Saturday, October 1, 2011

SIFF-ly irresistable: Barbecue Madness at Pyrmont Growers' Market

This year's Crave Sydney International Food Festival started with a bang today. Not so much bang for your buck, but good food and good times all round nonetheless. Thankfully rain free, Pyrmont Park was absolutely packed for the Pyrmont Growers' Market and the Barbecue Madness event held there.

Men around the barbie... Barbecue Madness at Pyrmont Growers' Market for Crave
Sydney International Food Festival 2011
The big feature was a couple of whole lambs on a spit, delivered by David Tanis of California's Chez Panisse and Craig Macindoe of MuMu Grill.

Failing that, there were other tickets available for a random allocation to a bunched up table of 10 for sustainable meat barbecue feasts from other chefs; many who had been on site since 5am (first round at 8.30am).

Whole lamb on the spit
So aside from the two great hunks of animals, there were sessions featuring a dish from one of David Tsirekas of Xanthi, Matt Kemp of The Montpellier Public House (previously Restaurant Balzac), Lauren Murdoch of Felix, Martin Boetz of Longrain, Joe Pavlovich of Glass, Jowett Yu of Ms.G's, Alex Herbert of Bird Cow Fish, Kylie Kwong of Billy Kwong, Darren Robertson of The Table Sessions or Alex Kearns of Glebe Point Diner. We were not short on quality options.

Seating for Barbecue Madness
We managed to get some of the last tickets available for the day for the 11am session - a nice brunch/lunch space and the last by the listed chefs before the whole spit roast lambs were divvied up for the final session.

Matt Kemp of The Montpellier Public House
We landed ourselves on Matt Kemp's table - he who has been so busy re-opening his Randwick restaurant that I'm surprised he had time to do this event; especially if preparation and cooking for the dish started three days earlier, as he said.

He brought out some of the dishes to the table and explained the pretty complex dish before us, involving more processes of braising and baking than my mind could handle and some pretty serious cooking times.

Costa's grass fed epigramme of veal breast with crushed carrots by The Montpellier Public House
It was a gorgeous dish of rich browns and fresh watercress, but the unexpected feature was the building block of dark brown. Blocks of veal is already pretty impressive, but the tenderness and flavour was out of the (ball) park, while the surface had a crispness that pleasingly broke up the textures.

I even scoffed the fatty bits, smothered in the veal jus, as they were just so delectable, along with cooking partners of the carrots and the refreshment of the watercress. Every bit of jus was also mopped up with a Sonoma bread roll, which also saw the love from Pukara Estate extra virgin olive oil and caramelised balsamic vinegar.

Slicing up the spit roasted lamb
As my session ended, heralded by the ringing of a cow bell, there was movement among the chefs towards the spit roasts, where one of the giant beasts was being dismantled for the next session. The food papparazzi moved right in, surely making this one of the most photographed bits of roast lamb in Australia.

Kylie Kwong sneaks a taste of the spit roasted lamb
Were I in Kylie Kwong's position I would have done exactly the same; sneaking a taste of the lamb as the guys broke it up to the admiring (and probably drooling) crowd. I didn't stick around to see others devour it, but visited the rest of the markets just before most the stalls closed up.

Totally worth the early morning wake-up to get to the Pyrmont Growers' Market, Barbecue Madness was a definite success and a great start to what looks like another fab month of eating, drinking and festival fun.


Richard Elliot said...

I'm with Kylie, I'd be sneaking in there for a taste! That lamb looks goooood.

Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said...

We caught the 11:30 session and caught that very lamb, delicioso!! It's going to be a long long month of eating Tina!

Lex (A Food Story) said...

I wish I had have made the effort to go to this, looks like you have a brilliant morning!

Cathy x. said...

i scored a free lunch. it was awesome! :P

Tina said...

Hi Richard - I was very tempted to follow suit...

Hi Gianna - Drooling at the thought of that lamb...! The smell was incredible!

Hi Lex - Yeah, it is a bit of an effort to get up early on a Saturday morning, but this was well worth it! :)

Hi Cathy - They usually are ;) (if they exist... uh-oh, microeconomics 101)

Anonymous said...

Ahhh... meat... !

Jorge Ramiro said...

OMG!!!! Dude, look at this peace of meat. It is awesome. I could eat that in one day :) While I was in the rent apartments buenos aires I have eaten a lot of barbecue.


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