Review: United Flavours of the World Gourmet Safari

K’s father bought us gift vouchers for a Gourmet Safari for Christmas last year and we finally got around to going on the tour last weekend, choosing to do the United Flavours of the World tour. I wanted to go on this tour as I thought it would capture the best of the multiculturalism and food diversity of Australia.

We started out bright and early at 8.30am on a Saturday morning, with a group of around two dozen people meeting at Central Station in Sydney to get on our coach bus. Our fellow gourmet travellers were all older, averaging around 50 to 60 years old. We were very much the young people on the tour. As soon as we started our journey, our tour guide Alex explained how the stops on our tour would be based in south-west Sydney. In his words, “South West Sydney is where raw materials for Sydney’s gastronomes are produced”. In other words, you can buy a gourmet chorizo from an expensive deli in the city, or you can go to the south-west and get it straight from the source.

For those unfamiliar with Sydney neighborhoods, south-west Sydney is an older and more industrial part of town, with a large migrant and ethnic population. It’s not an area that I’ve ventured into yet in my year in Sydney, as I live on the North Shore of Sydney, which is arguably the wealthiest and most white-bread part of town. This was all going to change though! Our first stop was Sunshine Meats, located in Milperra.

Sunshine Meats We were introduced to the Portugese owners of this business, and given a history of how they came to make some of the most popular small goods in Australia. We had a tasting session as well, led by owner Maria Pereira, her daughter, her niece, her mother, and her aunts. Talk about a family-run business! Some of the items we tasted included: chilli chicken breast, chocolate turkey, smoked beef, pork chorizo, chilli chicken chorizo, and a caramelised onion jam.

The most interesting part of the meal was when Maria demonstrated how to cook chorizo on an individual barbecue. That’s the two little pigs you see in the last photo above – essentially, you pour alcohol into the well in the ceramic barbecue and light it on fire. You then skewer a chorizo (or any other meat!), and let it cook over the flames. It creates this perfect crispy outside, while the inside remains nice and juicy.

I can’t even begin to describe how tasty each and every item at Sunshine Meats was – this was probably evidenced by the fact that we left the shop after having spent $50AUD on chorizo, chicken and jams.
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Review: Dessert Masterclass at Mumu Grill, Crows Nest

For a friend’s recent 21st birthday, I purchased vouchers for us both to attend a Dessert Master Class at Mumu Grill in Crows Nest, Sydney. NB: A note to the wise, gifting experiences rather than tangible presents is always a winner!

Last night, we learnt how to make:

  1. Passionfruit cheesecake with a garnish of chilli, kiwifruit, pineapple and mint.
  2. Bread pudding with dark chocolate
  3. Baked rhubarb with hand-whipped cream, meringue, raspberries and nuts
  4. Date and pistachio clafouti, and strawberry clafouti

dessert masterclass

Yum yum!

We had a really good time at this masterclass, and the great thing was that they didn’t just teach you how to make these four dishes, but also taught you ways of adapting them and using different flavours and ingredients – thus helping you to expand your culinary skills.

Overall, the class size was good, the skills taught were great, the food was awesome, and we even got a voucher at the end for a free main meal at the restaurant for use at a later time. Mumu Grill also does a Tapas and Sangria masterclass, and also a Beef and Beers masterclass. I look forward to trying either one of them in the future!

I rate the Dessert Masterclass at Mumu Grill an 8.5 out of 10.
Mumu Grill on Urbanspoon

Review: Simmer at Souths

When I saw a daily deal voucher (two mains and two glasses of wine) for $29 for a meal at Simmer at Souths, I jumped at the opportunity. It may be a restaurant inside the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ clubhouse, but led by Brigid Kennedy as the Head Chef, it’s no ordinary clubhouse restaurant.

K and I had a booking for Tuesday night (our regular date night) before we went to a screening of The Dark Knight Rises at IMAX. We decided to make an elaborate meal of it, and ordered entrees and desserts on top of our complimentary mains. (See full menu here)

dinner-simmers

Entree

We shared the Crispy Pork Belly with Apple Slaw and a Quince Glaze. It was remarkably well done – the pork belly was beautifully soft, and the apple slaw had a great flavour to it.

Mains

I ordered the Chargrilled Lamb Rump with a Sweetcorn and Sweet Potato Rosti, Minted Pea Puree, Crispy Garlic and Redcurrent Jus. K had the Macadamia Crusted Barramundi Fillet Flavoured with Mustard with Green Beans & a Carrot and Tarragon Oil.

The garlic in my dish was possibly the best roast garlic I’ve ever eaten – and I’ve had my fair share of meals out. The lamb was possibly too strong in flavour, but still quite tasty. The macadamia crust on K’s barramundi was beautiful, though the fish was just marginally overdone.

Desserts

K had the Chocolate and Hazelnut Tart with Raspberry Compote. I had the dessert special of the night, which was a chocolate brulee and a vanilla brulee.

Beautiful. The chocolate tart was quite heavy, but the raspberry compote gave it a tart lightness. The brulees were really tasty, though by the time I started on the vanilla brulee, it had sat for a while and had gone a bit runny.

Overall

Overall, we had a really nice dining experience. The decor was modern, the background music was at the perfect level, and the whole dining area was very quiet for the time that we were there (there were only about four or five other groups dining at the same time), so we had very personalised and attentive service from the wait staff. I can only imagine that the restaurant gets busier when there Rabbitohs are training on the nearby club grounds, or when there’s a game on.

I rate Simmer at Souths a 7 out of 10, with points off for slight imperfections in the main meals. It’s new in the Redfern area, and it’ll have to significantly raise its profile and/or lower the price of their mains and improve the quality in order to compete with other restaurants in the area like Patagonian Toothfish (which I love!).

Simmer at Souths on Urbanspoon