Saturday, October 30, 2004

2004 Sydney Food & Wine Fair

Went to the annual smh food & wine fair today in Hyde Park. Fundraising for the Aids Council of Australia, the deal is you purchase 'coupons', and then redeem the coupons at various stalls throughout the park. The stalls of course are representatives of several esteemed establishments around Sydney, places in which I could never afford ordinarily. The prices are pretty good - 4x coupons ($8) for a 'main' , 3x for a dessert, 1x for coffee. The places from which I tried wares were Flying Fish, Longrain, Kingsley's Steakhouse, Pello, and of course, a dessert & coffee. The food & wine fair is part of the Good Food Month promotion that the herald runs every October.

First up was Pork Crackling & Pork Belly with Seared Tuna & Ruby red grapefruit, from Flying Fish restaurant in Pyrmont. Just before serving a warm sauce was added to the container. This was really tasty, the pork belly was tender, and surprisingly, the ruby red grapefruit worked really really well with the whole lot. Not a bad serving for $8, and the sauce was super tasty. I think it had some sugar, fish sauce, honey, pepper & a little pink grapefruit juice.

Number two was from Longrain. The queue was enormous, and quite easily the longest one at that time. Longrain's food is always popular, and I've heard reports that during the night noodle markets, also held during the Good Food Month promotion, they quite often run out of food. Anyway, I tried the noodle salad with bbq pork (chinese style), and the yellow chicken curry. The curry was delish, and came with a pickle of cumcumber, ginger & onion. The pickle is worthwhile marking at home, and the dish was very Malaysian in style. A little bit hot (coming from a chilli coward), but tasty. The noodle salad was - average. Big on serving size, but it's a salad for goodness sake. Nothing resembling a decent carb or protein, so the instant you eat it, I'm sure you'll be hungry again. I saw them mixing it up fresh, but a raw bean sprout is a raw
bean sprout , and I don't like them that much.

Kinglsey's steakhouse dish was an Angus Steak (sliced after being cooked on the BBQ), served with a potato mash/salad, and a bit of rocket salad. The meat was very tender & juicy, and I think the long queues for this stall were fairly justified.

In my quest to become a photographer (& with digital cameras these days, who wouldn't?), I found a place with a great smoking bbq, & the sounds of ribs sizzling. Pello, was serving up bbq ribs. It was a bit of a lottery as to how skin & bone your ribs were, but if you were lucky enough to get a meaty version, they were pretty tasty. A friend said though, that the sauce was a bit typical for a bbq rib sauce, and really, I should head over to Hurricanes someplace near bondi which has ribs to-die-for.

After this, I thought it was time for dessert - so eyeing off quantity over quality equation, I went to the Simone Logue foodstall, & got the most enormous slice of lemon curd cheesecake, and won on both counts. Simone Logue is one of those insta-meal type places, where the plan is you pop in after work & grab a takeaway container of something to reheat at home. With convenience comes an added price tag - but afaik, this mob were pretty much the first on the block with this concept in a stand-alone stall. The cheesecake was gooood. It was 1/8 of a cake, about 8cms tall & divine & melty. Highly recommended if you can find it for $6 a slice!

Finally - one of the great addictions of my life. coffee. Tried a one from Allpress espresso, and one from Forsyth's coffee. Both of these guys have stalls at the good food markets in pyrmont, and I've generally gone for the stall with the shorter queue. Having tried the markets' tobys coffee a few times, I've never been impressed, and cannot understand why the long queues (at least 50 ppl) each time I walk past the toby's stall. It tastes like coffee flavoured milk! Get over it! In any case, it was interesting to try coffees from both of the other vendors side by side, a flat white being my (oooh, I'm so 90s) method of comparison. Forsyth won out by a mile. It had a good depth of flavour, at least some hint of a crema, and the flavour lasted throughout the brew. The beans? I can't quite recollect what they were using. It went well with the cheesecake as well. Allpress I _think_ were using Vittoria beans. Unfortunately, it was a disappointment. No crema, tasted bland & too milky all the way through.
More proof that the skill of the barrista is what makes the pudding...