14 March 2010

Taste of Sydney 2010: Free tastings and menu guide to help plan your visit, Sydney (11,13 Mar 2010)

11-14 March 2010
Centennial Park Sydney NSW 2000

OMG, no Turkish Gozleme!

Free tastings and a Crown-free day
Saturday 13 March 2010 12-4 pm session
Today's visit was more focused on checking out the remaining restaurant dishes I didn't photograph on my first visit and to check out many of the producer stands — although I totally forgot to revisit Buon Ricordo dishes and Aria's dessert. After Nom Nom Nibblies and Leave Room for Dessert alerted me to 'free' tastings available at the New Zealand and City Tattersalls Club stands this became high on my agenda — a definite MUST! I was very impressed with the Omega Seafood mussels which are supplied precooked with no additives and tasted great and fresh. I'll definitely be looking out for these at the Sydney Fish Markets. Whitestone Cheese had plenty of choices on offer and I really liked the Windsor Blue which wasn't too overpowering on taste but still had enough characteristic bite. The NZ Regal King Salmon Pastrami was a delightful combination of flavours which I'll also keep in mind for canapés. The Kohu Road Ice Cream stand had seven choices and of course I had to try all seven — favourites were Strawberry, Cookies and Cream, Expresso and Dark Chocolate but all were deliciously creamy and good.

The City Tattersalls Club stand should be applauded for their lovely and vibrant service staff which made everyone visiting very welcome as they generously shared lots of excellent food. The Bramble Cocktail was very refreshing, the Wagyu Mini Burger well-presented and tasty, the Apple, Cranberry and Cinnamon donuts a huge crowd pleaser and the Tempura Soft Shell Crab cooked to crispy perfection — do not miss visiting. Gourmet Dinner Service reminded me of a gourmet meals on wheels. Their extensive range of high quality prepared meals are home delivered and seem reasonably priced. I was very interested in their bite sized canapés which would be a great idea for catering a birthday. The well-presented Chocolate and Orange Cassatta was a bite sized party for the taste buds. ThinkSpirits had some amazing looking liqueurs and the versatile Pomegranate Liqueur was my favourite. Baileys have recently released their coffee version which was very addictive — I think I might prefer it over the original now.

Bultarra Australian Saltbush Lamb were doing a simple pan fry of some Easy Carve Leg and it remained juicy and tender with lots of flavour — they have a great product. I tried a sample of the very tender Game Farm Portuguese Spatchcock in Piri Piri Marinade which was also just pan fried — keep your eyes out for this one. Now I'm an avid gin drinker (socially of course) and have always considered Bombay Sapphire as my preferred higher shelf choice but after sampling the smooth tasting Brocker's London Dry Gin from Pure Spirits stand I'll now be looking out for it. Try it straight and you'll be amazed how much nicer it is on the palate to Bombay Sapphire — I was shocked. It apparently won a Masters Award over Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire and Beefeater at The Gin Masters London 2008.

I met Mark Best from Marque Restaurant who organised sample dishes for me to photograph and then generously let me have them complimentary — oh wow. The well-presented Cured Ocean Trout and Slow Cooked Lamb Rump were soft and tender, and the Sauternes Custard with Caramel was so silky smooth and well balanced on taste. Next I met head chef Jodie Wallace from Flying Fish who also organised dish samples for me to photograph. Their signature dish of Yellow Fin Tuna was nicely presented with melt in your mouth tuna. I enjoyed the taste of the purple herb on top with it. Longrain stand provided their refreshing Tapioca pudding for my photography and free sampling which had a nice balance of flavours although nothing too experimental in this dish. I revisit Restaurant Balzac to have a quick chat with Yasmin Williams and chef Matthew Kemp who provided a complimentary sampling of their tasty Suckling Pig with Garden Peas with a fairly rich Smoked Bacon Jus. The meat was moist and juicy although I was really hoping the skin was going to be more crispy and crunchy in texture. They're running a Bastille Day competition worth $350 I think so be sure to add your entry.

