Sunday, April 22, 2007

The best meal ever?

The Oz trip also promised a big dose of Australian food, which I reckon is amongst the freshest and best in the world. Yes yes, I'm biased :-).

We had dinner one evening at Forty One, which ironically is on Level 42 of the Chiefly Tower in Sydney.

Once the lift doors open, we walked through a mini oriental garden, and then the full panoramic view of Sydney Harbour hit us.

We arrived just on dusk, as a beautiful sunset filled the sky. The view spans from the Harbour Bridge, out to North and South Head, and around to the Eastern suburbs. It's a unique view of Sydney Harbour, and the lights below us continued to twinkle throughout the meal.

Out came the bubbly, which went down as easily as the view.

I had originally planned to have the Menu Degustation, but when I saw the menu, I felt that the five course menu actually offered more choice.

They've slightly changed the meal since we went, but between us, and over the five courses we had the following dishes:
- Western Australian Yabbies Poached In A Saffron Bouillion With Tomatoes, Chorizo & Calasparra Rice
- Grilled Sea Scallop, Steamed Korobuto Pork With Hand Picked Crab Meat And Thai Spices.
- Tandoori Marinated Quail Breast, Fried Aubergine “Ravioli” Cucumber Raita, Chilli And Cardamom Oil
- Slow Cooked Ocean Trout, Crushed English Peas With Prosciutto, Peccorino, Basil, Mint & Lemon
- Western Australian Yabbies Poached In A Saffron Bouillion With Tomatoes, Chorizo & Calasparra Rice
- Blackmore Wagyu Beef Onglet Slow Braised With Fermented Black Beans & Stir Fried Fresh Coriander
- Cervena Vension Medallion Sauteed With A Chorizo Stuffed Date Wrapped In Pancetta, Cauliflower Puree

It was all awesome...truly mouth watering and exquisitely presented. Canapes came between each course, and we tried a great West Australian wine from Margaret River called Virtues and Vices...loved it!

The standout part of the entire experience was the wagyu beef. I'd seen a documentary on the plane about famous Australian Japanese chef, Tetsuya Wakuda, and his use of wagyu beef. It showed him visiting his wagyu beef suppliers in Tasmania, and described how they raised their wagyu cows.

Wagyu cows are a special breed of Japanese cow, and the Tasmanian wagyu cows are kept on a farm which spans three islands off the Tasmanian coast. The farmers muster the cows from island to island at low tide. Apparently they keep the cows content and relaxed in order to produce the best meat.

I can't rave enough about how delicious wagyu beef is. Marbled fat runs through the meat when it's raw, which makes it creamy and rich when braised, as ours was. We only had small portions, but it was an unforgettable.

Antony also raved about the trout and mushy peas, which are apparently coming back into vogue - ironic, as we could actually see Harry's Cafe de Wheels from where we were sitting.

We couldn't quite fit dessert, athough the lovely people at Forty One gave us some nicely packed chocolates.

It will take a lot to beat this meal - anywhere. Hats off to chef Dietmar Sawyere.

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