I feel like the InterContinental is Sydney’s forgotten luxury hotel, with the opening of QT, the revamp of the Four Seasons and always evolving Merivale offerings the Sydney hotel market certainly has some spice at the moment. Last week we were invited to dine at Cafe Opera at the Intercontinental, and James and I were reminded of why this luxurious and truly unique hotel is still one our favourites.
InterContinental Sydney is showcasing some of Australia’s best producers in a new dining concept called A Taste Of. Throughout 2013 there will be four different menus available with each celebrating one core local and seasonal ingredient.
On this night we were to experience A Taste of Truffles – an initiative of Chefs Tamas Pamer and Julien Ponteau to explore an ingredient in its entirety throughout a whole menu. From canapés to entree, main and dessert each dish was created with a touch of truffle, either subtle or strong.
Tamas and Julien were looking to source excellent Australian truffle and were introduced to Lowes Mount Truffiere by the hotel’s long standing fresh produce supplier Simon George & Sons. Lowes Mount Truffiere is a family owned and operated truffle farm based in Oberon, New South Wales.
Owners, Sue and Col Roberts, established the truffiere on their farm in 2002 as an ambitious ‘retirement’ project. A forester by profession, Col has extensive experience in tree growth which contributed to his interest and success as a truffle producer.
Lowes Mount Truffiere’s black Perigord truffles are similar in taste to their French counterparts. Julien noted to us that the intensity of the Australian truffles flavour is not as strong as the traditional French, however this allowed them to be used in many more aspects of the menu without overpowering other flavours.
We started proceedings with a selection of beautifully presented canapés, it was a great way to introduce the truffle infused menu and it set a great precedent for the dishes to come. We were treated to a 5 course degustation, each dish intricate in its use of truffle. ‘Truffle and Egg’ was one of the most interesting of the night, ‘a deconstructed pasta dish’ was how Julien described it to us. The pork belly was soft and flavoursome and beautifully complimented by the eggnog puree. The real highlight of the dish was the organic egg ravioli, ‘blanched’ to create an almost crisp texture within the meal.
Following the veal, a great composition of smoked foie gras and oyster mushroom, we had the truffle vacherin with rice cracker and black tea honey. This was outstanding, the vacherin cheese was rich and full of flavour and coordinated perfectly with the black tea honey – it was an excellent segway between the veal and the chocolate heavy dessert.
Intercontinental Sydney has put together a unique offering with it’s A Taste Of Series – it shows great understanding of produce from both Tamas and Julien, and it’s a great way to explore and understand flavours which may often be overlooked by the average diner.
Prior to dining on this night James and I were discussing how and where we’d eaten truffle previously and it intrigued us as to how a whole menu might work around the rich and intense product. We were pleasantly surprised and truly impressed with the way the menu worked and left the restaurant having had an exceptional and educational dining experience.
A Taste of Truffles ends on July 28. Contact Cafe Opera to make a booking