I leave Taste of Sydney totally full. A day of plenty of delicious food which I somehow managed to get through without paying anything :-)

Scouting for shots of the dishes
Thursday 11 March 2010 5.30-9.30 pm session
This is the first time I've been to a food festival and not spotted one of those Turkish Gozleme stands — thankfully this must be a real 'gourmet' event :-) So for those of you who are planning to check out Taste of Sydney this weekend here's some of the dishes you can expect to find — I hope you find this a helpful guide. This was mostly a scouting mission to see what's available and I'm planning to revisit this Saturday to take more photos of the dishes and hopefully try a few of them too.

Thankfully the generous Ferrero Rondnoir stand was giving out free yummy chocolates to keep my sugar energy levels high. I've highlighted below the dishes that seem to be the most appealing for me to try in terms of interesting flavours and generously sized which hopefully ends up being good value — although I'd love to try them all.

Check out the full Taste of Sydney 2010 menu.

Dates and Times:
Thursday 11th March: 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Friday 12th March: 12 pm - 4 pm
Friday 12th March: 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Saturday 13th March: 12 pm - 4 pm
Saturday 13th March: 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Sunday 14th March: 12 pm - 5 pm

Other food blog reviews:
Almond and the Hazelnut (Unseen TV promo video)

Other visits to Taste of Sydney:
March 2012 / March 2011 / March 2010

PROS: A taste test of Sydney's top quality restaurants, Meet the chefs in person
CONS: Can end up being quite expensive if you want to try a lot of dishes, Weather permitting, Time limit, Can get crowded and quite overwhelming
MUST TRY: Checking out the other dishes I didn't get to see


New Zealand stand

New Zealand King Salmon
Salmon tartare canapé

Smoked salmon ceviche

NZ Regal King Salmon Pastrami canapé

Omega Seafood


Whitestone cheese
Double Cream Brie, Brie

Vintage Cheddar, Camembert

Windsor Blue

Kohu Road Ice Cream


Golden syrup

Cookies and cream


Dark chocolate

Milk chocolate

City Tattersalls Club
Bramble Cocktail

Mini Wagyu Cheese Burger with capsicum relish

Apple, Cranberry and Cinnamon donuts with white chocolate or sour cherry

Dulce de leche and Chocolate Panna Cotta

Tempura Soft Shell Crab with Lime and Ginger Aioli

Friendly service team

Gourmet Dinner Service
Smoked Salmon Roulade

Chocolate and Orange Cassatta

Pama Pomegranate Liqueur

Baileys with a hint of coffee

Australian Saltbush Lamb Easy Carve Leg

Game Farm
Portuguese Spatchcock in Piri Piri Marinade

Pure Spirits

Broker's London Dry Gin

The charismatic Andy Dawson (director) signing customer purchased


Executive Chef - James Metcalfe

Dish 1: Prawn cocktail (Etch) $10

Executive Chef - Justin North
Dish 2: Organic Grass Fed Wagyu Beef Burger (Plan B) $12
SFF Note: To really appreciate this dish I think you're better off going to Plan B and get it freshly cooked for only $10.

Dish 3: Chocolate Souffle (Bécasse) $12

Executive Chef - Matt Moran
Dish 1: Cured ocean trout with cucumber and horseradish $10

Dish 2: Slow roasted Moran Family Lamb Spit Roast $12

Dish 3: Strawberry jelly with Champagne foam

Pilu at Freshwater
Executive Chef - Giovanni Pilu
Dish 1: Suckling Pig panino with apple, mustard and rocket served on Sonoma sourdough $10

Dish 2: Risotto with Crystal Bay prawns and zucchini $12

Dish 3: 'Zippulas' - Sardinian donuts with citrus sugar $8

Restaurant Balzac
Executive Chef - Matthew Kemp
Dish 1: Crispy Wagyu Beef with Wild Mushroom and Truffle Foam $10

Dish 2 : Saddle of Suckling Pig with Garden Peas and Smoked Bacon Jus $12

Dish 3: Warm Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream $10

Longrain Restaurant & Bar
Executive Chef - Martin Boetz
Dish 1: Longrain Fish cakes with sweet chilli lime coriander and bean sprouts $10

