If you’ve eaten out at any café or restaurant in the past two months, you would have noticed one word on everyone’s lips, truffle. Truffle season is upon us in Australia and it usually runs from June to September every year. Chefs don’t hesitate to incorporate this delicacy into their dishes or even create an entire menu revolving around the most expensive edible mushroom.
Truffle is considered as one of the finest food delicacies in the world and it’s no surprise that Jamie’s Italian has jumped on the truffle wagon. Jamie’s Italian has created a three-course Truffle Feast and they will be serving a truffle inspired dish from this menu every week until the end of August. Jamie’s Italian uses fresh, pungent Perigord truffles from Tasmania. Perigord truffle is also known as French black truffle which is native to Southern Europe. We were blessed by the truffle gods when we received an invitation to experience this truffle extravaganza. We can confidently say that when we finished, we were more truffle than human.
Like any three-course feast, we began with the starters. Appetisers usually serve the purpose of preparing your appetite for the main dishes. However, if you are presented with truffle, disregard all the rules you know about dining etiquette and don’t hold back. There were four starters in total and we all exercised little self-control whilst devouring them.
The first truffle offering was Burrata dressed with Australian olive oil, roasted hazelnuts and fresh Tasmanian truffle. For those who aren’t familiar with this heavenly dish, a Burrata consists of an outer shell of firm mozzarella encasing a filling of soft, fluffy stracciatella and cream. Once you cut into this cloud-like bundle, creamy velvety goodness begins to ooze out.
The dish had a very creamy taste to it, perfect for those who love fresh, soft cheese. Your palate was pleasantly broken up with the smoky, crushed hazelnuts. The Tasmanian truffle added a subtle nutty and garlicky flavour to the dish which pleasantly pierced through the creaminess of the cheese. The olive oil brought a different level of richness to the dish. The Burrata was not overpowering in flavour and was very refreshing. It was a good example of how truffle can delicately elevate a simple dish.
The second starter was Truffled Salumi and Pickles. The truffle within the salumi added a slightly musky flavour to it which complimented the smokiness of the cured meat. The finely cut salumi melted on your tongue and the pockets of fat beautifully balanced out the earthiness of the truffle. The tanginess of the accompanying pickles cleansed your palate which was great to have in between bites of salty salumi. The board of salumi was also served with a small bowl of freshly sliced and pickled various roots vegetables such as radish and carrots.
Next up was the Beef Carpaccio. It was arguably the most photogenic dish out of all the starters. It was comprised of thin slithers of pink beef speckled with fine slices of roasted artichoke stems, beads of artichoke puree, fresh sprigs of watercress and obviously, beautifully veined Perigord Truffle. If the Truffled Salumi was too flavourful for you, then the Beef Carpaccio would’ve been perfect. The fresh, raw beef was refreshing and when eaten with all the elements of the dish, a distinctive taste was born. The subtle creaminess of the puree, the crispiness of the roasted artichoke and the earthiness of the truffle mingled together to create an unique, contemporary take on traditional carpaccio.
Now onto my personal favourite starter dish, the Parmesan Croquettes served with Truffle Fonduta. A basket of crispy, freshly fried croquettes topped with a generous amount of shaved parmesan? Check. A bowl of rich, velvety smooth truffle fonduta? Check. Combine the two together and live happily for the rest of your life? Check.The crisp croquettes were made from buttery potato topped with freshly shaved parmesan. The croquettes were so fresh from the kitchen that they fell apart when dipped into the luxurious fonduta (which allowed you to double dip the pieces of croquette that fell apart). The fonduta was the perfect balance of cheese, cream and truffle. The fresh truffle on top added a slightly garlicky taste which complimented potato croquettes extremely well.
Loosen your belts a notch because we are now onto the mains.
If you have eaten at Jamie’s Italian before, you would know about their signature Truffle Tagiatelle dish. The lavish pasta was nestled among rich, smooth black truffle butter dusted with aged Parmesan, nutmeg and fresh truffle shaved at the table.The pasta was handmade in the morning by the chefs and perfectly cooked until al dente. The dish was the definition of elegance and simplicity.
The Truffle Gnudi was my personal winner out of all the main dishes. I love anything, cheesy, fluffy and creamy, and the Truffle Gnudi ticked all the boxes. Gnudi is similar to gnocchi but the recipe uses ricotta cheese instead of potato, resulting in a light and feathery texture. Your knife effortlessly sliced through these balls of cloud and the gnudi dissolved in your mouth. The Truffle Gnudi was presented with succulent mushrooms, crispy sage and freshly shaved truffle. The gnudi was glazed with a light creamy sauce with a drizzle of olive oil. The truffle once again highlighted the creaminess of the dish with its pungent muskiness.
As a spontaneous decision on the night, the chef decided to whip up ricotta tortellini with parmesan and shaved truffle. The pasta was al dente and the filling was light and smooth which paired well with the buttery sauce it was drizzled with. It was the most delicious surprised I have had.
The second last main dish was the luxurious Truffle Risotto garnished with a touch of fontal, light drizzle of olive oil and freshly shaved truffle. The plump grains of risotto were coated in the creamy, cheesy sauce making it the perfect comfort food on a chilly night. The truffle created a lovely earthy aftertaste after each mouthful of creamy risotto. You can’t go wrong when you combine truffle with cream and carbs.
The last main dish allowed us to take a break from the cream-based recipes and thus, we were presented with the Truffled Flash Steak. The dish consisted of marinated rump steak served with truffle butter and tender chargrilled portobello mushrooms with a drizzle of fragrant pepper sauce. The steak was cooked to a perfect medium rare and the earthiness of the truffle butter added a richness to the juiciness of the steak. The mushrooms were chargrilled until they were succulent and was the perfect companion with the pepper sauce.
One thing I learnt about truffle from the dishes so far was that it is a match made in heaven with anything cream based. The earthiness of the truffle breaks up the richness of the cream and subtly adds garlicky muskiness to the dish.
Despite feeling extremely truffled out at this stage, we still had to power on and fit in dessert (but it shouldn’t be too difficult since everyone knows that dessert is digested in a separate stomach). The first dessert was Truffle Ice Cream with honey. The ice cream was olive oil flavoured which tasted like an unsweetened vanilla ice cream with a creamy olive oil aftertaste. The freshly shaved truffle on top of the ice cream had an interesting flavour as I had never had truffle on a cold dish. The truffle had a silky texture and taste to it when eaten with the ice cream. The honey was a nice sweet kick to the dessert. The last dessert and dish for the night was Pecorino served with honey and truffle. The pecorino cheese was served on a piece of crisp flat bread and a spot of honey.
I have never had so much truffle in one sitting (I swear I could still smell truffle the day after). After Jamie Italian’s Three-Course Truffle Feast with its focus on fresh Australian Perigord truffles, I have come to appreciate truffle as an unique and extremely versatile ingredient that has the ability to elevate any dish’s flavour.
Jamie’s Italian restaurants all around Australia are offering truffle specials every week priced at $30 until the end of August:
Monday 7th – Sunday 13th August: Truffled Flash Steak
Monday 14th- Sunday 20th August: Truffle Gnudi
Monday 21st- Wednesday 30th August: Truffle Risotto
Jump onto the truffle wagon while it’s still here or you’ll have to wait until truffle season rolls around again next year!
Jamie’s Italian Sydney
107 Pitt St, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 8240 9000
Web: Jamie’s Italian