Iron Chef Shellie

Taste of Melbourne 2010

This was my third year in a row attending the Taste of Melbourne; you can see previous years here and here. So buy now I don’t need to tell you that there is an awesome range of products on offer from all over the country on offer.

But for those who don’t know, a little information to start to help you understand my post:

  • The Taste of Melbourne is an event where some of the finest restaurants in Melbourne come together under one roof, with a selection of 3 different signature dishes for you to try. It’s a great event to sample dishes, meet the chefs and find out more about each restaurant.
  • The money on the day is “crowns”. 1 crown = $1. Meals range from 8-12 crowns.
  • Each meal is a mere portion controlled sample, which allows you to try lots of dishes from different restaurants.
  • VIP tickets (which we were lucky enough to score) allow you access into the HSBC VIP Lounge were you can have unlimited water, soft drink, tea and coffee. The ticket also allows you to indulge in 3 complimentary wines, sparkling wines or beers. There is also a number of tables and chairs you can bring your food back to eat at, and avoid the bustling festival goers.

Outside the HSBC VIP Lounge

Inside the HSBC VIP Lounge

  • It’s a great chance to talk to wine makers, chocolate makers, and the likes. The stall holders are more than willing to offer free samples, and sell you produce to take home.

  • There are also classes on offer, such as cocktail making, wine appreciation and cooking demonstrations
  • If you go for the lunch session, don’t bother with breakfast. Just don’t okay, I don’t care if you need to “prepare your belly” or what ever your story is. How often can you eat from so many highly acclaimed restaurants on the same day under the same roof? Yeah, that’s what I thought…
  • Overall, it’s a great day out, and you won’t go home hungry (unless you are a cheapskate and didn’t buy enough crowns!)

This year I was a bit disappointed with the menus, and was a bit sceptical. A lot of the restaurants that were there the previous two years weren’t there. However, there were still items on the menu that made go “Oooohhh! I gotta try that”. Going with SBS Food and many other bloggers, including Penny, April, Thanh, Phil and so many more; you have no doubt seen a large variety of posts popping up. So hopefully you will enjoy my wrap up of the 3 hours I spent there eating and drinking as much as I possibly could!

I met up with everyone outside, and we planned our attack; even circling where we had to get the food on the map! Then the doors open and the stampede began!

Longrain was my first stop. I pretty much bolted upstairs and was the first customer, requesting the highly recommended salted western plains pork and prawn sweet rolls with pickled vegetables. To match this, we also got the mocktail: Virgin Calmin’ Miranda.

WOW, what a great start to the day. The pork was crispy, and the lovely sweet and tangy flavours just meshed so well together. Whilst I could have eaten another, there was plenty more to try.
The cocktail was also so good, very refreshing, but how can you go wrong combining those flavours together?

We headed back downstairs to Nepenthe wines, who have been making wines for 12 years now. I try their Sauvignon Blanc and it’s so delightful. Briony who is responsible for helping market the wines has a chat with us in the VIP lounge over another glass of Nepenthe wine (which was the wine of choice free flowing in the VIP area). May I say, their Pinot Gris is also fantastic. But a full glass on a pretty much empty stomach makes me very happy for the rest of the day!

Henry had tweeted a photo of the Ben & Jerry’s van 2 nights before and I could have squealed! I have never tried B&J’s, but EVERYONE raves on about it, so I knew I could finally get my chance. They only had four flavours on offer, and my work colleague had told me she loved phish food. At 2 crowns.

The reason for why it’s called fish food – little chocolate fish!

Everything from The European sounded amazing, so you know what? We got one of everything, and took our arses back to the VIP lounge to enjoy them.

The duck tortellini wasn’t too bad. I think I was expecting more. But the slightly minted pea puree went surprisingly well with it. Lovely pasta wrapped around duck made it still a delicious dish.

The meatballs (how could I not get meatballs, seriously?) were fantastic!! Served with frekkeh, the sauce and flavours just came alive in my mouth. Now these I could also have eaten all day… that was until i tried the wild rabbit sausage roll! I wasn’t sure if Hamsley would like it.

