Sunday, August 25, 2013

Aussie-style Dining Out!


If travelling makes you see new destinations, and understand cultures, it's the food that helps you connect with the same. And, women have a special love for food, especially the one that's all about elegance and flavours. So, we attended one such splendid food festival preview this week at Shangri-La Eros hotel. It is the Australian Food Festival, which has kick-started from today for the food-loves of Delhi!
It's all About Opulence...19 Oriental Avenue Restaurant at Shangri-La
While the city has witnessed many different food festivals, based on both national and international cuisines, Australian seems to be happening for the first time. But what we liked the most is that the hotel took extra efforts and roped-in expat chefs from the best-rated Altitude restaurant, Shangri-La, Sydney! Look at the picture below, just the glimpse of the restaurant... Read what Dr. Supriya Himanshu has to say about this festival.
Altitude Restaurant, Sydney...

It was a beautiful afternoon that began on a candid note - a brief chat with Matthew McCool, Chef-de-cuisine, and, Darren Conole, Executive Chef, Altitude, Shangri-La Sydney.
"Australian cuisine, unlike other cuisines has been influenced by many different cultures, so if you ask me what exactly is Aussie cuisine, there is no specific definition. Yes, Salmon is well-known, but there is much more to it. We have some wonderful ingredients that are locally available, and that's what you will be trying today," said Conole. I was so looking forward to it, and finally settled in the plush dining area, where David Hopcroft, General Manager, Shangri-La Eros joined us (other journalists). I later realized that he was the host of this 'yum' luncheon!
Beautifully Done Carrot Dish
And, here came my first dish, post the hot soup - Carrots, served with Walnut snow, olive sand, fennel, & wheat. Hard to believe that a simple carrot can be beautified with such great flavours, which otherwise in India is usually associated with desert (gajar ka halwa). It had the perfect balance of crunch (walnuts), and flavour (fennel). I was sure by now that the afternoon is going to be a sheer delight. 
Salmon, a Dish That's so Very Australian
Next was the turn of much-awaited Salmon. Oh, what a beautiful presentation it was, I just could stop Instagram-ming instantly! Though, being from the vegetarian side, it was certainly not possible to taste it, but women who joined me from other media, were just going gaga about it. And, I could also see Hopcroft enjoying it to it's full (he was sitting right in front of me). Of course, the chefs were the expert in that, as Hopcroft told me that he was with there Sydney hotel before joining in India. By now, I was waiting for my next dish -Gnocchi... 
Lovely Gnocchi
And, here it was while I was busy sipping the lovely wine. Gnocchi, as McCool told me before, is one of the fave with women. I asked him why, and look what a pleasing reply he gave. " Women love dishes that have elegance, look sophisticated, and of course taste really good, and Gnocchi has all that, unlike brazen style dish, like beef." What say women?
Lamb Cutlet
Coming back to the dish, I loved the tanginess, the crisp layer, the almonds, the ricotta, literally everything. The only thing I felt was that the oiliness could have been easily controlled, as it had that heavy feeling...
Later came the Lamb cutlet (see pic), which once again I didn't try, but I could see the beautifully done dish, the texture was screaming loud that it was juicy, and the right portion that food lovers would want to have. The Quinoa just looked amazing!
Classic Aussie Desserts
And as woman I am, by now, the only thing that I was waiting for was the dessert. Also, since I had watched the MasterChef Australia so closely, I had a fair idea what I would be served. It was Assiette, the combination of classic Aussie desserts. Want to know what are they? Well, it was chocolate brownie with chocolate ganache, carrot cake with orange jelly, and cheese cake with almond crumbles & pear. Do I really need to tell you how did it taste. Heavenly, what else!!

The festival has already begun, when are you going on a date with flavour'ful' Australian food? It's a week-long festival, and will run in both 19 Oriental Avenue and  CafĂ© Uno.

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