dear adam (aka muffin)

Dear Adam,

I just wanted to tell you … you’re awesome.  Really and truly awesome.

So are Oliver and Chris.  You guys make a great team.  And are all … really (like unbelievably) nice.

And your cooking … well you’ve got some skills.  But I already knew that.  I’ve known that since the first time we met – at the Whalesbone on April 23rd 2010 (I have a good memory eh?).

I’m using this blog to gush about you… and your food.  Remember how I promised I would tell everyone about my crush on you?  Well … this blog is that. 

For anyone who is having a hard time following this entry … my friend Adam Vettorel, Head Chef at Domus, was the man behind the Chefs-Night (industry night) at Oz Kafe.  He decided to take all of us on a Tropical Vacation.  I had a very lovely vacation :0)

You might wonder why tropical vacation?  Well – Domus is known for using local, seasonal food – if you import the product it doesn’t find its way onto the table.  Last night at Oz was Adam’s chance to use all those ingredients he would never use at Domus

It was a fun menu – well executed, super bright and colourful,  flavourful … and two of the plates I could probably have eaten several times over and been one very happy girl. 

First up – the soup.

spiced tropical fruit gazpacho / fruit salsa & chili oil

I won’t lie.  The first spoonful wasn’t overly pleasant (I told them that in the kitchen) – so I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to react to the soup.  And then … it clicked.  The spices made sense.  It was bright and really cool – and the finely diced fruit salsa added a nice crunch (I tossed mine into the gazpacho).  It reminded me of a holiday spiced wine … only substitute the wine and toss in a puree of tropic fruit.  I bet it would be tasty with a shot of rum … ;0)

 three citrus & avocado salad / mango puree, pomegranate seeds and mint

After the spiciness of the gazpacho, Adam was more reserved in this one … however the avocados were perfectly ripe – smooth and creamy.  Toss a tart citrus salad into the avocado centre … and your mouth is happy.  Add the bitterness of the pomegranate and that’s a mouth full of flavour.

grilled spot prawn with kiwi relish

I heart this kiwi relish.  My dinner companions (Trish & A.J. – chef / sous-chef @ The Black Cat Bistro and Lidija) all loved the grilled spot prawn (claps for Chris – that was his job).  I got to take pictures while the prawns were being cooked – and holy mother of pearl did they smell amazing.  But I still think the relish was my favourite component – sweet and light.   It was awesome.

“land and sea” / spiced meat patty with papaya catsup / grilled banana leaf halibut with banana chutney

1.  The spiced meat patty.  I would be happy to have that any day.  It tasted like a mini tortiere.  The meat filling was so well seasoned – and with a little kick of heat – I think I could have eaten a dozen of them and still have happily eaten more (actually I begged Oliver to send me home with some extra pattys … no luck).  And the papaya catsup just brought back memories of a katchup maison – sweet and salty.  They were the perfect team.

SIMPLY BRILLIANT.

2.  The grilled banana leaf halibut was good.  But it became really delicious when you ate it with the banana chutney.  Those bananas were super sweet … I truly enjoyed the halibut when I made sure each fork full included some chutney.  I think we’re seeing a trend here:  I am a condiment lover.  But in all of the above cases, Adam did a really great job of building the flavour and texture of each plate by adding the salsa, the relish, the catsup and the chutney.  Adam should jar them and sell them … even if it’s just to me :0)

fruits of passion / coconut macaroon indulging in a passion fruit 4 way (Justin Rogers – Clove Chocolatiers)

This is an instance were reading the menu but not really paying attention to it can get you in trouble.  First … for some reason I expected chocolate on the plate.  Don’t ask me why – nowhere in the description is there a mention of chocolate.  And I watched them plate the desserts and didn’t see them add any chocolate.  But I somehow thought that the base of the dessert was white chocolate.  It wasn’t.  It was coconut.  And so my mind couldn’t process what it was eating … don’t worry.  That only lasted the first bite.  And then it understood.

Oh. My. Goodness.

A-MAZ-ING.

I heart passionfruit so I already figured I’d like this.  But that coconut macaroon base was brilliantly simple and delicious.  Justin … sigh.  So delightful.  That entire plate made me happy.  I LOVED how tart the passionfruit was.  And the silky smoothness of it compared to the flakes of coconut.  Happy happy dessert. 

And so … my crush on Adam grows stronger … it was an absolute pleasure to eat your food and thank you for allowing me access to the kitchen and not minding that I stuck my camera lens in your food. 

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oz does oz

Monday night was Oz night!  A-MAZ-ING.  Seriously.

Rather than hosting another chef – it was a team Oz presentation. 

Before I begin I should apologize.  I only have pictures of the dessert.  I know… I know.  I’m disappointed too.

So bear with me and use your imagination when I describe the rest of my meal.  Because it was DE-LISH.  For reals.