He loves my sausage rolls… but would he love wild rabbit? Had he even had rabbit? He had his half and I wasn’t sure how to gauge his reaction….. then I went to try and asked him if it was any good. His reply.. “That is f***ing brilliant! That is f***ing fantastic!” and he wasn’t lying. MY GAWD it was! Truth be told, we would have got another one if we didn’t run out of crowns or stomach real estate. Considering we spent 130 crowns, that’s saying something!

Everyone seemed to be getting the wagyu burger from The Palace, it even sold out on opening night. Hamsley was tempted but went for the eye fillet instead. Good move I say! I heard a few people say the burger was quite dry. The eye fillet with mash was amazing. The beef just melted in your mouth and the creamy mash just made me weak at the knees… it’s true, I was standing at the time Hamsley shoved a fork into my mouth.

Hamsley wanted to try the salmon from Maze but was persuaded by beef at the last minute. And the next thing I know there were crowns in my hand, and I’m being told to go get the pastie from Mezzo.
The beef was so delicate and moreish. The sauce had just the right amount of zing to make you want more, and more and more.
The pastie was loaded with flavour, and such a crisp, crunchy pastry shell. Deeeelicious thank you very much!

We wondered back upstairs for another look around and on a whim decided to get more duck into us. The duck rillets sounded good, so why not. Essentially, yes, they look like tuna on toast, but taste far far from that (thank goodness!) There was a lovely balance of saltiness that mixed well with the richness that you get from duck. We both really enjoyed this dish.

I hadn’t even paid attention to these on the menu, probably because Izakaya Den was the pop up restaurant for Saturday. Everyone around me was eating them, so I had to get in on the action. The green tea salt just brought out the flavour. It was lovely sweet and fresh. A great dish to keep us going.

Dessert time and I had volunteered to try the date tart. Penny had told me the bombe from Stokehouse was amazing, so I wasn’t going home without trying that.
I had told Thanh I was having the date tart, and he didn’t have the best things to say from what he had heard on the grapevine. My first bite I thought it was actually rather nice. It reminded me of my aunty’s date slice. But I’m not sure if I was too full, or just wasn’t into it, but I couldn’t finish it, and didn’t really have the desire to force feed myself. Whilst editing photos i noticed it was meant to be hot (which it was not) and come with accompaniments (which there were also not).
The bombe on the other hand was just as amazing as all the hype I heard about it.

The lovely soft meringue with the parfait and sweet strawberries…..I drool just remembering it. I wish I had more here now to give you a better review of it.

Over at Green & Blacks Organic Chocolate, the chocolate fountain was in full swing, with tastings of their chocolate and samples of their up and coming recipes. Sarah from the stand informs me they are hoping to release the cookbook at the end of the year, so make sure you keep an eye out for that! I’ve done some cooking with green and blacks chocolate, and the results were fantastic. So I’m really looking forward to the new recipes.

So, overall, another fantastic year at Taste of Melbourne. Want more photos? Check out my Flickr.

Be sure to check out other blogger’s posts for their reviews; I’ll pop links below as they are posted.

My Food Trail Part 1, Part 2

Kitchen Wench

Off The Spork

Sweet Cherrie Pie

Jeroxie Addictive & Consuming Part 1

Green Gourmet Giraffe

Kitty’s Drawings

Sanity Calms

The Chronicles of Ms I-Hua (part 1), (part 2), (part 3), (part 4)

Melbourne Gastronome

MEL Hot or Not

Travelling in Mary Janes

I Eat Therefore I Am

SBS Blog

…It Pleases Us

My Favourite Foods

Tasted By Two

Iron Chef Shellie attended Taste of Melbourne on behalf of SBS Food.

Thank you also to Green & Blacks for supplying tickets and chocolate for a Twitter give away!

