TASTE1TASTE12Every year the Taste of Sydney draws foodies from around the city, showcasing an array of the best restaurants of Sydney with delicious and wonderful ‘taste’ sized dishes to try their signature and standout items! There’s food stores, condiments, sweets, a lot of wine, cocktails, cooking classes, music, celebrity chefs and so much more all in the beautiful heart of the Centennial Parklands.  We have created a list of five of our favourite things from the 2017 Taste of Sydney Festival to guide you on your visit!

1. Mercado Restaurant (all dishes)

The menu from Mercado at Taste of Sydney was one of the most delectable on offer. Nathan Sasi, the executive chef has created a menu of all-star items, showcasing the best of natural produce and signature dishes from the CBD restaurant. What I noticed most of all was how he has really perfected textures! Every accompanying liquid whether it be the mousse, labne or sauce, had a great velvety smooth consistency.TASTE4The Icon Dish of the Spit Roasted Porchetta with cabbage, apple & fennel salad with quince aioli ($18) was a standout! The pork was prepared fresh to order with the chefs carving it up before your eyes, emitting a tantalizing aroma! The accompanying salad was refreshing and light, and I would have happily enjoyed this delicious component by itself! The quince aioli erupted in flavour and had me polishing the plate clean of every last bit!TASTE6Only recently have I started enjoying foie gras, and this example of the dish Foie Gras Parfait with pickles & water crackers ($12) was one of the best I’ve ever enjoyed. The mousse was thick but still airy, yet incredibly rich in flavour. The crackers were the classiest water crackers I’ve seen – definitely not the Carr’s version I had envisioned. Meanwhile the pickles cut through the richness when relief was needed. One word: Oustanding!TASTE5Eat your heart out with the 2nd award winning dish of the night came via Mercado’s to-die-for Hazelnut mousse cake, Pedro Ximenez caramel, gold leaf ($12). This love-heart shaped delight is a chocoholic’s dream with a brownie base, amazing rich mousse inside, a spurting heart of caramel, all covered in decadent dark chocolate ganache. DO NOT MISS THIS!

The Spiced Cauliflower Salad, pinenuts, pomegranate & sheep’s milk labne ($6) was another favourite. This was a zingy salad of lightly fried cauliflower, was mixed with lightly dressed leaves, bursting beads of pomegranate and a smooth creamy labne!

Desserts at Little Nel

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There aren’t many sweet items to be found on the Taste of Sydney menus, so I headed to Little Nel, the little sister to Nel Restaurant where they were plating up three desserts.

Head for the Roasted white chocolate, banana and peanut butter ice-cream ($6) which was so good it had my model friend (and who says model’s don’t eat!?) grabbing it out of my hands to finish. Delightful rich ice-cream was encased in a white chocolate caramel shell, like a sophisticated popsicle.
TASTE9The Summer Efflorescence ($12) was a beautiful miniature version of the dessert from their restaurant’s tasting menu. A gorgeous little garden of sweetness with strawberry sorbet, lychee, champagne mousse and crystalized rose petals was heavenly, transporting me to a land of strawberry fields and champagne fizz. It’s enough to make me want to visit the restaurant and try out the rest of their menu!

Wallaby Skewer at Bouche on Bridge

The Best in Taste 2017 Winner on the night went to Bouche on Bridge for their Wallaby Skewers with spiced cashew sauce ($8), and they definitely proved juicy and delectable! Two little skewers of Wild Tasmanian wallaby tenderloins were marinated in a mouth-watering sweet sauce and cooked over charcoal. As a restaurant I’ve always wanted to visit– this was a chance to see what they had to give and it certainly did not disappoint! The dish was completed by a nice little crunch with a sprinkling of cashew nuts crowning the top.TASTE7

Liquid pumpkin & parmesan gnocchi, forest mushroom tea, Gastro Park

One of the top three dishes of the festival the Liquid pumpkin & parmesan gnocchi, forest mushroom tea ($12), Gastro Park is an inventive experimental restaurant in Potts Point proclaimed as a ‘playground for gastronomy’. This dish really showcases the craftsmanship and skill of their head chef Grant King, who has created little orange pillows of what resembles gnocchi but are really liquid filled droplets that burst in your mouth filled with a pumpkin and parmesan mixture. The deep brown liquid of mushroom broth is rich and yummy. The chef so kindly splattered one for us to photograph, reminding me of an edible version of the Jackson Pollock artwork’s where the artist splatters and drops paint on the canvas just like this. A truly charming dish!TASTE8TASTE2

Madhouse Bakehouse brownies

Last year they were a favourite, and this year they are just as good! The Madhouse Bakehouse brownies are made from scratch with real ingredients– “Real Eggs, Real Butter, Real Cream. No hidden nasties.” Try the samples and see how correct I am when I say this chocolatey rich decadence is next level amazing! One of the most mind-blowing brownies is available to buy take away, or perhaps to enjoy as a dessert. They also include a Nutella packet inside to smear on the top and send you into a food coma beyond proportions!TASTE11

Taste of Sydney
9 – 12 March, 2017
Centennial Parklands
Tickets from $25
Web: sydney.tastefestivals.com

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Currently studying Finance, and working in hospitality, Nicole relishes a delicious meal out any day. Described by her friends as an 'insta-queen' who is always up-to-date with new restaurants, cafes and bars, she is regularly called upon for advice by friends for good places to eat and drink. Despite favouring to eat healthy food where possible, she possesses a lethal sweet tooth, particularly for cake -- that anyone who knows her can attest to.

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