The tides. They are a-turning.
At the start of the month, Grab Your Fork, along with several other Sydney food blogs, reported on the March Into Merivale launch party. Open to anyone and everyone, it was a great evening. Free food, free drinks, lots of photos, a chance for some chef ogling and did I mention the free food? We ate, we photographed, we blogged the evening in all its glory. Just another late night of editing for a food blogger.
So it was quite unexpected to receive an email from Melissa of the web team at Merivale. Not only had Merivale noticed our online coverage (Justin Hemmes included, by all accounts), but they wanted to extend an invitation to we food bloggers for a behind-the-scenes look at their Chefs of Merivale Gala Dinner, a final hurrah for their month-long March Into Merivale campaign.
Would we like to take some photos inside the Merivale kitchens, to meet the chefs and to taste the canapes that would be served before dinner? Is that a rhetorical question?!?
Plating up sample canapes for we food bloggers
Heading into a commercial kitchen during service is a bit like a groupie going backstage during a major concert. Or a revhead heading into the pits at Bathurst 1000. A little awestruck at first, we expected the hustle and bustle of frenzied activity, however the functions kitchen at the Ivy was remarkably calm and quiet, teams of two and three working studiously over different canapes.
Quail breast and sage leaf wrapped in prosciutto
served with a spicy tomato relish
Oh the joy of unhurried photography. Oh the pleasure of space. Oh the delight of delicious samples.
Nobiyuki Ura, Chef de Cuisine, Sushi E
helps plate up the tuna canape
We checked out the cool room (spotless), the stove (huge and again spotlessly clean), the gigantic ovens and the row of deep-fry baskets hoisted over simmering oil.
Like a horde of grinning Japanese tourists, we photographed everything. The chefs just smiled and kept offering us food.
Tuna tartare towers
Tuna tartare topped with finely diced tomatoes and a sprig of chervil
served on lavosh crackers
And oh, such food. As waitstaff ferried plates of canapes upstairs to waiting guests, we loitered over our dedicated serve of samples taking photo after photo, no morsel to be eaten before a group all-clear confirmed.
Oh the tender delicacy of quail saltimbocca, a quail breast and sage leaf wrapped in prosciutto and pan-fried til crisp.
Then the contrast of soft tuna tartare crowned with a finest dice of sweet tomato and a sprig of chervil served on a crisp tile of lavosh.
Tuna spoons topped with scallop and tobiko flying fish roe
doused with a ponzu dressing
Spoons of tuna topped with scallop and tobiko flying fish roe swooned into a sweet and zesty puddle of ponzu dressing.
More tuna spoons (with different plating)
Akira Urata, Chef de Cuisine from Teppanyaki
puts the finishing touches to the calamari canape
Salt and pepper calamari topped with deep-fried lotus root chips
served in butter lettuce cups
Salt and pepper calamari? Hello my friend. The golden crunch of its shell gave way to a strip of calamari that was as soft and silky as the butter lettuce cup it rested on. The lotus root chip gave a dignified elegance. A squiggle of chilli garlic miso dressing added a salty sweetness and heat.
Apple finely julienned
Lobster with fresh fig, apple straws and micro leaves
And then the unmistakeable beauty of the lobster spoons served with fresh fig, apple straws and micro leaves. Subtle, clean and fresh flavours that enhanced the sweetness of lobster, the sexiness of fig.
Oh how we smiled. How we wished we could stay and partake in the six-course-with-matching-wines $300 per head dinner that evening.
We headed upstairs for a tour of Ucello, a hello to the chefs upstairs and a quick nod at the offer of champagne by the oft-talked about pool. And just when we thought our night couldn't get any better, we were asked, "so.... you guys can all stay for dinner, right?"
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Related GrabYourFork posts:
Chefs of Merivale Gala Dinner
March Into Merivale launch party
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4/03/2009 02:08:00 am