30 March 2011

MUMU Grill: Porkestra The Encore, Crows Nest (29 Mar 2011)

70 Alexander Street, Crows Nest NSW 2065
Twitter: #Porkestra

For the love of pork

Thanks to Chef Craig Macindoe for inviting me along to the second Porkestra where he was joined in the kitchen by Chef Ben Cooper to create a selection of dishes celebrating pork. To kick start the taste buds some Spiced Nuts and super light and crunchy Pork Scratchings were on offer — hopefully they’re a regular menu item like the scratchings I’ve enjoyed at Chophouse. CanapĂ© style Bahn Mi and tasty Mini Pulled Pork Sambos set the scene for tender pork. I wondered if the Bahn Mi could have been alternatively served with less bread like in a thin wonton wrapper or peking duck style pancake so the flavoursome ingredients were more emphasised.

First course was Fig Wrapped in Prosciutto and stuffed with Goat Cheese. I didn’t realise it had goat cheese until I read the menu as I usually find it quite strong on the palate. Figs were soft and juicy although wished the prosciutto was more wafer thin and just cooked to order to be slightly more tender and melt-in-your-mouth. A matching sweet and fruity Piggs Peake 2009 Pork Barrel Viognier had more body than expected and nicely quaffable. A nice balance of flavours were appreciated in the Pork Belly with Jellyfish Salad and Pat Chun. It was luck of the draw for sizeable pieces of pork crackling presented on top and I thought it would have been nice to swap some of the plentiful use of garlic chives with some Vietnamese style pickled carrot and radish to contribute to the fresh flavours in this dish along with the coriander.

I generally dislike black pudding but my fears were thankfully put to bed with the Black Pudding Tonkatsu with Horseradish Mayonnaise matched with an unusual Piggs Peake 2008 Crackling Sparkling Merlot which seemed to work well. Proving to be one of the popular dishes of the night I liked the subtle pop factor from the salty fish roe although some commented they’ve had smoother and less grainy black pudding which would have made the dish even better. The ponzu sauce seemed to work well combined with the seared scallop. The Pork Loin Roasted in Sage and Milk with Roasted Spiced Plum and Crumbed Pigs Ear was more an offering of sorts to share rather than presented as a individual dish. The spiced plum in moderation was a nice alternative to perhaps apple sauce although the pigs ear was the most challenging item for me, only because of the ear factor. Even though it was tender and lightly crumbed with crunchy goodness I still knew it was pigs ear and offered my remaining serve to the absolute pleasure of my fellow diners.

The dish that seemed to steal the heart of most diners was the Char-grilled Pork Hoc Celeriac Remoulade and Son-in-law Egg. The combination of flavours and melt-in-your-mouth meat was a lethal addiction including the creamy goodness of the soft boiled egg on top. Personally I was searching for some extra grilled crispiness on the meat and a slightly more crunch factor texture from the celeriac to add contrast to make it even more special for my liking. I wondered if some freshly pounded green papaya strips topped with a sprinkle of fresh chilli or wafer fine slivers of fennel would have done the trick — maybe not. For dessert the Peach, Jamon and Frangipane Tarte left me in two minds. It had its fans but I probably would have preferred the tarte with a scoop of ice cream and without the fried jamon or maybe keeping the bacon to more a sprinkling of fine crispy shavings for those salty notes. I also wondered if a drizzle of maple syrup might have worked too. I really enjoyed the Piggs Peake 2010 Hungry Pig for that sweet dessert wine finish.

Other visits to MUMU Grill:
29 Mar 2011 - Porkestra The Encore
22 Sept 2010 - Ribfest (Lamb, Pork and Beef ribs)
31 Aug 2010 - Lambageddon Dinner
3 Feb 2010 - Beer Tasting Dinner
15 Aug 2009 - Lunch Express Menu, Pumpkin Gnocchi, Eye Fillet, Zucchini Flowers
30 April 2009 - Take It Slow Wine Dinner, Mr Riggs Wines, Jamon, Saltbush lamb, Double roasted duck, Brown sugar pavlova

