Blogger dinner at Collins Kitchen, Grand Hyatt Melbourne
Having just arrived from a trip to Tasmania, I had over eaten on more than a few occasions- think scallop pies, sheep’s milk cheese, steamed mussels, multiple visits to Jackman & Ross and local blueberry ice-cream. So when it came to deciding as to whether I should attend this exclusive event my mind was telling me no, but my body, my body was telling me otherwise(Bump & Grind lyrics here). Although, unlike R.Kelly’s intention in the song, my coos were gastronomical. Allegedly. Plus, who could resist a tour of the Grand Hyatt kitchen?! Not me by any chance homeboy.
You see some say I do get a little excited over my food, especially when it comes to a TKO dish, I hold nothing back as I begin conversation with the plate of goodness. My friends are so forgiving…until they start to plan some sort of intervention.
Collins Kitchen, Grand Hyatt
123 Collins Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9657 1234
23 February 2010, 6:30PM
Who was there?
In attendance were twenty guests who included a group of extremely h u n g r y b l o g g e r s, Executive Chef Jason Camillo and Marketing Manager Lucy Owens from Grand Hyatt as well as Director David Li and Community Manager Sarah Stokely from Nuffnang.
Now, as you can imagine, the amount of dishes eaten during this splendid evening was mammoth. So to avoid this also turning into a mammoth post, I will try and summarise as best as possible.
After our twitter conversations prior to the event, the food bloggers were ready and revved up. Our stomachs are a never ending plate. I mean, what better way to market Collins Kitchen than to have 20 foodies blog about their experiences huh!
With a focus on using the best local produce and organic ingredients, Executive Chef Jason Camillo served up signature dishes from their seasonal menu.
Offering an a la carte menu, the restaurant which seats over 180 guests is open all day from breakfast to dinner and overlooks Russel and Collins Streets.
Collins Kitchen has adopted the open plan concept with separate cooking stations including grill, wok, sushi, deli and patisserie where guests can get the opportunity to interact with the chefs. There were also exclusive guest dining areas. It was the largest, operationally sound and cleanest kitchen I have ever seen.
With their recent renovations it certainly seemed more plush than I had remembered. The last time I ate here was when they used to have the all you can eat buffet. We were greeted and immediately seated at RU-CO bar where we were presented with an extensive wine and cocktail list. I like my wine on the sweet side, so I opted for recommended the Riesling. Once the majority had arrived, we were taken to our table and within minutes, we proceeded to kitchen for a tour.
I have taken the liberty to film the inner workings of the kitchen- see below video. You may see Joyce and Penny running around as we were the last ones gawking at the abundance of fresh made goodies just lying around awaiting the touch of our taste buds.
It felt like we were in Willi Wonka Land, only instead of candy, we were surrounded by hanging prosciutto, freshly made sashimi, cheese and what seemed like an endless mount of seafood!
Sarah and I were checking out the pork crackling and the hollandaise sauce. If it weren’t for the damn glass window, our fingers may have done some dipping.
Hello there my pretty pork…
Getting down to business, what the hell did we eat?
First up were some crust bread and the anticipated Sushi and Sashimi platters. After watching some knife wielding action at the Sushi station, including the makings of some freshly made wasabi, we were all immediately beady eyed.
Salmon, omelette, Unagi (eel), prawn, tuna, spicy tuna nori rolls, wasabi.
The TKO for me was the Unagi (eell). Not sure whether this was made traditionally with sake, soy and sugar, but I can confirm that it contained the two latter ingredients.
Hitting the right chords were the ripened tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella. Teaming this up with the crisp wafers was a nice fit as the juices started to flow down my mouth. Closed my eyes when no one was looking, not that I care of course.
Tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella and basil, cantaloupe with prosciutto, liverwurst with mini gherkins, deli meats, roasted vegetables.
Next came the Tomato, Olive and Basil Foccacia. Perfectly fluffy, I did my thing and tore it open to succumb to the fresh aroma of dough. This is my favourite part of baked goods- just smelling them. I didn’t want to have too much as it would undoubtedly fill me up.
After seeing the roast meats hanging Asian style in the kitchen, it was time to let loose on the Roast Meat Platter. Having eaten these dishes even before I could mutter my first baby words, I was interested how these would compare to a cheaper establishment. I loved the moistness of the Soy Chicken- beautiful. Although, the crackling of the pork was chewy.
Soy chicken, roast duck, roast pork, and char siu pork.
The table started to ‘ooh and aaah’ when the Mixed Seafood Grill Platter made its landing. It was interesting to note which seafood crustation each of my peeps went for. I immediately hurled towards the scallops. So well presented with their respective grill marks, I closed my eyes again as I took the initial bite of this thickly sweet delight. So good. I wanted a whole plate filled with scallops. Also worthy of mention were the prawns in their sticky shells.
Morton Bay bugs, prawns, scallops, tuna and salmon,.
And then came the love of my life, the love that rarely disappoints, Porterhouse Steak. This massive thing of beauty had been ageing for 30 days. Served medium rare, the sweet and smokey notes flavoured each piece as it ended up in the mouth for processing. I would definitely come back to Collins Kitchen for this boy!
Alongside was the most creamy and buttery mash I’ve had in the last year. I felt the butter coating the lining of my throat. Amazing my friend, just freakin amazing!
Dessert: It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post containing some dessert. Well folks, here it comes.
One by one, Billy, Penny, Joyce and I hit each dessert with determined precision. Of the ice-cream varieties, the Pistachio was the hit. Nicely nutty and creamy, it cleaned up the taste of the mains away in minutes.
Selection of ice-creams and gelatos (passionfruit, piastchio strawberry and vanilla), rhubarb and strawberry crumble with vanilla cream, peach melba, chocolate fondant with chocolate gelato, chocolate biscotti and a banana mille feulle.
I loved the Chocolate Fondant so much, that the table decided that I should finish it- and that I accepted with pleasure. So much chocolate which included chocolate gelato, chocolate biscotti all condensed into a small bowl, I was silent as I concentrated on making sure each precious moment I had with the dish was savoured.
As I completed this honorable task, I turned around to the other table of bloggers with a grin and they immediately knew what I’d devoured. It was like Food Blogger Telepathy.
What I didn’t expect was Penny making a ‘special delivery’ with the remaining Rhubarb and Strawberry Crumble asking that I finish that too! I was hesitant at first, but with the guys insisting I take it for the team…well..that I did. It was very sweet but bitingly tart.
Another highlight during dessert was the cutting of the banana mille feulle. I filmed as the others delicately cut the sweet beast into fours. See below video.
The Cap Off
With a thousand photos taken like adrenaline filled tourists later, it was an enjoyable night and was great to see my fellow foodies offline, a few for the first time. Thank you to Chef Jason Camillo and Lucy Owens from Grand Hyatt as well as David Li and Sarah Stokely from Nuffnang for the invite and hosting such a scrumptious evening.
A few comments were flying around like “Liquid lunch tomorrow” – “I need to find a good diet pill” – “I feel pregnant” to name a few. Hilarious and a good sign that no one, not even myself needed to do maccas run afterwards. Mission accomplished.
Food Rehab Verdict: Sent me to food rehab (book this place now! Wowzer) – Greenlight
See fellow blogger posts so far:
– Michele @ Iron Chef Shellie
– Joyce @ Mel: Hot or Not
– Penny @ Addictive & Consuming
I’ll link up the other posts as they come. If I’ve missed out on anyone in this post, please comment or holla on twitter.
Food Rehab dined courtesy of The Grand Hyatt. Thanks
Like tapas, share this with your friends: