Dinner at the Claude’s X The Dip Demolition Dinner ($110 w matching wines). Claude’s (10 Oxford St, Woollahra) is set to close for an eight week renovation and will hold a number of collaborative “demolition dinners” in the lead-up to its closure. When I saw that The Dip (Good God Small Club, 55 Liverpool St, Sydney) was going to be teaming up with head chef Ben Sears from Claude’s, I was all kinds of intrigued at trying an American themed dinner but in a swanky swish restaurant.
Edit: Claude’s CLOSED So a coupla weeks ago, we found ourselves booked in for dinner at the Claude’s X The Dip Demolition Dinner ($110 w matching wines). Claude’s (10 Oxford St, Woollahra) is set to close for an eight week renovation and will hold a number of collaborative “demolition dinners&#8221; in the lead-up to its closure. When I saw that Andrew Levins from The Dip (Good God Small Club, 55 Liverpool St, Sydney) was going to be teaming up with head chef Ben Sears from Claude’s, I was all kinds of intrigued at trying the one-off American themed dinner but in a swanky swish restaurant.
We were lucky enough to be seated upstairs, away from the much more civilised crowd and as we chortled about how we missed the Flintstone booths and the pumping jamz at The Dip, the amuse bouche of Biscuits and Gravy arrived. Similar to a scone, the American biscuit is savoury and mainly used to mop up sauces and gravy and mop away we did! The gravy was made with pork sausage and we stage whispered whether or not we could ask for a whole tray of biscuits and gravy for a midnight snack.
Clam Chowder. Heh of course we had to do Simpson’s chowderrrr references all night. That, and meme references. True story. But anywhos! We dunked in house made crackers into the incredible clam chowder which was rich and comforting with the cubes of potato and bacon. Three giant plump clams floated around happily until I masticated them with glee. All too soon the plate was scraped clean and we all agreed that we totally could’ve gone for a whole bucket of the stuff. Each.
The Lobster Roll was one mighty fine specimen, the golden bun was almost too perfect to pick up! After removing my all time hated vegetable of all time- the dreaded celery, I proceeded to demolish the roll with ease. The lobster pieces were ginormous and so freaking fresh it was like they were only moments ago swimming in the sea. My mind is blanking at the moment in regards to the sauce but um it was tasty? Did I mention that it was also matching wines? On a school night? Whee!
And finally what we had all been waiting for: Chicken and Waffles oh baby yeah! This, my friends, is what happy dreams are made of: battered juicy chicken that has bathed in the glory of fresh oil till golden and was just plain awesome. The waffles with slightly crispy edges and a pillowy soft middle fought a battle with my heart on whether or not the chicken or the waffle could fill the last remaining spaces in my stomach. The waffle quite possibly won because there was the sweet sweet maple syrup glaze that calls to us all with its siren song.
Last but not least was the Shoo-Fly Pie, which was incredibly rich with molasses. Strangely I really loved the banana ice cream and ate it ALL. The dessert was paired with a very delicious concoction of Bourbon + Averna + OJ + Root beer. Seriously you guys, best drink ever!
Muchas gracias Levins, Bianca, Mel and the teams at The Dip and Claude’s! Food was crazy awesome and here’s to more random matchups!
Dan Hong and Jowett Yu’s event ‘Morning After the Night Before’ at Ms G’s (155 Victoria St, Potts Point) with 5 courses + a drink ($50) for a hangover breakfast cure.
Oh boy. Reeeally wasn’t feeling so great after a fun Friday night out on the town and the boy was feeling even worse after celebrating his footy team’s win. It just so happened that the next day was Dan Hong and Jowett Yu’s event ‘Morning After the Night Before’ at Ms G’s (155 Victoria St, Potts Point) with 5 courses + a drink ($50) for a hangover breakfast cure and there was Bloody Mary’s to get us functioning.
Dim Sum. I was so glad that there was something deep fried. Cos I mean, everything feels better after eating something oily and greasy to soak up the night’s remaining alcohol right? My only problem was that even though the spring roll was golden and crispy, it was pretty near perfect and not at all oily. Filled with chicken and cucumber wedges and interestingly enough a layer of stretchy cheese, the spring roll was smashed down fast. The siu mai was pretty massive- topped with a scallop and holding a perfect ratio of mince to prawns and held together by a silky wonton wrapper.
Fried Breakfast Bowl. Teehee couldn’t help but lean over and stare into the bowl and go naww whatta cute little egg!
Stab stab! Mmm ooozy eggy innards! Now what happens when you take an already delicious platform of a 60 degree egg and smother it all over delicious fried bits of bacon, croutons, mushrooms and potato? That’s a stupid question because it just becomes MORE DELICIOUS. I ate it ALL.
