Sydney Festival is well and truly over… Note to self, work on timing.
Luckily it’s never too late to look at photos of delicious, mouth watering food.
It was a balmy Thursday night when we ventured to Sydney Festival, set up in Hyde Park. Porteño and Messina were our main targets. We made a bee line for the stand and promptly ordered Chicken and Waffles, Philly Cheese Steak, Chilli Cheese Fries and a Salmon and Cream Cheese Bagel (for something light of course). From the Messina counter, we went with the Not Chicken and Waffles and a Not Cheeseburger.
The Chicken and Waffles were delicious and my favourite of the selection. Fried crunchy chicken, crispy bacon on top of a sugary, crusted Belgian waffle. The dessert was slightly underwhelming for all of the hype, but in saying that, deep fry some gelato on a waffle or slap some chocolate gelato on brioche bun and you can’t go too wrong.
Although Porteño and Messina set out to be the best in show, a left field quiet contender stood out as the shining, cheesy star. The Cheesesmith.
Tucked quietly in the back corner of the Hyde Park set up, was this gooey, mouthwatering, delicious, glowing beacon of cheesiness. Their fresh looking cheese plates were tempting, but my eyes were set on their cheese toasties; 3 cheeses with an optional 4th cheese. The definition of optional went out the window when I saw this “4th cheese”. The half wheel of Raclette sat toasting under its own personal grill, warming itself for the next order. Once it had developed a layer of bubbling, oozing mess it was removed from its home and the molten cheese was scraped on top of an unsuspecting 3 cheese toastie. I chose the Le Grand, which consisted of Spanish Manchego, Truffle Infused Cheddar and French Blue Cheese. Add a schmear of quince paste and this was the highlight of Sydney festival for me.
Because “That’s too much cheese” – Said no one ever.
What do you get when you pack a whole bunch of different Asian cuisines, a fine selection of alcohol and some loud, LED lit entertainment into Hyde Park? A really busy, loud, slightly overwhelming event during Good Food Month called the Night Noodle Markets.
During a couple of weeks in the Month of October, Hyde park was turned into a hustling bustling hawker centre of Asian delights. Supplying patrons with tastes of the Orient along with bars, music and entertainment. With up to 50 food stalls it can be slightly overwhelming, especially when trying to navigate through the throngs of hungry people, when you yourself are hungry enough to eat your own hand. With a rumbling stomach, comes rash decision making, which in turn, usually leads to disappointment and worst of all, food envy.
With this in mind, before going to the event, I strongly suggest reading up about the stalls, checking out some food blogs and seeing what people are raving about and ragging on. The last thing you want is a plate of overly oily, bland noodles when the person next to you is chomping on a Ramen Burger or a Woofy’s Asian Dog.
We had a plan. With our eyes set on the infamous Ramen Burger, we entered the arena armed with only the inkling of hunger setting in, cash money in our pockets and a positive attitude. That quickly dissipated into annoyance when we saw a line of no less than 80-100 people all with the same plan. All of a sudden that hint of hunger escalated into full blown starvation and irritation levels began to rise. I was officially hangry. Symptoms include irrational behaviour, bouts of yelling (usually at loved ones), foot stamping and pouting. Yes, I turn into a 5 year old when I get hungry, who doesn’t.
Luckily there were a few of us, so we left one in the queue for Ramen burgers and we went to gather extra food supplies. A quick trip to the Let’s Do Yum Cha truck and a tent nearby to get some crispy golden squid and I returned to normal, functioning adult behaviour.
I’ve got to say that the Ramen Burger was ok, albeit a bit of a gimmick and personally, give me a brioche bun any day. The fried ramen “buns” gave an interesting texture to the burger and the beef pattie was flavoursome but not overly exciting. We also had the rice burger with slow cooked sticky pork, which was also alright.
In general the Noodle Markets are a fun place to go with a group of friends as long as you’re not fussed about getting split up, can handle long queues and are happy to sit on any floor space you can find. With all negatives aside, they are a nice way to mix things up and try a whole bunch of different things all in one place.
Or if you’re a stickler for convenience like me, you could just go to your favourite local Chinese restaurant for dinner with your own bottle of wine and be in and out in a quarter of the time. To each their own.