Jamie and company served up the perfect meal for a cold, dreary, November night.  Full of love and warmth … and meat.  There was lots of meat.  Oh yum.

Pickle Soup.  Yep that’s right.  Chalk full of pickles, pork, potatoes, with a generous dollop of sour cream and dill.  AMAZING.  The pork was so tender – it literally melted in your mouth.  I don’t think I was the only one who raised the bowl to my lips in order to enjoy every last drop. 

Don’t worry… we just got started.

O’Brien BeefHoly heck batman it was the best thing I ate.  Thinly sliced beef, beautifully rare (that lovely shade of red), sitting atop an anchovy / garlic mayo, topped with bacon breadcrumbs, fresh parsley and a drizzle of yuzu.  I kept turning to Arctic Andrew and telling him I could eat plates and plates of this.  This one got two very enthusiastic thumbs-up.  If I had ten thumbs, all of them would be up.  WAY up.

Roasted Japanese eggplant.  From pork to beef to lamb.  All of us at the table (Chloé, Merrill, and Arctic Andrew) kept saying that this dish reminded us of a cross between a Greek moussaka and Genji’s nasu dengaku (Asian eggplant with dengaku sauce) – only with a kick.  A delicious kick.  The eggplant was stuffed with spicy smoked lamb necks, topped with goat yoghurt, fish sauce and mint.  This was everyone else’s favourite dish (I really loved the rare  beef … but this was sooooo good too!). 

And finally.  The dessert.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Who doesn’t want a piece of this?

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding.

Sigh.  I practically licked my plate.  In a restaurant.  Among strangers.  I have no shame.

It was a cloud of fluffy sweet potato goodness.  Accompanied by smoked maple and bacon fat (see… meat is EVERYWHERE!), apples, gelato and then some whipped cream to cut the sweetness.

It was the perfect dessert.

I think it’s probably one of the best desserts I’ve had yet.  Sweet without being too sweet.  It rounded out the perfect comfort meal. 

I would happily (and eagerly) enjoy this entire meal again.  And then I would remember to take some pictures too.

farbs @ oz

I have a serious crush.  I seriously heart Farbs’ food. 

Last night was my monthly jaunt to Oz Kafeand it was incredible.  As soon as I looked at the menu I knew that I was going to be lovin’ this meal… a tuna duo, followed by an open faced pulled pork sandwich, which was then followed by a prosciutto wrapped chicken, only to be finished off with a banana split

 Holy Heck Batman!  How amazing does that sound?  My mouth was watering… and I had just arrived.

The brains behind the menu was Chef Michael Farber from Farbs Kitchen & Wine Bar – Anna, his sous-chef joined him in the kitchen – those two make some pretty ridiculously delicious food.  For reals.

After enjoying my first course (the tuna duo), I was allowed in the kitchen to take some pictures, chat a little; all while doing my best to stay out of the way.  Farbs and Anna work fast, and efficiently.  It’s a true thing of beauty.

Anna was responsible for the tuna duo and the banana split.  Farbs plated the open faced pulled pork sandwich (I got to observe him plating my actual dish… sweet!) and the prosciutto wrapped chicken.  Brilliant.  Everything looked gorgeous.  Everything smelt incredible.  And the food… Holy heck – it was pure amazingness!

I had so much fun sticking my camera lens in just about everything plated in the kitchen that I figured you’d all like to see what I ate :0) 

(thank you Farbs and Anna for putting up with me!)

I could rave about the freshness of the tuna tartar;  or tout the perfect balance of the pulled pork with the cabbage slaw (seriously ridiculous – my love of pork doesn’t seem to be diminishing anytime soon). I could then gush about the chicken – wrapped and filled, a little parcel of goodness; and make you all envious just imagining that dessert: chocolate brownie, dolce de leche, banana ice cream… whipped cream.   

I could do that.  But I’m not going too.  I’m just going to show you my pictures… the chefs in action.  It’s awesome to see…

tuna duo / tuna tartar / yuzu & lavache / tuna tataki / soy reduction

Anna doing her thang :0)

open faced pulled pork sandwich / bourbon bbq sauce / beer battered onion rings / cabbage slaw

This sandwich is what I would like to call… happiness.  The onion rings were so good I stole one of Charlotte’s off her plate.  Yes.  I admit I am a picker of other people’s food.  I am not ashamed… I got an extra onion ring that way!

prosciutto wrapped chicken / brandy soaked wild mushrooms & leeks / pave

banana split / chocolate brownie / dolce de leche / banana ice cream

Such a satisfying meal.  Seriously delicious.

These pictures really don’t do this food justice.  So this is what I think.  I think you should go to the restaurant and try it yourself.  Seriously go.  Make a reservation and hit up Farbs Kitchen & Wine Bar – and treat yourself.  You won’t be disappointed.  I promise.