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Origins of Food – Spring at the Book Kitchen Surry Hills

2009 October 31

One of the newer food related things I’ve been doing is attending random dinners. Wine dinners, themed dinners, charity dinners, you name it, I’m happy to sign up. Why? the opportunity to meet new people who are as obsessed with food as I, as well as getting exposed to new places, products or food!

I came across  this dinner entirely by accident, and as it was reasonably priced and local I dragged two of my friends along to check it out.

The dinner was organised by local business Box Fresh, With support/participation from venue/chef host The Book Kitchen and local cheese specialists Formaggi Ocello. The theme of this dinner was Spring, and they’re planning on hosting more of these dinner based around the seasons.

It’s a very dark and stormy night when we arrive, and soon the storm is upon us making itself heard with the most spectacular lightening and thunder, making us very happy to be tucked up inside. Large communal tables are arranged around the room, and we join the one with the best view of the kitchen.

The food starts bang on time. Our neighbours at the table look at me strangely when I pull out my camera The food is so pretty that I feel I have to! Unfortunately the neighbours remain sour for the rest of the evening and leave as soon as the meal is finished. We are relieved.

We start with a beautiful beetroot salad, with goats curd…I initially got a bit worried when I saw the size of this,thinking perhaps it was our only entree, but it turns out I had totally misread the menu.


The small sweet beets were stunning against the soft, tangy goats curd. It was a beautifully balanced composition.


The single ravioli is placed in front of us, and I quickly grab the menu to determine in contents: Ox tail with liquorice and baby cos. I could have eaten a whole plate of these babies! In addition we’re served a luscious  shaved fennel, pear and Sovrano “Grana di Bufala”  salad with the rocket sourced from Cobitty on the outskirts of Sydney.

We’re more than happy with our entrees so far and we keep ourselves amused with twitter antics as we wait for our next course…

One of the aims of the dinner is to showcase local produce, and other types of produce that aren’t more commonly used. Tonight it’s veal neck:


Now I’m thoroughly confuddled as I’m sure that on the night they said that this was mutton, not it will have to remain a mystery. But not my favourite part of the meal.

I am, however blown away by the whole baked kingfish wrapped in foil, that descends on the table:


Baked with lemon and fennel tips, these fishies were line caught, east of Nowra. The simple preparation really makes the fish shine. Served up from a platter at the end of the table, we all get to watch as Chef, serves it up for us.

Our sides include what I believe to be the dish of the evening. First up though, are some delicious kipflers served “boulangere” or baked peasant style. But then, roast aspragus with poached duck egg and a sweet harissa sauce…wow!


The pumpkin was also pretty special, very gently spiced with sumac and thyme:


Our meaty main comes chef served on another platter, a roast shoulder of lamb with thyme, rosemary and butter, with some roasted garlic and onions.


After a suitable tummy break, it’s on to dessert, and I’m somewhat disappointed by a rather pedestrian bitter chocolate tart, served with two slices of preserved blood orange and green apple sorbet. The combo as a whole didn’t work. However, the apple sorbet and the blood orange were lovely on their own.


It’s at this stage that I’m struggling with tummy space…and still, there’s cheese…


In the foreground is the creamy La Tur from Piemonte, Italy, and the blue is from Trentino Alto Ridge in Italy. They are both divine, creamy, bitey and terribly moreish, so I stop!

A great value dinner in a lovely space.  I look forward to a Taste of Summer!

The Book Kitchen
255 Devonshire St
Surry Hills
02 9310 1003

Box Fresh

Formaggi Ocello
16/145 Bourke St
Surry Hills
02 9357 7878

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. November 2, 2009

    oh yum.. just judging by your pictures and everything you described. my fav is definitely the asparagus with poached duck eggs. You’re so lucky to come in to contact with all these great events. I should do my research to find out when and where these dinners are being held. Would love to talk to and meet food obsessed people too.
    .-= Linda@eatshowandtell´s last blog ..Singapore – Tiong Bahru, Maxwell Food Centre, Sin Hoi Fai =-.

  2. November 3, 2009

    What an onslaught of delicious food! I’m curious, why were the dining neighbours so sour? You weren’t using a flash I can see so why the attitude?

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