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Australia Dinner

[New South Wales] - Sydney, October 15, 2012

A fabulous Asian fusion dinner for the Bailliage of New South Wales at China Doll at Sydney’s historic Finger Wharf, Woolloomooloo

From the moment we walked into the restaurant we were struck by the superb blue and white Chinese ceramics lining the rear of the restaurant setting the most gorgeous scene. In the foreground we had the eye-catching yachts moored up on the finger wharf.

We commenced our culinary journey with Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV. This sparkling wine complemented the canapés of corn and zucchini cakes with coriander and sambal.

Upon taking our seats we were welcomed with a wonderful steamed half shell scallop with ginger and shallot. It was delightful not only to taste the zing of the ginger but a lovely touch was to slip the scallop off the shell.

This was followed by a dish of chilli salt squid. If you were unaware of what your menu had on offer you could have mistaken the appearance for roast potatoes in a wonderful coating. However, when you sunk your teeth into the squid it held a delightful crunch with the heat of the chilli.

Crawford River Riesling 2011 from Victoria was the accompanying wine. I am not normally a Riesling lover but I found this one surprisingly pleasing on the palate. David Reberger, CFO of Kemenys, had certainly made some good choices with his excellent wine selection for the evening.

Next came the Chinese roast pork with grapefruit and Asian herb salad. A superb Maverick Chardonnay 2007 from the Barossa Valley made for a perfect pairing.

As with all the main dishes the pan-fried Cone Bay barramundi with chilli garlic and mustard greens was no exception: it was plattered on a sharing plate which made it easy to choose the right quantity of food.

Getting closer to the main event, we had crispy chicken (photo below left) with pickled chilli vinaigrette so there was certainly chilli flowing through our veins by this time. This was partnered by Mount Pleasant Rosehill Shiraz 2009.

The most spectacular dish of the evening was pork belly with chilli caramel and nam pla phrik which was accompanied by steamed jasmine rice. This was divine: the stickiness of the large pork cubes and the crunch of the chilli caramel were excellent. It was matched with Pierro LTCf Cabernet Merlot 2009  (LTCf = little touch of Cabernet Franc!).

A wonderful evening was finished with some sticky Asian semolina and fruity ice-cream treats.

For those of you who missed the experience and would like to learn more about the China Doll, check out their website:

Petra Harmer-Shrowder, Vice-Chargée de Presse