22 October 2012

Universal Restaurant: Good Fork Week Launch, Darlinghurst (11 Oct 2012)

Republic 2 Courtyard Palmer Street, Between Burton & Liverpool, Darlinghurst NSW 2010

Life's too short to eat bad food

“Good Fork Week encourages all food operators to commit to making small tweaks to their menus to provide more nutritious options to their diners and in turn take a step forward in tackling the obesity epidemic.”

Thanks to Dayle Sellars from PPR for inviting me to the media launch of the inaugural Good Fork Week (22–28 October 2012) held at Universal with ambassador Chef Christine Manfield. The first time I dined at Universal was back on 13 February 2010 during a very rainy night which made for some interesting theatrics of waiters removing water from the awning above. I preferred the desserts over the savoury dishes except for the fish curry which was a favourite. Christine's Good Fork Week dish of Curry fish salad, green mango and cucumber once again becomes a winner for me with great flavour pop and a nice balance of ingredients. The dish had a healthy tweak of steaming the fish rather than frying. The Steamed veal fillet, beetroot spelt risotto, horseradish and goats curd had good flavours and tender meat but the fish curry would be my go to dish. For dessert the beautifully presented 'Little Miss Sunshine' was very good. I liked the nice subtle crunch from the nougatine and the flavour combinations worked well with highlights of mint. I thought a bit of mint granita might have worked as well. Christine's speech was a great insight into her food philosophy of eating healthier and lives by 'Life's too short to eat bad food'. She strives to make the humble vegetable the star of a dish rather than a side and is passionate about using herbs and spices to achieve flavour pop. Her speech was so inspiring its made me want to revisit Universal again.

PROS: Quality ingredients, Flavoursome dishes, Well-presented dishes, Nice decor, Chef has a very healthy food philosophy with a strong emphasis on vegetable dishes
CONS: Menu isn't cheap, During wet weather expect to see waiters brooming down water from the awning above your head
MUST TRY: Curry fish salad, green mango and cucumber; 'Little Miss Sunshine'
Chef Christine Manfield 'Life's too short to eat bad food'

Event menu

Bread and olive oil - good

Curry fish salad, green mango and cucumber — great flavour pop, good depth of flavours, not to heavy, good balance of flavours

Steamed veal fillet, beetroot spelt risotto, horseradish and goats curd — good flavours, enjoyable, tender meat

'Little Miss Sunshine' - Passionfruit cream, mango, pineapple and papaya, passionfruit banana sorbet —  good flavour, nice crunch from nougatine, mint nice highlight on palate

Wines on offer

Yezdi Daruwalla, Managing Director of Unilever Food Solutions

Levi Walz, CEO of Obesity Prevention Australia

Chef Christine Manfield, Universal Restaurant

The Hon. Katrina Ann Hodgkinson, MP

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Universal on Urbanspoon


Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said...

The dessert looks beautifully presented and healthier mains would definitely make us all feel less guilty eating out often!

YaYa said...

What a great idea, no one really needs to eat huge portions of anything, it would be great to see this idea continue everywhere all the time!

Rachel said...

Ohhhh Univaersal is def on my Must Try list!!

Simon Leong said...

hi sherrie, the healthier mains is definitely something to feel less guilty of eating. too many dude food dishes out there at the moment i think which is very unhealthy. no wonder australia is becoming more obese.

hi yaya, hopefully more restaurants will focus on healthy eating and portions rather than unhealthy options

hi rachel, i revisit must try for me too :-)

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