Taste of Melbourne is an event held at Albert Park where Melbourne restaurants come together to showcase their food. This allows you to try a variety of dishes and experience an assortment of Melbourne restaurants in one big eating bonanza. It’s sort of like going on a food contiki tour. You make a short visit to numerous restaurants and get a brief feel for each place. Later you can revisit the Restaurants of the stalls that you enjoyed most.
There were lots of seated areas and chill out lounges where you could just hang and grab a drink. Recorderlig had some big red bean bags which were comfy.
There were lots to choose from but Gazi’s soft-shell crab souvlaki caught my eye. I’ve had a chicken souva, lamb, beef, pork souva but a soft shell crab souva? Nope, not until now. It was outta this world. Yum yum yum! . The soft shell crab was battered and deep-fried. The crab was deliciously crunchy siting in a soft pita with honey, mayo, mint and coriander. Soft, crunchy, creamy, sweet, fresh…yum! One of my faves.
To continue the seafood high we wandered over to Mr Claws and tried the chunky buttermilk lobster roll. Oh YUM! Forget Santa Clause, Mr. Claws has the goods. There were big chunky pieces of lobster mixed in a buttermilk ranch sauce. The roll was soft but also toasty and super buttery like brioche. Can this be my favourite too? It was delish! They also had a miso wasabi and spicy version. Yum!
We got a sneaky snack from Huxtable, which was a thinly sliced crouton w smoked Ora King salmon, capers, onion, lemon oil & spots of crème fraiche. It was delicious. Simple ingredients that go so well together. This little bite-sized toastie was superb.
From the Lucy Lui stand we tried the Thai style king prawn salad w green papaya, lime & peanuts. I was surprised they didn’t mention it had chilli seeings that it was a prominent component of the dish. I like chilli so all good. The one prawn on top was kinda bland but the salad was fresh and spicy.
There was a big charcoal BBQ at the Movida stall. We ordered the Pinchitos Morunos which was Flinders Island lamb marinated in Moorish spices & cooked over charcoal. It was a gigantic lamb kebab with a big piece of crusty bread on top. The flavours were intense and the meat was juicy. I liked the chunk of bread on top, it was a cute touch because the marinade was the kind you would mop up with bread if it was served on a plate. It was delicious.
We got the Chicken R’fissa Wrap from B’stilla which was tasty. It was a square of roti with spiced avocado, shredded chicken and topped with a chilli apricot sauce. It was yum.
From Sake restaurant & bar we tried the steamed prawn Shumai dumplings which didn’t look like your usual Shumai. The dumplings were wrapped in a noodle like pastry (oodles of noodles) and served with ponzo dipping sauce, spring onions & chilli. They were nice.
We also tried the Tonkatsu cups from Sake restaurant, which was panko fried pork belly bites served in lettuce cups with cabbage and mayo. They were good too.
At Mamasita we tried the Taco Al Pastor, which was delicious. The taco tortilla was really soft and the Al Paster-style (spit-grilled) pork was amazing. I really like the flavour combo of pork, onion, pineapple & coriander. I was loving the pineapple it made it sweet and spicy yum! And there was also a side of green salsa to put on top. Yum!
Okay now by this time my savoury tummy was full and it was time for desserts. The N2 Gelato Ferrero Reveal was like Ferrero rocher, the ice-cream. It was so fricken delicious. It was basically an ice-cream cup of nostalgia. It reminded me of Nutella, choc-tops, ice-magic, coco pops and Ferrero rochers. Good times. The nutella ice-cream had rice bubbles through it which tasted like coco pops. The rice bubbles replicated the texture of the Ferrero wafer sphere. The chocolate ganache was like a choc top and went hard like ice-magic. And then all of that was injected with a syringe full of chocolate ganache. One marvelous creation.
We tried Pope Joan’s Mr Wilkie, which was a smoked yoghurt soft-serve ice cream. The yoghurt had a noticeable smokey flavour which was interesting and then it was paired with a sweet raspberry coulis, some freeze dried raspberries and a pistachio crumb. It was a sensation of flavours and textures. It was voted No. 1 of the festival and rightly so. It had a complex array of flavours that made this dish much more than just a soft-serve. Loved it!!
From Dish’d we tried a black pearl, which was a tear drop shaped dark chocolate mousse cake with gooey caramel chocolate sauce in the center sitting on a chocolate almond base. It was one fabulous chocolate expedition. Chocolate lovers ahoy!
And finally by the time was got around to Burch & Purchese we were full to the brim. But we managed to squish in a choc, caramel and hazelnut tart which was delish. The sweet caramel and chocolate tones with an evident pinch of salt makes this tart a keeper.
Also we loved the Lychee Gold cider so much that we decided to take home a slab for later.
I heart Taste of Melbourne 2014!