18 August 2010

Chophouse: 'Pig & Pinot' Bloggers Dinner, Sydney (17 Aug 2010)

25 Bligh Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Pigging out on a new carvery

Whether it was the ear, cheeks, trotters or snout, there was nothing left to waste when it came to a table of food bloggers witnessing a full suckling pig being carved up.

Thanks to Sarah from Pacific Restaurant Group (the umbrella company that looks after Chophouse and Kingsleys) for inviting me as a guest to the 'Pig & Pinot' bloggers dinner. We were welcomed by Adam Heathcote, Operations Manager for the Pacific Restaurant Group, and treated to a spread of lovely food by the passionate Executive Chef David Clarke (pictured above). Our waitress Michelle was on hand and looked after us with her friendly and helpful manner. The 11.4 kg Slow Roasted Organic Suckling Pig (Approximately $55/head for 10 people) was the main event which was a test run in preparation as an item for the new carvery being added upstairs in the next 6-8 weeks scheduled for Mondays. The meat was beautifully tender and the skin thin yet deliciously crunchy as hoped — this is one of those dishes for sharing with many friends.

The entree of Jamon & Italian Buffalo Milk Mozzarella, roasted fennel, almonds, balsamic & herbs ($18) had a nice balance of flavours with the mozzarella being not too overpowering. The Ceviche of Hervey Bay sea scallops (specially prepared menu item) came with freshly sliced Mt Lowe truffle. I enjoyed the balance of flavours although I found the truffle taste quite subtle. The standout side for me was The Wedge ($9.90) which was their version of a Caesar Salad with crispy iceberg, slow cooked egg, white anchoves, parmesan and speck. Lovely bold flavours complimented by the refreshing iceberg lettuce. The reasonably priced sides of Cauliflower gratin, sourdough and gruyere ($7.90) and Seasonal green beans with herb butter ($7.90) were yummy.

For dessert the reasonably priced Caramelised banana cheesecake with butterscotch and peanut brittle ($8) was nicely presented and just the right size to finish off with a sweet note followed by their signature Chophouse Swiss Milk Chocolate Block 150g with caramelised hazelnuts ($16.50). My Cappuccino was smooth and thankfully not bitter although I wished there was brown or raw sugar available instead of just white sugar. It's the first time I've tried wines from Waitaki Valley in New Zealand and I'll certainly be looking out for these. The smooth and slightly sweet 2008 Ostler Pinot Gris ($57/bottle) was an excellent match for the entrees and I think the 2006 Ostler Caroline's Pinot Noir ($82/bottle) has now become my new favourite benchmark. To finish the opportunity was given to try the very lethal Berta Grappa Nebbiolo Tre Soli Tre 2001 and XO Hennessy Cognac — I sadly was out of my depth with appreciating these with any grace and composure.

Other visits to Chophouse:
17 August 2010 - Jamon & Italian Buffalo Mozzarella, Ceviche of Hervey Bay sea scallops, Slow Roasted Organic Suckling Pig, Ostler wines, Caramelised Banana Cheesecake
7 Sept 2009 - Pork Scratchings, Minute Steak of Wagyu, Crumbed pork chop, Rangers Veal Rib, Crisp Skin Wild River Barramundi, Mushroom & Spinach Risotto, Glazed Beef Short Rib with house-made BBQ sauce
28 May 2009 - Roast Dinner: Riverine Premium Beef and Byron Bay Berkshire Pork with Crackling, Char-grilled lamb shoulder chops

Other food blog reviews:

PROS: Nice decor, Quality ingredients, Efficient and professional service, Tasty dishes
CONS: You need at least 10-12 people to share a whole pig, Restaurant gets busy towards the end of the week so book ahead
MUST TRY: Slow roasted suckling pig with friends, Ostler Pinot Noir, Wedge salad

Pig & Pinot menu

Sonoma bread and butter

Jamon & Italian Buffalo Milk Mozzarella, roasted fennel, almonds, balsamic & herbs $18

