23 March 2010

Time Out Sydney Taste Test: Final winner announced, CBD Bistro, Sydney (22 Mar 2010)

52 King Street, Sydney NSW 2000


New chefs in the kitchen

The kitchen was buzzing tonight with young apprentice chefs passionately cooking their own signature dishes for a full house of hungry diners who in turn voted for their favourite dish of the night.

From the start Stephanie Coupland from est. set the bar high with an artfully arranged dish of Sashimi of yellowfin tuna, wasabi sorbet, coriander and shiso pearls which also delivered on taste for me. All the ingredients were well balanced and the bits of finger lime provided a wonderful highlight on the taste buds. Ryka Johnson from Rockpool was next with his vegetarian inspired Pumpkin and celery salad with sweet, salty and sour dressing which was well presented with lots of different textures throughout but I found it just a bit too overly pumpkin in taste. Daniel Sturman from est. created the Grilled white scallops and cuttlefish, apple, witlof, hazelnuts and mache. I had the privilege of trying this recently at est when I visited for the March in Merivale $33 Menu. Scallops were beautifully cooked again but I was hoping the cuttlefish was going to be more tender to the bite and wished cauliflower puree would have somehow made it's way on the plate too. Alex Keen from Ormeggio prepared the Sultana and thyme infused poached rabbit, potato and parsnip puree with marsala reduction — this was a non-judged dish although a bit of a crowd pleaser nevertheless.

Another non-judged dish came next by Zen Jay Ong from Aqua Dining whose Compressed fruit salad, cinnamon sand, raspberry caramel, vanilla creme fraiche and micro basil looking delightful on the glass plate and you could easily smell the wonderful fruits used. I enjoyed the flavours but I'm not a fan of glass plates as they tend to make too much noise with the slightest touch of cutlery. The cinnamon sand was perhaps a bit too sandy tasty for me though. Finally Michael Mu Sung from est. brought out his Chocolate and raspberry cake, white chocolate mousse, almond soil, blueberry sorbet and lemon espuma. Perhaps one of the more substantial sized dishes of the night it certainly delivered on his wish of 'simple flavours made from common ingredients'. I think presentation could be tightened up a bit but it was really hard for me to choose between this one and Stephanie's Sashimi dish as the winner — I think it's a little unfair to judge savoury against sweet dishes.

A big thanks to Frank Roberts from Merivale who invited me along as a guest at this $60/head event. Front of house Maître d' Howard and Chef Simun Dragicevich were great in keeping everything on track both in the dining area and kitchen.

Other visits to Bistro CBD:
22 March 2010 - Time Out Sydney Taste Test final
28 July 2009 - Tasting Night 15 Years of Dining Excellence

SNAPSHOT REVIEW:
PROS: Reasonable price for 6 well thought out and presented dishes from up and coming chefs
CONS: Books out really quickly
MUST TRY: Keeping an eye on where these young chefs end up

Cointreau Blush: Cointreau, Fresh lime, pink grapefruit juice and soda water

Menu

Voting card

Sourdough bread and forks

Stephanie Coupland from est.





Sashimi of yellowfin tuna, wasabi sorbet, coriander and shiso pearls
SIMON FAVOURITE :-)

Ryka Johnson from Rockpool



Pumpkin and celery salad with sweet, salty and sour dressing

Daniel Sturman from est.



Grilled white scallops and cuttlefish, apple, witlof, hazelnuts, mache

Alex Keen from Ormeggio


Sultana and thyme infused poached rabbit, potato and parsnip puree, marsala reduction

Zen Jay Ong from Aqua Dining


Compressed fruit salad, cinnamon sand, raspberry caramel, vanilla creme fraiche, micro basil

Michael Mu Sung from est.
Chocolate and raspberry cake, white chocolate mousse, almond soil, blueberry sorbet, lemon espuma
SIMON FAVOURITE :-)

My votes for the night
Dish A - I voted 1st
Stephanie Coupland from est. Sashimi of yellowfin tuna

Dish B - I voted 4th
Ryka Johnson from Rockpool, Pumpkin and celery salad

Dish C - I voted 3rd
Daniel Sturman from est. Grilled white scallops

Dish D - I voted 2nd
Michael Mu Sung from est. Chocolate and raspberry cake

Chefs receiving gifts and prizes

And the winner is ...
Stephanie Coupland from est.