Dish 2: Longrain Yellow curry of Byron Bay Berkshire Pork with pickled mustard greens $12

Dish 3: Tapioca pudding with poached jackfruit & lychees $8

Danks Street Depot
Executive Chef - Jared Ingersoll
Dish 1: Organic Chicken Liver Parfait with Sweet Vinegar Raisan and Dressed Baby Herbs $10

Dish 2: Beef Ribs Smoked in Watermelon with a Watermelon and Avocado Salad $12

Dish 3: 'Saucy Tart' with Chocolate Mousse and Liquid Raspberry Centre $10

Restaurant Assiette
Executive Chef - Warren Turnbull
Dish 1: Sydney rock oysters with Vietnamese dressing cripsy shallot and baby coriander $10

Dish 2: Miso glazed Malborough king salmon with Japanese radish salad $12

Dish 3: Fig and Heilala vanilla ricotta tart with honey ice cream $8

Bird Cow Fish
Executive Chef - Alex Herbert
Dish 1: Terrine of Berkshire pork with 'Grain Organic Bakery' white sourdough and a remoulade dressed salad $12

Dish 2: Braised Cape Grim beef cheek and galzed onion pie in a sour cream & puff pastry case, red wine veal jus $12

Dish 3: Tiramisu roulade - chocolate sponge rolled around a Paesanella mascarpone and Marsale sabayon $8

Berowra Waters Inn
Executive Chef - Dietmar Sawyere
Dish 1: Chilled Vichyssoise, Salmon Caviar, Hawkesbury River Oyster Beignet $10

Dish 2: Quail Breast & Truffled Risotto Croustillant $12

Dish 3: Cheesecake Foam, Late Summer Fruits, White Chocolate $10

Four in Hand
Executive Chef - Colin Fassnidge
Dish 1: Dashi and soy marinated tuna with spicy avocade puree and pickled cauliflower and garden radish salad $10

Dish 2: 12 hour slow cooked lamb shoulder; minted crushed peas and feta dressing $12

Dish 3: The 4's dark chocolate Cherry Ripe $8

Jonah's at Whale Beach
Executive Chef - George Francisco
Dish 1: Alba White Truffle popcorn $8

Dish 2: Fries with Eyes - Crisp school Prawns with a spicy Cajun remoulade $12

Dish 3: Vanilla panna cotta with lavender honey and fresh pomegranate $12

el Toro Loco
Executive Chef - Miguel Maestre
Me mixing Paella a la Maestre

Dish 1: Manchego and Serrano Montaditos with sourdough and extra virgin olive oil $8

Dish 2: Chef and Paella a la Maestre $10

Dish 3: Grilled vanilla stone fruit with sangria $8

Executive Chef - Mark Best

Dish 1: Cured Ocean Trout with Coleslaw, lemon & Dill Jelly $10

Dish 2: Slow Cooked Lamb Rump, Confit Capsicum, Eggplant caviar & Black Olive Oil $12

Dish 3: Sauternes Custard with Caramel $8

Flying Fish
Executive Chef - Peter Kuruvita

Dish 1: Yellow fin tuna with sweet pork crackling and ruby grape fruit $10

Dish 2: Grilled king prawns with black pepper and curry leaf sauce steamed rice and curry leaf malum $12

Dish 3: Sri Lankan Love cake with raspberry tea coulis $8

Flying Fish sauces, dressings and cooking products

Guillaume at Bennelong
Executive Chef - Guillaume Brahimi
Dish 1: Mini Sandwich with Blue Swimmer Crab meat and coriander mayonnaise $10

Dish 2: Wagyu Beef Daube with Paris Mash $12

Dish 3: Pistachio Macaroons $8

Buon Ricordo
Executive Chef - Armando Percuoco

Dish 1: Pasta e piselli: Tubetti pasta with peas, onions and bacon $8

Dish 2: Fagottini di carne: Homemade sausage bound with parmesan and truffle egg, served with rucola $10

Dish 3: Braciolette Napoletana: Veal rolled with parsley, pine-nuts, sultanas and garlic cooked with fresh tomato $12

The Festival grounds


Crown Bank lineup — look out for sellers walking around as well.

