Wednesday, December 21, 2011

i try zumbo

There we were, Dr Gab and I, standing on the side of the street staring at the map on my phone. We had typed in the address for Zumbo and according to the little blue dot that represented us we were in the exact right spot. We walked up the street and back again, looking around like lost puppies.

Then we noticed someone emerge from an understated doorway around a corner, carrying what could only be a pastry box. We approached the doorway and just above it was a small sign that read "adrianozumbo patissier".

We walked in to see a cabinet full of pastries, tarts and macarons. The colours and shapes were exquisite. I was overwhelmed. The only flavour of macarons that remained were licorice. Adriano Zumbo single handedly turned Australians into macaron lovers. I. Love. Macarons. But, licorice just wasn't going to cut it.

We settled on a tarte aux fruits de la passion - passionfruit curd and pate sucree (pictured, $6) and sacher's sister blanca - white chocolate sponge, white chocolate pear ganache, kumabo ganache and vanilla glacage (also pictured, $8).

Dr Gab and I cut both our deserts in half and shared them. We started with the tart. The vivid colours of the tart acurately reflected the passionfruit explosion that occurred when we dug in. It was smooth and slightly tart, the pastry: perfectly thin and beautifully crumbly.

The many layers of the pear sponge worked together in perfect harmony. A stunning combination of flavours and textures, from the smooth ganache to the soft sponge to the small chunks of pear, all brought together with subtle splashes of white chocolate. Heaven.

Adriano Zumbo and his team create genius works of art and put them on a plate. They look amazing. They taste even better. Every trip to Zumbo is overwhelming because everything looks and sounds (and is) delicious. If you haven't been to Zumbo you need to get yourself there. Now. Right now! Are you still reaing this? Go!!

Adriano Zumbo on Urbanspoon

Follow me on Instagram: @mirandamc

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

i try apples

Here we are Brian. It's a gorgeous day. I think we're in for a very close race. There have been some early favourites, Brian. The bookies are firmly backing Pink Lady, closely followed by Royal Gala. The punters, however, are very much divided, Brian, with both Red Delicious and Granny Smith looking strong.

That's right Larry, but Red Delicious is very unpredictable, a
s is Granny Smith actually Larry.

Oh, we've just had some breaking news, Brian. Royal Gala, Jazz, Jonathon and Golden Delicious have all been late withdrawals. Now this is a disaster Brian, I'm sure you'll agree.

Absolutely, Larry. Royal Gala was a real contender. This is catastrophic.
Brian, I think it will still be a good race. The people have wanted to see these competitors face off for a long time now. I think we are still in for a treat.

Absolutely Larry. We've got some incredible stars out on the field tonight. Lets have a closer look at them. In lane one we have the favourite, Pink Lady. She's originally from WA, Brian. She's a fairly young competitor but, goodness me, she's shown a lot of promise in recent years.

That's right Brian. Coincidently, in lane two is her very close relative, the Sundowner. Also, a very young competitor and also originally from WA. These young, west aussies are going to be tough to beat Brian.

Absolutely, Larry, but lets not overlook the oldest competitor in the race this evening. She's originally from NSW and has been around for almost 150 years. You can spot her a mile off with that beautiful green skin—

—and what gorgeous green skin it is Brian.

Absolutely Larry. Granny Smith has been in this game for a long time. She's certainly one to watch.

Right next to Granny Smith, in lane four, we have Braeburn, the kiwi. Now Brian, I'm not sure how the New Zealander is going to go on Aussie soil. The punters aren't risking it at this stage. This one is a bit of a dark horse.

Absolutely Larry. As is our Japanese contender in lane five, the Fuji. Larry, the Fuji has been known to run some excellent races. When she's in form, she's on fire but until that gun goes off there's no way of knowing if she's having a good day or a bad day.

That's right Brian. I've certainly seen her run some incredible races. Who knows...Today might just be her day.

Absolutely Larry. We've got another unpredictable competitor in lane six. All the way from the USA, Red Delicious. Again, Larry, I've seen her run some absolutely stunning races as well as some very forgettable ones.

