Taste of Sydney 2014 Highlights

Taste of Sydney 2014 Highlights

Taste of Sydney returned to the Brazilian Fields in Centennial Park for the sixth year with a line up of restaurant regulars and newcomers, Icon Park, Food & Beverage Pairing with Celebrity Cruises and a host of food stalls, wine stalls and pop up bars.

Taste of Sydney
Taste of Sydney 2014  From the Air – Cherry Picker Ride Courtesy of Icon Park (Gourmantic Exclusive)

Best In Taste Awards

Taste of Sydney 2014
Pat Nourse with Sarah Doyle (Porteno) at Best in Taste Awards

Taste of Sydney launched for 2014 with a VIP Gala Night with Chow Bar & Eating House crowned Best In Taste. Runners up were Porteno in second place and Aki’s in third place. Newcomer to Taste, Rojo Rocket from the Central Coast took the prize for Best Dressed.


The restaurant line up had some of the regulars as well as newcomers Chur Burger, Aki’s Indian and Rojo Rocket. Dishes ranged from 6 crowns ($6) up to 40 crowns ($40) for Jonah’s icon dish, Fruits de Mer. Highlights include Chur Burger’s Wagyu Rossini ($18), a tasty burger with shaved foie gras, truffle and Madeira Jus, albeit only just larger in size than a slider. Porteno didn’t disappoint and their House Made Chorizo with Romesco Sauce ($6) packed a punch while the Woodfired Lamb from the Asador was worthy of the second place among the winners.

Taste of Sydney 2014
Top (L-R): Wagyu Rossini, Beggar’s Chicken, Kerbside Noodle Salad
Bottom: (L-R): Woodfired Lamb, House Made Chorizo, Ceci e Tria alla Pugliese

The show’s winning dish, Chow Bar & Eating House’s Beggar’s Chicken with silken lemon tofu, vinegar and peanut ($12) was most underwhelming and lacked in flavour. The Kerbside Noodle Salad ($8) intrigued with an interesting mix of native succulents with a dark soy and onion dressing. Popolo’s Ceci e Tria Alla Pugliese ($10), pasta strips cooked two ways with pecorino mousse was more abundant in chickpeas than pasta but was a tasty dish nonetheless.

Icon Park

If some of the dishes tasted were underwhelming, Icon Park was the bright jewel of the show, attracting a regular influx of curious and hungry diners to their stall.

Taste of Sydney 2014
Icon Park’s Food and Cocktails Over Taste of Sydney (Gourmantic Exclusive)

Icon Park is the world’s first online hospitality crowd-funding platform by entrepreneurs Paul Schell and Dean McEvoy. After an extensive campaign and call for applications, it was narrowed down to 6 teams vying for the number one position which will earn them a venue for three months at Icon Park’s premises in East Sydney.

Taste of Sydney offered the opportunity to taste all of the six teams’ food and cocktail offerings under the same tent.

Taste of Sydney 2014
Top L-R: Stanley St Merchants — Paperbark Smoked Whiting, Heirloom Tomato & Fennel Salad; Sedgwick Ave — Deboned Chicken Wings, Grilled Watermelon, Blue Cheese Sauce

Middle L-R: Minjoo Social — Korean Fried Chicken Tortilla, Vinegar & Chilli Paste Glaze, Kimchi Mayo, Salad; Blackcats  Steamboat Joe’s Pork & Prawn Gumbo, Louisiana Style

Bottom L-R: British India Trading Co — Cardamom & Ginger Spiced Short Rib, Mustard Carrot Butter, Okra, Tamarind Sambal; Ruby’s BBQ — 16 Hour Slow Smoked BBQ Beef with Coleslaw and BBQ Sauce.

Overall, the calibre of the dishes on taste was very high, and the regular crowds attested for its success. The top three favourites were Stanley St Merchants’ Paperbark Smoked Whiting, Heirloom Tomato & Fennel Salad, followed by Sedgwick Ave’s Deboned Chicken Wings, Grilled Watermelon, Blue Cheese Sauce and Blackcats’ Steamboat Joe’s Pork & Prawn Gumbo, Louisiana Style with the rest not much far behind.

Taste of Sydney 2014
Icon Park Team Over Taste of Sydney (Gourmantic Exclusive)

Cocktails favourites were the East Side Rickey from Blackcats, with the fresh flavours of gin and kaffir lime, the refreshing The West Winds Gin and Watermelon Smash and the Curbside Hard Lemonade with whiskey from Sedgwick Ave ($12 each).

The winner of Icon Park Phase 1 will be announced on March 24.

Note: See more photographs of the Gourmantic exclusive above Taste of Sydney on the Gourmantic Facebook page.

Talking Testicles with Chef Somer Sivrioglu of Efendy

From dizzying heights in a cherry picker to a busy kitchen under the tent, and it was time to get behind the scenes and start talking testicles with Chef Somer Sivrioglu of Efendy in Balmain.

Taste of Sydney 2014
Somer Sivrioglu Preparing Lamb Testicles

Read the full story here.

