Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Underground Food Project at Small Batch

When two British Chefs come to Australia full of ideas and passion, what do they do?

Alexander Stone investigates for Ed+bK

Do they open a restaurant, do the normal crawl through venues along the coast or try something new and a little left of centre? 

Phil Marchant and Josh Raine went for option three and started the Underground Food Project. No restaurant, just pop up events and adventures are in these boy's sights. 

Aiming to capture a boutique target market, they want to create a sense of anticipation with a mix of creative marketing via social media and their website. 

These boys will be staging events at places you wouldn't expect. How about a whiskey-inspired breakfast at a boutique bar? Sounds good to me. Next maybe a American barbecue in a barbershop or a vegan tasting in a garden centre?

I was lucky enough to try out a selection of small bites from The Underground Food Project on Monday night and the focus and passion these chefs clearly showed through the food on offer.  Phil and Josh started us off with Jerusalem Artichokes with lemon myrtle that seemed to melt in a puff of flavour then return with a blast of zest. 

Next came the mushrooms on toast coated with a white coal oil that made the mushrooms taste as if they had been dipped and somehow coated in smoke. 

Appearing out of no where (or maybe I had had a couple of beers by this time) were the chicken, tarragon and fennel hot dogs. This was a nice twist on a childhood favourite of mine with the tarragon and fennel balancing each other nicely. 

Last, the star of the show for me, the whiskey ganache with rhubarb ash produced in a cold smoker made from a webber and an old windscreen wiper motor.

Underground Food Project will showcase their food at Wandering Cooks in Fish Lane, South Brisbane this Sunday, March 29 for the first Small Batch tasting session for the year. 

An incubator for a variety of new food entrepreneurs, Small Batch will be open from 6pm till 10pm showcasing the smell, tastes and colours of autumn with seasonally relevant dishes and ingredients.

Other local food players at this event include Beerkary with Ben Devlin, Alejandro Cancino's Plant Base Foods and Alphabet Cafe from Meghan and Zoe Tulleners.

Find out more information about Underground Food Project 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Black Hide Steakhouse, Petrie Terrace

The words running through my head as I take another bite of the steak au poivre at Black Hide Steakhouse are 'this is one of the best steaks I've eaten'.

Meltingly tender Angus eye fillet with a marble score of 3+, it comes accompanied by bone marrow removed from the bone onsite and wrapped in potato.  I'm alternating between the marrow and the steak and combining the two, luxuriating in the smooth texture and greasy goodness against the buttery flesh.

Handpicked by Stanbroke from their Queensland farms, the grain fed eye fillet was cooked medium rate on a Montague Broiler, a piece of cooking equipment imported from the US.  It's on the menu at Black Hide for $45.50 for 250gm.

Black Hide Steakhouse is located in the position formerly occupied by Gambaro's fish and chip outlet.  As Black Hide Director John Gambaro admitted, the family knows plenty about seafood but opening a steakhouse was always going to be a challenge.

What evolved was a partnership between the Gambaro family and the Menegarzzo family who as Stanbroke Beef are one of Australia's highly regarded beef breeders, producers and exporters.

The Black Hide menu includes 11 different beef cuts across Angus, Wagyu and organic breeds. It is cooked on a high speed Montague Broiler which does not use charcoal to flavour.

The four course meal started with freshly hand made oxtail ravioli with beef and mushroom consume surrounded shitake and enoki mushrooms.

Peppered steak was the second course followed by grilled wagyu sirloin with blue chat roast potatoes, asparagus and bernaise sauce.

Following a palate cleansing sorbet, out came a traditional French chocolate pudding with an amaretti base, St Emillion with cumquat and creme fraiche.

Black Hide's chef Lucas McEwan chose the dishes to display his food passions and favourite cuts, the things he doesn't get to cook as often as he likes.

Black Hide's list of awards from 2014 speaks for itself - Restaurant of the Year Brisbane/Darling Downs and National Steak Restaurant (Restaurant & Catering Savour Awards), Good Food Guide Chef Hat.

Black Hide Steakhouse

Best tip: Black Hide has a ribs, cabbage salad and glass of red lunch special for $18.90
Bottom line:  Steak prices range between $40 and $60

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK was a dinner guest of Gambaros.
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