November 23rd, 2007

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Pello

Thus far, Pello was one of my favourite reviews - the food, service and space all were totally to my taste. I left with my head singing trying to process all the flavours chef Thomas Johns combines.

It's a stylish space on the bustling Stanley Street dining precinct. Inside think a wood-finish bar, amber lights, some tables inside, some overlooking the street. There are two rooms, the one with the bar is perhaps a bit less loud, the other room (with a water feature room divide) was buzzy to say the least.

To make my smoking companion happy, there is a small, nicely decorated smoking courtyard, complete with cute orange lounge and silver portholes.

We chose what I believe to be one of Sydney's best value degustation menus ($105/$150 with matched wines). After a fabulous amuse bouche, we were hyped for the food... and the first dish, a Kingfish Carpaccio with Prawn, Radish and Ginger Sorbet was a heavenly delight (and beautifully plated). The sorbet was the perfect counterpoint to the fish.

The next dish is a ring-in - but a brilliant suggestion by the handsome Justin Wydeman on the floor who incidentally takes my award for the best floor staff I have seen in recent times. Not only is he well versed in the menu, he knows his wine, knows the matches, and can keep you entertained. If he makes a suggestion, a wise diner would follow it.

He added in this Pello Tasting Plate ($23) which was a lovely sample of dishes that you enjoy from right to left. Unfortunately the last taste was so fabulous I can't remember the first three. The last one is a take on a 'ham, cheese and tomato sandwich' just with jamon, an oven roasted tomato and parmesan foam. It was to die for.

The next dish is a lovely Herb-crusted Snapper with Braised Octopus, Saffron Gnocchi and Globe Artichokes. It was lovely with the exception of the gnocchi which was overcooked and a bit like saffron mash - the flavour of it however was superb.

The most memorable dish of the night is this Scallop Lasagne, Confit Cuttlefish, White Asparagus, Sauteed Mushrooms and Sauce Matelote. It was almost too much to process. I think it was a mushroom pasta layered with scallop mousse, and the sauce was a heady mix of pig and eel which I actually really liked, despite not being keen on the description! The whole dish really showed of the chef's ability to combine dizzying amounts of flavours incredibly successfully. I did need a rest after this dish though!

Powering on, there was a lovely Terrine of Rabbit, Prawn and Foie Gras terrine with Carrot Mousse and Muscatel Puree. I really enjoyed this dish - a nice relief from the intensity of the one before, and a very tasty terrine.

Best plating of the night I think went to the next dish - Crisp Pork Belly, Braised Trotter, Mustard and Bacon Jus. Personally though, I was starting to get overwhelmed here... so many big, complex flavours. Perhaps this would not have been the case had we not included the extra Tasting Plate.

The next dish was a choice of two. I chose the Roast Mandagery Creek Venison, Baby Beets, Chocolate and Celeriac foam with Rice bubbles. It had a chocolate skid mark that was very tasty, and the venison was beautiful - from a producer in the Orange region.

After that, I stopped recording photos, but suffice to say, if you like innovative food, with a focus on fabulous produce, this is a must-do restaurant. For me personally, it overtook Foveaux Restaurant as my new favourite, though I still rate the cuisine of Darryl Felstead highly - this just had more sophistication.

Last night we went to a Gourmet Traveler Wine Magazine luxury event where Pello did the canapés. It was without doubt the best canapé selection I have tried, and canapés are one of my food groups with the amount of opening nights we go to, so take my word for it.  They rock. I want to return already.

71-73 Stanley Street, East Sydney NSW 2010
Ph: (02) 9360 4640

Pello on Urbanspoon
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Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Is this your Australia?

This is my plea.
It appears that John Howard's strongest argument for reelection today is: If you like the direction the country is going, and it's all okay, then don't change leadership, because that will change Australia.

Well I bloody well hope so John, because there are a few things that I haven't forgotten, and as the hours tick until we decide the future of the type of Australia we wish to live in, I thought I would give you my own personal highlights.

* APEC - where you pushed the citizens of Sydney out of their home, treated us like terrorists with unwarranted and unjustified searches, spent tax payer dollars on a fence (oh I should be thankful it's re-usable) and a water cannon to use against peaceful protesters (last time I checked we did have the right to protest). I remember being revolted by the behaviour of the police towards peaceful protesters, and as such I used my entire weekend protesting. So I figure, you owe me for two days, on penalty rates...

* Racism - come to think of it, I also protested against the racism you have encouraged to flourish in this country, so make it three days pay please. I have never been so disgusted to call myself an Australian as I was whilst watching the idiots in Cronulla defend (as their own territory) a public beach. Though, kudos to you, watching the treatment of Dr Haneef was a really close second. I am still waiting for you to pay him compensation.

