PERMANENTLY OUT

(to lunch)

MasterChef Dining, Sydney

It’s spectacular what they’ve done to the forecourt of St Mary’s Cathedral. A dual-storey pop-up restaurant showcasing signature dishes from some of Australia’s top chefs alongside contestants’ creations from various MasterChef seasons. There’s a real buzz about the place: from the self-absorbed trilogy of hostesses (one refused to let Callum Hann in because he didn’t have a reservation not realising he was the night’s special guest) to the hum of the kitchen as a gluttony of chefs swiftly put together tasty delights.

The highlights on the menu were the tuna tataki from Mr Hann, the always impressive crispy skin duck from none other than Kylie Kwong, and finally - and most spectacularly - the pistachio and fig baklava gelato sandwich with fresh fig and fairy floss on top (below). The food was a pleasant distraction from Adam D’Sylva, CODA’s head chef, who jibbed arrogantly about a “better” Melbourne food scene and in doing so lost half his audience. But he quickly gained them back with his cheeky good humour and by offering a free meal or two.

In fact, the entire evening ran very smoothly. The setting was exclusive and unique, which Sydney demands as much as New York City once did, and the food was consistently exceptional, a testament to an ever-more world class Australian food scene. After years of stagnation and a lack of innovation due to an over reliance on the quality of Australian produce, local chefs are no longer resting on their laurels. An atmosphere of healthy competition between Sydney and Melbourne is pushing our cuisine from the acceptable to the exquisite and it’s not stopping anytime soon either. So be sure to get in quick to the next unique culinary installation as you should be kicking yourself if you missed out on MasterChef Dining.

MasterChef Dining - Pop-Up Restaurant
St Mary’s Cathedral Forecourt
College Street
Sydney NSW 2000
http://www.masterchef.com.au/dining.htm

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