Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog


Petit Fours: a Sydney food blog

Monday, 15 July 2013

Light My Fire Food and Wine Showcase, CBD

 A very interesting 40 dollar per ticket event saw me at Merivale's Light My Fire showcase the other night hosted at Palings Kitchen and Bar. Merivale, of course, is Justin Hemme's hospitality juggernaut, boasting 10 restaurants, more than 20 bars and many other venues and hotels. I've been to a few of these places and besides a few minor issues, most of them were outstanding. It's a wonder how they can keep the consistency up. 

The Light My Fire showcase is an exhibition of all the Merivale restaurants situated in the Wynyard area including Uccello, Lorraine's Pattiserie, Ash St Cellar, Felix, Sunee's Thai Kitchen and Palings. It promises dishes and drinks to warm you up for the chilly winter.

Live music is a nice welcome but it seems I also missed out on fire show later that night on the main stand. Hence light my fire... Curious. We forget everything else and dive straight into the food.

Ash St Cellar are located on the bottom floor, complete with a large shallow paella pan cooking seafood and a revolving roast with dripping pork. Despite the impressive set up, their offerings were a little ordinary.

Seafood Bouillabase
Their bouillabaise was anything but. It involved a stock and some seafood with potatoes. Sadly the prawns were overcooked, rouille was missing, soup lacked depth and it was generally boring.

Spit Roast Porchetta Roll
Their pork sandwich was a slightly better with an affair of crackling and spit roasted porchetta and fresh salsa.

Ash St. Cellar on Urbanspoon

Felix, you never fail to impress. They're serving up French food and you know what that means in Winter: sticky slow roasts and fall apart meat. Mmmmm. They're equipped also with a shallow paella pan and a pot full of meaty goodness.

Freshly Shucked Oysters
We never can skimp out on oysters so we get a pair. The lemon seems unnecessary because of the already tart vinaigrette but there's a good amount of brine to help the small plump oyster along.

The duck cassoulet was simply incredible. You get ridiculously tender duck confit, pork and sausages with soft haricot beans and a good smacking of oil. Maybe some breadcrumbs or a gratin would have been a nice texture but I think i'm asking for too much.

Beef Bourguignon
If I thought the cassoulet was good, the beef bourguignon was a whoooole lot better. No hyperbole. It's uber soft with gelatinous pools of fat throughout, boosted up with a good splash of wine and some speck for extra porky smokiness. It would seem like a little overkill with a side of buttery smooth mash but it is winter comfort food afterall. To hell with calories.

Felix Bistro and Bar on Urbanspoon

Palings had also 3 items available with a bit more of a focus on Australian cuisine. It's the first time I've been in their restaurant and it is massive. I might grab a gathering to come here some day.

They've got their own kitchen to work in and from the outside you can see them pulling out trays with slabs of giant mouth watering pork belly. 

Lamb Meatballs
I get the lamb meatballs with are cooked a blushing medium. They're served with a nice little hummus, some tabouli and flat bread.

Crisp Roast Pork Belly
The roast pork with apple song strongly contends the previous beef for the best dish. You get some pork belly with some crackling action happening, apple sauce with little balls of soft well seasoned potatoes. Holy moly. I don't even like pork!

Palings Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

Upstairs was a set up with Uccello serving up Italian food. There's a lot of smoke around there because they're roasting multiple birds for their barossa chicken dish.

Polenta Tomato Sugo
I've got my sights set on the polenta and tomato sugo because I've recently developed a liking for anything polenta. It's quite nice; simple but with a strong clarity of tomato and parmesan infused polenta.

Uccello on Urbanspoon

They've also got a Merivale events stand happening with a fairly interesting menu.

Woodfire Salmon
Gone are the days of solely cold smoking. I can see hot smoking being the rage in the future and this salmon dish is a testament to that. Probably also my favourite (way too many), you get some salmon on a bed of pepe saya creme fraiche, small potato chips and little pops of salmon roe. So simple but brilliantly executed.

Polenta with Vegetables
The promise of truffle butter attracted A to this dish but it was the lashings of parmesan and oddly purple gnocchi that got me interested. The vegetables had a nice char going on with a subtle smokiness, wrapped gently against the pillow soft gnocchi.

There were lines waiting outside Lorraine's with Lorraine Godsmark herself greeting customers. With only one matchstick left (the currency of the night) we sadly had to pick only one item between the 3 on offer.

We ended up with a heart warming cinnamon spiced hot chocolate with donuts to dunk into the chocolate fountain. Sorry, I sort of forgot to take a picture until half of it was already gone. To be expected of course.

Lorraine's Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Regardless of budget or not, Light My Fire was certainly a fun night. Needless to say it was very busy so finding comfortable seating was difficult but that was to be expected. If there's anything to be certain about, Merivale really know how to host a cracking event. Keep your eyes peeled on their What's On page for more happening in the future.


wow that crackling! i just want to steal a whole tray!

Phwooaaaarr check out those slabs of pork crackling! I'll take two, please.

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No, we aren't the most amazing gastronomes or chefs. Heck, half our team doesn't even know how to cook... well. However, what we really love is eating. And lots of it. We enjoy that occasional freebie, filling up that craving for a midnight snack and finding a 20 in our pockets that we thought we never had, and using that as an excuse to go out eating. As we battle the ongoing war on uni student poverty, we'll bring you the most swoon worthy recounts of our latest foodie adventures.

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