|Taste of Sydney 2013, Centennial Park, Sydney|
|The chefs of Taste of Sydney 2013|
It was chock-a-block in the Miele tent as Kitchen by Mike was awarded the best front of house display. Popolo won third place in the Best in Taste with its pasta offering while Longrain took out second place for its rice noodle dish.
It was full attention for the announcement of the Best in Taste award which went to Taste first-timer Porteño for its wagyu beef brisket, cooked in an American style barbeque which was shipped over especially from the US.
|Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate from Porteño|
It was all hands on deck with maitre'd Sarah Doyle in charge of distributing plate upon plate of barbecued goodness from the hands of Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate.
|BBQ wagyu beef brisket with BBQ sauce and pickle from Porteño|
The rich meat was set off perfectly with a subtly smokey BBQ sauce and a pickle, while the crisp and creamy coleslaw mound beneath was a total highlight for me.
|Chorizo with chimmichurri from Porteño|
The chubby and chunky pork sausage burst with flavour and spiced juiciness, and was served a with fresh and herbaceous chimmichurri that was a meat-eater's match.
|Jackie M and Poh Ling Yeow at Malaysia Kitchen stall|
A demo kitchen was set up aside stalls selling Malaysian sauces, pastes and snacks, while a different pop-up restaurant was featured every day.
|Poh Ling Yeow demonstrates Hokkien noodles in the Malaysia Kitchen feature|
|Dilmah tea lounge|
|Biota Dining chef James Viles in the Dilmah Chef's Skillery tent|
Bowral's Biota Dining chef and director James Viles was good fun to watch as he torched tea leaves to make a smoked tea butter, churned with a KitchenAid and 45% fat content cream from his local dairy farmer, and strained through a (brand new) blue Chux wipe and served on a river stone.
|Croquette - Southern crayfish with paleta and Biota garden onions|
Viles' passion for his sustainable practices, and a few pre-event tweets, had me excited for his croquette offering. The crunchiest golden crumb you ever did see, or hear, held fluffy potato-ey innards with sea-sweet Southern crayfish flesh.
And while it was the crayfish I was most excited to try, I was blown away by the creamy white onion purée served beneath the three croquettes which had sweetness and heat in equally thrilling parts.
|Roast Murray Valley prok salad, crisp rice, mint, chilli and peanuts from Longrain|
|Chia seeds with a Nudie crushie|
|Pasta from Pasta Gallery|
|Chocolate, yuzu curd, miso butterscotch from Three Blue Ducks|
It was a surprisingly harmonious combination of rather diverse ingredients with just the right amount of richness: chocolate ganache, curd, cake bits, citrus segments lightening the whole lot and even honeycomb from memory.
Taste of Sydney weekend
|Weekend crowds at Taste of Sydney|
|Cointreau Strawberry and Mint Fizz|
Most irresistible was the plastic Cointreau conical flasks the drinks were served in, with strawberry and mint or cucumber and lime or a number of other flavour combination, and Cointreau and soda water as a base. I'll be able to make my own fizz in a flask at home now too.
|Jackie M char kway teo demonstration at the Malaysia Kitchen feature|
|Martin Boetz (soon to be ex Longrain) in Dilmah Chef's Skillery|
His departure from the Longrain kitchen after 14 years (last day is 30 June) is bittersweet as he moves on to focus on his Cook's Co-op farm: a couple of hectares of land up Hawkesbury way where Boetz is growing produce for Sydney restaurants in an attempt to reconnect chefs to the land, to where food really comes from.
|BBQ ocean trout with tangy Mexican street salad from Peter Kuruvita's Seafood Barbeque|
The barbequed Petuna ocean trout was cooked beautifully and barring a few bones, it was an excellent match to the 'Mexican street salad' which could also have been named a tropical fruit salad given it comprised paw paw, dragon fruit and grilled pineapple.
|Fregola alla zafferano con ragu di Maialino - Saffron infused toasted fregola pasta, |
suckling pig ragu
The little pasta is much like Israeli couscous, like nubbins of a thick round noodle, and perfectly textured for the meaty sauce.
|Slow braised pork cheek with black fungus relish roll from Claude's|
Slow cooked, fatty slices of pork cheek will do that, especially when it's on a scoffable little bun with a relish of black woodear fungus to cut through the fat.
|Head chef and owner Chui Lee Luk of Claude's|
|Twice baked cheese souffle from Claude's|
|Chef Mike McEnearney of Kitchen by Mike|
|Mike's pluto pup (front) and sweet corn with jalapeno salsa (back) from Kitchen by Mike|
|Cha Begendy - Scotch fillet cha kebap on charcoal spit, eggplant and kashar puree|
, The Scotch fillet cha kebap was the easy choice with thin slices of the tender, fully cooked beef laid atop of a smokey eggplant purée I could have eaten by the bowl.
|Deboned and roasted sheep's head with local garlic and cherry tomatoes tandir|
By all accounts, there was meat to be had in the head, in addition to plenty of roasted sheep's brain. Eyes were not mentioned.
|Mussels and suckling pig on at Four in Hand / 4Fourteen|
|Wagyu brisket coming out of the barbeque from Porteño|
|Cheese plate from Salt Meats Cheese|
The generous 'plate' of three cheeses came with copious amounts of thin, Sardinian style crisp bread; and while the super stinky soft cheese polarised some, the hard (parmeggiano or pecorino) was a definite winner.
|The Sommelier's Natural Environment session at the Plumm Taste Wine Theatre|
It was a very entertaining session with some interesting new tastes and tidbits learnt. The Between Five Bells rose was a fruity, summery highlight I'll need to seek out again.
|Chocolate dipped pistachio mastic ice cream from Booza|
The sesame-based halva flavour was superb although I still can't decide whether I like the rose Turkish delight or pistachio flavours more.
|Taste crowds on hot and windy Sunday|
See more photos from Taste of Sydney 2013 on my Facebook page.
|The big pink Taste fork at the entrance|
Food, booze and shoes attended Taste of Sydney 2013 as a media guest, with thanks to Stellar Concepts. Food and Crowns were paid for independently.