Sunday, August 30, 2009

Taste Melbourne

A certain question hangs in the air... Taste Melbourne, will it be, well, tasty?
Turns out that thankfully- it was. Decidedly so.

Can there be anything more satisfying than gathering a great gobful of 'the best that Melbourne has to offer' into one place and being able to have a teaser-taste of each? When you're right there in the steamy, fragrant, pungent and spritzy thick of it.... I think not.
Let's be honest here, in rickety financial times not all of us can afford a degustation at the three hatted Jacques Reymond or the celebrity chef helmed The Boathouse. But that doesn't mean that we wouldn't like to be flavour raiding with the best of them- and so why should we miss out, when Taste Melbourne comes to town.
This year I opted for the midway ticket (between general-entry and the deluxe-super-charge versions) that included some crowns to spend on the food on offer, but also allowed the luxury or adding more or less as I felt so inclined.
It's not necessarily a cheap exercise by the time you've sampled everything that makes your saliva ducts hit overdrive, but the alternative would leave your back pocket decidedly more deflated.
Weigh it up growling tummies of Melbourne!
It's a bit of a wonderland if you don't mind the ravenous crowd (and later in the evening the slurring and staggering hoards). It's all part of the fun as far as I can see and it's nice to find so many people on the trail of a good food experience. Eat it up!

The Press Club- Spring Bay half shell scallops with Tarama:
Scallops on the half shell are a most beguiling dish, particularly when they're still attached. Buried under a springy pile of salad, dressed in a creamy tarama sauce redolent of fish-fresh ocean spray and flecked with salty black olives, each mouthful was a textural Odyssey, mostly taken by sea.
Crunchy, soft, silky and creamy all in one and served in an abundant, vibrant and artistically tangled mess.

Jacques Reymond- Tempura of quail breast, tajine flavours & whipped Persian fetta:
This was one of the prettiest dishes on offer- a daintily tottering stack of lightly battered quail giving a satisfying crispy crunch, topped with a delicate cream-lemony dressing and decorated with a streak of shrieking green herb sauce scribbling the pate.
The black rice underneath was a little gluey and non-descript (which was a shame)- but perhaps my taste-buds had already been assaulted by too many other flavours...

Hellenic Republic- saganaki with peppered figs:
A pizza wedge size of crispy fried cheese is every cheese-o-philes dream. Hence I was in creamy, salty, crispy-with-a-gooey-centre heaven. It helps that saganaki makes my world complete- but topped with peppery and sticky stewed figs, the sweetness combines with the cream like BrAngelina- a perfect and sexy match. The best part being that this serve wasn't skimpy and there was plenty of surface area crunch going on.

Maha- Turkish Delight filled doughnuts, with pine nut sugar & rosewater honey:
Just when I thought I was all flavoured out- I ventured into dessert. And then I lost my mind.
Balls of puffy, fluffy, golden fried dough exploded in my mouth into a lava flow of melted Turkish delight. Drenched in lightly floral rosy-honey syrup and dusted with crystals of nutty sugar I felt my jaw clench with the sugar rush. It was better than my first memories of candy floss and just as sticky sweet. Good thing I was full, otherwise my blood sugar would have blown the roof off.

If you didn't make it this year, note the date and start planning for next year. Because with all the best under one roof... it's one hellava mouthful of fun.

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