I won tickets to go to Taste of Melbourne from My Food Trail, and I used them to attend tonight’s session at the Royal Exhibition building. Isn’t the Royal Exhibition building gorgeous? I love this building!
Naturally, I planned what we were going to eat well before I arrived. Here’s what we ate!
Koots Salle a Manger
We had the seven hour braised leg of lamb with mushroom and potato pave and glazed baby carrot (12 crowns). Mhmmmm…. as you would expect, the meat was really tender, and it was surrounded by a very savoury sauce – though it was on the edge of being too salty for me.
If you think this looks good and you’ll like to try it – unfortunately Koots Salle a Manger was Thursday’s pop up restaurant and isn’t appearing on the other days.
Mezzo Bar & Grill
From Mezzo, we had the slow braised pork cheek with white polenta, raisins and marsala sauce (8 crowns). The pork was so tender, and it was topped by a very vinegary red cabbage. The meat itself could’ve used a touch more salt, but I enjoyed this. Alastair said that he didn’t like it that much, but he still polished off the bulk of it. So he can’t have disliked it that much!
This is the smoked duck, apple and walnut rillettes ($10 crowns). The shredded duck meat was salty and smokey, and almost made me think of pate. The bread was VERY crunchy and a bit hard to eat. I would’ve liked a bit more apple and cabbage to offset the duck mixture – it’s a bit hard to tell in this photo but there was a generous amount of the duck. It was still good though!
We had the seared, cured Marlborough King salmon with a warm sweet corn and potato salad (12 crowns). This was great – the salmon was full of flavour, and cooked really well, still moist and flakey. The fish went well with the corn and potato salad, it was a bit sweet, sour and slightly smokey. Thinking about this dish, it’s actually very simple, just done really well.
From Charcoal Lane, I chose the wallaby tataki with ginger, soy, and horseradish (10 crowns). I enjoyed this a lot, but the soy sauce was rather strong – so a warning to anyone who isn’t a big fan of soy sauce. The stuff on top of the meat (whatever it was!) was good, giving a bit of texture and crunch to the dish. Funny story about the herb – I asked Bro what it tasted like. He replied, “It tastes like green.” I thought he was being unhelpful until I tried the herb and had to agree with him – it tasted like green. There you go. (Worse food blogger ever, I swear.)
And finally, for dessert, we went to Sarti and had the pistachio “panna cotta” with caramel salted popcorn (8 crowns). I don’t know why it was “panna cotta” on the menu – I thought it wouldn’t be really a panna cotta at all, but it looked and tasted like one! It was a good panna cotta too – very creamy, and tasted very faintly of pistachio, and was flecked inside with vanilla seeds. I also really liked the popcorn, which was sweet, salty and crunchy altogether. But in hindsight, I shouldn’t have selected a dessert for our final dish. I should have used the crowns for another savoury dish because after we spent all our crowns, we walked around the exhibits, sampling food and drinks and…
We could’ve skipped dessert because we then ate a free sample of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and shared an ice cream sandwich from Pat and Stick’s ($6 each or 2 for $10 – or you could use crowns). We had the chocolate lace flavour which was a butterscotch almond and oat cookie, with chocolate ice cream inside. I can highly recommend the ice cream sandwiches! Ours was really delicious!
In addition, we also ate several pieces of chocolate from the Green & Blacks’ stall plus marshmallows dipped in their chocolate fountain.
There were also several other ice cream stalls, so there was enough sweet stuff around to satisfy the dessert stomach!
Being Thursday night it wasn’t very crowded, which was great! I didn’t need to line up to get any of the food, though there was a rather long line at the Palace, to get the wagyu burger I believe. It helped that I had decided on what we were going to eat beforehand, so we were able to eat everything we wanted, and then spend time afterwards looking at the different exhibits.
I enjoyed it, but to be honest if I hadn’t have won tickets I wouldn’t have gone. I’m not sure if I will go again next year (unless I win tickets again!). I purchased $60 worth of crowns between the two of us, and if we had paid for entry, it would basically be the cost of a meal somewhere (though admittedly, probably not at any of the restaurants featured at Taste of Melbourne!). But it was good to try food from all the different restaurants and see all the different exhibits, and like I said – we did enjoy it.
If you’re going over the next few days – enjoy! What dishes are you looking forward to? What did you enjoy the most?
For more posts on Taste of Melbourne 2010, see (deep breath):