* IR Laws - penalties, what penalties? Yeah I forgot, you only rule for big business, so the worker is screwed. How can you say you care about families when you don't protect the rights of workers to have time to spend with them? And let's remember that "The Workplace Authority confirmed 26,833 agreements had been knocked back for failing to comply with minimum standards since the Prime Minister introduced the fairness test in May." Yes, that's half of all AWAs being knocked back as unfair!

*Human Rights - and what about David Hicks then? Left to rot by his own government in a place where Americans torture prisoners who have YET TO BE CHARGED. I can only assume that this is the way you will respond to me if I find myself in such a situation. I'll also put a nod here to the disgusting way you treat asylum seekers... I remember you saying back in October 2001: "We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances under which they come." Shame you didn't add that we will make that decision at the price of their dignity, human rights, genuine need for asylum and to the embarrassment of many Australian citizens.

*War - oh there's another protest day you owe me... when you sent your soldiers despite over 10,000 people marching in nearly every state capital against it. Last time I looked, a government was supposed to speak for the people of  a country, not use power to further their own selfish ends tongue licking the American President because you're a lap dog.

*Welfare - whilst you and your mates are fine, most people I know are not better off with your wonderful economy. Single mothers cannot afford child care, even if they can get a place, people are struggling with mortgages, and indeed the simple cost of living. The type of society (yeah, not economy) I want to live in makes life worth living for even the worst off. I want my government to reduce the difference between rich and poor until everyone has a life worth living - not widen it to benefit a small clique of mates.

*Economy - I resent the over-inflated importance you give to this. We first live in a society, of which an economy is but a small part. Where did all the other values go? What happened to mate-ship, caring for others, helping those in need?

*Saying Sorry - when I met a 13 year old who had done stuff at her school about reconciliation (her school has lots of Aboriginal students) she said she was surprised about what the Aboriginal kids said after they were apologised to. Most of them just said: "Thanks." It disgusts me that you still have been unable to say sorry - what's there to be scared about from thanks? I suppose it would make you look like a hypocrite as you invade Aboriginal communities - but it wouldn't be the first time now would it?

*Equal Rights - it's really not that much of a stretch to see that all sorts of couples deserve equal rights now is it? I mean the institution of marriage most often ends in divorce these days, so it's hardly sacred. Again - why not just do the right thing, and let gay couples marry if they so desire?

*Unions - with all your scare campaigns going on, I resent that the purpose of unions has been lost! They are there to protect workers, and ensure a fair go for the little guy. How can anyone who cares for people who are devoid of power argue against them?

*Dirty Tricks - now we all remember Tampa and the children overboard scandal in the 2001 Federal Election, and there's plenty of stuff this campaign too. Jackie Kelly's pamphlet inciting racism was a great example, oh and I was pretty revolted by your changes to the electoral enrollment laws to ensure young people and transient people miss out on voting. Surely if you are as confident as you claim about your vision for Australia being the best you could at least win by a fair fight. Instead you look  "too old, desperate and sneaky."

*Re-writing History - I am strongly opposed to re-writing Australian history. I can just imagine the John Howard version - we landed on an unoccupied land and christened it Australia. That's going to help race relations in this country - not!

*Deaths - whilst you spend billions keeping soldiers in a war on a word, our roads fall to pieces - remember "Roslyn Bragg, her partner Andrew Holt, their daughters, three-year-old Madison and two-year-old Jasmine Holt, and their nephew, nine-year-old Travis Bragg"  being killed in June. DOCS seems in total crisis - it can take a year between a report and a child being seen by a caseworker - remember Dean Shillingsworth and Shellay Ward. Our hospitals are overflowing to the point that women are left having miscarriages in toilets - remember Jenny Langmaid and Ms Horska whose husband found her: "Here's my wife sitting on a toilet, screaming with a look on her face I'll never get out of my mind, holding a live foetus between her legs with blood everywhere," Mr Dreyer said." That's not to mention things like carers being forced to look after their disabled adult children in their 80s because of a lack of group homes, the shortage of mental health facilities, and the public transport system in crisis!

I could go on, but I am sure you get the point. I will be voting on Saturday for a change of leadership because the direction that this country is going in makes me not want to be an Australian. I implore you all to consider the issues, and really ask yourself if you want to live in a country that puts the economy ahead of BASIC HUMAN CONSIDERATIONS. Please make your vote count, be careful not to make mistakes on your ballot paper (and ask for a new one if you do) and then party like you've helped save the world.