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Monday, July 13, 2009

MUMU Grill, Crows Nest, Sydney

In our fast-paced lives in the rushrushrush of the City, sometimes it's nice to sit back and Take It Slow.

Taking things slow is one of the key philosophies behind the Slow Food movement, one that embraces food that is good, clean and fair, and urges us to no longer be "enslaved by speed". Keen to share and spread the philosphies of this movement is Craig Macindoe, chef and owner of MUMU Grill in Crows Nest (he's also the owner of New Orleans Cafe around the corner).

There is some irony in the fact that whilst Craig embraces all things slow, he's also a keen user of Twitter. He also likes food bloggers, extending another complimentary invitation for attendees at his second Slow Food themed dinner (with thanks to Lorraine for organising). Presumably he understands bloggers because he blogs himself.

We approach MUMU to the strains of a jazz soundtrack, a bluesy sexy introduction to the tapas bar lined with locals unwinding with paper-thin shavings of aged jamon, little bowls of olives and glasses of red.

Craig is quick to greet us and the early arrivers are treated to a quick impromptu tour of the kitchen.

Potatoes in duck fat

Potatoes in duck fat? Our eyes immediately widen with excitement.

Potatoes in the gas fire oven

Finished roasted duck fat potatoes

Showing us the kumatoes which are used to make kumato relish

The box of kumatoes on the kitchen bench are firm and glossy. Also known as black tomatoes, their skin colour can range from a dark green to a dark chocolatey-red. Native to the Galapagos Islands, they have a stronger sweeter tomato flavour.

Roasting beetroot

Lamb racks resting

Polin & Polin wines lined up for the evening

Craig shows us the oven used to slow roast the lamb

18-month Jamon Serrano

Joining the growing throng of people in the bar area, we nibble on shavings of 18-month Jamon Serrano, bowls of olives and juicy chunks of ripe tomato. An accompanying video documentary on Graham Strong's Arcadia Saltbush Lamb farm is a fitting introduction to the evening.

There's a huge emphasis on connecting the food and drink we're enjoying this evening to the producers behind them. Hence there are brief and nervous speeches by Graham Strong, the lamb rearer, Peter Clay from Taralga Springs Beef and Michel Polin of Polin & Polin wines. The wines are of particular interest, as our meal is matched with glasses of the Limb of Addy shiraz in consecutive years, starting with 2000 and finishing in 2005, allowing us to note the differences in complexity as the wine gets younger in age.

Polin & Polin Limb of Addy Shiraz

Slow roast Arcadia lamb done two ways
13 hour shoulder plus grilled cutlet with pea and mint puree
served with kumato chutney and mache (lambs tongue lettuce)

We start with a duo of lamb, the slices of the 13 hour roast shoulder served on a square of cauliflower gratin that is creamy with a crisp cheesy top. The lamb cutlet appears a tad rare but it's soft, and gnawing on the lamb bone is easily done when surrounded by a handy fortress of friends. The strong flavours of lamb are neatly countered by the pea puree and the sweet intensity of kumato relish. Leaves of buttery soft mache lend a contrasting gentle delicacy.

Aged Taralga Springs rib eye roast
100% grass-fed beef slow roasted for four hours
served with duck fat potatoes, green beans and bone marrow sauce

The Taralga Springs rib eye roast with potatoes and green beans is more complex than it first appears, the crispy potatoes buttery on the inside from the roasting in duck fat, the beans bathed in a rich and sticky bone marrow sauce made with veal jus and red wine. Parts of my beef are a little under-done and with unfortunate gristle, but mostly it is tender with a supple texture from the slow and patient roasting at 80 degrees Celcius.

A table full of wine glasses

Eating, photographing and tweeting - an average night for a foodblogger

Chocolate and raspberry square
with vanilla gelato and Belgium chocolate tile

Dessert is a simple but rich chocolate and raspberry square, a fudgy chocolate cake topped with raspberry sauce and a scoop of vanilla gelato. The swirled Belgium chocolate tile is its crowning glory, and once our plates are served, everyone does an immediate comparison who check who got the biggest slice and/or chocolate tile.

Having seen and heard the impassioned producers tonight, it's an interesting effect to understand how much of themselves is invested in their businesses and their livelihoods. Just as Farmers' Markets give consumers a sense of connection with the foodstuffs they're buying, dining at a restaurant and listening to the people who reared the very lamb and beef that you're eating, who decided when to pick the very grapes for the wine you're drinking, is sobering, enlightening and inspirational all at once.

Grab Your Fork dined courtesy of Mumu Grill with thanks to owner and chef Crag Macindoe.

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MUMU Grill
70 Alexander Street, Crows Nest, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9460 6877

Open 7 days
Lunch 12pm-3pm
Dinner 6pm-11pm

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
MUMU Grill, Crows Nest (Apr10), (Feb10) and (Jul09)

Crows Nest - Counter, The (Burgers)
Crows Nest - Grill'd (Burgers)
Crows Nest - MUMU Grill (Mod Aust)
Crows Nest - Not Bread Alone (Mod Aust)
Crows Nest - Paradoxe Restaurant Francais (French)
Crows Nest - Ryo's Noodles (Mar08), (Aug07) and (Jul07) (Japanese ramen)
Crows Nest - Vineyard, The (Mod Aust)

Crows Nest - Waqu (Japanese)
10 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/13/2009 11:30:00 pm


  • At 7/13/2009 11:41 pm, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    What a feast! 13 hour lamb????...Looks amazing! You had me at that dish!

  • At 7/14/2009 8:29 am, Anonymous Trisha said…

    18 month jamon... 13 hour lamb... this is serious slow food cooking!

  • At 7/14/2009 10:35 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    love meat on the bone! potatoes in duck fat look great.

  • At 7/14/2009 11:12 am, Anonymous Sneh | Gel's Kitchen said…

    OMG!! Drools unashamedly!!

  • At 7/14/2009 11:26 am, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    Yeah, it's funny but I rarely used to think about the producers when I eat out. I suppose that's why some chefs make the effort to list their suppliers on the menu. Makes us appreciate them more?

  • At 7/14/2009 11:38 am, Blogger cafedave said…

    Glad to hear you made it to this: I can't help but feel a little responsible that you missed the first one. Sounds like an amazing place to have dinner!

  • At 7/14/2009 11:42 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    hoho i love that shot of billy and his iphone! and oh man the jamon mmm so so good

  • At 7/14/2009 5:24 pm, Anonymous Arwen from Hoglet K said…

    The dessert looks awesome with the chocolate square on top. No wonder you were comparing sizes. I like the look of the kumatoes too. I'll have to try and find some.

  • At 7/14/2009 10:03 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mmm chocolate tile! and mmmm I want your 50mm, great coverage post!

  • At 7/15/2009 12:47 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Peter G - There's something special about slow-cooked foods isn't there? So much more satisfying.

    Hi Trisha - Good food takes time - isn't that what they say? :)

    Hi Simon Food Favourites - The potatoes in duck fat were a particular highlight, and I agree, meat on the bone is the best!

    Hi Sneh - Ahh my work is done! lol

    Hi Belle - I think there's a huge push by consumers to be more knowledgeable about where their food has been sourced from. I think more info gives people the ability to make more informed decisions.

    Hi Cafedave - lol. No probs, cos in the end I made it to both anyway! :)

    Hi chocolatesuze - Oh yes, I think I could've eaten jamon all night. And yes, you and Billy are Twitter fiends!

    Hi Arwen - Kumatoes are slowly becoming more available which is great. And haha, nothing like the arrival of dessert to generate comparisons and envy!

    Hi FFichiban - lol. Get the 1.4! So much more fun!


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