Here we go Larry...
Pink Lady and Sundowner have got themselves an early lead. Granny Smith falling behind. Fuji is still at the gates. Fuji has not moved. Wow, Fuji is really sucking arse today! Braeburn is lagging along way behind, she's looking very floury today. Pink Lady and Sundowner still fighting for the lead. Red Delicious in third, on the inside. She's making up ground. Doesn't she look spectacular. It's still all Pink Lady and Sundowner. They are neck and neck. Equally sweet. Equally crunchy. It's a tie ladies and gentleman. Pink Lady and Sundowner: equal amounts deliciousness, followed closely by crunchy, juicy Red Delicious. Fuji is still at the gates. Fuji has been very bland today. I've seen her run far better races than this. Very disappointing performance. Apparently, this is Granny Smith's first race after coming out of storage. That explains a lot. She was very underwhelming. Braeburn, the kiwi: she was a big specimen. This is proof bigger isn't necessarily better.

If you liked this you'll probably like i try mints

Thursday, December 1, 2011

i try in situ

It had been raining all week. I hadn't seen my shadow for days. At around 2pm on Saturday the rain ceased, the clouds parted and for the first time in what felt like forever, we got to feel the warmth of the sun on our cheeks. Dr Gab and I decided oysters were very much in order. We made our way into Manly and found ourselves at In Situ.

In Situ seems small at first glance but upon closer inspection you'll see a sizeable restaurant area out the back. This place would be ideal on a cold winter's evening, with the warm, orange glow of the lighting and cosy atmosphere. Maybe that's why they've added random palm trees and make it more summery?

Both Dr Gab and I were eager for food but the friendly gentleman told us the kitchen wasn't open till 6 (20 minutes away). No worries! With the cocktails on special for $10 we were happy to put of food in order to put their cocktail menu to the test. They have all the usual suspects on their cocktail menu as well as some clever originals. I have to admit it was difficult to choose. I went with the Lychee Elderflower Martini (Absolut vodka shaken briskly with fresh lychees, citrus and elderflower) and Dr Gab chose the Soviet Kiss (Absolut vodka, fresh raspberries and strawberries citrus, cinnamon topped with sparkling wine). Both were delicious and perfect for the balmy weather. We polished them off quickly and then shifted to the open air section out the back where we perused the food menu and enjoyed the last rays of sunshine as the sky began to turn orange and pink.

We did, of course, choose the Coffin Bay oysters served natural with Nam Jim (pictured, 1/2 doz $18). The oysters were plump and fresh served on a bed of ice with a wedge of lemon. The nam jim was delicious. It had a little kick of chilli and just the right intensity so as not to mask the flavour of the oysters. We liked the nam jim so much we attepted to replicate in the days following our jaunt. Ours was pretty awesome but turns out getting "that balance" right is harder than we thought.

We followed up our oysters with Lightly battered Zucchini flowers with mint and ricotta (pictured, $14). This was mainly to satisfy me, having never had zucchini flowers before. They are the kind of thing you see on Master Chef and say, "We should try that!", but never actually do. They were piping hot when they arrived out our table. Small flakes of salt had been sprinkled over them. Although they were deep fried there was not a hint of grease insight. They were light and crunchy. I couldn't really taste the actual zucchini flowers much but Dr Gab and I concluded they were mainly for aesthetics. Either way, they were yum and I would order them again.

As we waited for our third dish of Cured Ocean Trout Carpaccio, pink grapefruit, baby capers and lemon oil (pictured, $15) Dr Gab recounted stories of all-you-can-eat carpaccio in Noumea. When ours arrived it was a rich, glossy orange laid out perfectly and lovingly topped with a micro herb salad. I really liked this dish. In all honesty though, thinking about it now, I can't recall any pink grapefruit. I certainly didn't miss it at the time. It was a simple, beautiful dish.

In Situ is all about beautifully presented, fresh dishes with subtle flavours, using quality, in season produce. The service was very good without being over bearing. We would've stayed for desert but Dr Gab had made a pit stop at Zumbo so we headed down to the beach to enjoy macaroons. We will come back for desert another day.

In Situ on Urbanspoon

If you like the sound of this you will probably like The Armchair Collective.
Follow me on Instagram: @mirandamc