niina.amniisia » bits, pieces and photos from sydney, australia and elsewhere

food glorious food (Sunday March 21st, 2004 - 02:37)

category: mmhuh?

Friday night I consumed the most extravagant meal I’m ever likely to eat. Work took us out to Tetsuya’s restaurant on Kent Street – one of those award winning, lengthy waiting list sort of places – that serves Japanese French fusion food. We had a private room where our hosts smiled and explained the procedure for the evening and detailed every course when it came out.

I should have paid more attention to what we were drinking as the wines began with a white Henschke while we waited for everyone to arrive which then matched the first few courses. By the time the wine was switched to another white, I was too absorbed in the food to notice the brand but it was damn good. A red after that with the meat dishes, finishing up with a desert wine which I’m not generally a fan of and one sip told me that attempting to endure the sweetness would just spoil the evening so I stuck to the sparkling water which had been flowing all evening.

If only I could try to explain the 10 courses – they were all so unique, combinations of flavours and textures that sent my mouth in to little loops of joy, and ever so brilliantly presented. Staring at the food in disbelief each time a course arrived I missed half of the descriptions provided by the host (but thankfully I’ve found the menu on their website).

I’ve been sitting here trying to think of how to explain the food in more detail but I couldn’t do it justice. The portions were small (apart from Tetsuya Wakuda’s signature dish as seen at this site) but by the fourth course I was already starting to feel full. Thankfully we had a good 4 or 5 hours and the new dishes arrived every 15-30 minutes so plenty of time to digest!

I’ll let the menu speak for itself:

  • Oysters which I can’t find a description for but they were divine
  • Carpaccio of Beetroot with Tonburi & Caviar
  • Marinated NZ Scampi with Foie Gras & Walnut
  • Tuna Marinated in Soy & Mirin
  • Grilled Potato Noodle with Wakame & Lemon
  • Gazpacho with Spiced Tomato Sorbet
  • Confit of Petuna Tasmanian Ocean Trout with Konbu, Daikon & Rocket (Tetsuya’s signature dish)
  • Seasonal Green Salad
  • Ravioli of Lobster with Scallop and Tarragon Mousse, Tomato & Basil
  • Rolled Wagyu Beef with Asian Mushrooms & Citrus Jus
  • Slow Roasted De-Boned Rack of Lamb with White Miso & Smoked Eggplant
  • Mandarin Sorbet with Black Pepper
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Hazelnut Soup with Chocolate & Hazelnut Sorbet
  • Chocolate Terrine with Mascarpone and Cognac Anglaise
  • Coffee or Tea & Petit Four

(Some of those arrived at the same time, thus I counted it as 10 courses)

There was absolutely nothing that I didn’t enjoy nor that was too overwhelming for my sometimes picky palate. The signature dish was possibly my favourite of the main courses, I may never again be able to eat beetroot on its own, and all the desserts were so incredibly delicious that everyone was moaning in bliss.

Too occupied with eating, I neglected my camera until I’d finished dessert!


After all that eating a number of us went over to Tank to work off the food. It’s not my usual scene but I do like to check out the clubs now and then, feel the vibe and have a little boogie.

Tank is within a gorgeous stone building and covers several floors – upstairs a chill out, downstairs a thumping dance floor – which were both very busy by the time we turned up. I took some time to wander around and watch the people doing their Friday night thing before re-joining the work mates in what I understood was a VIP room; it turned out to be like entering a completely different club with better music, room to move, and most importantly there were places to sit.

Only major complaint – $4.50 for a 350ml bottle of water is an absolute and utter joke.

After a long day, an unforgettable dinner and a little moving of my feet I decided to call it a night and found a taxi to take me home. On the way I heard some sirens ahead of us on Elizabeth Street, the taxi driver slowed his speed and I thought he was doing so because the road was blocked. When I looked down the street there was no obstruction; police and ambulance vehicles were parked on the road but our lane was clear.

From what I could see at a distance a man was slouching near the rear of a taxi and as we got closer he seemed to be raging at a person beside him. “Please don’t slow down” I told the taxi driver but he wasn’t listening. “Can you keep driving please?” but he wanted to gawk. They say it’s human nature, right? I had to look. If he’d have just driven on I could have kept looking down as I do when passing accident sites but he drove so slowly and the flashing lights from the emergency vehicles filled the cab that I had to look up and saw the man’s head and body seriously cut up and bleeding. It was a dreadful vision. In a movie I would have cringed and felt sick. This was real.

“Drive on!” – I had to raise my voice – and finally the driver picked up his speed. “He must have been drunk on the motorbike and the taxi hit him” he tried to explain to me but I didn’t want to know, didn’t want to discuss it, wanted to release the image from my head even though I knew it’d stay there. I’m squeamish at the best of times but in my selfishness I didn’t want the last thoughts for a good day to be about the fate of the man.

Today I had to check up on it and found it mentioned on – serious head injuries to the motorcyclist, shock to the taxi driver, thankfully no fatalities are mentioned.

Trying to make myself food today has been a difficult process. I stared in my cupboards and fridge for a long time until I told myself that I’m not Tetsuya Wakuda. I’m not even Jamie Oliver. For lunch I made myself toasted Turkish bread with champagne ham, mushrooms, baby spinach and cheese with some cracked pepper.

Turkish bread

For dinner I decided to make up something of my own which turned out incredibly tasty so for my own memory I have to write down what I did.

Pre-heated the oven to 180°C. Finely diced about a quarter of a brown onion and a mushroom (these could be lightly fried I guess) and placed them in a bowl. De-stalked and washed a handful of baby spinach, chopped it up with scissors and then added it to the bowl. Cut up a small amount of fetta cheese in to half a centimeter blocks (trying not to let them crumble and squish everywhere) and added them to the bowl. Mixed that lot up with a fork and transferred it to a little oven proof dish.

In another bowl I whisked one egg with a dash of milk, a little cracked pepper and about half a teaspoon of french mustard. Poured that mixture on top of the vegetables. Sprinkled a few pine nuts on top. Placed the dish in the middle rack of the oven for 20 minutes and then took it out and ate it. Mmmm.

a dish

I don’t think it’ll take the title of Niina’s signature dish, but maybe with some more experimentation I’ll hit upon one one day.

one comment to “food glorious food”
Dan said on March 2nd, 2005 at 7:57 pm:

Awesome! It looks so lush. Can’t wait to go myself.