Archive for October, 2007

Sugar Hit – Intercontinental, Sydney

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Well it’s that time of year again when Sydney foodies descend upon top restaurants, hotels, bars and even parks to eat and drink their way around town for the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Month.  And top of the list for the evenings is the Sugar Hit – the $20 plate of dessert and glass of dessert wine (up from $15 in previous years).  We went to the elegant Cafe Opera at the intercontinental, fully intending to have the Sugar Hit, but instead captivated by the dessert trolley before us, which offered an array of beautiful irresistable patisserie at only $8 each.  Well, there’s the bird in the hand theory – we could see before our eyes what we were going to get (and save $4 each too – since dessert wine is $8 a glass), or get the sugar hit. Well – bird’s good for me.

I’m quite familiar with the quality of the desserts at the Inter Cont as I had done a Hands On cooking class five years back, and returned frequently to have the cakes take away.

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A favourite is the tear drop shaped black forest cake – chocolate sponge topped with sour cherry compote, whipped cream and finished off with a layer of cherry jelly.  Tempting tiramisu manifested as a cake – sponge fingers top, bottom and side, and a smooth thick layer of coffee liqueur flavoured marscarpone – and topped with a delicate rolled tuile.

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The pavlova slice is deceptively light – filled with raspberries, mango and whipped cream – soft and fluffy with a slightly crispy meringue top.  And… DIY sugar hit hahaha.

sugar hit4.jpgBut my absolute favourite of all time is the passionfruit mousse cake, which for me takes the cake (literally) for its tangy passionfruit that cuts through the sweetness in a light mousse; wrapped with a dotted sponge collar and a layer of jelly on top.  Butterflies or leaves of chocolate spiked on top, and a shard of speckled white chocolate for good measure.  The staff could have been a bit more generous with the dessert wine, but when you could catch them were attentive and polite.  The large couches are a comfortable way to rest and soak up the atmosphere – but be quick as there are no bookings on a Friday night – and the queue starts well before the 9pm starting time. for more events.  Sydney Intercontinental Hotel  117 Macquarie Street Sydney 9240 1369 

Fennel and Rosemary Pork Belly

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

pork belly1.jpgI really wish someone would breed a pork species which had a fat free pork belly.  Because it’s a weakness of mine – crunch crackling atop layers of soft stringy white meat interspersed with smooth fat.  Alas. Pork belly makes my belly porky too.  And so it is reserved only for auspicious occasions.  Well there wasn’t really one this time, but a girly cooking session.  I dragged out a recipe from my Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine.  (more…)

Cucina Viscontini, the Waterside

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

I first came across this italian eatery and delicatessen when we held a function at the Waterside, Homebush Bay, and someone came in with these amazing woodfired pizzas.  Crispy thin base, and with topped with fresh ingredients to savour the base and not piled one inch high like some pizza joints these days.   So on another sunny birthday day off (why do they only come once a year?), we set out to find this pizza again.  It’s actually in a little piazza hidden away between the apartment blocks – I’m sure the locals would like to keep their secret to themselves!  I’m torn – do I shop first, or eat first??  Well stomach won as usual, and we sat ourselves at one of the tables on the street – strangely enough, all enclosed in a plastic awning despite being a gorgeous day.

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I had to have a taste of the pizza again – from a plate not a takeaway box, and it did not disappoint.   For lunch, there is only a limited specials menu, and I selected the salamari, olive and chilli pizza ($15).  Just enough for one person – the base was as crispy as I remembered – not merely the vessel for a mountain of topping, but as much as star as the toppings itself – which complemented it, not over powered it, the real way it’s meant to be done.  None of the processed plastic cheese either – real slices of mozarella melted into the fresh tomato base, and scattered with just enough salty salamari and torn olives.   The review on Sydney Morning Herald recommended the calamari fritti ($16) which my friend ordered – and I reluctantly swapped a slice of my pizza to try.  It wasn’t the oily greasy rubber bands that I expected (who am I to disagree with Simon Thomsen!)- but the flash fried, and ever so slightly battered rings were much lighter than most versions, and served with chips and salad.

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