Taste of Melbourne 2010

Totally late to the party, I know, but here’s my Taste of Melbourne experience. Many thanks to Penny from jeroxie.com for my free ticket – yeah baby! – and to all whom I shared bits of my day with.

Caveat: I was a little under the weather that morning, so self-medicated double doses of echinacea and cough syrup. Therefore my taste buds may have been a little askew. Mmmm, cough syrup.

I started my day off with the braised pork cheek from Mezzo Bar and Grill. While I heard from almost all other people that tried this dish that it was meltingly tender, mine was disconcertingly tough. As in, the biodegradable knife would bend rather than cut through the pork. The flavours were nice, however. I guess I was just unlucky.

My string of bad luck – or bad choices – continued, when I tried the wagyu burger from Luke Mangan’s Palace Hotel. It was a rather unimpressive rissole, on even more unimpressive bread. Seriously, this is Taste of Melbourne, people. Surely a little more effort than that bread you get from Woolworths with the plasticky sheen is in order!
Things took a sharp turn for the better when I tried the wallaby tataki from Charcoal Lane. Surprisingly, the wallaby lacked the gamey flavour you get with kangaroo, and it was delicious. The dressing might have been a touch heavy with the soy, but all in all, it was a fantastic few bites.
I then moved on to dessert, because Ms S whom I was with at the time had something of a sweet tooth. I was a little stunned by the jaw-droppingly handsome waiter from Sarti who was manning the stand, but managed to pick up their pistachio panna cotta, with salted caramel popcorn. The pistachio wasn’t quite pronounced enough for me, but it was supremely creamy, and a good foil for the crunchy popcorn.
After hearing from others over twitter about the Stokehouse’s bombe, I continued my sweet sampling, and yes, it really was the bomb. A strawberry sorbet with vanilla ice cream slice, covered in toasted meringue, with a strawberry syrup, and some fresh strawberry for a little acid to cut the sweetness. It wasn’t so much my contagion as my greed that prevented me from sharing any of this with anyone else!
I then switched back to savoury, for some reason! I tried the Livornese seafood stew from the European. It was something of a disappointment. The seafood was overcooked, and the broth was exceedingly fishy. I guess if you’re going to order a seafood stew, you have to expect that. I’ll know better for next time.
At this point, I wandered off to get a cocktail from Long grain, which apparently was quite good, because my stream of photos ends here! The cocktail was a refreshing blend of muddled lychees and passionfruit, though I can’t remember whether it was rum, vodka or gin. See, good cocktail!

I also finished off my day with the scallops from the Stokehouse, which were probably my pick for the day. Perfectly cooked, with an awesome gazpacho dressing, and crispy lardo chips on top. So. Freaking. Good. Ooh, I found a photo from Ms I-Hua.

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