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Saturday, June 18, 2011

A delicious day in Surry Hills

My delicious day in Surry Hills was actually rather coincidental and came together at the last minute.  A few months ago I purchased one of those cheap deals on website call 'scoopon' for a cooking class at an Italian restaurant in Surry Hills called Alio (  A couple of weeks ago I booked myself in for the June 16th class.

Last Monday, I was supposed to catch up with a fellow American who is a food writer/editor who I had been put in touch with by a tablenosh diner!  Unfortunately he accidentally missed our lunch appointment on Monday, so we rescheduled to catch up for a coffee in Surry Hills on Thursday after the cooking class (check out his blog called

As for Foveaux, last week my husband asked me to set aside June 16th for dinner...I had no other details until Wednesday a card arrives in the mail from my in-laws (brother & 2 sisters) telling me they are giving me an early birthday present and we have a paid dinner at Foveaux in Surry Hills from them (!  

Needless to say, it turned out I was going to have a full day of food tasting and talking in Surry Hills on June 16th!

The class kicked off at 10:30am.  I had trouble parking and walked in a few minutes late, they were very relaxed and told me there was free parking in the back, so I ran back out into the rain and moved my car.  Came back in and they made me a latte, unfortunately I can't give great praise about the coffee, as Sydney has made me quite the coffee snob and frankly the latte did not quite cut it, nonetheless it was my first one of the day and I needed it!  There were about 10 of us doing the class, which I quickly figured out was not really a class but a demonstration.  We headed into the kitchen and had a seat while we shown step by step how to make a lovely italian meal.  

First was bread making, we were shown how to make a very versatile basic dough (which we would later enjoy as focaccia), then we some warm olives w/garlic & flatbread, I must say I don't usually eat olives but was determined to try everything and found myself for the FIRST time in my life actually enjoying them.  They were clearly fresh olives, warmed in olive oil with fresh garlic and served with a grilled flat bread.  It was pretty tasty and the glass of champagne was also a nice touch.  

Next up was making pasta, which I have never tried so this was the part I was interested in, as it turns out making pasta dough is pretty darn simple.  It is the rolling it out into different shapes that could take some practice, this is why they strongly suggest buying a pasta machine!  The type of pasta we were making for lunch was called Rotolo and was stuffed with a spinach and ricotta mixture.  We were shown how to make several different pasta shapes.

Then the chef whipped up a insalata caprese, which is a very classic italian salad using tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The mozzarella they used was amazing!

After this they starting plating up the rotolo drizzled with a sage butter & chestnut sauce and we were sent back out to the dining room to enjoy lunch together.  Overall it was a lovely experience and I may have picked up a few good pointers, I ended up have a great chat with Tracey afterwards who is one of the owners.  Had I known it was not going to be an interactive class I never would have made the purchase, but oh well at least I had a very nice lunch and met a few new people!  Lunch was made complete with a beautiful tiramisu - heaps better than the one I attempted a few weeks ago!

The Falconer - coffee meeting
I left Alio with a full stomach (but not too full for a good coffee) and headed off to find a cafe on Oxford St. called The Falconer.  This is where I met up with a Michael, the American who I had been looking forward to meeting.  We had a great time chatting and sharing the stories behind our food journey's, he is quite the foodie, now I am just hoping I can convince him to be a guest cook at tablenosh one of these days!!!  

After the meeting I headed home to do a quick change of clothes and grab my dinner date, my darling hubby!  As much as I love food and love trying new places, eating out in Sydney is not cheap so we were both looking forward to the evening ahead!  My sister-in-law also happens to be friends with the head chef and his wife, so we felt like we had a special connection, which was also nice.

Anyhow, it was absolutely delicious and I even ate snails for the very first time!  Here are a few pics of the experience - the lighting was pretty dim, so it was hard to get great shots but I tried...

warm & crusty bread roll
the amuse-bouche (spicy lentil soup w/fresh cream)
My entree - too many things to describe - delicate & delicious!
Herb baked leather jacket w/bertolli beans & escargot
Ginger sponge, carrot marmalade, cream cheese ice cream and walnut powder
Petite Fours - Roasted Marshmallows & Mini Scones
It was an absolutely fabulous evening.  The service was delightful, the ambiance was romantic and best of all I was in good company.  We even said hello to the chef at the end of the night.  Who knows maybe he'll want to be my guest chef at tablenosh sometime...or even better a guest.


chocolatesuze said...

yum sounds like a fabulously delicious day!

Leila Nelson Gunning said...

it was indeed!!!

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