PROS: For lovers of all things pork and crispy crackling, Nice decor, Outdoor seating, Private dining room available
CONS: Not for vegetarians
MUST TRY: Pork scratchings with beer of choice,
Char-grilled Pork Hoc Celeriac Remoulade and Son-in-law Egg

The menu

Nuts and Scratchings

Bahn Mi

Mini Pulled Pork Sambos

Fig Wrapped in Prosciutto and stuffed with Goat Cheese

Pork Belly with Jellyfish Salad and Pat Chun — I thought my serving looked good until I saw everyone elses

Pork Belly with Jellyfish Salad and Pat Chun — My second serving was better

A decent piece of crackling with compliments from Chef Ben

Black Pudding Tonkatsu with Horseradish Mayonnaise, Ponzu, Seared Scallop and Flying Fish Roe

Pork Loin Roasted in Sage and Milk with Roasted Spiced Plum and Crumbed Pigs Ear

Char-grilled Pork Hoc Celeriac Remoulade and Son-in-law Egg

Peach, Jamon and Frangipane Tarte — Waiter, there's bacon on my dessert!

Piggs Peake 2009 Pork Barrel Viognier

Piggs Peake 2008 Crackling Sparkling Merlot

Piggs Peake 2009 The Werewolf Zinfandel

Piggs Peake 2008 Super Tusker Sangiovese

Piggs Peake 2010 Hungry Pig

Bar in full swing for thirsty customers

Pretty full booking inside for Porkestra

Sitting at a table full of twitterers — Am I the only person without any iPhone in this world?

Piggs Peake representative

Dressing the Black Pudding Tonkatsu

Plating the Pork Hoc

Plating the Son-in-law eggs

Plating the dessert

Chefs in the kitchen

John from He Needs Food going in for the shot while Lisa from Spicy Ice Cream waits patiently

Denea from Gourmet Rabbit loving her pig

Oopsy — If only it was a Greek restaurant

Slab of Pork Hoc ready to slice up and grill

Potted herbs on the outside table — nice feature

Bar area

Candle and flower arrangement — noice!

Cow sculpture — very cool

Prams and guests dining

Outside seating

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Miss Piggy said...

Yum, everything looks really great. I want some of that pork on my fork! Are all the items on the menu, or it was just for the special event?

spicyicecream said...

Hi Simon, nice to see you last night! I was so impressed with the food, especially that pork hoc and the black sausage. mmm. I think you might have been the only person in the whole restaurant without an iphone!!

Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

Pork overload - even on the dessert...?!

Tony Hollingsworth said...

Beautiful photography and coverage Simon thanks for posting this as I didn't make it and loved the tweets coming from friends on the night.

I love that photo of the crackling with Ben and Craig in the kitchen blurred out! What a team they are.

Hope to catch up with you soon,

joey@forkingaroundsydney said...

I wanted to go but unfortunately had to work. :-( Dang.

Kerry Pintado said...

Wow Simon a great post of the Porkestra event held at Mumu Grill on Tuesday 29th March 2011. You have captured not only what actually happened but the essence of the night - quite a skill to have.

Photography was classy and the man behind the lens too!

Anonymous said...

Wonder if the chef's cool haircut has to do with his skill to cook pork :) Everything looks yummy (I love black pudding, BTW), but I'm afraid that meal would exceed my pork intake limit.

Simon Leong said...

hi misspiggy, was just a special event but i think some of the dishes should be specials if i was them.

hi lisa, i wouldn't be surprised if i was the only person without an iphone in the whole of Crows Nest hehe

hi tina, yeah i wasn't too sure about the pork in the dessert. i think that might be going just a bit too far for me.

hi tony, hopefully it felt like you were there with all the tweets. they make a great team in the kitchen.

hi joey, gee you're always working mate. one day we have to catchup.

hi Kerry, thanks for the compliments. hope i captured the night as best as i could.

hi lateraleating, i think i was scared of the black pudding but thankfully it worked quite well.

Madam Wu2 said...

I finally made it here. I actually didn't have any meat though but the wood planked salmon instead which was divine. They even cooked it the way that I requested it done - medium rare. A great and bustling joint on the North side.

Simon Leong said...

hi madam wu, great to hear you had a good meal :-)

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