Fright Night

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Oh what a night!

On Friday a few gal pals and I went to a Halloween Dessert Degustation over at Studio Neon, Waterloo. I've always been a long time fan of pop-up events but being in another state has always stopped me from attending such events in Sydney! Anywho, times are a changin'! This was the first blogger event hosted by Billy Law (Masterchef season 3, blogger @ A Table for Two), Karen (Citrus & Candy) & Phuoc (Phuoc'n Delicious). Food blogger pride!

The long table (lovin' this!) and our three hosts for the evening: Billy, Phuoc & Karen (left to right) - busy little bees the whole night (Gangnam style!)

Our first mission was to find the venue, we wandered a little lost only to be eventually directed upstairs. The layout was so nifty and you could tell there had been a lot of work put into the decorating. Black speakers were stacked up to the ceiling along one wall (death metal was the prevailing theme there), spooky static on several TVs around the place (reminded me a little too much of the Ring, eep!) and dozens of wax dripped candles (naturally). The dining area comprised a single long table with mismatched chairs and an abutting lounge area to enjoy a tipple and a Reese's peanut butter cup (couldn't resist). I couldn't help but feel a little bit festive. I hadn't done anything for Halloween since trick-or-treating back in my primary school days :P

Just chillin': I was super impressed with the set up here. Who knew Sydney was hiding away places like this? Sneaky.

Unbeknownst to us, we were in store for a dessert marathon (should've paid more attention to the event title)! Those Reese's might have been a bad idea. No matter, we had party bags to stow them away with for the road/significant others :)

It was all looking pretty profesh really! The planning and I'm imagining the prep would have been meticulous. I distinctly recall Billy blogging that he had tempered about 5kg of white chocolate for his dessert. Incredible, him slaving away all for us. Masterchef, eat your heart out! What's more there were two sittings for the night. There'd be some definite red-eye for the hosts methinks! They even had a bar set up with creepily themed cocktails ($13 each). Take this one for example:

Think of the children/babies! This pastel green number was appropriately named 'Human Sacrifice', a minty chocolate cocktail. Other drinks creatively employed dry ice and fake blood! Don't mind if I do...

An interesting twist to the night was that the 6 course degustation was played out in reverse. We started with petits-fours (no tea or coffee however!) and ended with an amuse bouche. By the fourth dessert, we were gagging for a bit (i mean, A LOT) of salt, let me tell you! Lucky we had bowls of spicy pop-corn (smoked paprika, cayenne pepper & burnt butter) on tap (phew!). That and litres of water to wash the sugar down. What is typically referred to as a 'sugar rush' (with all those warm & fuzzy connotations) was more a friggin' sugar tsunami. We were fighting off diabetes with a stick that night! Sighs of relief emanated from along the table when we were told that the last two courses would be savoury...OH THANK GOD. Anyway, here were the night's proceedings:

Petit-fours: a trio of balsamic strawberry jubes (not very acidic, more sickly sweet), pineapple marshmallows (lovely hint of pineapple here and so pillowy soft!) & la pièce de résistance: Billy's macarons. The original dessert queen strikes again haha. Look out Zumbo/Ladurée (no seriously)! I don't have to tell you what a macaron should taste like but those black sesame shells were perfectly crispy. The filling was pretty out there (fine by me!) - pumpkin puree and blue cheese! KA POW!

Phuoc's dessert contribution: a deconstructed apple crumble (left) and molecular gastronomy cocktail (right). The moscato cocktail was topped with apple spheres that we watched them make beforehand with a syringe of gel/puree, dropped into a magical mystery chemical. Very Heston/Ferran Adría! The crumble put a nice spin on a very traditional British dessert. A quinelle of refreshing apple sorbet lay on a bed of crumble laced with popping candy to keep us on our toes! Garnished with a square of cinnamony puff pastry and ribbons of apple jelly. If apple was the brief here I think it was pretty much nailed!

1234: trust Billy to inject theatre into the night :) His Snow White dessert was the star of the show (or should I say dessert diva?). Warm raspberry coulis was poured over the tempered white chocolate dome to melt away and reveal it's innards. MUAHAHAHA...inside was an icy raspberry/rose/lychee mousse hemisphere with pistachio & oat crumb. Phwoar! A complete show-stopper. 

Okay so after the third consecutive dessert course my blood sugar was reaching crisis point. We had but one more to go...! It was time to call on my eating willpower (boundless as you well know) and 3rd stomach...

Karen's 'Bowl of Dirt': definitely looks better than it sounds lol. A chocolate parfait covered with minty chocolate dirt (Fisherman's friend apparently!), caramelised white chocolate crumb and maraschino cherries. Mm-Mmm. At this point, I was half keeled over in my seat. The portions were SO GENEROUS that there was no way I could finish the thing. Props to whoever conquered the beast.
And to the next course! Roll up, roll up...

We welcomed the next two courses with open arms and mouths. On the right, we had a platter of lamb ribs and pulled pork accompanied by braised balsamic red cabbage and apple puree mixed thru with walnuts. Very yummy. The meat was deliciously tender (hours in the oven I am sure). And I can't forget to mention that cauliflower puree that was so creamy it might have been more cream/butter than vegetable. Well, won't we all just be a picture of health once we're done?! HELP! The last course was an amuse (thank goodness!) - a pumpkin soup with just a hint of carrot and pork crackling croutons (them were good). Don't you just love the lil espresso cups they used?

So! I won't be hungry for days.

I must say, I felt so at home during this event. It was food blogger heaven. At each course unveiling, we would all have cameras/phones poised to capture EVERYTHING. It was a lovely atmosphere. I for one always feel pretty self-conscious whipping out my camera to shoot something but food photography was most definitely encouraged. Won-der-ful! Billy, who was so apt at playing host was on the case during the night and has already posted about it all here. By the end of it all, I was so contented I couldn't get up from my chair. We reluctantly left following requisite book signing/mini photo sesh and into the night. Let me just say that the three of them did a magnificent job. The night ran so smoothly and they executed it with aplomb. I had a great time. Can't wait for the next event...a tea party perhaps? Fab :D

Happy Halloween peeps and thanks for reading! x


  1. It was great night wasn't it? I'm glad the dishes were mixed up a little in the second session. Four desserts in a row is definitely hard core!

  2. great shots of the progressive eating of Billy's Snow White :-)

  3. Glad to see that you enjoyed every moment of our dinner, even if we induced you into a sugar coma (sorry!). Hope to see you at future events :)

  4. Great photos. They are seem to be very delicious...

  5. Thanks so much for coming and for the lovely post! For future events, we'll ease up on the sugar... just a little :)

  6. wow! That looks so creative and interesting. What was it like starting with dessert? I can imagine it would feel a bit strange.. I've always wanted to eat a degustation but being vegetarian kind of restricts that - there aren't often veg ones. Lovely to discover your blog. x

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment! We signed up for what was called "dessert degustation" so we 'knew' what we were in for. Come the 4th dessert course however, I was on the brink...and I have a sweet tooth! P.S. There are few restaurants that offer veg degustation in Sydney!

  7. WOW! What a feast! Quite incredible, I don't think I've ever seen a Halloween banquet like it. Wish I'd been there!

  8. Great article with excellent idea! I appreciate your post. Thanks so much and let keep on sharing your stuffs keep it up.holy food
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