15 November 2011

The Restaurant: Picasso Media Lunch, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney (14 Nov 2011)

Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney NSW 2000

Picasso inspires Spanish menu

“Made possible only by the closure of the Musée National Picasso in Paris for renovations, the Art Gallery of NSW is the only venue in Australia on the exhibition's world tour. The exhibition includes 150 imortant paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings.”

Thanks to Amy Glancey of Trippas White Group for inviting me to the media lunch at the Art Gallery of NSW restaurant. A Spanish-inspired menu was showcased to celebrate the Picasso exhibition although I'm not sure how an Italian beef carpaccio qualifies as Spanish cuisine. I enjoyed my Heirloom tomato salad, labneh, pomegranate with simple yet tasty flavours reminding me of the Seared Mullet with mixed tomato salad I had at Greenhouse by Joost. I wouldn't have said no to a bit more flavoursome labneh either. The Beef carpaccio, confit lemon, nasturtium flower, goats curd foam was nicely presented although I didn't really pick up much flavour from the very thinly sliced beef itself. The Sardines with manchego crumbs, sorrel, radicchio definitely had a fishy aroma and the manchego crumbs added an interesting texture and taste. I wasn't quite sold on the cooked radicchio that lay underneath — perhaps I'm just not used to seeing it cooked.

For mains my Pan fried spanish mackerel, braised pimento, confit cuttlefish, fava beans looked pretty good but unfortunately my piece was undercooked inside so I didn't really feel confident in eating most of it. I wasn't a huge fan of the cuttlefish texture on top and usually prefer it cooked and wondered if I would have simply liked some shaved fennel instead and a crispier skin. The Spanish pearl barley and wild mushroom rice, zucchini flower, murcia al vino looked pretty good but I didn't get to try it. The side of Butter lettuce, watercress, cherry tomatoes, green olive salad was fresh and pleasantly dressed and the Patatas bravas had hearty flavours although some more crispy crunch would have been welcome. After quite an extended wait for our entrees and mains due the restaurant being busy I only just managed to try the Warm almond cake, honey roasted figs, saffron ice cream before needing to rush off and I'm glad I did. Definitely worth trying with good flavours to be had although a bit more caramelisation on the fig would have been nice — maybe missing out because it was rushed.

If you love art and Picasso then you'd probably already have the Picasso exhibition marked in your diary. You might want to consider taking advantage of the Lunch with Picasso ($75pp) or High Tea with Picasso ($55pp) deal which includes entry into the exhibition. You won't be allowed to take photos in the exhibition but I remember when I visited the Musée National Picasso in Paris you could take photos so obviously the French are much more relaxed. I've included a few travel photos from June 2002 at the end of this post — it seems I used to have much shorter hair in those days.

Other visits to The Restaurant:
14 Nov 2011 - Picasso Media Lunch, Heirloom Tomato Salad, Pan Fried Spanish Mackerel, Patatas Bravas, Warm Almond Cake
9 Jan 2011 - Ocean Trout Tartare, White Polenta Lasagne, Barramundi, Veal Tenderloin, Snapper, Sweet Potato Crisps Raspberry Iced Pavlova

PROS: Nice outlook including water views, Light and open space, Nicely presented dishes, For lovers of art, Enjoyed the Heirloom Tomato Salad and Warm Almond Cake
CONS: Limited street parking outside, Service got a bit slow under the pressure of being busy
MUST TRY: Returning to use the comp ticket provided to check out the exhibition

It's all about Picasso at the Art Gallery of NSW

It's not often I see my name on a menu

Lunch deal $75pp includes Picasso entry, 2 courses and glass of wine
High Tea deal $55pp includes Picasso entry and sandwiches and sweets including coffee or tea

Bread, served with olive oil

Heirloom tomato salad, labneh, pomegranate

Beef carpaccio, confit lemon, nasturtium flower, goats curd foam

Sardines with manchego crumbed, sorrel, radicchio

Pan fried spanish mackerel, braised pimento, confit cuttlefish, fava beans

It looked pretty good until I discovered the fish was undercooked inside so had to leave most of it unfinished. Others had a nicely cooked fish.

Chorizo and pistachio stuffed chicken breast, polenta, zucchini ribbons

Spanish pearl barley and wild mushroom rice, zucchini flower, murcia al vino

Butter lettuce, watercress, cherry tomatoes, green olive salad

Patatas bravas

Warm almond cake, honey roasted figs, saffron ice cream

Noodlies in camera and video mode

Meet & greet: I finally meet Jackie McMillan in person

Wines, Picasso program and comp ticket

Open kitchen runs pretty quietly

Restaurant seating

Restaurant view

Outside restaurant

Visiting Musée National Picasso, Paris, June 2002


Vivian - vxdollface said...

This is definitely my scene! Will be heading there for high tea & Picasso action :)

Christina @ The Hungry Australian said...

I love the idea of galleries trying to created a themed/matched menu to an exhibition - I think a lot of people out there would enjoy making a whole day of it. I know I do :)

The food looks pretty good - I've been seeing/eating heirloom tomato salads everywhere lately and tried to buy some heirloom tomatoes at the Adelaide Central Market this morning but was out of luck (query: why?). Shame about the undercooked fish, though...

Beautiful photos, Simon, as always.

Ayden @ Himalayan Salt said...

I suspect that my invitation from Amy Glancey got lost in the mail somewhere ;)

thang@noodlies.com said...

Great post, stunning pics, Simon. Good to see you again, too!

Anonymous said...

Dishes look beautiful but I don't think I'd like that much goat's curd foam on my carpaccio.

Simon Leong said...

hi vivian, i reckon the high tea with art will be a popular choice for many

hi christina, i remember seeing a tomato grower at eveleigh markets selling heirloom tomatoes. they have so much flavour.

hi ayden, i'm suspecting that must be the case as well ;-)

hi thang, hopefully see you at the next event. i'd love to visit cabramatta with you one day and have a pho soup. maybe in the new year when things settle down after the crazy season.

hi lateraleating, it seemed to work ok although i much prefer just cured meats on their own

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