Corroboree Sydney 2014 kicked off last week with almost 3000 schoolchildren marching down Macquarie Street waving paper waratahs, an endemic flower that forms an integral part of many Aboriginal legends.
Now into its second year, Corroborree Sydney celebrates Australia’s indigenous cultural heritage and features hundreds of events that include talks, workshops, music, exhibitions and storytelling over its 11 day program.
The food category doesn’t feature heavily in the program, but there is a talk about Bush Tucker plus a few restaurants jumping on board by putting on a special menu that highlights native Australian produce.
With Darwin songstress Leah Flanagan providing her soulful tunes, it was a leisurely lunch for us at the Art Gallery of NSW; one of three venues partaking in the Corroboree festivities.
Additional to their regular cafe fare, a selection of three dishes are up for grabs at the Cafe at the Gallery during the festival. Trying all three was a given, don’t you think?
The lamb & greens jaffle (12) is bound to make any meat-loving toasted sandwich fan relatively happy. Crispy, buttery and golden, the lip-burning innards are all about tender slices of pink lamb and warrigal greens. Would love to have seen a bush tomato chutney, or something like it, for some added zing.
The pepperberry cured salmon salad (18) looked decent enough; dressed in a regular vinaigrette and studded with fresh orange, radish and fennel fronds. But the pepperberry was nowhere to be seen or tasted. This bush spice has a distinctive flavour that would have paired nicely with cured salmon, which makes me think we were given a completely different salad to the one featured on their Corroboree menu. Perhaps they ran out and hoped that nobody would notice.
You couldn’t ignore the hero ingredient in the lemon myrtle tart (9). The soft pastry case is filled with a fridge-set custard and a dollop of sweetened whipped cream is the only accompaniment. I kind of wanted to see and taste more. A syrup? A tuile? Some ground toasted wattleseed or candied riberries? Do I have high expectations?
Still, as a lemon myrtle-scented custard tart, it was ok. And as representatives of bush food for the festival, at least the cafe made some kind of effort.