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51 Responses to “Taste of Melbourne 2010”
  1. Isn’t Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food just adorable?! Husband and I bought a tub to have at home recently. Picking out the fish is so much fun and the tub, as expected, didn’t last very long at all =p

  2. So much food! The rabbit sausage roll sounds amazing and sweet corn kakiage? I want that now!

  3. Great post and between both of you, you covered a fair bit! Thanks for covering the cocktails. I did none… not after my previous night and walking around with a hang over!

  4. Louisa says:

    Hey hey Shellie!! Loved the blog and the photos.. I loved Taste of Melbourne. Only wishing I had more crowns, more time, bigger tummy. Loved phish food icecream and all the yummy food. Great photos by the way. …

  5. Michelle says:

    If not for those darn lab and concert report, I would be writing about this as well!


  6. Hannah says:

    Love the look of the bombe alaska! I’m so cranky that B&J isn’t available in Canberra, and that their Australian range is so limited. Where’s the peanut butter ice cream, the cinnamon cookie dough ice cream, the marzipan flavour, and chubby hubby. I want my ice cream with peanut butter filled chocolate covered pretzels!

    (Ooops, I think I just took over your blog with my own rant…. :P)

  7. What an amazing post, Shellie! Love seeing the range of food, and the amazing photos you took are making my tummy rumble! Thanks so much for sharing ;)

  8. msihua says:

    Wonderful pictures and a great write up!! So full still…

  9. FE says:

    Great write up and pretty pictures!

    Just thought you may be interested in this post too (she broke it up into two posts to avoid lag):

    She has some pretty pics. I noticed she focused more on items that most other blogs didn’t really snap pics of, so that may be interesting for you. Made me wish I came by on Sunday instead of Saturday too, with her remarks on Embrasse. :(

  10. caroline says:

    went to taste festival today and it was great!
    just wondering how you got all your photos to look so nice! was it natural lighting because it was so dim in there when i went to take photos :(

    • Iron Chef Shellie says:

      Photoshop is my friend :) I also shoot in RAW mode which allows me to edit easier. Oh and I used two different cameras!

  11. Esz says:

    Hi! Thanks for the link! It was wicked event – much better than last year for sure.
    Always love the blog coverage of these events cos nothing is missed :-D

  12. msihua says:

    Oooh nice! I hope you don’t mind, I’ve linked your post in my write-up as well =)

  13. Feigy says:

    segafredo coffee was horrible i’d go as far to say undrinkable

    U really missed out big time on not having from maze it was truly AMAZEing

  14. Johanna GGG says:

    Wonderful photos and great write up! I agree that the Bombe was one of the best desserts. Your mains all look amazing!

    Shame I was too full of dessert from restaurants to taste green and blacks and ben and jerry’s – fortunately I have had B&J before and having a music nerd husband I can tell you that Phish food pun comes from a band called Phish.

  15. Great write up! I really love the green grassy background of your food photos… so pretty! I love also the “crowns” icon you’ve put on the photos!

  16. Sarah says:

    Looks like you had a fun time! All that food looks so delicious! I still havent been to the taste festival… I say I will go every year but it always falls on days where I have things on!

  17. Awesome pictures, love it :) Liking The Bomb & have to make sure I get there next year.
    Anna Johnston recently posted..FAMILY DINNER

  18. Great coverage Shellie! I love the new watermarks too! :D
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella recently posted..Lebanon and Beyond- Randwick

  19. Haha you meatball fiend! LOVE the look and sound and thought and everything of that rabbit sausage roll, oh god! Also, had no idea Nudie had a coconut water range. Must check it out.
    Conor @ HoldtheBeef recently posted..When my baby smiles at me we go to Ria

  20. Cherrie says:

    Great post Shellie. You certainly did your fair share of eating that day LOL. Tnx for the link.

  21. I’m SOOO hungry now, awesome wrap up.

    The food from The European looks delicious, I have to go there now.

    I heard they had hardly any high end venues compared to last year. Do you think that’s true and if it made a difference?

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