Tonkotsu Ramen. The boy perked up at being dragged out to the city when he knew there was ramen for brekkie. I’d been stalking Dan Hong on twitter and had seen the slices of porky that was going to be used for the ramen and I was sooo excited! And it was amazeballs. Pleasingly chewy noodles with a whole lotta fresh corn nubbins, slices of fatty pork, bamboo shoots, seaweed and all bathed in the glory of rich pork bone broth.
Fresh Melon with Berocca Sorbet. So after the ramen I was all like well ok I’m pleasantly full and yes the sorbet did taste like Berocca but did it in fact give me back my b-b-bounce? The fruit gave me mixed emotions- I was feeling kinda healthy at eating fruit as I don’t really eat the correct portions of fruit a day so had probably been in need of some vitamins but at the same time I was like hmm wish all these fruits had been spiked with vodka…
Bacon Coke Float. Now usually I love crazy combinations buuuut I’m quite particular about Coke, I haz mad issues with flavours mixing with Coke I mean c’mon vanilla Coke? Lemon Coke? Tchh! The scoop of vanilla ice cream was studded with bacon pieces and I reckon I would’ve loved it if it wasn’t submerged spider-style in my Coke. But for $50 I reckon this hangover brekkie was pretty awesome and oh, hey Dan? Put the ramen on Ms G’s menu please!
Forage 2012 at Cloudy Bay, Blenheim Part 2. Vineyard Immersion, tasting, Simon Gault and epic degustation dinner.
The Forage experience has been pretty epic and on our last day in Cloudy Bay we visit all their vineyards located across the Marlborough region. Viticulturist Jim White leads the way through the hectares and explains Cloudy Bay’s winemaking philosophies and the year long passion and hard work that goes into making the final product.
The views are just incredible, the vineyards in the different areas produce a different grape for each of their wines, with no two areas being the same whether it be the mineral content in the soil or even temperature differences.
One of the problems the vineyards in the area face is frost and in order to keep the temperature high enough in the vineyards the wineries use wind machines that pull warmer air in to protect the crop. We all laugh when Jim tells us that sometimes they have to hire helicopters to help aid the movement of warm air and how at first everyone loved having joy rides but quickly got sick of them when they had to fly over each row at 3am.
Just as the skies open we break for a quick lunch of baguettes, macarons and GLORIOUS CHEESE AND WINE.
Wehee! Wine makes me happy! Tralalala
We make our way back to the Cellar Door where I can’t help but spin around in circles in basket chairs hanging from trees.
But wait it’s wine tasting time!
I was really surprised by how much I loved the tasting! I mean yes the wines were delicious but I really enjoyed listening to wine maker Tim Heath who was so down to earth and friendly. He was just chilled and relaxed and spoke with such passion but had pealers like ‘them skanky little grapes’ and ‘some of these wines are pretty freaky but hey they sure are tasty’.
We got to try some of the wines that were in the early and middle stages of fermenting where interestingly some tasted like cider.
We take a short break where I managed to convince another human to take a jumping shot wheeeeee starrrrfishhhhh!
We make our way upstairs to the private function room and watch the sunset. The table is gorgeous and has potted herbs in the center and we are told that we’re welcome to cut sprigs for our dinner. Famed New Zealand chef Simon Gault will be creating a degustation dinner for us using the ingredients that we had foraged the day before.
The tentacles of Cape Campbell Octopus have been thinly sliced and are super tender, a swirl into the balsamic vinegar brings out a slight acidic age that pairs well with the Pelorus Rose.
The Tio Point oyster pipe is a hit with the table, many of us had never seen such a pipe! The creamy oyster puree is wonderfully smooth and the crunch of the Iberico crumbs and the potato sphere combined with the lemon crystal was just freaking incredible.
Presentation is always everything, and as the domes are lifted we are greeted with ginger aroma. The salmon is perfect with the slightly sweet miso glaze and while the smoked red pepper pearls are delicious they sadly lack the pop of salmon roe.
Heh fancy surf n turf 😛 But holy moly see that pork belly? Deeeelicious! Perfect tile of crackling and omg hello tender abalone! Was interesting to see not too many people were familiar with abalone (or paua) but turned into fanatical lovers after this dish. That bright orange paint was this crazy intense mango puree that just punches you in the face with flavour and had us all scraping the plate clean!
The Modern Cassoulet was packed full of blue cod and butterfish topped with parsley, Cloudy Bay clams steamed in white wine and garlic, buttery crayfish and smoked chipotle green lip mussels. There was a lot of flavours going on and while everything tasted incredible I kinda wished I had partitions between the sauces to keep them from mixing.
It’s nitro puff time! A palate cleanser called the mandarin cheesel makes its way around the table and we laugh at each other’s expressions when we chomp on the tiny morsel and exhale like puff the magic dragon.
Our final course is the freaking tender Glazebrook lodge venison with a rich parsnip saffron puree and orange onion sauce. It threatens to push me over the edge into food coma territory but I just cannot stop eating.
