29 October 2012

Halloween Dessert Degustation Pop Up Dessert Bar at Studio NEON, Waterloo (26 Oct 2012)

136 Raglan Street, Waterloo NSW 2017

Happy Hallo-sugar-ween Time

As soon as I saw the Halloween Dessert Degustation Event ($80) advertised I knew I had to be quick before it sold out due to the limited seats available. The second session seemed a better option so I could at least try and eat something savoury before arriving to counteract the sugar overload from dessert being served first. Billy Law (A Table For Two) was joined by Karen Low (Citrus & Candy) and Phuoc Huynh (Phuoc'n Delicious) in producing a six course menu of four sweet and two savoury dishes. First up was petit fours of pineapple marshmallows, balsamic vinegar strawberry pate de fruit, and black sesame & charcoal powder macaron with pumpkin and Fromage blue cheese filling. The blue cheese macaron was the most challenging for me to eat being so different but I thought Billy managed to balance the flavours well. Phuoc's Deconstructed Apple Crumble was enjoyable although I somehow wished it was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or double whipped cream to help bind with the apple and green tea sorbet and candy popping crumble. By the time Karen's Chocolate Parfait with Fisherman's Friend chocolate dirt was served my sugar overload hit red. The dish was enjoyable and it didn't need too much of the chocolate dirt to appreciate its minty flavour. To match the Halloween theme I thought a few mint leafs and some white jelly babies could have created a creepy cemetery scene of zombies.

Thankfully savoury dishes were served next which they didn't do in the first session. Mexican smoked pulled pork was tender and the Asian style chilli and soy lamb ribs was very flavoursome and both went nicely with the sides of balsamic braised red cabbage and cauliflower puree. The Pumpkin soup with red pepper oil was good and the pork crackles perfectly crunchy. The soup with crackles would have been good as the first dish as an amuse-bouche to help line the stomach before the onslaught of sweet to follow. For those who were still craving more sweets the 'Snow White' by Billy would have done the job. Seeing all the white chocolate domes reminded me of a scene in Alien where they're about to hatch. Hot raspberry coulis was poured over the dome to melt it away before eating. It visually looked like a scary eye ball decaying in front of you — great for the Halloween theme. All that was missing was a few black licorice spiders sitting around the plate and some green jelly maggots. I loved how so many people took the time and effort to dress up which I sadly chose to be boring and didn't — maybe next time.

PROS: Fun atmosphere, Interesting venue, Intimate setting, Open kitchen to watch the cooks in action, Most guests actually made an effort dressing up (except me), No shortage of food
CONS: Starting with dessert can be heavy going on the stomach, Cocktails seemed to take a while to make but had very cool names and well-presented
MUST TRY: Black sesame & charcoal powder macaron with pumpkin and Fromage blue cheese filling at least once to challenge the taste buds, Dressing up next time
VERDICT: For dessert lovers there was no shortage of sugary delights but a challenge for those who prefer eating savoury dishes before dessert

Transfusion cocktail being made

Cocktail samplers

Complimentary ARVO beer for guests

Petit fours: Pineapple marshmallows (by Karen), balsamic vinegar strawberry pate de fruit (by Phuoc) and black sesame & charcoal powder macaron with pumpkin and Fromage blue cheese filling (by Billy) — macaron was the most challenging for the taste buds but was done well

Apple pearls with moscato to go with Deconstructed Apple Crumble

Deconstructed Apple Crumble: Apple and green tea sorbet, popping candy crumble, Muille Fuille and apple jelly (by Phuoc) — would have loved a scoop of vanilla ice cream or double whipped cream with it as well

Chocolate Parfait with Fisherman's Friend chocolate dirt, caramelised white chocolate, long pepper infused cherries (by Karen) — flavours worked well together although I started to struggle at this point with sugar overload

Savoury popcorn to help balance the sugar overload

Mexican smoked pulled pork and Asian style chilli and soy lamb ribs (by Billy, meat supplied by Black Ridge Farm) served with balsamic braised red cabbage, walnut and apple puree, cauliflower puree (by Karen)

Pumpkin soup with red pepper oil, and pork crackles (by Karen) — pork crackling was excellent (by Billy)

'Snow White' Raspberry mousse, oat crumbs, lychee and rosewater gel, pistachio praline, freeze dried raspberry, white chocolate dome and hot raspberry coulis (by Billy) — clever presentation with enjoyable flavours although a struggle to finish with sugar overload

White chocolate domes reminds me of the eggs about to hatch in Alien

Gangnam styling

I promise — this sugar hit won't hurt a bit

Anyone missing a pair of legs?