The Kitchen Pass action

Dining area


Photographers
Daniel Boud getting his just desserts after photographing it

Zen Jay Ong getting in on the food photography behind Daniel Boud

Hobogestapo in action


Chef Simun Dragicevich photographing dishes

Let's cook
Chef Simun Dragicevich cooking scallops

Chit chat
Mark Best from Marque having a chat with Daniel Boud

Sara from Belly Rumbles wins a lucky door prize

Sara from Belly Rumbles and me

Don't forget about the busy dish washer

13 comments:

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

Oh wow! Looks like a great night! I love the photos of the chefs hard at work.

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Wow, what an amazing evening of food and drink! Did you find it difficult to be comparing desserts with mains? And I'm so happy for Sara to have won that book =)

daniel said...

Fantastic photos Simon - incredible what you can get out of that little camera.

Sarah said...

You can certainly see what the latest trend in plating up is at the moment from that! :-)

Sarah Vino said...

Wow those dishes certainly look unique! And that wasabi sorbet I can't say I've ever tried before. I got the notcies from Merivale but didn't realise how good it would be! Hah, see you around :)

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi angie, the intensity on the chefs faces when they preparing food is priceless. actually i get that scary face too when i'm in the kitchen :-)

hi mademoiselle délicieuse, it was definitely a difficult one to compare desserts and mains. i think they should have been perhaps judged separately. sara was so happy to win, everyone else was jealous of course hehe

hi daniel, i guess it's that age old saying, it's not what you've got, it's how you use it OR it's not the size that counts, it's how you use it hehe although there's quite a bit of photoshop work required to get to this stage and the detail and depth of field is still lacking. i'm hoping canon will sponsor me one day otherwise i'll just have to go and buy myself an upgrade.

hi sarah, i was very inspired seeing them make up their dishes and learnt a few things watching them in the kitchen.

hi sarah vino, i really enjoyed the wasabi sorbet, was very clever way of introducing the taste to the dish and worked for me. a great event to keep in mind for next year although they did sell out in about 30 minutes i think. crazy!

Sara said...

What a great night watching all that young passionate tallent. There is something I totally adore about "kids" with that passion and flair, may be because Junior is in the same age group. Where will they be in 5 or 10 years time? I can't wait to find out.

Was so wonderful catching up with you. Your pictures look amazing. Hopefully my blog will be up this evening :p

Myriam @Detours said...

What an amazing night, Simon!! I'm with you, that yellowfin tuna with the wasabi sorbet looks utterly delicious... Really liked the peachy dessert as well. Well, all the best for these really cool aspiring chefs!

Myriam @Detours said...

PS: and another veeeery late night for you!

Phuoc'n Delicious said...

YAY! I'm happy that Steph won.. Considering that the hospitality industry is male-dominant. I liked how all the young chefs were helping each other plate up...

What lovely pictures as well!

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi sara, looking forward to reading your blog about it all and congrats again on winning the lucky door prize. was nice meeting you too :-)

hi Myriam, a very late night indeed. it's always the case after these special events :-)

hi Phuoc'n Delicious, it's great they were very friendly to work with each other. i wonder how long that lasts until they have their own restaurant and perhaps need to keep recipes close to their chest from competition ;-)

Lex said...

Love the extensive coverage! And that you represented the dishie considering he had to wash 96 plates in one go for the next contestant to use!

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi lex, the dishie had a super challenge ahead of him and it sounds like you guys had a real challenge with kitchen space too. it probably didn't help with me hovering around the kitchen asa well trying to get my shots but everyone seemed to be really cool about it. i tried to stick myself flat against the wall and crevices to keep out of the way as much as possible. it did become quite a small kitchen when the all the plates were being set out :-)

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