“Windsong Orchard Plum bag” written on the menu has me thinking that perhaps we would be getting some plums au naturale so when discs appeared in front me I cautiously nibbled at the edge to find that it was edible rice paper filled with plum jam and pop rocks! Love pop rocks!!!
The deconstructed Manuka honey tiramisu is insane, the fig terrine and the puffs of sponge are gleefully dipped into the cinnamon ice cream for a flavour explosion.
With different ages, jobs and from different countries, we were brought together by awesome food and wine and have shared a truckload of new experiences and laughter. Rolling away and clutching our stomachs we bid farewell to our new friends. Thank you Cloudy Bay for this experience, it is one I will never forget.
ChocolateSuze was invited to Forage 2012 as a guest of Cloudy Bay
Milkbar Memories, a special lunch event at Ms G’s (155 Victoria St, Potts Point) which was 5 courses plus the choice of a milkshake or yuzu cocktail ($65) inspired by the local corner shop and humble milk bar. Potato scallop, chiko roll, prawns TOPPED WITH CHIPS!
How was your week dudes? My week has been pretty crazy and sometimes you just need to stop, take a breath and chill with your mates. So on Saturday our group of hungry peeps rocked up to Milkbar Memories, a special March Into Merivale lunch event at Ms G’s (155 Victoria St, Potts Point) which was 5 courses plus the choice of a milkshake or yuzu cocktail ($65) inspired by the local corner shop and humble milk bar. The chocolate milkshake is pretty awesome, icy cold and chocolatey and makes me start humming my milkshake brings all da boys to da yard…
First lol of the day is the Potato Scallop and Kransky with a Tomato Vinaigrette. Shizz just got real. Expecting a deep fried potato, I am delighted to find instead scallop sashimi covered in crushed potato chip nubbins which incredibly, totally works. I have extreme issues with celery and had to shaft it away but the Kransky was tasty with the tomato vinaigrette and chopped coriander.
Chiko roll and chicken dim sim. Now I’m gonna say something that some people might find un-Australian but um I don’t really like Chiko rolls… I know I know! Sacrilege! But like, I have this random issue with textures and flavours mixing and I just wasn’t a fan so I’m probably not the best person to ask about this dish. I liked the outside battered pastry because well, it’s deep fried. The chicken dim sim was a lil weird because I don’t think I have ever had one or seen one at my corner shop but that was one meaty siu mai and of course it ain’t Ms G’s without a dab of Sriracha hot sauce.
“It feels so wrong eating siu mai with a knife and fork.”
A second round of drinks is ordered, Pina ‘Pearls’ Colada and Good Morning Vietnam ($14) because cheeeeers to the freaking weeekend!
HOLY MOLY MOTHER OF CRAZY! When the Chip-crusted prawns arrived at our table we immediately broke into cackles when the waiter explained the flavours were Nacho Doritos, Burger Rings and Chicken Twisties. BAHHHHAHAHA I’m such a sucker for novelty!!! Apparently some people weren’t uber fans of the crushed chips on prawns idea. But that’s ok I totally won’t judge you, to each their own I say! Strangely enough I loved the prawnie with the Chicken Twisties the most which brought up a whole discussion on the new Twisties that turns your tongue blue.
Last course before dessert was the Mini Aussie Burger with home made fries and coos of ‘naww it’s so cuteee’ echoes around our table. Cute and delicious oh yes, a teensy tiny fried egg hides underneath the brioche bun and is snuggling with slices of beetroot and grilled onion and a slice of oozy melty cheese drapes sexily over the medium rare Beef Patty Of Awesome. And did I mention the crispy bacon? Or how about them delicious fries? Incrediballs.
What say you Steph? “Mmm burgahhh.” Eat ALL the burger! (x ALL the y is this month’s favourite meme hehe)
BUT WOAH, HOLDUP, CHECK OUT DESSERT: Monaco Bar x Golden Gaytime = WHY SO DELICIOUS?! I heart this so much! The biscuit is cakey-like and sandwiches two giant vanilla bean studded scoops of ice cream, topped with buttery biscuit crumbs and drizzled with gloriously rich salted caramel sauce that has us all frantically scraping our plates clean. This is how world peace would be solved. If you like dessert that is. And who doesn’t like dessert? (You there! Fella in the corner! We CANNOT be friends). Best. Dessert. Ever. Absolutely cannot wait for the Morning After the Night event next week!
Forage 2012 at Cloudy Bay, Blenheim New Zealand
I’ve never been to New Zealand before. Shocking I know, as New Zealand is so close to Australia and well known for their awesome produce and delicious wines. When I was invited to Cloudy Bay’s Estate Vineyards for their annual Forage event I jumped at the chance (and ran to renew my expired passport). Buzzing with excitement, our group of writers and reporters from all over the world arrived at Cloudy Bay’s cellar door at the winery on Jacksons Road in the heart of the Marlborough wine region. We were greeted with the Pōwhiri, the Māori ceremony of welcome.
