Taste of Melbourne 2012 – what’s on this year?
Taste of Melbourne has returned this year, bigger and better. Previously held inside the Royal Exhibition Building, which I felt really cramped the style of Taste, but this year it is out in the open air at Albert Park Lake. Must say if the weather becomes mischievous it can really ruin your day out. But luckily yesterday evening the sky only opened briefly and mildly. So bring a jacket, and maybe an umbrella, or just hide under one of the many tents about if it gets bad.
Arriving early, I was ushered to the Rekorderlig tent [below left], to try their new flavour: orange and ginger [below middle]. Refreshing, a little sweet, a little like ginger beer with a dash of lemon.
As in previous years, Sensology holds cocktail classes, so you can have the opportunity to get your hands dirty (not that dirty though, think lemons and alcohol). I made my very own Bacardi Mojito [above right]. At 10 crowns a session, it’s a bargain experience for the newbie drink maker; plus you get to drink your own creation, whether good or bad.
Some of the things I tried on the night from the restaurant stalls:
Beef tataki (Sake) with seared tenderloin and tataki sauce. Succulent, lightly citrus, and beautifully moreish. Wish there was more of it.
Ox tail sliders (Josie Bones) – these were absolutely mouth-watering. Sandwiched between a lovely brioche bun, the slice of ox tongue was moist, super tender, and a distinct smoky aroma. Unfortunately they were only a pop up for Thursday, but I’ve been told they should be on the menu at the restaurant!
Sticky pork & red chilli dressing (Taxi dining) – brought out from the kitchen almost piping hot, this small cube of golden caramelised pork belly was a little sticky and sweet, bursting with pork juice, and very lightly spiced. More apple salad and spice would have made this perfect.
Aapple & frangipane tartine (Libertine) – a thin layer of puff pastry, topped with a fluffy almond paste, slithers of apple, candied walnut and honeycomb icecream.
Summer berry Eton mess (Mr.Hive Kitchen & Bar) – I’ve had this one before, so no surprises here. A soft and fragrant raspberry meringue, berry coulis and mixed berries. Fresh, indulgent and softly sweet – a nice way to finish.
This year’s winners for Taste of Melbourne for best dishes:
Best Dish winner from Albert St Food & Wine – ‘Minted Mermaid’ – a pea and mint soup garnished with smoked trout and apple. No doubt Philippa Sibley’s desserts are a great option too.
First runner up from Mamasita – the Cerdo en Nogada (mulato rubbed pork fillet, walnut sauce, soused raisins).
Second runner up from The Botanical – Yuzu cloud, coconut peral and guava sorbet dessert.
My theory behind having avoided several restaurant stalls, was purely based on the fact that I had been to them before, and in truth it is quite hard reproduce the same level of quality as the restaurant kitchen. (See here for a few places I had reviewed previously: The Atlantic, Albert Street, The Botanical, Mr Hive, Movida). My aim was really to try out new places so I can pen them down for future visits.
Note. Movida’s chargrilled moorish lamb skewers at just 8 crowns was highly popular, so get in early before the queue builds up.
And finally of course we can’t forget that there are many, many exhibitors and stands for fresh produce, wines, sweets… and lots of free taste testing.
[Attended courtesy of Taste of Melbourne / Rekordling cider / Bacardi]