Eating and Drinking

tea room

The last hurrah and crowing moment of Good Food Month comes in the form of the annual Sydney Food and Wine Fair in Hyde Park. This was my first time attending the event, which celebrated its 18th birthday this year. I was pretty excited about a day of eating and drinking, all for a good cause. All proceeds from the day go to the AIDS Trust of Australia. Disconcerting weather predictions gave us some cause for concern, but my cousin Jess and I decided that we’d be there no matter what (umbrellas in tow, just in case). Luckily, the forecast rain held off and it turned out to be a rather pleasant day by all accounts, with good food and good company.

I was imagining that there would be horrendous queues, but we were lucky to never have to line up for more than a few minutes. We arrived just after midday with empty, hungry stomachs. After a quick wander around to inspect the offerings we set about buying coupons. Lots of coupons! Our first stop was the Tea Room stall, because it seemed only right to start with dessert first. I have wanted to visit the Tea Room in the QVB for a long time but I haven’t quite got there yet. The tasting plate consisted of a tuna sandwich, spinach and ricotta pastry, a tiny lemon meringue tartlet, orange and almond cake, rich chocolate mudcake and a tiny biscuit with coffee cream inside. It was all absolutely delicious, and I can’t wait to experience similar treats in the beautiful setting of the Tea Room itself.

ryde tafe

Next up was a pasta dish from Ryde Tafe. Apart from being a little cold, it was very tasty, and seemed quite popular judging from the amount of other people we saw carrying around their own little bowls of pasta. It had penne with crab and mushroom in a creamy sauce. I am trying hard to let go of my prejudices towards seafood and I must be doing okay because I quite enjoyed this dish! It’s also a good chance to support the hospitality students at Tafe, since after she finishes her HSC next year, my cousin Jess might be one of them! We also made a stop at the delicious stand and picked up a little show bag that included the latest magazine, a cute Tupperware container, a block of Lindt Pear Intense chocolate and some other goodies.

rocks markets

We spent some time wandering around and saw the Vogue Entertaining + Travel sponsored fresh produce, with a gorgeously presented Rocks Market stall selling fruit and flowers, typical of the Friday markets in the Rocks (right near my work, perfect for a lunchtime stroll). We also got to taste some delicious ravioli and sample some blood orange infused olive oil that had the most amazing citrus kick. Unfortunately they weren’t selling any, or I would have been very tempted!

china doll

Still peckish, we sampled China Doll’s white cut chicken with sesame and chilli. We took it over to a spot of grass away from the bustle, and I was reminded again of why I love Hyde Park. You feel a million miles from the city when in fact you’re right in the middle of it. This dish was an amazing blend of flavours and textures – spicy yet sweet, and also fragrant from the coriander and mint, crunchy from the peanuts and sesame and nice and fresh from the bean shoots and cabbage. I really liked it, and thought it was beautifully balanced.

bathers pavillion

Next came dessert, from the Bathers Pavillion. It looks like they had the same dish at last year’s event, but it was without a doubt my favourite of the day. The cream was perfectly whipped, rich but not heavy with gorgeous vanilla bean specks throughout. The berry compote was a sweet and ripe tumble of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries and paired perfectly with the almond frangipane tartlet. It was also beautifully presented, which is quite a task when the girls at the stall were dishing out several desserts a minute. Later in the afternoon I also had a tasty cocktail from the Bank Hotel, with raspberry, cranberry, mint and a nice bourbon kick. Sitting near the fountain, soaking up the atmosphere, it was the perfect end to the afternoon.

11 Comments on “Eating and Drinking”

  1. It does sound like a perfect day indeed, Lisa 🙂 I’m swooning over the first pic already! I am SO glad you got over your seafood prejudice even for today, because that looks like a fantastic pasta!

  2. I’m bummed I missed out on this (had to work) as it’s my favourite GFM event. Nice to see some pictures from your day though 🙂

  3. Awww looking at your pics makes me wish I had woken up in time for this! Everything looks so good! And the fact that there was hardly any queues would eliminate my only gripe with last years!

  4. Mark, I’m really trying with the seafood, it’s a process… I’m almost ready to cook some at home. You were in a dream I had last night, strangely enough. I was introduced to you at a party and I was like, “oh I know Dr. Mark!”

    Y, aww that’s a shame! It was a fun day, I missed it last year so I’m glad I could go along this time. Maybe we’ll run into each other there next year 🙂

    Lorraine, sorry you couldn’t make it! I was really surprised actually, since I heard stories about the queues last year. Maybe the weather predictions turned people off this year…

  5. Yum…I love your photos! Your camera definitely did more justice to the Fair than my little point-and-shoot. I need a new SLR!

    And cheers to The Tea Room! I haven’t been there myself but after the little taste on Saturday, I can’t wait to go! Looks like you feel the same too 🙂

    Love your blog and have been a long-time reader.

  6. Y, I hope you can make it! Thanks 🙂

    Karen, I used a little point and shoot camera for all of these photos haha. I really can’t wait to go to the Tea Room now. Will have to round up the girls and make a day of it. Thank you for stopping by!

  7. Karen, my point and shoot is a cheap little Kodak. I find that it helps to use macro mode and play with the white balance for the best results. Also, tweaking the levels in photoshop never goes astray either 😉

    Palidor, thanks so much. I’ll have to check out your blog now too 🙂

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