Wednesday, 20 October 2010

SIFF 2010 Just Desserts @ Tomislav, Darlinghurst

Just Desserts

After waiting for almost a month, the day has arrived for the special "Just Desserts" dinner at Tomislav as part of this year's Sydney International Food Festival.
This dinner is quite unique as out of the 6 courses, there were 4 desserts and only 2 savouries. Also, the degustation was served in reverse !
We start with something sweet and it was very cleverly formulated so that there was a smooth progression from sweet to savoury. 

"Just Desserts" is a special collaboration between Chef Tomislav Martinovic and Christopher The, the pastry chef and also owner of Newtown's Black Star Pastry.
I've read that this would be the first time Chef The is back working in a professional kitchen since he opened Black Star Pastry. Before that he was the pastry chef at Claudé and Quay :)

Unfortunately, my cousin who booked it for us had to travel out of town for work, so I was on the verge of having to cancel the booking. 
Thankfully, managed to drag miss life is 2 mu(n)ch to come along with me.
So, thanks to miss who had booked it for us, wish you were there though :)

To Start
Violet Granita with Delamotte Champagne

We were asked whether we'd like matching wines to go with our dinner tonight, we had to say no due to my allergy and miss life is 2 munch still has her leg in cast.
It was such a pleasant surprise that Ann-Maree, the maître d', informed the kitchen of my allergy without me even requesting it. How's that for attention to customer needs !
So, I got a tube of lemonade instead of champagne hehehehe.

Delamotte Champagne ; Violet Granita

We got 2 test tubes each, one filled with a spiral of very pretty violet granita, and the other the champagne / lemonade. We were instructed to pour the liquid onto the granita, as we like it.

Fizzzzzz ; Prettiness in a tube

I was squealing with excitement as I saw the granita dissolves, releasing the violet petals from its ice prison and tinting the liquid with a light violet colour *sigh*
Too pretty to drink....but we must do what had to be done....
Flavour wise, we can only taste the champagne / lemonade, but it had visually took our breath away.

1st Course
Grilled Strawberries w/ Mint & White Chocolate

Doesn't it just looked like a strawberry field to you ? The presentation was just impeccable. 
The grilled strawberries were so sweet and slightly caramelized, then there were dollops of clotted cream and a quenelle of yoghurt sorbet.
See the green and white powder ? Those were the mint and white chocolate !
The powder were so fine and it just melts straight away into nothingness as you put some in your mouth.
The most amazing thing on the plate for me would have to be the mint powder, I wouldn't mind eating a tub of that honestly. 
Mint powder I love you....

Prettiest dessert plate ever !

2nd Course
Goats Curd Cheesecake w/ Elderflower & Pistachio

My nemesis the goats curd has returned....
I was freaking out when I saw it on the I just prayed and prayed that its taste is not too prominent in the dish.

"Mushroom" Cheesecake ; Elderflower Jelly, Grape, Pistachio & Lemon Balm

Safe !! The goats curd cheese mousse capping the vanilla cheesecake body did have the grassy taste, but it was very light and the other flavours on the plate help made it palatable to me.
This dessert reminds me of Black Star Pastry's Elderlfower Cheesecake - cheesecake base topped with thinly sliced grapes and a layer of pink elderflower jelly. 
It was deconstructed tonight on the plate, the grapes and tart elderflower jelly cubes were served together with an addition of lemon balm leaves and pistachio. 
The lemon balm was new to me, it has this lemon / lemongrass flavour that worked so well with the other flavours. 
I had to ask the waitress what it was and it was then I learned that these tiny leaves packed with flavours were lemon balm.

3rd Course
Caramel Ice Cream w/ Toasted Peanuts 

For the next course we were given 2 empty small plates each (huh ?).
The not long after the waiter returned with a metal ice cream stand , "please take one each".
We did nothing for a second as we thought he was going to leave the stand there, but he was just waiting for us to take them off the stand LOL

The caramel ice cream had a soft serve consistency, very soft, not too sweet and had this nicely balanced caramel flavour. It was good that it wasn't sweet as the tuile cones were quite sweet.
The cone was topped with toasted peanuts and...POP ROCKS !!
I didn't notice it at first as the colour of the candy blended in with the peanuts, so I was pleasantly surprised when I hear popping as I took the first bite *pop*pop*pop*

This 3rd course was a play on textures, softness of the ice cream, crunchiness of the tuile and peanuts, and the popping sensation from the pop rocks. Loved every single bit of it.

4th Course
Warm Chocolate Mousse w/ Olive Oil & Sea Salt

I was torn between this dish and the strawberry dish as my favourite dish of the night. 
Sea salt and dark chocolate would have to be the best combination ever. The warm mousse was served with a refreshing mulberry sorbet, crumbed sable biscuits and the amazing horseradish snow !
Horseradish ice, brilliant !!! See how we now have savoury and sweet flavours on the one plate ?
A subtle and smooth transition into the course after this.

Warm Chocolate Mousse ; Mulberry Sorbet & Horseradish Snow

The best way to describe the warm mousse would have to be this...
Imagine a warm chocolate fondant, remove the sponge part of it and you are left with this gooey, velvety, warm dark chocolate lava (except it's not lava here). Top with some sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil...
I had tears in my eyes....seriously...I did...LOL
I also loved the horseradish snow, it has the kick of the horseradish and the coolness of snow.