Celebrity Cruises Masterclass

Renowned for cruising the high seas, Celebrity Cruises which we reviewed last year (see Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Solstice) docked at Taste of Sydney for the first time.

Taste of Sydney 2014
Chef John Suley

Chef John Suley, Associate Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations hosted a  Food & Beverage Matching Masterclass Inspired by Celebrity Cruises. Suley flew in from Florida especially for the event and presented insights into the preparation of food on board their cruises and their commitment to using local produce.

Taste of Sydney 2014
Food and Wine Matching

Oysters with a pineapple mignonette in a rice wine vinegar, shallot and pepper were matched with 2013 Voyager Estate Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, bringing a taste of the Margaret River region with a touch of Florida in the oysters. Devilled eggs with mustard, cayenne and crispy shallots were paired with 2010 Voyager Estate Chardonnay where the creaminess of the egg complemented  the wine. And to finish, Lamb Chops with Feta and Heirloom Tomatoes were matched with 2011 Voyager Estate Cabernet Merlot which cut through the richness of the lamb.

The masterclass was followed by cocktails at the Celebrity Cruises lawn.

Cointreau Fizz Lounge

The Cointreau Fizz Lounge returned to Taste of Sydney with a choice of seven cocktails including the Passionfruit and Chilli favourite.

Taste of Sydney 2014
Alfred Cointreau with Justine Millsom

Following on from the launch of Cointreau Noir last week, Alfred Cointreau was in attendance at the lounge, mingling with visitors and sharing the love of the French liqueur.


It’s not everyday that you see people walking around the park carrying a paddle of cocktails.

Taste of Sydney 2014
Galliano Team

The team at Galliano was stirring, shaking and serving drinks, the energy and enthusiasm attracting passers-by who could not resist a trio of Ristretto Martini, Vanilla Pallino and Amaretto Sour.

Taste of Sydney 2014
L-R: Galliano Paddle with Amaretto Sour, Ristretto Martini, Vanilla Pallino

The tent had an adjoining section where bocce ball was being played, and if you were at the right place and the right time,

Taste of Sydney 2014
Toby Hartcher Flairing at Galliano

you may have spotted a little flair action in front of the bar.

Bundaberg Distillatorium’s Tasting Den

Bundaberg Distillatorium
Bundaberg Distillatorium 

The Bundaberg Distillatorium came to Taste of Sydney, initially seen at the Bar Show in 2011. The installation pays homage to the iconic Australian drink but all is not what it seems.

Bundaberg Distillatorium
Inside the Tasting Den

A bookshelf hides the entry a Tasting Den that is only open to select visitors. Inside the den, a globe bearing Bundaberg’s location reveals a select range of rums. It’s Bundy, but not as you know it.

Rum Expert, Tom Bulmer of the Sydney Rum Club lead a tasting of Bundaberg Rum expressions that included Bundaberg Select Vat, a double aged rum made using Mt Isa oak. The spirit is heavy on oak due to ageing for four years in a hot climate and has a dry finish. Bundaberg 280, the highlight of the tasting, refers to the 280 hand-slected barrels was released in late 2013. Strong spicy flavours, almost as you would find in whisky are evident along with oak. This is a rum to be sipped neat.

Bundaberg’s Blended Edition 2014 is yet to be released, a blend of port and sherrywood finishes, semi sweet with dry spicy notes.the tasting ended with a teaser, a rum that can only be purchased at the distillery. Bundaberg Rum Royal Liqueur is a delicious blend of 20% rum with coffee and chocolate that rivals many spirits of its category.

Tasmania Pavilion

Whisky lovers were in for a real treat at the Tasmania Pavilion, with Lark Whisky, Overeem, Sullivans Cove and newcomer to the show, Belgrove Rye Whisky.

Taste of Sydney
Bill Lark

Bill Lark, or the Godfather of Australian Whisky was at the show and presented a sensational Lark Distillery’s 2014 barrel 419 sherry, rich in sherry notes with a good balance of spice.

Taste of Sydney
Belgrove Rye Whisky

Belgrove, the only rye distillery in Australia, which we featured at the Sydney Whisky Fair in 2013 made its Taste of Sydney debut with their white rye and aged rye spirits. The white rye expression works best in cocktails and Belgrove were serving a rather tasty and moreish spicy Bloody Mary made with Belgrove White Rye, garnished with celery leaves and crispy bacon.

Taste of Sydney
Taste of Sydney 2014

Taste of Sydney was held at the Brazilian Fields in Centennial Park from Thursday 13 to Sunday 16 March 2014. Entry to each session cost $30 and entitles the user to enter the premises. Crowns are the currency used at the event where $1 = 1 Crown.

Many more photographs of the event, including the exclusive photos over Taste of Sydney courtesy of Icon Park are now posted on the Gourmantic Facebook page.

Photography © by Kevin Burke for Gourmantic – Copyright: All rights reserved.

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.


  • I was pretty disappointed with my dish from Icon Park! I only got half the meat (one slice) of the brisket from Ruby’s BBQ as pictured here – it was quite tasty but absolutely not worth $10. There were better meat dishes on offer but my highlight was probably 4Fourteen’s peanut butter popsicle – ended up going back for a second!