SMEG stand - cool retro coloured fridges

Plenty of stands

Opera Bar stand

Chandon stand

Environmental cutlery


linda said...

Great round up of basically everything there. Unfortunately, won't be able to make it to TOS this year, however I think your pics made up for it.

foodwink said...

You have saved us a lot of time running up and down researching what's what around TOS ... bravo!

Now we just need to go straight to the targeted tents!

Mark @ Cafe Campana said...

Surpurb post. I am going tonight and now I know what to watch out for. I really like the look of the watermelon smoked ribs.

YaYa said...

Thanks for putting this together, I wasn't planning to go as I hate crowds and queueing and trying to feed myself at the same time! I can just imagine the tastes in my head from your photos - no calorie dining!

bbsnoopy said...

This post is awesome! Everything looks so yummy! It's given me a heads up as to what I should try to fit in my stomach before it starts to protest!

Joanie said...

That was really a great menu guide feast. The chocolate and of course the PAELLA is what strikes me the most :)

Samantha said...

Fantastic post
Your photos are really great. I went today and checked it out myself.

Anonymous said...

Major lol at No Turkish Gozleme!!!! Great wrap up!! Love this post :)

Tina said...

Great job on the pics! How'd you get up close with the paella??? :D

Sarah Winehouse said...

Great Post Simon!! A lot of reading but Love it!! And all the photos are excellent.

Anita said...

You got amazing photos of the dishes Simon!! Love the one of you with the paella. Glad you went to some of the great freebie stands too.

Taste Buddies said...

An amazing feast and congrats on such a great summary. Good to see NZ there too.

Renee C said...

Wow Simon! You've done an amazing job here. Greap pics - I feel like I missed out on so much food.

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said...

There's enough samples there to make it a meal! I think being two very hungry people we went straight for the main attractions bypassing a lot of the produce stands hence missing out on those wonderful samples you have photographed. Oh well, there's always next year ;)

niksblog said...

clearly we have the same tastes in food - all your favourites would have been mine too!
great photos awesome post - and way to go on the free side!

Simon Leong said...

hi linda, you can now relive most of what they offered.

hi foodwink, i wish someone had blogged all the dishes before i got there for me. hopefully next year i'll get to go to the VIP launch and pre-pre-checkout the dishes to try :-)

hi mark, hope it was helpful. i heard the watermelon smoked ribs were quite popular but forgot to try them :-(

hi yaya, the crowds luckily weren't too bad. i was expecting the worst but because it's all broken into sessions this seems to help with the crowd control. very easy to get around and try things and hardly any wait in lining up for restaurant food — i was shocked actually.

hi bbsnoopy, eat fast and don't think about it. hope you had a great visit.

hi joanie, hope you get to try them if you go. so many choices it can get quite overwhelming.

hi samantha, looking forward to hearing what you get to try. thanks for the positive feedback about the photos.

hi ellie, im sure they'll try and make their way into this festival somehow :-) maybe even setting up a stand outside the grounds hehe

hi tina, when i asked if i can take a photo of the paella dish the chef just said please come in, take a photo! he wanted to be in it too hehe too funny. he was very friendly and passionate about the paella! was a very popular dish during the festival.

hi sarah, i usually like keeping my posts really short but it was really hard to do for this one to give it justice. i can't believe how many photos i posted as well.

hi anita, i LOVE my freebies. i would have felt so sad if i didn't visit the free tastings and they were actually really good which was a bonus :-)

hi taste buddies, makes me really want to visit NZ. everything was soooo good.

hi renee, hopefully you'll get to go next year. i'll definitely want to again. all depends on good weather though to really make it a good experience.

hi angielivestoeat, there's definitely always next year. go for the centre samples first perhaps to see what they have. i could have spent 8 hours visiting every stand but unfortunately you only get about 4 :-( per session.

hi niksblog, great to hear although i sadly missed out trying them hehe hopefully next year i won't be so forgetful :-)

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