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Profile - John Ralley

Published in the Bondi View and City News.

John Ralley’s tattooed guns give him a bit of a rock star edge; which is just what he is at 27 years of age, in the upper echelons of Sydney’s pastry scene. His journey began back in 2002, at Gumnut Patisserie in Bowral. Since then he’s built mad skills in baking, plating and dessert making, on the world pastry competition circuit, even cooking alongside sweet-art, bad boy, Adriano Zumbo.

I caught up with John in his latest role at Manta Restaurant & Bar on another grey summer's day. Listening to him talk about what he’ll bring to an already indulgent seafood restaurant brightened the day immeasurably. John tends to oscillate between patisseries and restaurants, but he prefers restaurants because he gets to “do every process from start to finish.” Trust me when I tell you his desserts have a lot of processes.

To John, “presentation is everything” so he sets out to “make something look as good as it can.” If you’re worried about flavour, tickle your taste buds on his pre-dessert of salted caramel, popcorn and popcorn sherbet. Salt’s all the rage in Sydney desserts right now. Thank goodness, because thanks to this savoury style, my husband is now properly indoctrinated in the pleasures of a good dessert!

My Tonka Bean and Passionfruit Semifreddo ($16) is just as Ralley promised: “fresh, frozen and creamy.” It’s a perfect post-coital two-fork tango – a delicate passionfruit cigar caught in an intricate web of chocolate, surrounded by flavour bombs of freeze dried raspberries and a dressing of mint and Grand Marnier that ties it all together.

Even more stirring is the Textures of Amedei Dark Chocolate and Piedmont Hazelnut ($18). This sculptural masterpiece begs to be deconstructed slowly, savouring every taste, texture and tonality of Tuscany’s chocolate pride and joy.

When I arrived, I wondered what dessert could match Manta’s seafood excellence; now I know.

Manta on Urbanspoon



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 10th, 2011 04:53 am (UTC)
on desserts - have you been here?
Café Cre Asion, Surry Hills

and what do you think of Phamish?

Dec. 10th, 2011 07:38 am (UTC)
Not yet, but it's on my radar. Most of the bloggers jumped on it quickly, so I thought I would get there eventually.

Phamish didn't seem that interested the night we went, so we dined next door. Vera turns her nose up at it.
Dec. 11th, 2011 03:09 am (UTC)
We went to Phamish last night with friends who had been there before.
3 entrees + 4 mains for $150, drinks byo from the pub around the corner. Good fresh ricepaper rolls, very good crab dumplings, fab slow cooked pork, good versions of fried chicken, salt/pepper squid and beef. Nice salad sides. they didn't rush us as much as we thought they might - friend hads booked table in advance.

Enjoyed the food so much didn't even nibble at the very nice antipasto & cheeses laid on at the cocktail party afterwards.
I don't think V likes asian fusion as much as other styles.

Keep me in mind from 19th - 23 Dec and 5th - 25th Jan if you need a second for anything : )
Dec. 11th, 2011 11:47 am (UTC)
Re: Phamish
Thanks for the report back. How about a late lunch in Ultimo at Project 8, 2pm on Monday 19th December?
Dec. 11th, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Phamish
oh sounds good, thank you
I have an appt in Mortlake that day at 4pm - should be fine to push it back to 4.30pm (note to self)
: )
Dec. 11th, 2011 01:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Phamish
Perfect, they usually don't take more than 1 hour (and a half at absolute outside) for a lunch cafe review. Shall we just meet there?
Dec. 18th, 2011 11:41 am (UTC)
Re: Phamish
yes, see you there at 2pm!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )