Friday, November 9, 2012

The inaugural Green Square Gourmet Food Festival and Long Dinner

Crave Sydney International Food Festival signalled the beginning of festival season in Sydney although its end signals a perhaps scary start to the year-end festive season.

month back now, the sprinkling rain and cold deterred few from the inaugural Green Square Gourmet Food Festival as a part of Crave, so congratulations go to the organisers for a job very well done.

Pony rides as part of the Green Square Gourmet Food Festival, Joynton Park,
Victoria Park, Green Square
Dreamt up and put together by Martin, the outdoor festival in Joynton Park within the Victoria Park complex had both kids and food lovers covered.

There were pony rides, a petting farm, restaurant and produce stalls, a bar and, luckily given the weather, a big marquee with plenty of seating.

Kids' Audi driving track

A llama in the petting zoo

Fruit and vegetable carvings

Paella by Bocata
The festival provided an opportunity for Green Square to feature restaurants and providores from the area and neighbouring Surry Hills, Redfern, Alexandria and so forth - and what a gourmet bounty it was.

Yellow beef curry by Longrain
With Noodle Markets commitments as well, Longrain was in full festival swing in October. Their yellow beef curry was mildly spicy, while the soft beef pieces must have been cooked for hours and hours.

The curry's spicy sauce and fluffy white rice were only enhanced by the vegetable pickle on top.

Penne with beef ragu from Adamo's Pasta
Great value was had at the Adamo's Pasta stall with rich, filling bowls of beef ragu penne for only $5.

Not only was it value for money, it was darn well one of the best pastas I've had - certainly coming from a bain marie into a biodegradable bowl, and even comparing to some eateries - with the impressively al dente penne tubes holding up a very robust tomato and red wine ragu.

Fresh mozzarella being stretched at the Salt Meats Cheese stall
I was introduced to Salt Meats Cheese (which sits next to The Grounds of Alexandria) by Jeremy Martin of Martin, and was glad to be able to sample their goodies at the festival.

Mozzarella is one of my all-time favourite cheeses and having learnt to make it recently, I was only more appreciative watching the guy at the stall stretch the curds into beautiful balls of mozzarella.

Salt Meats Cheese are doing some pretty awesome things with their fresh cow's and buffalo milk mozzarella that take me back to my time spent in Italy - quite a feat for a locally-made cheese.

Cheese sampling at the Salt Meats Cheese stall
See more photos from the Green Square Gourmet Food Festival here on my Facebook page.

Pop-Up Long Dinner

Later in the evening, amid the grey skies and threatening winds, the festivities continued in Joynton Park with a pop-up Long Dinner hosted by Martin.

The chilly weather rather challenged the cocktail dress code - it would have been a stunning set-up were it a balmy spring night. Nonetheless, the themed marquee was a pretty sight in the middle of the park.

Marquee and crowd for Long Dinner as part of the
Green Square Gourmet Food Festival 
Surrounded by high rise apartment buildings, the marquee looked to be holding steady as about 200 people sipped wines by Swinging Bridge (apt, really, given the wind) and Pimms cocktails with natural oysters and peppery prawn crackers to start the night.

Tables set up for the Long Dinner
Three long tables were set up beneath the open-sided marquee while a live music act took the stage at the front. Professional waitstaff added a sense of refinement to the evening while the bottomless bottles of wine was reminiscent of a wedding.

Entrees being plated in the kitchen
I was allowed to sneak into the makeshift tent kitchen where the night's dinner was being prepared by Danks Street Depot, Longrain and The French House (also in Danks Street, Waterloo).

Martin Boetz of Longrain (left) and Jared Ingersoll of Danks Street Depot (right)
Food was in fact being prepared by the the men themselves: Jared Ingersoll of Danks Street Depot and Martin Boetz of Longrain, who also joined the long dinner when they could leave the kitchen.

Bread and butter

Salad of cauliflower, corn and cucumber

Beetroot and carrot salad
Sitting among new faces and couple of restaurateurs, dinner was a meal of shared courses, starting with bread and spring-appropriate salads of cauliflower and corn, and beetroot and carrot.

Charcuterie plate by Danks Street Depot
Next, Ingersoll's generous charcuterie platter of velvety duck liver pâté, orange-hued salmon rillettes and hunk of veal terrine could have been the meal itself, so rich and decadent it was.

I couldn't pick a favourite but the brandy-toned pâté was quite incredible.

Boetz tends to the yellow curry
Boetz headed back into the kitchen to plate and finish the main course: a yellow curry of duck, served with rice and cucumber chilli pickles.

Cucumber pickles

Yellow duck curry by Longrain
I loved that there was a bigger heat kick in the pickle than the mild yellow curry which dressed the impeccably tender and juicy duck legs and breasts.

There was plenty of duck to go around and it took a lot in me to not finish off the shared bowl of curry and rice, and call it a night. A lot.

Assorted mini tarts by The French House
And so there was room for dessert; a huge selection of tarts and small bits from The French House that ensured no one would be tasting them all. The chocolate tart was as good as it was cute, while the white chocolate covered profiterole was a custard-filled delight.

Rain and lightning timed itself well to celebrate the close of dinner and the day overall of the Green Square Gourmet Food Festival.

Many thanks go to Martin for the very well executed event - from music to decorations and of course, the food and booze, it was a long dinner to remember, and not for the free light show at the end either. See you next year!

Food, booze and shoes attended the Long Dinner as a guest of Martin.


Missy Piggy said...

This constant darn rain - such a spoil sport! All of the food looks amazing...and I love the fruit & veggie carving, what fun!

cquek said...

This dish is so comforting and I am going to try it. That is a fun outing


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