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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sydney Foodblogger Meetup: Night Noodle Markets and Sugar Hit #4: Sofitel Wentworth

"Oh my god, that's just toooooooo gorgeous!" cooed a gushing Julia, as she peered a little closer at the camera viewing screen.

"And ohhh," she flicked to the next image, "that is even more adorable!"

Rebecca, who was beside her, puffed ever-so-slightly with pride and it was at that exact moment that I beamed with relief and toe-tingling glee; for it wasn't a series of baby photos that Julia was admiring but multiple-angled food photos that Rebecca had taken of her lunch at Becasse earlier that day.

And that's the great thing about meeting other foodbloggers. You know that these are kindred spirits, foodie friends who just get it.

oysters
Oysters with lychee salsa from Bungalow 8

So on the second last day of the night noodle markets, I met up with ten Sydneysiders in the name of food: Anna, Emily, Jacky, Jen, Julia, Kathryn, Nicky, Ben, Tiff and Rebecca. Once pleasantries were exchanged, it felt like we'd been friend forever, and noone said a thing when cameras were discreetly whipped out for solemn photos of dinners about to be eaten.

The noodle markets seemed busier than ever, and our table on the grass near the trees was an idyllic setting. Usually I've eaten at the scattering of tables near the Archibald Fountain, but sitting in the grassed area amongst a crowd of fellow noodlers, with their gentle hubbub of conversation and random comings and goings, was much more sociable and community-like.

yai noodle boxes
Noodle boxes from Yai

cha gio
Cha gio spring rolls

For dinner I chose the Northern style pork sausages from Banana Blossom. During week one of the markets, this retailed at $9 and was artfully plated as a sample demonstration like this:

thai style pork sausages on a plate
Northern style pork sausages from Banana Blossom
with crispy sticky rice balls and spicy pickled green papaya

As I noticed in week two, market forces seemed to drive a price drop to a more reasonable $7, so I was keen to make this dish my third dinner of choice at the night noodle markets, spurred primarily by my fascination with the crispy sticky rice balls.

thai style pork sausages
Northern style pork sausages from Banana Blossom
with crispy sticky rice balls and spicy pickled green papaya
$7 in week three

The little noodle bucket with wire handle was the perfect handbag for trotting back to our table. Sadly the price drop had necessitated a reduction in dish components--one large lettuce leaf, one crispy rice ball, two pork sausages and a mere sneeze of papaya salad.

Pork sausages were classic Thai-style: juicy with succulent globules of fat, and sweet with the taste of sugar, garlic and chilli spices. The green papaya was light and refreshing with crisp firm strips doused with dressing, but I found myself pining for the traditional green papaya salad with chunks of snake bean, tomato, mashed bits of shrimp, a sprinkle of peanuts and lots of chilli.

And the crispy sticky rice ball? Heaven. A spiky porcupine of glutinous rice, deep-fried to a sunkissed tan. Crunchy exterior gave way to a chewy mass of starchy goodness: a glorious combination.

The wait for our planned Sugar Hit seemed to take interminably forever. 9 o'clock is a terribly long way away when it's only 7.30 and all you're thinking of is dessert.

sofitel wentworth

Eventually six of us made it to the Sofitel Wentworth, and thank goodness we had a booking, as we watched the lobby swell with a throng of desperate sugar-holics.

botrytis riesling
Brown Brothers botrytis riesling

Earlier we had bumped into a staff member wheeling a huge two-metre high trolley of assembled Sugar Hits, all plated, garnished and ready to go. This military precision soon made sense as we looked around and realised that the bar was full by ten past nine.

foodblogger action
Photograph. Then eat.

Cameras abounded (surprisingly discreetly as six cameras were furtively positioned) as photos were taken of wine glasses, table decorations, and of course our dessert.

chocolate assiette
Chocolate assiette - a tasting plate of white chocolate creme brulee,
Valrhona bitter chocolate parfait and praline,
and a berry and milk chocolate terrine

There was but a gentle murmur for the first few minutes as we each delved spoons into various desserts. There was comparisons on consumption priority: whether people ate the best bits first, or saved the best for last, and everyone agreed that the raspberries on our plates were the hairiest we'd ever seen.

The white chocolate creme brulee was thick and creamy, decadently rich and protected by a thin crackle of toffee. In the middle of the plate was the terrine, a shot glass layered with chocolate mousse and a puddle of berry coulis. To the right was a petite square of Valrhona bitter chocolate parfait and praline, dense and sweet.

After some very serious deliberation over which dessert had triumphed, the panel was divided equally between the creme brulee and the milk chocolate terrine. This didn't stop any of us finishing every mouthful and scraping our plates clean of the decorative chocolate swirl.

Of course there were notes swapped on the perils of being a foodblogger: "Some of my friends just don't understaaaaaand" and "It drives my partner nuts when I insist on taking a photo of our dinner before he's allowed to eat". At one point Julia said to me, "This is just so fantastic. It's like... I've finally found my tribe, you know?"

I simply smiled and replied "Welcome home".

cheers to foodblogging
Sydney foodbloggers

The Good Food Month Night Noodle Markets have concluded for 2006.

Sugar Hit at the Sofitel Wentworth is available 9pm-11pm every night in October.

