Time Out Taste Test 2013

Friday, 29 March 2013

7 apprentice chefs + one Sydney rooftop restaurant make for a one off extravaganza! It was a chance I couldn't pass up really... An opportunity to try out the food from some of Sydney's youngest talent in our top kitchens. Marque, Momofuku Seiobo, est. and several others are the training grounds of these young guns. Not too shabby. This was the final event, the top 7 whittled down from 2 initial heats. It was a full house on this balmy Monday night at Uccello restaurant, part of the Ivy complex.

The restaurant interior, punctuated with yellow. The (paddle) pool makes for a Hamptons vs. Miami vibe Source: Harry Howard Fine Furniture

Given the opportunity to play food critic, we would try each of the dishes on the night and vote for our favourite(s). The lucky winner would win a trip to Singapore, certainly a bit of a food hub in South East Asia. The stakes were high!

You could feel the anticipation in the air and nervous energy coming from the kitchen. Our table was pretty much smack bang in front of the kitchen for prime viewing of plating. Huzzah. Myffy Rigby, Time Out Sydney's Food & Drink Editor was the night's MC. Apple Thief cider in hand, we were ready to kick off!

Here were some of the culinary highlights:

Sashimi kingfish with avocado mousse, pickled beetroot and rainbow chard. This dish had been prepared will in advance so the fish had pretty much come down to room temperature (eep). The colour and flavours of this dish were tops. Dish by Beau Conduit, a tattoo sleeved apprentice who could only have come from Three Blue Ducks!

Oliver Hua of est.'s grilled quail breast. Accompanied by caramelised plum, toasted almonds, sourdough crumb and eschalot vinaigrette. He had all the right ideas but...the execution was a bit off. My quail was on the overcooked side (i know it was a big ask for 100+ covers of the same dish) + the crumb was swimming in oil.

Australian Sunday roast, Italian style(y) by Stuart Webb of Black by ezard @ the Star. The little medallions of chicken in this dish were cooked well and the Spanish onions were lovely and sweet. On the flipside the pumpkin seed tuile was a touch sweet and the gnocchi a very strange texture (almost squeaky?!). No starchy pillowyness (lol) here. Shame

Sweetie, darling

Seeing green. Ashleigh Jack's (Establishment Pastry) Mint Pash (left) and Lemon Tart by Lauren Eldridge (Marque) (right). Ashleigh's mint dessert was my favourite dessert for sure, the level of complexity was definitely up there. Her aim was to create a dish inspired by a Mint Aero bar. I think she did a really good job. The lemon tart, without any lemon in it. Yeah...huh? The tart was created with lemon verbena and used spinach for colouring. The texture of the tart filling was quite smooth enough for me (nit-picking again!). On top was a clear sugar tuile. I question the quinelle of cream, I wish it was a yoghurt sorbet or ice cream of some description

Some of the dishes were a bit off the mark, many looked pretty as a picture but flavour-wise, didn't live up to expectation. I don't want to be a hard ass but some didn't quite work. But that's okay because I know it isn't easy.

The votes were in and the winners announced on the night. The winning dish was by John Javier of Momofuku Seiobo (Chang's Sydney outpost, a 3 hatted restaurant in its first year of opening). Can I just say, it was completely fabulous. A stand out.

Well done, kid. The roasted squid, eggs and butter. This was only the 2nd dish to come out but it totally stuck with me. The butter emulsion, lain out on top was slightly disconcerting (yikes...butter?!) but the dish wasn't made too rich by it. The tendrils of squid were so delicate and tender, like chewy noodles. The seaweed and broth were a nice medium for the squid but could have done with a bit more seasoning, maybe miso? I'll stop complaining now. Twas amazeballs

The man of the hour! John Javier of Momofuku Seiobo: I think the big boss (David Chang) should be proud Source: Time Out Sydney

I had a really good time, playing food critic is lots of fun! Seven courses down I was really feeling it, but still smiling! John was a deserved winner and I'm glad everyone else voted the same way. What was really great to see was everyone helping each other out in the kitchen, it was a real team effort. Sydney's food scene certainly has a bright future ahead.

Thanks for reading + Happy Easter!


  1. a lovely restaurant :)
    amazing photos :)

    …。…。…。…。…。…。…。 …。…。…。…。…。

    christian | my blog : www.christianyuen.blogspot.com

  2. Oh it looks fantastic!


  3. It looks absolutely amazing! And the interior of the restaurant is to die for!!

  4. Oh wow...I just love those bright pops of yellow!

  5. Such beautiful plating. Hope to make it there one day! :) xo

  6. You had me on the decor - it looks like a wonderful place. And then the food.....YUM!

  7. Amazing...the food looks so delicious.
    Absolutely beautiful :) +1



The City Gourmand All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger