If wining and dining is one of life’s greatest pleasures, then a degustation with matched wines must the ultimate way to enjoy life.

Well, tonight, the Taste Of Sydney crew took this up a notch by taking me and a few other bloggers on a progressive degustation (a fancy term for ‘restaurant crawl’) around some of Sydney’s finest eateries. A taste of Taste Of Sydney.

We all start with the Tasty Budo cocktail at Sake restaurant, which is a luscious concoction of fresh grapes with Kozaemon 3 year old junmai sake and citrus.

Tasty Budo cocktail at Sake Restaurant

We’re here for a small taste of all three dishes which Sake will be serving at the festival. This is the Hiramasa kingfish ceviche. The kingfish is delicate and pure, and the tangy dressing offers a refreshing touch.

Sake restaurant - kingfish ceviche

The pan seared ocean barramundi is wonderfully crisp and well balanced with the sweet and salty flavours in the salsa.

Sake restaurant - pan fried ocean barramundi

This double crunch Hiramasa kingfish nigiri is my favourite of the three. I love the extra texture, the tempura flakes on top is such an ingenious addition. It’s so exciting that despite Taste Of Sydney being in its fourth year, this is just the first year there will be sushi served at the festival!

Sake restaurant - kingfish double crunch sushi roll

Sake Restaurant & Bar
12 Argyle Street, Sydney, NSW (The Rocks)
Phone: (02) 9259 5656
Web: sakerestaurant.com.au

Saké Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

The group splits into two so we can cover more restaurants.

My group heads conveniently next door to The Cut Bar & Grill for the charcuterie tasting plate with cornichons and mustard fruits which features Prosciutto di San Danielle, Calabrese Salami and Papandrea Fennel Sopressa.

The serving at the Taste Of Sydney will be slightly smaller but there’s no doubt this is good quality stuff – a great dish for sharing at the festival! In particular, I love the peppery sweetness of the mustard fruits, it just pairs so well with the salty savoury flavours of cured meats!

The Cut - charcuterie plate with mustard fruits and cornchicans

The Cut Bar & Grill
16 Argyle Street, Sydney, NSW (The Rocks)
Phone: (02) 9259 5695
Web: cutbarandgrill.com.au

The Cut Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

For our main course, we’re picked up in a hire car (that’s just how I roll!) and driven to Westfield to check out Spiedo Restaurant and Bar’s housemade pasta.

hire care

This is the handmade wholemeal strozzapreti with zucchini, prawns, cherry tomatoes and saffron

There’s a funny story behind the name ‘strozzapreti’. I’m told it means ‘priest choker’ in Italian because gluttonous priests used to eat this too quickly and then choke! LOL!

But that’s beside the point – the texture of this pasta is really delicious. There’s a slight bite within each tube and the shape of it allows it to hold the gorgeous prawn broth sauce liberally. Delectable!

Handmade wholemeal strozzapreti with zucchini, prawns, cherry tomatoes and saffron at Spiedo

Spiedo Restaurant and Bar
Level 6, Westfield, 188 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 8072 9999
Web: spiedo.com.au

Spiedo Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon

Dessert takes us to Darlinghurst’s A Tavola for their famous cremino al cioccolato which has remained on the menu for over a year due to popular demand.

But first, more wine. The waiter suggests the ‘Normanno’ Zibibbo which is a delightful recommendation. It’s a delicate Sicilian white grape muscat that complements the rich robustness of our chocolate mousse.

dessert wine cheers at A Tavola

The cremino al cioccolato consists of three layers; the ‘amedei gianduia chocolate crema’ is a sumptuous hazelnut mousse that is topped with a salted caramel gelato and finished off with torched Italian meringue.

Don’t underestimate the look of this – it is absolutely decadent! Eat it like a trifle, digging into all three layers.

Amedei gianduia chocolate mousse with salted caramel gelato and Italian meringue

It’s quite dark in the restaurant so please excuse the poor lighting in this photo, but here’s the inside:


A Tavola
348 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, NSW
Phone: (02) 9331 7871
Web: atavola.com.au

A Tavola on Urbanspoon

And to finish, we all meet-up at Longrain to sip cocktails and swap details on the progressive feast we’ve just had.

You may remember that I’ve previously had the Ping Pong cocktail (second from the left) at last year’s Taste Of Sydney event… Because I again couldn’t resist the idea of lychee with passionfruit, I ordered it again tonight. There are some cocktails which have my name all over it and this is most definitely one of them! So tangy, sweet and Summery!

Here’s a peek at the cocktails which will be available at the festival: from left to right – Stickmata is Eristoff sloe berry vodka with a berry overload of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries shaked with fresh lime; Ping Pong is Eristoff vodka with lychee, passionfruit pulp and a squeeze of fresh lime; Acapulco Gold is Cazadores tequila over crushed chunks of lemon and lime with chilli, vanilla and citrus soda; and Ginger Rogers is Bacardi Gold rum and Grand Marnier muddled with fresh lime, shaken over ice served tall and topped with ginger beer.

Cocktails at Longrain

Longrain Restaurant & Bar
85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, NSW
Phone: (02) 9280 2888
Web: longrain.com.au

Longrain Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Taste Of Sydney 2012 - competition VIP giveaway

Taste Of Sydney 2012
So this progressive degustation was simply a tease of what’s really to come… Imagine that… over 15 restaurants at your fingertips! Taste Of Sydney 2012 is definitely just getting bigger and better!

Held on 8-11 March (9 days away!), this pop-up restaurant festival promises to deliver your dream degustation, prepared by a selection of Sydney’s leading and hatted restaurants (preview menu here). There will also be award-winning wineries, artisan producers and boutique exhibitors, plus cooking schools, tasting masterclasses and chef demonstrations to not only win over your taste buds, but to give you some new skills to take home! 

The Prizes

Thanks to Stellar* Concepts and the Taste Of Sydney organisers, these amazingly indulgent prizes are up for grabs!!

Major Prize: VIP double pass valued at $200

  • Redeemable Friday/Saturday/Sunday
  • Access to the exclusive HSBC VIP Lounge
  • 6 complimentary drinks
  • 60 crowns

Runner-up Prizes: 5x general admission double passes valued at $50 each

  • Tickets can be used for any session –
    Thursday 8 March: 5.30pm – 10.00pm
    Friday 9 March: noon – 4.00pm
    Friday 9 March: 5.30pm – 10.00pm
    Saturday 10 March: noon – 4.00pm
    Saturday 10 March: 5.30pm – 9.30pm
    Sunday 11 March: noon – 5.00pm

The Competition

To enter the competition, simply leave a comment below in 25 words or less, mentioning two or more of the participating restaurants or chefs in one sentence! The sentence can be about anything – just make me laugh 🙂

For example…

The Three Blue Ducks were an unusual sighting at The Veggie Patch. I Otto-matically thought about having duck for dinner.

Here’s all the info you need —

Taste Of Sydney 2012 restaurants and chefs:
A Tavola – Eugenio Maiale
Charlie & Co. – Justin North
Efendy – Somer Sivrioglu
Flying Fish – Peter Kuruvita
Four in Hand – Colin Fassnidge
L’etoile – Manu Feildel
Longrain Restaurant & Bar – Martin Boetz
Ormeggio at the Spit – Alessandro Pavoni
Otto Ristorante – Richard Ptacnik
Quarter Twenty One – Justin North
Saké Restaurant & Bar – Shaun Presland
Spiedo – Alessandro Pavoni
The Cut Bar & Grill – James Privett
The Montpellier Public House – Matthew Kemp

Plus the brand new Sustainable Pop-Up Restaurant featuring:
Fish & Co. – Tom Kime
Three Blue Ducks – Darren Robertson and Mark LaBrooy
The Veggie Patch – Georgie Swift
Agapé Organics – Simon Lawson

Terms & Conditions: Competition closes 5/3/2012 at 11:59pm
AEST. Winners will be judged on creativity and entertainment value.
Winners will be announced on this page on 6/3/2012 and will be notified via

Best of luck!