After the ceremony there was the Hongi which is the pressing of noses to signify the joining together of the hosts and visitors.
We move inside for champagne and into the cellar where a beautifully set table is bathed by the light of hanging lanterns.
Blenheim-based Swiss chef Alain Hauswirth has a chat with us before our dinner begins.
Now I am the first to admit that my knowledge of wine isn’t too extensive so was really looking forward to trying out some wines and having the chance to ask winemaker Sarah Burton all sorts of random questions. The 2007 Te Koko is a smash hit with the table, surprisingly light and pairing well with our first course.
The portion of seared tuna is pretty massive but I demolish it with ease after the less than average plane food. The tangle of rice noodles is a bit on the sweet side with the addition of vanilla in the coconut reduction but the greens with XO sauce balances out the flavours.
A giant platter of sliced meats arrive- beef, pork, veal and venison and we are ready for some fondue action!
At first we are all polite and slowly decorate our plates with baked potatoes, some slices of meat and dollops of sauces- the pesto was by far my fav.
We spear the slices of meat onto teensy tiny skewers and swirl them into the broth until they’re cooked to our liking. The trick was as soon as your meat had cooked you dump it on your plate and immediately spear another slice to cook while you eat. Or um you steal another fork and cook several slices at once…
And then there was the most incredible cheese I have ever had omg how I heart cheese! The Neudorf Richmond Red was a semi-hard sheep milk cheese that had a slightly nutty flavour and so freaking tasty that I must’ve eaten at least half the wedge.
An early night for us as we know a massive day is planned for the next day so we shuttle bus back to Marlborough Chateau (95/117 High Street Blenheim) and spy plush kiwi toys and a bottle of Cloudy Bay’s Sav Blanc ’12 in case we were still thirsty hehe
The next day we were split into groups with each group heading to a different point in the Marlborough region to gather and explore the best produce of New Zealand and bring it back for an epic degustation- our group was East and our first stop was Sweet Nature Honey (829 Taylor Pass Rd, RD4, Blenheim). Other than our photographer, none of us were game to join beekeper Darren Clifford as he showed us a hive and how to take out a frame of honeycomb.
A bee smoker is used to pacify the bees before the frame is removed and any bees still clinging are lightly brushed away and the frame is placed in a sealed box and taken back to the factory.
As well as collecting enough honey that was needed for our dinner we were also given a snack size pack home mmm sweet
We hit the road and head to our next location, stopping momentarily when a herd of cows decides to wander onto the road.
We arrive at Dominion Salt at Lake Grassmere where we see pools with a crazy pink colour! Water from the sea is pumped into Lake Grassmere before being transferred to pools where evaporation takes place. As the concentration of salt increases, the pink hue of the brine deepens as the level of a particular microscopic algae increases.
I’d been pre warned that I’d be swimming and when I found out I was going to go diving for abalone I couldn’t strip off fast enough. Um. I mean, I couldn’t change into my wetsuit fast enough. Heh. And yes I chose the pink snorkel on purpose.
STARFISH! Don’t worry I put him back! Diving for abalone was freaking awesome, at first it was freaky floating around with the snorkel (as I’ve never snorkelled before) and kept freaking out every time a sheet of seaweed brushed against me but spotting a full sized abalone was so exciting! We were given this metal spatular thingy and had to slide it under the abalone shell and twist em off the rock which was pretty tricky because they were suckered on pretty good.
Exhausted we make our way to Cape Campbell Farm where the incredible smells of lunch cooking greets us.
That was one fabulous feast I tells ya! Minced abalone patties, pasta salad, roast lamb, foccacia, salads and lobster and of course Cloudy Bay wines to wash it down 😛
Whatchoo lookin at kid?
And then off to Burkhart Fisheries where we were following the Burkhart boys on their crayfish boat as they went to check on their pots. At first I was like oh wow it’s totally just like the show Deadliest Catch as they pulled in pot after pot and either cheered or booed at its contents. Aaaand then the swaying of the boat started getting to me and the only pic I managed was this before I ran for the side of the boat and hurled my guts out aww buh bye lunch
When we reached the shore I was so glad to be on stable land. And then I found out our last activity was taking a helicopter ride. I was so SO close to turning down the flight but I’m so glad my stomach was ok and had awesome trip back to vineyards as we flew over all the places we had visited that day.
New Zealand you are just too beautiful.
We beam with pride as we present our foraged haul to chef Simon Gault who will be cooking up an epic degustation dinner the next day.
And then kick back and enjoy the rest of the evening with a bbq in the grounds of the vineyards.
Humans! Love you guys!
ChocolateSuze was invited to Forage 2012 as a guest of Cloudy Bay