Ceviche of Hervey Bay sea scallops, Mt Lowe truffle, avruga and apple (specially prepared menu item)

David carving up the Slow Roasted Organic Suckling Pig

Wafer thin crackling

Pig ear

Pig trotter

Pig snout

Harissa, Red wine jus, apple sauce

The wedge: Crispy iceberg, slow cooked egg, white anchoves, parmesan and speck $9.90

Seasonal green beans with herb butter $7.90

Cauliflower gratin, sourdough and gruyere $7.90

Caramelised banana cheesecake with butterscotch and peanut brittle $8

Chophouse Swiss Milk Chocolate Block 150g with caramelised hazelnuts $16.50

Sparkling to start

2008 Ostler Pinot Gris Waitaki Valley NZ $57 (bottle)

2006 Ostler Caroline's Pinto Noir Waitaki Valley NZ $82 (bottle)

XO Hennessy Cognac, France

Berta Grappa Nebbiolo Tre Soli Tre 2001


Table for 10

The food bloggers in action

Chocolatesuze has her eye on the prize

Billy from A Table for Two taking a closer look

John from He Needs Food sporting a new snout

Bar area

Wooden themed toilet cover

Outside seating and dining area


Goodie bag: Chophouse Swiss Chocolate Block 80g with rocky road $7.50, Chophouse Swiss Chocolate Block 80g with Jaffa top deck $7.50, Two Lindt macaroons, Quality cut of Delmonico steak and instructions on how to cook the perfect steak


Maria @ ScandiFoodie said...

That crackling sure looks good!

john@heneedsfood said...

What a great meal hey? Mmmm piggy snout! Beautiful meat and crackling and that Pinot was sensational

OohLookBel said...

Mmm, lovely plate of crisp crackling, and there's so much truffle on that scallop dish. It's great when you can make a piglet of yourself, hehe!

Forager @ The Gourmet Forager said...

So many familiar faces! The crackling looks superb - a shame I couldn't make the night. I'll have to get a group of friends together to share the whole pig!

Tina said...

Whoa - quickdraw...! That snout shot of John is classic!

Lovely to meet you! Are you daydreaming of suckling pig too now?

MsCritique.com said...

Oh, that just looks amazing. What a great idea for a birthday. Certainly would impress your guests! Great post.

MsCritique.com said...

Gosh, I had to go back and have another look. AMAZING. The crackling, the chocolate. The goodie bag. Jealous, much. Looks like a great night!

YW said...

awww.. look at what I've missed out on!! Looks like a really fun night!! :)

sugarpuffi said...

gee u guys are lucky! i wish i could be invited but then again, i would be too embarrassed to whip out my yucky point and shoot. Look at all these dslr~makes me wanna snatch one outta their hands and run away. teehee

Simon Leong said...

hi maria, i love a good crackling even though i know how bad it is for me.

hi john, i think that pinot will be a very hard one to match.

hi bel, i think there was more than one piglet at that table hehe

hi forager, if you need any extra friends to share the pig you know who to contact :-)

hi tina, john does look very fetching with his new nose doesn't he :-) i certainly am dreaming of flying pigs for some reason.

hi MsCritique, a great night indeed. Chophouse sure know how to cook a feast.

hi YW, i think you would have loved it for sure. hopefully see you next time.

hi sugarpuffi, never be embarassed about your point and shoot. that's all i use for all my photos, an old Canon Ixus 70. i think i might even have the oldest and most basic camera out of all food bloggers i know. it would be nice to have a dslr but i'm not sure if i'd want to carry it with me everywhere i go. but with a compact camera it's so much easier to carry around and be more discrete.

Yas @ hungry.digital.elf. said...

Hmmm I can't get over the crispy cracklings and juicy flesh! Totally stuffed myself with it. Hmmm pork.

Simon Leong said...

hi yas, there was so much to go around i'm not surprised you stuffed yourself. i did too :-)

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