  1. A progressive degustation – what a fab idea! Everything looks amazing even in the low light 😉 Great comp, here’s my entry:
    “At ’12 Taste of Sydney my truelove gave to me ‘Four in Hand’, ‘Three Blue Ducks’ two ‘Flying Fish’ and ‘Sake’ in a pear treeeeee.”
    Totally coveting one of those VIP passes!

  2. Four in Hand’s head chef Colin caught screaming at Sous chef ‘Charlie’ : I don’t give ‘three blue ducks’ what you say, that steak was meant to be medium rare, Efendy Saké, go put your head in the L’etoilet, you won’t make the Efendy Cut at this rate’

  3. Quarter Twenty One on a dark and stormy night: Longrain starts to fall, dodging Flying Fish overhead I find shelter, pouring myself a warm Sake.

  4. Charlie & Co set off from The Montpellier Public House hunting Three Blue Ducks but stumbled upon Colin Fassnidge in The Veggie Patch drinking Saké.

  5. If I won I’d first get myself some tropical liquid courage from Boetz at the Longrain Bar, en-route to the aesthetically pleasing boys from Three Blue Ducks to get the best view – oh woops! I meant.. TASTE of sydney 😉

  6. I would love to win one of the tickets! Here you go:
    “A police named Efendy caught me Spied-ing, so he sent me a Flying Fish and Three Blue Ducks as a warning”

  7. When Three Blue Ducks enter into The Cut Bar and Grill, they need to Speido up because chefs Charlie and Co are gonna roast them.
    So excited for Taste of Sydney!

  8. Wow that is a great prize! here’s my entry:
    Justin [a] North direction
    I Spiedo a Flying Fish…
    Upon closer inspection
    It was a lovely dish!
    With no further objection
    for Taste tickets I wish!

  9. My mouth was Agapé at the sight of Manu Feildel L’etoile-ing in The Veggie Patch, he’s just too good looking for goodness Saké!

  10. I ‘Otto’ know better than to be ‘Efendy’ if I don’t get tickets! Hopefully I’ll ‘Spiedo’ Justin Noth somewhere else.

  11. Imagining my grandpa:
    Hey, I paid quarter twenty one! Where is my fish & co? You know da flying fish and da 3 blue ducks? Back in my day, we ate longgrain rice, vegies from the vegie patch and drank sake.
    I’d love to win these taste tickets!

  12. Great reunion with Charlie and Co; onlookers watched with mouths Agape while we sang “L’Etoile aquantaince be forgot”, but I Efendy’d Otto by ignoring him.

  13. Brendan Tavola in Speido’s, Boitz says “Ormeggio-wd, you saké! I’ll Cut-Grill you into Veggie-Patch!”
    “I’m efendy-d! Duel at Twenty-One past the Quarter. I’ll d-E’toile you!”

  14. Cruddy limerick time..
    Once I had this urge to go
    To a place called Charlie and Co,
    But my friend said “Efendy!
    It’s really more trendy.”
    So I just went with the flow, bro.

  15. What a fabulous night (love the limo!) and the food looks fantastic. Great competition, too – here’s my entry:
    Three blue ducks walk into a bar
    Give me A Tavola and 2 Saké, bar-tender
    And keep the change

  16. Hi sorry, just saw the 25 words or less: is it ok if I change to this:
    Hey! I pay quarter twenty one! Where is fish & Co? Da flying fish & three blue ducks? In my day, we had longrain rice and sake.

  17. At quarter twenty one L’etoile will be Spiedoing to Ormeggio at the Spit to save the flying fish from being eaten by three blue ducks.

  18. Thank you so much for the tickets Jen! Went last Friday and the food was delicious, the weather was warm and the cider was cold. Great day.


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