Monday, May 4, 2009

Back to the festival

I'm seeing a trend of late and it's that of going backwards. Strangely enough, 'backwards' seems to have negative connotations that 'forwards' doesn't. I suppose if it's in terms of progress - fair enough. But it's not always about progress, is it? I can't help but think of Marty McFly and the Doc a little here - but there's no time as the here and now.

With a sunny, reasonably warm and clear afternoon, it was difficult to not want to step out of the house and into a jolly mood for the Kings Cross Festival. Kings Cross during the day is a new experience for me; in many ways preferable to the nocturnal experience. And what better sight or marker for the festival than the following:

El Alamein Fountain at Kings Cross

It's a food and wine-oriented set up in Fitzroy Gardens showcasing restaurants and bars from the Kings Cross area. It's a relatively small festival but packing a definite culinary and boozing punch with the likes of Jimmy Liks, Adelphi, Apres, Blancharu, Gazebo Wine Bar and Sugarmill setting up stall for the day.

Kings Cross Festival crowds

It's a bit of a squeeze in the gardens with people and pooches jostling for space, especially at the musical stage where colourful identities reign. Luckily the queues for food and drinks aren't too bad, with exception of the poffertjes and paella stalls.

The very popular seafood paella in the making

A quick circle around the festival finds me at the Blancharu stall where smiling, jovial chef Haru Inukai offers me a sample of his Crystal Bay garlic prawns. The well-sized crustacean is bitingly fresh, hot and juicy from the pan. It simply oozes with both prawn and garlic sweetness. It's so good, I need more.

Garlic Crystal Bay prawns from Blancharu

My wait for the freshly cooked prawns is none too long and I wander away with a cup of five tail-on prawns and a fried cracker of sorts. The prawns are so simply fresh and juicy, but it's the cracker that surprises me. Probably most similar to a pappadum, it's crunchy and golden but also imparts a spice flavouring that really complements the prawns.

Naan in tandoor oven

I spy an Indian stall with a difference: a tandoor oven at an outdoor festival. Impressive. I'm even more impressed when I see the chef scrape naan off the side of the oven, chop it up and hand it straight to a customer. Fresh indeed, and I want one too.

Plain naan

It's hot, as expected, but it's the soft fluffiness that really gets me, with the occasional thin, crunchy part. I'd love to just have fresh naan at my disposal any time of the day, although I admit I wouldn't mind my own roti chef either. I like my carbs. And with that, it's time for dessert.

Belgian chocolate mousse from Boon

Well, it was dessert time once I caught a glance of the offerings from Boon. It looked petite and not too rich, and it didn't deceive. The lightest fluffy mousse with a full chocolate flavour hit, it was unfortunately all over in seconds. I'm thinking large mixing bowl size servings might be a little more appropriate. Boon also had some beautiful rocher chocolates on offer that one could hardly resist sampling a few times.

Cheese plates galore

At leaving time, I passed by a name-now-forgotten stall with deliciously tempting cheese plates on discount offer and I'm reminded that it's often hard to say no. I remember it was a King Island cheddar (strong and bitey - yum, yum, yum!), a camembert that simply couldn't compete with its plate partners, and a creamy blue served with loads of my favourite wafer crackers and dried muscatels. Nothing like muscatels or fresh apple slices with a strong creamy blue, in my opinion. The blue even got a non-blue cheese lover exclaiming it was the best ever - pity I didn't get the brand. I suppose if I could get into my time machine and go back a few hours, I might know.

2 comments:

brendonh said...

Was that just on the weekend? I can't believe I missed it... should have ventured outside! Food looked good.

Tina said...

Hey Brendon - it was, but it wasn't all that big so you didn't miss out on too much. It was good, but we still ended up at the pub afterwards for more food and drinks... :)

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