Let me tell you the story of how a group of old friends gathered around a pork-a-licious pot last night as part of the Collective menu at 414 Bourke Street, eating a wholesome meal of carefully prepared dishes, chatting over excellent wine and parting with full stomachs.
The story began after we left Beresford Hotel where we hung out waiting for our 8.30pm reservations. Sydney has become this place where if you are a big group, you simply can’t expect to be seated at a decent hour for a meal.
We got given fried bread, a ‘bad chef’ kinda dish where it tastes so good but is probably so bad for your heart.
|Miso Smoked Salmon
Lemon Curd and Fennel Bread
|Ham Hock Terrine
Crumbed Pigs Ears and Apple Sauce
When Pig Ears are crumbed, even little children will eat them, its just that yummy. I’d eat pig ears uncrumbed anyways for the record.
Parfait, Crispy Tortilla and Apple Chutney
The Parfait was overpowering. Good if you like your pates, but if you didn’t, best to eat the thoughtfully deboned wing without the parfait.
|Whole Stuffed Rainbow Trout|
On to the mains, excellently paired with our NZ Reisling Pinot Gris Gewurtztraminer, the sweetest, most complex wine I’d ever selected. The trout was slightly overcooked on some ends, but moist still in the middle choice parts. The lentils stuffing was excellent, and I think if one was pregnant, this would be the perfect sorta dish to make every night.
|Fennel and Orange Salad|
I love fennel salads. This one is a classic and was kept light and crunchy to go delightfully with the trout.
|Roast Pork with Apple
Colcannon and Pickled Cabbage
And then, I kid you not, the climax of the story. By now we had switched to a bottle of Tempranillo to accompany this dish. I got given a slab of apple, a slice of perfectly cooked fatty pork, some cabbage and ham hocked sauce drizzled all over it. Divine when topped with the crunch of the crackling which we saved out of the sauce before it all got too soft. We couldn’t finish it, because we had feasted too much on the other food before this. But oh it was so good, I almost cried when they were clearing this unfinished plate from our table, but we needed room for dessert, so we let it go.
|Mixed Grain Salad|
I woke up craving more of this salad. The nutty flavour, the brown rice texture, the wholesomeness of it all, imagine it soaks up the fatty pork and combines with all that bad to make it all that good. I miss consuming quinoa too, which was abundant in this salad. More please, I keep thinking this morning. Why was I too full to eat anymore?
|White Chocolate Sandwich
Dulce de Leche
Dulche de Leche heaped to look like poo, but that was the only bad thing about this dessert. It had everything else that was so right about it. Delicious vanilla-like ice cream, blends perfectly with the sweet sweet caramel and it all becomes very amicable in your mouth really.
My friends preferred this dessert because it was less sweet and it was bitter chocolate powder with coconut flakes, which was a lot healthier than the other dessert I suppose.
And just like that, we ended our dinner with Colin Fassnidge. No really, he was sitting at the table right next to us. Thank goodness for Masterchef, we now know the face of the people who cook our fancy meals and can recognise them when they are dining amongst us.
The service of the place was very friendly and professional, and the restaurant is one of those dimlight, noisy chatter place with an open kitchen in the corner. I know my iPhone pics don’t do the pics any justice. And my throbbing head this morning from all the wine I’d consumed doesn’t help me revive the memory beyond the purple haze my iphone is showing me, but I knew it was good. Very good and we all happily paid our $85 each with no complaints and went home haply ever aft.