‘So how was Sydney?’
Here’s my answer:
My top 5 food experiences
5. The fish market
The Sydney Fish Market deserves an ode. The sheer number of seafood varieties was amazing. In South Africa, crab is crab (that’s if you get lucky. Most of the time we’re subjected to those weird-looking crab sticks that aren’t really crab at all). In the Fish Market . . . wow. From the live crabs that feebly brandish their pincers at you to the scallops with roe to eagle ray wings . . . aaahh.
4. Flourless chocolate cake from Pattison’s
I’ve always thought that there’s a fine line between ‘deliciously rich’ and ‘nauseatingly rich’ – a balance that’s difficult to achieve. This flourless chocolate cake was everything a flourless chocolate cake should be. It floored you with an instant chocolate hit; the hazelnuts kept it from turning into something emetic; the texture was perfect; and the portion was just large enough to share.
3. La Duree
La Duree is located in one of the classiest quarters of Westfield in Sydney’s CBD, surrounded by the likes of Prada, Gucci and Louboutin. The macarons that are sold in this branch of La Duree aren’t flown over from Paris as commonly thought. They are produced in Switzerland, flash-frozen and flown to Australia. While it does take some shine off the experience, the beautiful décor more than makes up for it. Beautiful pastel colours abound, everything light, delicate and so sumptuous.
Now about those macarons . . .
My aunt gifted my lucky sister with a box of eight macarons. The flavours on offer were a good mix of interesting and common. She picked lemon, rose, salted caramel, coffee, pistachio, yuzu ginger, Venezuela pure origin chocolate and orange blossom.
THE WINNER: the rose. It was perfection; an amazing non-chewy creation with an airy rose-flavoured cream in the centre.
THE RUNNER-UP: the Venezuelan chocolate. Two macaron discs that encased a silky smooth chocolate filling which hung in some heavenly space in between ganache and a rich chocolate frosting.
Sydney has a huge Arab community which reflects in their food scene. We tried authentic Lebanese cuisine in Greenacre’s Al Aseel. We’re familiar with the more famous middle Eastern exports like hummus, baba ganouj and falafel, but Al Aseel opens up a whole world of Lebanese yumminess.
For starters we had sambousek, a pastry filled with melty cheese and fattoush, which is the Most Delicious Healthy Thing In The World (and must be capitalized to emphasise that). The fattoush was a heavily dressed mixture of parsley, lettuce, spring onions and radish, with crunchy pieces of something that tasted like fried samoosa pur stirred through it. Turned out to be ‘crunchy fried Lebanese bread’.
For mains we had skewers of shish taouk, lamb kafta (similar to seekh kebaab) as well as lemon garlic chicken, which came covered in a creamy lemon sauce. They all were flanked by hummus, toum (a creamy seriously garlicky garlic dip), falafel and tabouli (a salad of parsley, onions and tomatoes, dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and garlic).
There was nothing on the table that we could fault.
Side note: shout out to Sumi for ordering all the right things!
Other side note: Pity the person doing all the garlic peeling in Al Aseel’s kitchens.