That was the last of the dessert dish, and we are now moving on to the savoury territories...
Please excuse the blurry photos, by this course the sun has completely set and where we seated in the corner that was quite dark.....

5th Course
Beef Mince Pie w/ Grilled Onion & Tomato Sauce

As much as I love my desserts, I still need something savoury for dinner after all....
The smell of the pie was just....*sigh*

Grilled Baby Onion ; Beef Mince Pie ; Tomato Sauce Snow

The beef mince complete with gravy and its distinct nutmeg taste was encased in the crispiest puff pastry ever !! Say goodbye to soggy pie pastry *bye bye* 
The beef mince was rich, perfect when coupled with a crispy buttery puff pastry. 
The grilled baby onion was oh so sweet and tender, and the "tomato sauce" was very interesting.
I was definitely not expecting an icy cold tomato sauce to go with beef pie, but it worked wonders.
Hot beef filling + icy cold tomato sauce = right temperature :)

To Finish
Rice Crackers w/ Sea Salt & Vinegar

Something light to finish the dinner, Tomislav's signature paper thin rice crackers with the sea salt & vinegar spritzer.
Made a big mess on the table this time in my attempt to spritz lots of sea salt & vinegar onto my crackers :P

When the plates were cleared and we were just chit chatting, the lovely Ann-Maree returned and asked my friend if her leg was feeling okay - how nice !
She also asked what we thought of the degustation and what was our favourite dish of the night. I was torn between the chocolate mousse & strawberries, while life is 2 mu(n)ch was torn between goats curd cheesecake & the chocolate mousse.

I must say, this is the happiest dinner I've ever had.
Every dish that came out was just simply amazing, the play on textures and combinations of different flavours were just brilliant. Both chefs' signature were clearly represented on the dishes they have created for these special dinners. Chef Tomislav's experience in molecular gastronomy and Pastry Chef The's skills in making amazing desserts.
Thank you for bringing these amazing flavours to a plate for us to enjoy and experience :)
The wonderful foods were complemented by the impeccable service we had through out the night, we were so well looked after.

But that is not it....
We were given something to take home on our way out....

Take Away Box
Black Star Pastry

We were grinning from ear to very happy !! Not only we just had an amazing dinner, we got a box of yummy goodies to take home too !

Sweet treasures !

We had not 1 but 4 of Black Star Pastry creations !!!

Lemon Curd Sable Cookie ; Plum, Fig & Orange Cake ;
Canelé ; Violet & Rose Macaron

I couldn't resist taking a bit of each as soon as I got home, you may call me *oink*oink* ^@^

The buttery sable cookie's sweetness was balanced with the tartness of the lemon curd, the plum fig & orange cake has always been my favourite from the bakery (after their Strawberry, Rose & Watermelon Cake).
The canelé has a slightly chewy texture on the inside and nicely caramelized on the outside.
The macaron....did I mention it was a jumbo ?

(excuse my wrinkly hand)

It was huge !!!! It is almost as big as the palm of my hand LOL
The rose white chocolate buttercream has a light scent of rose that wasn't too overpowering.

"Just Desserts" at Tomislav by Tomislav Martinovic & Cristopher The of Black Star Pastry is on for 2 nights only, 19th & 20th October as part of the SIFF 2010.

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  1. they all looked so pretty! awesome to have goodies to bring back home too!

  2. mel : it was soo amazing! I'm having the goodies now , breakfast hehehehe

  3. how much was it? how come it wasnt on the sugar hit list :( i bet its fully booked for today. arghhhh hahaha

  4. monica : hi fellow monica :) It was $125 for the food only, wine matching was $175 I think. It wasn't part of the Sugar Hit, I think it was listed under special dinner / events. The 2 days were fully booked out unfortunatelly, one of my friend is already on their waiting list :) next year maybe they gonna do another one, let's hope so !

  5. dudeeee your photos are freaking awesome! it was so dark where we were sitting!

  6. oh gawdd, im desperate for desserts! and ur pics look so amazing :( totally envy you! btw, which place did you like the most for sugar hit? :D

  7. suze : omg !! were you there as well last night ?? how come I didn't see you !! We were the first to get there at 6pm, so we still managed to get good lighting for the first few photos lol The desserts were amazing wasn't it ?

    monica : lol thanks, let's make a petition for another just desserts event, shall we ? For Sugar Hit, either Shangri-La or Guylian :)

  8. jesus! did you stay up late and blog this last night? i had to stay in uni!! :( now must go back and finish my assignment then maybe blog this tonight... fingers crossed! can't wait for tea time!!! mwahahahaha

  9. nik : while it's still fresh in my mind and I was on sugar high anyway lol

  10. oh em gee! these are amazing! photos. I want to taste it all

  11. mira : thank youuu :) if only we can scratch & sniff the screen :P

  12. omggg i wanna goooo!!!! *sniff* the delamotte champagne and granita looks freakin awesome!!

  13. sugarpuffi :, tissue for you lol hopefully they run another one then we can go together ! desserts night out !

  14. Such beautiful pictures Monica! What a fun looking night. I heard it sold out quite quickly! :D

  15. lorraine : thank you ^_^ it really was a fun night, happiest dinner ever lol perhaps I was on sugar high that night. It did sold out pretty quickly, had to put a 50% deposit to secure our booking too !