MAIALE @ OMERTA Darlinghurst

“Our sustainable dinners have grown from strength to strength over the past year and the fourth instalment, Pork Meatup™ was no exception. This time round we chose Omerta in Darlinghurst to see what influence the Abruzzo region in Italy would have on our Esk Pastoral Free Range Pork. It delivered a 7 course feast of pure foodgasm by Eugenio Maiale and Luke Randall!” Tim Elwin, Urban Food Market 

MAIALE
6_11_10

CROSTINI, LARDO, TEITUN DI BAROLO, GRAPES, CHESTNUT HONEY

OLIVE ALL AICOLONA
Via dei Birra ‘curmi’ wheat beer with spelt – veneto

BRAISED PIGS HEAD, TROTTER JELLY, CAPER BERRIES, FRESH ALMONDS, DRAGOCELLO
2009 Colmello ‘isonzo’ pinot grigio – friuli

SHOULDER – 8 HOURS SLOW COOKED IN MILK ‘ENCASSATA’ PEPPERS, POLENTA, MARSALA
2009 Contina del taburno falanghina – campagnia

CONFIT CHEEK TRIANGOLI, CHERRIES, POPPY SEEDS
2007 ca la bionda valpolicella superiore – veneto

LUGANIGA ‘ALLA BRACE’ RADICCHIO, MUSTARD PEAR
2007 giacomo mori chianti – toscana

PORCHETTA, HEIRLOOM CARROTS, SALSA VERDE
2008 gulfi nero d’avola – sicilia

WATERMELON GRANITA, PEAR AND WHITE BALSAMIC SORBET

CHOCOLATE AND HAZELNUT CREAM, ITALIAN MERINGUE, CARAMEL SALT GELATO
2006 la cappucina passito carmenos (dessert) – veneto

This truly was a sustainable feast. Sustainable because the produce was pastoral free range pork – and – sustainable because it was ‘nose to tail’ using all of the animal. The menu was headed MAIALE and that, is a double play on words. Chef Eugenio Maiale disclosed to me that Maiale, his surname, means pig. Coming from someone born in the year of  the Maiale, I’m loving it! I’m guessing though the Maiale at the head of the menu was in honour of the animal.

Using all of the animal shows respect. No wastage. And, cooking of this calibre also shows respect, that justice has been done to a life. I enjoyed every bite. All of the feast was delicious! Some of my group debated their favourite dish. A hard call. The Omerta team pulled out all guns with this one. Traditional yet innovative, elegant yet rustic, the menu was indeed a pork showcase.

If I had to pick a favourite, and I would be hard pushed to put one dish in the lead:

My favourite was first up Braised Pigs Head, Trotter Jelly, Caper Berries, Fresh Almonds, Dragoncello

Perhaps it is a nostalgic note that leans my tastes buds toward this dish as my top pick. Growing up, brawn and pickles and hard boiled eggs was a much loved family dish. The Omerta pigs head round looked delightful on the plate and was unctious and moist in the mouth. The accent of caper berries and egg yolk triggered childhood memories. Beautifully executed. And a delicious start to the Omerta Pork Meatup.

Next the Shoulder -8 Hours Slow Cooked in Milk “Encassata”, Peppers, Polenta, Marsala.

Seem to have heard more of a whisper and a sigh (or closer to a groan of pleasure) from along the bar during the eating of this dish. Moist and luscious meat, soft polenta with red capsicum was a dream. Some of the bums at the bar voted this one their best of the night. It was close. But reiterating it was thoroughly enjoyed.

Confit Cheek Triangoli, Cherries, Poppy Seeds was another winner! Some of the bar votes went to this dish. For me though I couldn’t fault it, it came a close second to the nostalgia of the pigs head. The pasta was fresh and cooked to the point. Cheek married well with cherries. Sage leaves and butter were the icing. Each piece was generous, a delight to look at, a delight to eat.

Live commenting on the dinner on the night from the full house at Omerta included online comments on popular social networking medium twitter. @sharonpiggott @rolyatoj @jezzster @gosstronomy @Lordie82 @johncoghlan @repaistre @tudorgrrrl @GlenDavisSydney @fooderati @urbanfoodmarket @frombecca (that’s me) and @porkstars were amongst the mob that uploaded photos and comments to those who couldn’t be there. Sydney and the world were salivating. We were streaming live.

The fennel seed and garlic balanced beautifully with pork in the Luganiga ‘Alla Brace’ Raddicchio, Mustard Pear. The coiled sausage shaped into its traditional southern Italian form. The bitterness of raddichio with the sweetness of mustard fruit provided highlighting contrasts.

And the colourful vegetables in Porchetta Heirloom Carrots Salsa Verde provided a wonderful bed for moist pork. Some time ago this is what you might have expected to be put before you in a restaurant. No doubt, there were some at the tables who learnt that carrots are not only orange. Small sweet and crisp they were a delight.

A lovely surprise that the Watermelon Granita, Pear and White Balsamic Sorbet was bite sized. The palate cleanser has not only made a resurgence in popularity (good news) but seems at other establishments to be growing in size (perhaps not so good news). This mouthful was as it should be. Just that. Just right. And, what was that little tickle of jelly in the bottom of the glass?

When my Chocolate and Hazelnut Cream, Italian Meringue, Caramel Salt Gelato was put down I was about to say “I don’t drink cappucino”. I’ve had this treat at Omerta before and I should have remembered. A delightful dessert. The uncooked italian meringue is not a frequent guest to the table these days. What a pity. This treatment, digging deep through sweet layers, reminds us all that classic favourites never go out of style.

Omertà
235 Victoria St
Darlinghurst Sydney NSW 2010 Australia
reservations@omerta.com.au
+61 (0) 2 9360 1011

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Comments for this article

2 Responses to “MAIALE @ OMERTA Darlinghurst”

  1. Stevem Ingram- Dip Devotion says:
    December 14, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Absolutely brilliant. Just like the real peasant farmers would do it like our neighbours Yves & Marie Banyuls in Lot & Garonne 30 years ago. Grow everything.Prep evrything, waste not a jot. Make your own wine. Distill your own eau de vie, step inside, enjoy. Leave your clogs at the door.

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