Taste of Sydney Media Launch (and a giveaway!)

restaurant

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Centennial Parklands Dining - Beetroot Macaroon with foie gras Chef: Mark Best. These were a surprise in both taste and texture and one of my favourites of the night, the macaron was surprisingly spongy and light, the foie gras mousse delicate and creamy.

I was rather chuffed to receive an invitation to the Taste of Sydney Media Launch from Prue from the Mint Partners, for not only was the invitation itself exciting, but I love it when PR firms start to take bloggers seriously as part of the media space which is always a good sign indicating progress (thanks too to Christie for arranging our tickets!). The invitation also kindly let us bring partners so my hungry husband is tagging along tonight. And before I forget, I've got a surprise for 3 lucky readers, so read on and all will be revealed!

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_Sailor's Thai - Prawn Miang served with peanuts and lime on betel leaf. Chef: Ty Bellingham. This was a delicious tangy combination with plump prawns and a favourite amongst many here.

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Berowra Waters - A Soignee Truffle Risotto with Mozzarella and a Spinach/ Fennel Rockerfella Sauce. Chef: Dietmar Sawyere. Photo by ChocolateSuze. A delicious Arancini ball of risotto with a mild dipping sauce.

Tonight, we're gathered at the recently refurbished Centennial Parklands restaurant to sample some of the goodies from the chefs. And it seems like we have the creme de la creme of chefs with food from a list of Sydney's best chefs.

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Longrain - Spicy pork sausage betel leaves & pickled ginger Chef: Martin Boetz. Another betel leaf canape, this time with a slice of spicy pork sausage, strong with pickled ginger.

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Ottoman Cuisine - Etli Borek - crisp home made filo rolls filled with braised veal shank, currants & pine-nuts, served with pomegranate and yoghurt sauce. Chef: Serif Kaya. Delicious and slightly crisp, these were salty and slightly sweet with bursts of currants, pomegranate and yogurt.

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Flying Fish - Yellow fin tuna with ruby grapefruit and sweet pork crackling Chef: Peter Kuruvita. A little more than a mouthful, the spoon proved a bit of a challenge for one bite eating and required a few bites but was well worth it with a nice pairing of the tuna, grapefuit and unmistakable flavour and texture of pork crackling.

The chefs:

Dietmar Sawyere, Berowra Waters Inn

Justin North, Bécasse & Etch

George Francisco, Jonah’s at Whale Beach

Giovanni Pilu, Pilu at Freshwater

Martin Boetz, Longrain Restaurant & Bar

Ty Bellingham, Sailors Thai

Matthew Kemp, Restaurant Balzac

Jared Ingersoll, Danks Street Depot

Peter Kuruvita, Flying Fish

Warren Turnbull, Restaurant Assiette

Peter Conistis, Civic Dining

Alex Herbert, Bird Cow Fish

Serif Kaya, Ottoman Cuisine

Paul McGrath, Bistro Ortolan

Armando Percuoco, Buon Ricordo

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The lineup of chefs

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Restaurant Assiette - Sydney Rock Oyster with Vitnamese dressing, crispy shallots and baby coriander. Chef: Warren Turnbull. I'm an Oyster monster and refrained from taking too many of these delicious little morsels.

The four day event is to be housed at the nearby Brazilian lawn which is to be transformed where you can construct your own degustation from dishes offered by the 15 chefs above and pair them with cocktails. There are also 80 food and drink producers in the Producers Markets, a James Squire beer masterclass, taste Wine with Gourmet Traveller Wine and Australian Gourmet Traveller Chef's Table as well as the Emirates Lounge.

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Bird Cow Fish - Celeriac and smoked trout remoulade with ocean trout roe. Chef: Alex Herbert. I knew I'd like this dish as remoulade and ocean trout roe are both favourites and I adored this for both taste and texture.

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_Restaurant Balzac - Wagyu Beef ' Bourguignonne' Chef: Matthew Kemp. The cleverly packaged rolls were filled with very rich and softest Beef Bourguignonne._

In order to try these dishes, one buys Crowns ($1=1Crown) and a dish can be had for 8 crowns with drinks at bar prices.

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Jonah's at Whale Beach - Mini vanilla panna cotta with pomegranate molasses and lavender honey Chef: George Francisco

As for the belle of the ball, that was undoubtedly George Francisco of Jonah’s at Whale Beach's Wobbly Pannacotta. Dubbed the "Porno Pannacotta" or the "Wobbly Booby dessert", it was as if a tipsy drunk Pamela Anderson was helicoptered in from the sky and took up centre stage with a microphone. No-one could look away, people were transfixed, some women even pleaded with the waiters to stop the pannacotta's lascivious wobbling. The waiters that brought round the platters seem to enjoy making them as wobbly and jiggly as possible often targeting girls with their edible Agent Provocateurs. As for the taste? Sublime, so soft and wobbly the vanilla bean pannacotta was accompanied by Pomegranate seeds, Pomegrante molasses and lavender honey. And if you want to see the Pannacotta in action, you can watch Suze's video of her and the naughty Pannacotta here on youtube.

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Becasse & Etch - Mini organic grass fed wagyu burger Chef: Justin North. It's no secret I love their Wagyu burgers having even made my own. The rolls were a bit hard but they were delicious with a lot of creamy sauce (although there wasn't a lot of caramelised onion).

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Civic Dining - Double chocolate hazelnut baclava Chef: Peter Conistis. The sweetness was tempered with the cocoa which raised the richness of this Baklava. I still miss Omega, Peter Conistis's former restaurant so I would love to go to Civic Dining one day.

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As for famous faces, the ones we spotted were Alan Saunders, the food critic from The Chopping Block and Katrina Warren the tv vet. There were some speeches from the founder of the Taste festivals and the Vice President of Emirates Australia and then an introduction to the chefs as well as a photo opportunity outside.

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_Danks Street Depot - Pastrami of kingfish with smoked oysters and a cucumber and apple salad. Chef: Jarred Ingersoll. An interesting contrast of textures, the oyster slippery against the kingfish.

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Chefs wait to be introduced

And as for the surprise that I promised? 3 lucky readers will receive a double pass worth $50 to the Taste of Sydney event so just make you're available on any of the dates that it is held on and email me:

**1. Which dish was your favourite from the ones I've posted above **

2. Which chef it's by and which restaurant they're from

3.Your name and address

Email me the answer on nqn.tasteofsydney@gmail.com. Entries close midnight Australian Eastern Standard Time on the 4th of March, 2009.

The lovely Christie from Fig & Cherry is also giving away 3 double passes so you can enter there too!

In some rather exciting news, Not Quite Nigella has made it into the Top 10 of Australian Women Bloggers!

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Check out Crazy Meezer for all of the other great Australian women blogs!

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The Taste of Sydney festival will be held at the Brazilian Gardens, off Grand Drive, Centennial Park on the 12th-15th March 2009.

Opening times:

Thursday 12th March - 5pm-9pm

Friday 13th March - 11:30am-3:30pm & 5pm-9pm

Saturday 14th March - 11:30am-3:30pm & 5pm-9pm

Sunday 15th March - 12pm-5pm

For more information see their website.

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