Another guest at my table declared “Where does it get any better than this?” It is true that the delicious meal was superbly enjoyed by all. It is also true that in his well crafted and innovative menu Chef Justin North allowed the produce to shine. The Bécasse menu read “Please help us to help support our local producers”.
Olive biscotti, a crisp savoury, twice baked in the traditional way, and topped with whipped Woodside curd provided a light and tantalising doorway to the day.
While we heard from Alf Sorbello about his low yielding heirlooms later in the day, this was our first taste, in a tomato powder atop the bread, prepared from the slow dried tomato skins. The bread freshly baked was started at 10.30am, proved at 11.00am and out of the oven just in time for lunch at 12.30pm.
Preserved tuna in a tin
2007 Montrose Rosé of Barbera, Mudgee
The tinned tuna had a sense of humour and was all the more delicious for it, or in spite of it, or just because it was so (delicious that is). It was inspired plating and it was appreciated. There was just enough prettiness in calendula, viola and borage to soften the harder lines of the tin. Even more appreciated though (at least by me) was the incredible clear transluscent wobbly divinity of tuna consomme jelly.
Sorbello’s Heirloom Tomatoes
Smoked, cooked and raw, Aunty Ruby’s gazpacho, golden jubilee and olive oil sorbet
2008 Robert Oatley Chardonnay, Mudgee
Incredible tomatoes of all colours! A labour of love nurtured by Alf Sorbello, with a vine sometimes only bearing 3 or 4 tomatoes. And love the flavour we did! Tomatoes dancing around the centrepiece of olive oil sorbet. Another jelly, and another favourite. (And the next course was a favourite too … if that’s possible! oh heck can they all be favourites?) Did I tell you the tomatoes were grown within the bounds of the Sydney metropolitan area too? As close to local as you get (unless they were from my backyard).
Spear Creek Dorper Lamb
Braised shoulder, roast cutlet and crisp belly, sarladaise potato, chestnut mushrooms, mushroom puree, purslane and summer savoury jus
2006 Montrose Pietra Sangiovese, Mudgee
Heaven continued. The trio of lamb treatments did justice to the salt of the earth produce. Dorper is a South African breed of sheep that don’t need shearing, and, is low stress management in other ways too. The food and produce benefits are that the breed also doesn’t need to be grain finished, they are environmentally capable of living on the unimproved pastures of our country, and they are not seasonal providing meat all year round. And, after the triage of cooking the lamb was eaten as melt in your mouth, tender, unctuous and full flavoured meat.
Although the meat was the hero, if I could pass you just one mouthful through the screen it would be of the incredible potatoes. 25 layers of thinly sliced potato cooked with duck fat between each slice. Words cannot describe. Best you go and get Justin to cook YOU some …
A pre dessert and refreshing cocktail
Tasting of The Goddess – Panama criollo and trinitario, Ecuador forastero
Zokoko the elements
The sugar, vanilla and the cocoa bean
Barbeito Madeira rain water 5 year old Verdelho
Bécasse holds the ‘Producers Lunch Forum’ every 6 weeks and invites some of these amazing producers along with representatives of the media and public to gain an insight into their unique farming methods, fascinating lives and wonderful stories. The next Producers Lunch Forum will be on Wednesday 21st April, 2010.
The seasonal ‘Producers Lunch’ is available every day at Becasse, for $35 including a glass of wine. Based around an innovative local producer the lunch is a celebration of the diversity of great Australian produce.
204 Clarence Street
Sydney NSW 2000
+61 2 9283 3440
and you can follow Bécasse on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PlanBecassEtch