The Taste of Sydney food festival is unlike any other outdoor event. Where else can you have the best of Sydney’s dégustation, sampling some of the best cuisines from talented chefs all under the same tents.
Now in its second year, the event is set in the Brazilian Fields at Centennial Park. This foodies’ delight gives you the chance to go from one chef’s kitchen to the next and indulge your culinary senses in whatever takes your fancy.
Entry tickets are $30 at the door. Crowns are the official ‘currency’ of the festival and can be purchased in books of 10 or 30, where $1 = 1 crown. Dishes range from 8-12 crowns, and drink tastings start from 2 crowns.
Taste of Sydney Menus
We took a quick walk around the park to get oriented with the stalls and restaurants. We paused for a few moments and talked to chef Mark Best from Marque Restaurant. As long time regulars, we opted to return to his restaurant soon rather than try his dishes on the day, although I nearly caved in to the favourite Sauternes Custard with Caramel.
Some restaurants put a sample menu on show, tempting the eye before the palate, which made the choice a little easier.
Jonah’s at Whale Beach Menu
Entrée – Alba white truffle popcorn
Main- Fries with eyes crisp school prawns with a spicy Cajun remoulade
Dessert – Vanilla panna cotta with lavender honey and fresh pomegranate
Taste of Sydney Entreés
Taste of Sydney Main Courses
Aria – Slow roasted Moran family lamb, spit roast
Restaurant Balzac – Saddle of suckling pig with garden peas and smoked bacon jus
Berowra Waters Inn – Quail breast and truffled risotto croustillant
Danks Street Depot – Beef ribs smoked in watermelon with a watermelon and avocado salad
El Toro Loco – Paella a la Maestre. You need to do laps around this paella pan while cooking!
Taste of Sydney Desserts
Jonah’s at Whale Beach – Vanilla panna cotta with lavender honey and fresh pomegranate.
By far the most visually intriguing dessert, and somewhat popular with the girls (I’m assuming the men were less vocal), the panna cotta wobbles like a breast before it settles into shape and the tip points in one direction. The combination of lavender honey and pomegranate complemented the vanilla flavour in a smooth and silky panna cotta.
Bécasse – Chocolate soufflé, served warm.
Danks Street Depot – ‘Saucy Tart’ with chocolate mousse and liquid raspberry centre
Guillaume at Bennelong – Pistachio Macarons
From the charismatic (Miguel Maestre – top L), to the culinary gods (Mark Best & Guillaume Brahimi – top R) to those with celebrity status (Matt Moran – bottom R, L), even the camera shy (Dietmar Sawyere – not shown), there were plenty of opportunities to meet and speak to one’s favourites.
Taste of Sydney Drinks
We enjoyed a tasting of Patrón Tequila, going through the range of Silver, Reposado and the aged Añejo.
We also tried the range of Alchemia Polish Vodka (not shown), a premium triple distilled grain vodka that would go well in a dry Martini or served neat. The wild cherry Vodka was the favourite among the other infused varieties.
Taste of Sydney Exhibits
Food exhibits were plentiful, with the Grumpy Baker (top L), a selection of teas (top R) and the retro chic fridges from SMEG (bottom R) which could tempt me to redesign my kitchen.
The Opera Bar provided a spot to relax with a drink while live music provided entertainment and background music while eating.
With 40 minutes till closing time, an announcement was made that alcohol would cease to be served in 10 minutes. Naturally, we flocked to the nearest bar to try a zingy Indochine Caipirinha from the Sagatiba stand.
We loved the personalised touches that some of the restaurants have made to the decor of their stands. Restaurant Balzac (left), a long-time favourite, replicated the entrance to their restaurant complete with a chandelier, fresh flowers and the sandstone exterior. Longrain Restaurant (right) caught our attention with its side mural.
Matt Moran in the Kitchen
The illusion of Matt Moran cooking in his kitchen, thanks to some quick photo composition.
What’s food if you can’t have a little fun?
Demonstrating the wobbling bits (Panna Cotta) from Jonah’s at Whale Beach
Although each session lasts for four hours, it does not provide sufficient time to try everything of interest, be it the restaurants, the drinks or the other exhibits. Entry tickets are for single use, making the $30 price a little steep if one wishes to return for more.
Taste of Sydney concludes on Sunday 14 March 2010.
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