Billy's intimate whisk fetish

Phuoc's wicked magic potion

Karen clearing the sinus

Cocktail loving guests

Texting buddies

Horny diners

Feed me

Potential food bloggers?

It never happened if you don't take a photo of it

Best costume winner

Best costume winners

Dressed to impress

All this sugar is making my hands bigger

Vampire versus Witch

Unique toilet sink

Reflection shot in my new t-shirt

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Tina @ bitemeshowme said...

What a great degustation put up by Karen, Phuoc and Billy. You captured all the dishes and looks like everything was a hit!

Phuoc'n Delicious said...

Thanks for capturing our reverse dessert dinner and I'm glad that you enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun and great to see everyone really getting into it.

I just wanted to clarify that the first session did get savoury dishes, it was only the order that was changed up because we induced a sugar coma into everyone by the 3rd dessert course :p Also, my dessert course was meant to be light and refreshing. Could you imagine how comatised everyone would've been had I used a cream-based element to the dish, followed by Billy's and Karen's "heavier" desserts?

We chose to start off with the sweet petit fours because it is a reversed dessert dinner. What normally would be the amuse-bouche (ie pumpkin soup) has been change to be the "petit fours" and what are normally petit fours (ie marshmallow, macaron and pate de fruit) was the "amuse-bouche". I hope the other diners got that concept.

Billy @ A Table For Two said...

Thanks for the write up, video and coming to our party! I thought we were busy that night, obviously you were just as busy capturing every single moment of it! Good job! :)

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

Great photos Simon, as usual, and I had a look at the vid of the evening too, very cool. You definitely captured the evening well.

I have to disagree with you regarding the deconstructed apple crumble. I must admit it was my fave dessert due to how refreshing it was. Adding a creamy element under normal circumstances (not being followed by 2 other rich desserts) could be a good idea. I am so glad they didn't do this on the night as it would of killed the dessert and what it was trying to achieve.

Ashley said...

Looks like it was an incredibly hilarious night! What an awesome idea to tie it all in with halloween too :)

Love your t-shirt too!

thecitygourmand said...

Nice post Simon! It's good to see that you've captured some of the shenanigans from the night. I went to the first session but managed to see that gorilla costume haha! Catch my 2c here: http://thecitygourmand.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/fright-night.html

Daisy@Nevertoosweet said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog ;) WOW You went to the degustation! WOO HOO! I'm so jealous ~ I love the Halloween theme of the desserts and how everyone dressed up :)

Jeremy@ Taste Explorer said...

Great photos! That Snow White raspberry mousse looks awesome.

Simon Leong said...

hi tina, they did a fantastic job and so calm as well.

hi phuoc, so glad savoury was included to help balance the crazy sugar levels. i liked your refreshing sorbet. i wondered if it would have also worked in something like a martini glass to make it easier to eat when the sorbet started to melt?

hi billy, when there's so much happening i tend to hardly sit down. especially with the open kitchen so close. job well done guys.

hi sara, i'm always a big fan of ice cream with crumble but you're probably right that it would have perhaps pushed most people over the edge into a sugar coma hehe

hi ashley, great timing with halloween. very scary for the stomach that night with so much sugar, and in reverse order to savoury. i've printed some tshirts in red and green for the conference as well

hi the citygourmand, thanks for the link to your blog. hope you've recovered from all the food. you certainly had more light when you went for photography.

hi daisy, it really makes a big difference when people dress up. so much fun.

hi jeremy, thanks. i think i would have been happy with just a couple of desserts for my sugar intact.

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