|Taste of Sydney, 13-16 March 2014, Centennial Park, Sydney|
The parklands were abuzz with stalls on the opening Thursday night with a host of familiar faces and a few new, with the Best in Taste Awards again hosted in the Taste VIP tent.
|G.H. Mumm champagne in the Taste VIP tent|
The Best Dressed stall was deemed to be Rojo Rocket from the rotating Destination Dining restaurants; with the award accepted gleefully by the Taste first-timers. Another festival newbie, Aki's Indian Restaurant, took out third in the Best in Taste, with their poori offering.
Perennial favourites Porteño placed second with their charcoal grilled wagyu skirt steak, and the Best in Taste award went to old-but-new Taste participant Chow Bar & Eating House, with ex-Claudes' owner and chef Chui Lee Luk's 'Beggar's Chicken'.
|Taste of Sydney - opening night|
|Porteño's tent kitchen charcoal grill|
|Charcoal grilled entrana - wagyu skirt steak with BBQ peppers and chimichurri from Porteño|
|Charcoal grilled lamb rib with marinated eggplant, anchovy |
and rosemary pound from Porteño
|Porteño's woodfired asado|
|Woodfired lamb from the asado with potato salad and chimchurri from Porteño|
The succulent cuts of lamb (leg?) were tender if not a bit one-dimensional, although I did spy various other cuts of the Icon Dish, as it is in the restaurant, that offered more colour and varied texture.
|Crispy pork belly with chilli caramel, aioli and mint slaw from Chur Burger|
The pork belly was a winning combination of a crisp hunk of roasted belly with crackling, cabbage and mint slaw, aioli and a sticky chilli caramel; somehow all balanced within a cute, little burger bun.
|Kinkawooka mussel fritter with spiced remoulade and dill pickled cucumber |
from Chur Burger
|Crispy king prawns, green chilli, lime from Longrain|
With very well-trimmed heads (no dangerous, sharp bits), it was much like eating whole fried school prawns but better, with a crisp, well-seasoned flour coating and that fabulous, firm texture of large crustaceans.
|Hay smoked chicken legs - cured and smoked chicken, corn and local garlic creme |
from Biota Dining
It was an impressively large chicken specimen with a crunchy crumb coating and soft yellow cream of corn and garlic that's right up there as one of the most expensive chicken drumsticks I've ever had.
|Dahi sel poori - crispy wheat pockets with spiced potato and yoghurt from Aki's Indian Restaurant|
Eaten in one or two mouthfuls, the poori was an intriguing sensation of warm and cold, soft and crisp, spice and sourness that was gone all too quickly.
|Ceci e tria alla Pugliese - pasta strips cooked two ways, chickpeas, pecorino mousse |
|Taco de Cochinito - pulled pork taco, corn puree, salad and salsa rojo from Rojo Rocket|
With a puree of corn, watercress leaves and tasty namesake salsa rojo, the tortilla didn't get a chance to go soggy, scoffed within a minute or so.
|Suckling pig on the spit at 4Fourteen / Four in Hand|
|Otto Ristorante's head chef Richard Ptacnik in the Taste Kitchen|
|Country Kitchen seating area|
Food, booze and shoes attended Taste of Sydney as a guest. All food and Crowns were paid for independently.