Yeah, check it out ... a glorious chewy and slightly crispy rosette of pancetta on top of a creamy and moist peach and frangipane tart. Sweet and salty. Unconventional yet satisfying. Some may cringe or be perplexed, but others surrender to their taste buds and simply go with the flow.
Porkestra The Encore was a night with fans gathering to celebrate the humble and tasty swine where Mumu's Chef Craig Macindoe paired with St. Ali's Ben Cooper to create a porcine feast with glorious matched wines that truly tantalised the tasebuds.
As we mingled and talked pork and all things food we had a flurry of nibbles to set the mood for what was yet to come. I especially loved the spiced nuts with scratchings.
The first starter is a pair of figs wrapped in prosciutto and stuffed with goat cheese. The cheese is so mild that it only just makes itself known in the flavour stakes but does match really well with the sweet roasted fig and ribbon of prosciutto.
Next to arrive is the pork belly with jellyfish salad and Pat Chun, a simple and fresh construction of herbs, chilli and shavings of jellyfish tossed in sweet and spiced vinegar sauce. A thick base of pork belly (marinated in shaoxing, soy sauce, cinnamon & star anise) lays the foundation to a meaty salad heavy on the garlic chives topped with a shard of crackling.
Continuing on with the Asian theme is a black pudding tonkatsu with horseradish mayo, ponzu, seared scallop & flying fish roe. A scallop shell is the perfect vessel for presentation and it looks an absolute treat. The disc of crumbed black pudding is quite firm and is welded to the succulent seared scallop with zingy mayo. The ponzu completes the citrusy Japanese touch.
A shared plate for two of tenderly roasted pork loin in sage and milk with roasted spiced plums kicks off the mains and as good as the thick slices of loin were, the highlight for me was the addition of pigs ears and soya beans. The pigs ears were braised for 3½ hours before being crumbed in polenta and bread then fried and sided-up to the loin and plums. A bit of seasoning was all that these ears needed and I was more than happy.
While chefs Craig and Ben do a "Lady & the Tramp" with a red chilli we get trampy with another shared plate of char-grilled pork hoc, celeriac remoulade and son-in-law egg. The teetering crumbed egg looked deceptively firm until I took to it with a spoon and revealed its golden yolky nectar that oozed over the melt-in-the-mouth pork hoc and remoulade. For me this dish was firmly lodged in the perfection bracket and I could have easily downed the entire thing myself. Lucky for me I had the whole egg to enjoy as my sharer couldn't bear it.
When swine and dessert collide you can't help but think of something like pancakes with maple syrup and a side of bacon. As tasty as that is we weren't getting it at this Porkestra. Let's try peach, jamon and frangipane tarte. It's a little tart in flavour, nutty from almond meal, buttery from the shortcrust pastry and finished off with a salty turban of prosciutto. Stunning. If anything, it could have done with a dollop of double cream, but let's not split hairs.
Craig and Ben, thanks for a porker!Mumu Grill70 Alexander StreetCrows Nest 206502 9460 6877Open 7 days 5.30pm-10.30pmWed-Sun 12pm-3pmmumugrill.com.au