Molecular gastronomy: well! Gastro Park’s Liquid butternut gnocchi in a rich mushroom consommé was so absolutely spectacular that I’m already thinking about my next visit. Made famous by appearing as a challenge in last season’s Masterchef, it had an amazing texture: the thinnest membrane (of seaweed/agar, I understand) around a purée, a small strange egg yolk that bursts in one’s mouth. Immersed in a rich mushroom broth, this was incredible. I love food that surprises me, and this was it.
As a close second in a consistently delicious five-course meal, a special event put on by Gastro Park, Mount Pleasant Wine and the Entertainment book, was a chocolate sphere filled with vanilla ice cream, on top of white snowy pebbles that taste of cardamon, saffron and ginger, along with two larger pieces of honeycomb. They were likely treated with liquid nitrogen, steaming and icy. A showy dish, and a delicious one. It was served with a 30 year old Mount Pleasant Tawny, a lovely sweet port and I was sad to see so many people had eaten and drank so much that this was what they left on the table afterwards. If I was twenty years younger, or was sure no one would see me, I would gone around guzzling the leftovers… Classy, huh?
The other dishes were also beautiful, the appetizer of ‘earth tarts’ and kangaroo carpaccio served on smooth grey stones (similar to ones in a dish at Geranium at Copenhagen).
The pork belly was perfectly done, with a few slivers of smoked macadamia (which I couldn’t really taste much of) and a rich mixture of spanner crab and pork ‘pebbles’ which tasted like the crackling had been cut up into crunchy little stones; it had a richness which reminded me of a fine XO sauce and was served with a 2013 Mount Pleasant ‘Leontine’ Chardonnay from Hunter Valley which was my wine highlight of the night.
The main was interesting: 48-hour slow-cooked Riverina short rib. Because of the cut, it didn’t really fall apart. It was very tender but still had a springiness, and held together. It was served with smoked eggplant, some peas, a pod and some charcoal-black mixture of capsicum which was colour as much as anything: we couldn’t figure out whether it was anchovy or olive or something else until the waitress told us. It was served with two rather fancy shiraz’s though for some reason, neither of us could detect why one would cost $50 and the other $125 a bottle. Not our grape, perhaps.
The chef himself served some of the dishes and made himself available to say hello, and the staff were all bustling and welcoming. I had always been interesting in the building from the outside, it’s not quite as interesting on the inside, but still stylish and chic, though with a fishbowl effect, and the locals from Kings Cross passing by outside in, let’s say, casual attire. All in all, a really incredible night. I’ve learned when the Entertainment Book puts on these events that they sell out pretty much within the hour that the email goes out, so I’m rather pleased that we got to try a restaurant that’s been on my hit list for a while, on such a special night.