Sofitel Wentworth
61-101 Phillip St, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9228 9157

Cost: $15

More Sugar Hits available
here

Tagged with:


Related GrabYourFork posts:
GFM 2007: Sugar Hit #2 at the Sofitel Wentworth
GFM 2007: Sugar Hit #1 at the InterContinental Sydney

GFM 2006: Good Living Growers' Markets
GFM 2006: Hats Off dinner at Becasse
GFM 2006: Night Noodle Markets Week 3
GFM 2006: Night Noodle Markets Week 2
GFM 2006: Night Noodle Markets Week 1
GFM 2006: Spring Picnic
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #4 at the Sofitel Wentworth
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #3 at the Intercontinental Sydney
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #2 at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney
GFM 2006: Sugar Hit #1 at the Park Hyatt Sydney
GFM 2006: Sydney Food & Wine Fair


GFM 2005: Good Living Growers' Markets
GFM 2005: Night Noodle Markets
GFM 2005: Spring Picnic
GFM 2005: Sydney Farmers' Market
GFM 2005: Sydney Food & Wine Fair

GFM 2004: Twilight Trail: Cocktails and Sugar Hits

16 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (AugustusGloop) on 10/22/2006 11:58:00 pm


16 Comments:

  • At 10/23/2006 10:17 am, Anonymous Ellie said…

    Sounds like a great night! Great photos, great food and great company! I think Julia's comment is pretty spot on - before I started food blogging, I drove my friends crazy with my ongoing babbling about food, but now I have a community who are just as food-obsessed as I am :)

     
  • At 10/23/2006 10:46 am, Anonymous Jen said…

    What a lovely recount of the evening. Thanks for organising it, Helen! I can't wait for the next foodbloggers meet-up. It was great to finally meet you & everyone ;-)

     
  • At 10/23/2006 11:17 am, Blogger Kat O+ said…

    Ooooh, I'm going to the Sofitel tonight. That sugar hit looks soooo delish! Was it better than the Park Hyatt's?

     
  • At 10/23/2006 12:03 pm, Anonymous kathryn said…

    Lovely round-up Helen, I'd forgotten about Julia's comments and excitement at Rebecca's petit four photographs (that are exceptionally cute). Thanks to you and Julia for organising the evening.

     
  • At 10/23/2006 5:42 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sugar hit looks delish!!
    Just wondering what type of attire is appropriate?

     
  • At 10/23/2006 7:01 pm, Blogger jenjen said…

    Looks like you guys had an fun food-filled night. Lovely photos, as always Helen, it really made me feel like I was a part of it.

     
  • At 10/23/2006 7:35 pm, Blogger thanh7580 said…

    I'm so jealous, not just about the food but about your food blogger meet ups. Where are all the Melbourne based food bloggers so that I can meet up with them for meals.

    If you're a Melbourne food blogger in hiding, come out and introduce yourself to me so that we can go on Sugar Hits and Noodle Market Meet Ups as well :-).

     
  • At 10/23/2006 9:08 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Ellie - It's so reassuring (and wickedly encouraging) to find like-minded foodies. Don't you just love the innanets? :)

    Hi Jen - Thanks for coming. It was great to meet you too!

    Hi kat o+ - They were both good, but personally the Park Hyatt is still a winner. I really enjoyed the poached pear, especially as it helped offset the sweetness of the other desserts.

    Hi Kathryn - It was a lovely quintessential foodblogger moment :) Thanks for coming and helping to make it such a great night!

    Hi Anon - There is no formal dress code at the Sofitel, although you might want to leave the shorts and flipflops at home :)

    Hi jenjen - It was a lovely evening. Hopefully we'll see you at the next one!

    Hi thanh7580 - There are plenty of Melbourne foodbloggers. I have a list of them on my bookmarks page (check my side panel). I'm sure you might be able to interest a few people if you organised something?

     
  • At 10/23/2006 10:50 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thanks Helen, bit of a newbie, taking advantage of good food month!

     
  • At 10/24/2006 4:41 am, Blogger Yvo said…

    That is totally awesome. I've been thinking vaguely about getting together with some food bloggers in NYC but there are so many... Thankfully, my friends in general are very patient about the food thing since they enjoy going out to eat but can't bring themselves to take pictures, so I do it for them when we go out. My boyfriend has started to become a little bit more patient about the food pictures, though I generally only take one picture of his dishes now- he used to moan terribly about it when he was hungry. Ah well. :)

     
  • At 10/24/2006 8:55 am, Blogger Kat O+ said…

    It was as lovely as I had expected. Will definitely have to try and get to the Park Hyatt. They stuffed me around on Friday by telling me I didn't need reservations and then when I got there, telling me that the Sugar Hits were sold out. :-(

     
  • At 10/25/2006 1:46 am, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Anon - You're welcome. Enjoy GFM. Only one week left!

    Hi Yvo - There are heaps of NYC foodbloggers, but that's even better... more meetup possibilities!

    Hi Kat o+ - That's terrible! Hope you make it to the Park Hyatt. Enjoy!

     
  • At 10/25/2006 11:49 am, Blogger Reb said…

    hahahaa. Yep - one crowd of people who are more interested in little cakes than little kids when it comes to 'baby' photos ... well up to a point! It was a really good night. Thaks for the legwork Helen and Julia

     
  • At 10/25/2006 11:48 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Reb - Who doesn't love a good food photo? Thanks for coming. It was great fun.

     
  • At 10/26/2006 10:33 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen, have enjoyed reading your reviews of the sugar hits!

    If you get a chance to go to a few more, I highly recommend the one at the Observatory Hotel! Great for lovers of icecream/sorbet and a few other surprises in there as well!

     
  • At 10/27/2006 9:02 pm, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    Hi Anon - Thanks for the tip. The Observatory sugar hit did look tempting. Not sure whether I'll get a chance to squeeze in any more sugar hits, but I'll keep it in mind if I do :)

     

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