It’s an unfortunate fact that the 2010 Sunfest is over (I’m crying, but only on the inside). Fortunately, I was able to catch a wave at Surfing the Menu with Curtis Stone. Yes ladies (and certain gentlemen), hotness central. Held at the Straits Room in The Fullerton Hotel (1 Fullerton Square, 6733-8388), the four-course dinner was inspired by dishes from the TV show Surfing the Menu. I actually have fond memories of watching the show with my girlies back in Oz, but of course, nothing quite competes with the real deal. My meal began with a saffron-perfumed spiced mussel soup which had a strong, robust flavor, with enough heat from a dash of cayenne pepper to excite my somewhat jaded palate. There was also Ricotta Cavatelli—a handrolled pasta with smoky, chargrilled sweet corn kernels and ender strips of duck confit (Curtis’ tribute to his co-host on the series, “Bender”) and Atlantic lobster with shellfish foam, chicken oysters in salted caramel sauce and topped with crispy pancetta, with nine wines from the Margaret River region served over the course of the evening. I’m already looking forward to the festival rolling around again next year. If you missed it, you can always pick up a copy of Curtis’ and Bender’s cookbook, Surfing the Menu, from most book stores in town.
Another satisfying dining experience I’ve had of late was at Table 66 (66 Tras St., 6225-6690), where chef-owner Vincent Teng has applied his longtime passion for sous-vide to create a new menu using this French technique. Highlights include seared beef tartare—freshly ground beef crowned with a semi-solid egg yolk that’s been marinated in miso and truffle ($18), osmanthus-infused pork belly with braised leeks, pineapple salsa and sweet potato pomme puree ($28) and confit of duck leg with tamarind jus (also $28). End on a sweet note with the lavender-scented panna cotta, accompanied by strawberry compote ($10).
Somehow, I also managed to fit in a wine and food pairing session at The Disgruntled Chef (26B Dempsey Rd., 6476-5305) for Changing of the Guard at Jacob’s Creek. Winemaker Bernard Hickin will be taking over the reins from Australian wine legend Phillip Laffer, whose legacy with Jacob’s Creek has spanned the last 20 years. They also presented the latest Reserve collection which focuses on three key wine regions Down Under to be launched at the start of 2011, including the Barossa Shiraz, Coonawara Cabernet Sauvignon and Adelaide Hills Chardonnay.