Last year, Cafe Opera at the InterContinental Hotel introduced their “A Taste Of…” food series – a degustation showcasing and supporting local produce. After a successful last year, three more series have been introduced this year including:
- A Taste of The Dairy – April 1st – 30th
- A Taste of Head to Tail – May 19th – June 14th
- A Taste of Foraged Feasting – July 14th – August 11th
Each series costs $110 for five courses (or $150 with matching wines), or $80 three courses (or $100 with matching wines). We paid a visit to the first series A Taste of The Dairy which showcased a range of dairy based products (mostly cheese, yum!) with a range of European cooking techniques.
Some Pepe Saya butter encased in stone sat on the table teasing us before the meal had even started properly. We got our first taste of Pepe Saya at the first series last year and have been addicted ever since! This is a creamy and smooth handchurned butter that has quite a light flavour and it was almost too easy to mop this all up with the side of bread.
Beetroot Cured Trout
The first course that hit the table was the beetroot cured trout with fromage frais, chive and pickled cucumber. This dish was probably the least “dairy” of all the dishes. The trout was light and refreshing with subtle beetroot flavours and worked well with the smooth chive mousse and sweet wafer. I hadn’t tried some of the flavours on this dish before, but they worked together and overall, it was a promising start.
Jannei Goat Milk Pudding
I wasn’t a huge fan of the next dish which was a Jannei goat milk pudding with young pine needles, caramelised turnip and buckwheat. The pudding was beautifully presented in a small jar and although it tasted sweet, it didn’t completely offset the bitterness from the buckwheat. The turnips hidden at the bottom added a savoury element and the pine needles on top were crunchy and salty, but I found that these unconventional ingredients confused the overall dish.
Butter Milk Roasted Barossa Chicken
After this was the main dish of a Barossa chicken roasted in butter milk and served with chestnut mushrooms, potato maxim and a cheddar emulsion. The chicken was cooked nicely and went extremely well with the fluffy cheddar emulsion which added tonnes of flavour. Those two elements alone were flavousome enough, but the dish also came with mushrooms in whole and puree forms, which elevated the dish with more flavours and textures – definitely a winning dish.
Baked Reblochon (The Mountain Man)
By this stage we were getting a little bit full but there was still the baked reblochon (a cheese from the French Alps) served with confit fig and walnut bread as the last savoury dish. The reblochon was generously piled onto our plates from the main pot being served by the waitstaff and the cheese was warm, melted and gooey. It’s got a lovely smooth texture and has a similar taste to blue cheese when eaten by itself, albeit weaker, which surprisingly created a nice balance to the dish. The fig and crispy walnut bread were both sweet and complemented the reblochon quite well.
I almost couldn’t fit the dessert in as I was definitely full, but was forewarned that the brie custard was absolutely heavenly. And boy did it taste amazing! It was a smooth custard served with soft apple pieces, thyme honey, brioche and macadamia nut. As the brie custard isn’t that sweet, it went very well with all the other sweet ingredients. To top it off, there was a spoon of dulce de leche ice cream on the side which provided a cold caramel hit – an amazing end to the degustation.
Overall the A Taste of Dairy series displayed a great variety of cheese and milk ingredients, along with interesting cooking styles and techniques. Some of the flavours were quite new to me but I definitely appreciated this series which pushed my boundaries in trying different dishes outside of my comfort zone and it paid off. I can’t wait to check out what’s served up at the next series which features dishes utilising rarer parts of the lamb, from the head to the tail – definitely going to be some interesting ones there!
For more information visit www.interconsydney.com.au, call 02 9240 1396 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of InterContinental Hotel
Cafe Opera @ InterContinental Hotel
117 Macquarie Street, Sydney 2000
Ph: (02) 9240 1396