposite way. I got right into the sorbet so I could compare it to Four in Hand’s version. This one was much creamier and something you could handle a little more of as it was quite mellow in comparison. The fennel panna cotta was awesome, if not quite strong but the fennel sherbet was sensational, it was so left of field and it went perfectly with the beetroot. Loved it to bits, and even better I got to make the most of Lex’s sorbet too.
Tomato jubes (Haberfield).
Jubes, who can say no to them. Sugar in jelly form sprinkled in more sugar. What is not to like? These guys were a little larger than your average jube and the real kicker is they were flavoured with a savoury fruit. I snatched the biggest one from the three on the plate, I guess that will teach me for not having better manners. They didn’t really hit the spot for Lex or me, Em on the other hand was in heaven.
The best thing about going into something like this with no preconceptions and no real preference to how things unfold is that you can come away pleasantly surprised. The 10 Mile Waddle did exactly this, while it didn’t blow my mind with dishes you will brag about for years to come, it did what it set out to do and the night was a definite success.
Talking with Jared afterwards gave us all an insight to the process and we were able to hear of his struggle to pull it off in such a positive manner. I mean getting away with over 7 courses and having no red meat in sight is an achievement in any carnivore’s books.
I have embellished a little on said conversation with Jared, yes there was some definite insight into his thoughts and the process of the meal, but really the conversation had an overtone of something that was not food related at all. Rugby World Cup… All Blacks… etc… Mr O and Jared spent more time talking about sport than they did about food… typical.
I can’t wait to get back to Cotton Duck for the normal menu and when I do get back I will not be the designated driver for the evening. Oh and one last thing, since when was Windsor within 16.7 km of Sydney Jared ? ? ?
50 Holt Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 8399 0250
Cotton Duck Website