It has been a long time coming...
Long week-ends are a good occasion to go and visit the blue Mountains, a spectacular, rugged and sophisticated place two hours west of Sydney. Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba and Blackheath are not only villages that are the gateways to the natural wonders of the region, but also home of some very good restaurants and shops.
The downside is that the whole of Sydney seems to congregrate there for these long week-ends and swarm on these local gastronomic wonders like bees. If you don't have a booking, you will certainly be relegated to a myriad of ordinary cafes and tea rooms, short staffed and although usually friendly and serving a good enough fare, you might as well call lunch afternoon tea. The huge traffic jams to get to and from there do not make the experience any better...
But this time we were determined and organised, and on the recommendation of the owner of silk's Brasserie, Stewart Robinson, we took the train, a comfortable 90mn ride from nearby home, avoiding the zealous police radars and mobile RBTs and their consequent double demerit points off your driving license...
Silk's Brasserie sits nicely across the road from the Leura station, a two minute walk that you will be able to master on the way back, even after a well lubricated three course lunch!
And what a lunch it was!
The combinaison of Stewart's hospitality and his crew, and the Chef's David culinary skills - he has been the staple of the place for 15 years - made for a memorable experience, and certainly one of the best we have had in Australia.
It is French cuisine with a sophisticated Australian twist, respecting the flavours and the quality of the ingredients, as well as surprinsingly innovative, but without the "I want you to know that I am a modern Chef " Sydney syndrome, usually resulting in dissonant or ordinary combinations of saveurs.
To start, we had the following:
Saffron mussel cream chowder with smoked trout + horseradish, served with 3 premium oysters on the side + a cheese straw
I particular liked the idea of the oysters as a palate cleanser after the saffron chowder.
Seared scallops with avocado, diced marinated salmon, salmon roe, tatsoi salad + light wasabi dressing
We followed with
Tenderloin of pork in five-spice on roast sweet potato, beetroot, with rocket, cress, and minted jus
Very creative take on a French classic, with an nice Asian twist, adding interest, but still perfectly executed
And pour Madame
Tenderloin of grain-fed beef on creamy mash with English spinach, mushroom ragoût, mustard-seed butter & Madeira jus
Again here the jus is rich and perfectly matching all the other ingredients, the mushrooms having been sliced very thinly and roasted to perfection before being "hidden" between the mash and the spinash.The meat was cooked exactly medium rare as ordered...a rare thing!
The lubrication came courtesy of Henschke, my favourite South Australian winery, with a local version of what we call here a GSM (nothing to do with mobile phones...) an abbreviation for Grenache, Shiraz, Mourvedre, the traditional Cotes-du-Rhone blend, here with the addition of Voignier, a 2009 Henry’s Seven Shiraz Grenache Viognier, the lot reaching 14.5% alcohol, hence the recommendation for the train ride!
Beautiful wine, certainly more potent that a French equivalent, but still quite structured and well balanced, a perfect match for all these jus, and certainly not out of place with the flavousome starters!
I dared having a dessert, which was a bit of a let down, probably by lack of appetite (I resisted the chocolate fondant though...)Light citrus cheesecake of fresh Jannei curd on a base of hazelnut praline, served with toasted fig
A bit bland, it didn't warrant a photo,,,
The coffee was perfect, and it is my final measure of a good meal.
All in all, it was a very good lunch, great service, gorgeous food, and perfectly suited to the very chilly weather - we are now officially in winter.
So book yourself a table and buy a train ticket and enjoy the sophisticated, yet simple and comfortable decor!
Over the last three years, the leader of kitchen appliances in Switzerland, has invested heavily to penetrate the Australian market, dominated by German competitor Miele at the top of the market.
Their Combi- Steam oven brings professional cooking methods to your own kitchen and delivers astonishing results in no time at all.
V-Zug had a stand at Designex in Sydney this year, as well at the Home Show (pictured left) and in house Chef Felix Halter regaled the visitors with perfectly cooked scallops, asparagus, little cakes and ice cream in crispy pastry - a little miracle...
I am not sure I can wait until my next birthday - maybe Christmas?
And by the way, this is free publicity, but I will accept a discount!
I had to rush to take the photo, as originally there were a square of 9 chocolates - hand made and delivered personally by Janine, my ex-colleague who moved away from architecture to devout herself to become a Chef, and was short-listed for both MasterChef Australia and New Zealand.
They are pralines, with some coconut cream inside and beautiful decoration on top.
This is a wonderful gift and I really enjoyed every one of the chocolates I could salvage from my daughter...
It was also an occasion for lunch at the indoor/outdoor cafe at the new extension of the Museum of Comtemporary Art Australia (MCA) recently reopened and designed by Sam Marshall Architect. A stunning comtenporary addition to an Art Deco iconic building at West Circular Quay in Sydney.
The lighting and audiovisual systems have been designed by my client Haron Robson, a multidisciplinary practice with 27 years to their history and a multitude of awards, the last one for a light sculpture at the Vivid Festival 2012.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
A link here for our non-metric readers: