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Monday, August 21, 2017

Adam Wolfers' Jewish pop-up at Bar Brose, Darlinghurst

Langos deep fried flatbread and smoked sour cream at the Hungarian Jewish pop-up by Adam Wolfers at Bar Brose in Darlinghurst

Soft. Fluffy. Deep-fried bread. If you haven't tried langos, you need to. This Hungarian classic is commonly found at festivals, served up with sour cream. Adam Wolfers' (ex-head chef of Yellow and Monopole) version uses a sourdough starter for the bread, a bubbled mass of pillowy deep-fried deliciousness that you tear up and dip into smoked sour cream strewn with a paprika-heavy dukkah.

It's one of the highlights at Wolfers' Jewish and Eastern European pop-up, now in its final week at Bar Brose. The bread lies somewhere between Chinese you tiao and Thai pah tong go, crisp on the edges but soft in the middle. And there's a generous puddle of sour cream, forced through a nitrogen canister so it's cloud-like in consistency, its smokiness amplified by paprika against a rubble of crushed nuts and sesame seeds.

Matzo ball soup at the Hungarian Jewish pop-up by Adam Wolfers at Bar Brose in Darlinghurst
Matzo ball soup $14

For the past seven weeks, Wolfers has been channeling the recipes of his Jewish Hungarian grandmother. The Etelek menu, meaning food in Hungarian, runs from small snacks to mains, all designed to share.

That includes the matzo ball soup, a Jewish grandma's love ladled in a bowl. The matzo ball, a giant dumpling made from crushed matzo crackers, acts like a sponge, soaking up all the flavours in the clear chicken soup. It's much softer and less rubbery than the ones I remember eating in New York, falling apart with a sigh with each bite.

Celeriac, radish and smoked herring at the Hungarian Jewish pop-up by Adam Wolfers at Bar Brose in Darlinghurst
Celeriac, radish and smoked herring $22

You'll have to dig your way through a tangle of noode-like radish and celeriac to find the plank of smoked herring. There's a sophisticated level of textural contrast here, from the bed of whipped smoked herring sauce to the toothsome firmness of the smoked fish to the acidic pop of finger lime pearls.

Flavours of goulash beef tartare at the Hungarian Jewish pop-up by Adam Wolfers at Bar Brose in Darlinghurst
Flavours of goulash $23
Raw beef, paprika curd and matzo

One of the newest additions to the menu is flavours of goulash, a Hungarian riff on steak tartare. Making the connection between the rich heartiness of goulash stew and the light freshness of raw beef requires a leap of faith, but if its paprika, beef and sour cream you're looking for, they're right here.

The raw beef is terrific, hand-chopped and tumbled with raw cucumber and seasonings. The matzo cracker on top is light and crisp.

Parsnip schnitzel at the Hungarian Jewish pop-up by Adam Wolfers at Bar Brose in Darlinghurst
Parsnip schnitzel, yoghurt, herb salad and gherkin $28

For a total mind warp, you'll definitely want to order the parsnip schnitzel. The sourdough-crumbed fried schnitzels are a heartwarming sight on appearance alone. Add a squeeze of charred lemon and a dollop of gherkin yoghurt though, and you could almost swear you're eating fish fingers. Seriously.

Bone marrow, mushrooms and challah at the Hungarian Jewish pop-up by Adam Wolfers at Bar Brose in Darlinghurst
Meat and zaft $32
Mushrooms, bone marrow and challah 

You'll want to save room for the meat and zaft too. Sure it's hard to resist the beckoning call of roasted bone marrow but it's the challah that will make you swoon. The golden glazed house-baked bread has a softness reminiscent of a brioche, even without the use of dairy as per kosher regulations.

I could happily tear strips of the brioche and savour it slowly, except Wolfers has a better idea. Slather it with fatty bone marrow and a scoop of savoury mushrooms, just like he used to do as a kid.

Pastrami, cabbage and whipped caraway at the Hungarian Jewish pop-up by Adam Wolfers at Bar Brose in Darlinghurst
Pastrami, cabbage and whipped caraway $34

We finish with the pastrami, a slab of beef brisket brined and then, in an unusual twist, grilled over charcoal. It results in a noticeably smoky finish, tempered by a mound of lightly pickled cabbage.

Orange poppyseed kugelhopft and whipped buttermilk at the Hungarian Jewish pop-up by Adam Wolfers at Bar Brose in Darlinghurst
Orange poppyseed kugelhopf and whipped buttermilk $15

We order both desserts on the menu. The orange poppyseed seed kugelhopf is just the kind of cake you'd want for afternoon tea. There's a subtle zing of orange zest to the yeasted bundt cake, made even tastier with a dollop of whipped buttermilk that feels like a lighter version of creme fraiche.

Rosella ice cream, cheesecake mousse and brown butter at the Hungarian Jewish pop-up by Adam Wolfers at Bar Brose in Darlinghurst
Rosella ice cream, cheesecake mousse and brown butter $15

The rosella ice cream wins on the beauty pageant stakes though, backed up with enough substance of character to potentially bring world peace. The quenelle of ice cream teeters between tartness and sweet. Add a sash of cheesecake mousse and a confetti trail of brown butter crumbs and you know you're on a winner.

Get over to Bar Brose as Wolfers' Etelek pop-up enters its final week. Wolfers' last night of service at Bar Brose will be on Sunday 27 August.

Entrance to Bar Brose in Darlinghurst



Bar Brose
231A Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney
Tel: +61 (0)450 307 117

Opening hours
Wednesday to Thursday 6pm-11pm
Friday to Saturday 6pm-12am
Sunday 6pm-11pm


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 8/21/2017 12:35:00 am


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