While some of Sydney spends May getting better acquainted with vegetables as part of an initiative called No Meat May, The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room is luring in confirmed carnivores with Pork-A-Palooza.
Running until May 23, this month-long carnival of pig celebrates all that is superb about swine. It’s an all-budget affair that offers up plenty of different ways to get some Australian pork on your fork.
At the bottom end of the spend, there’s dollar dogs every Tuesday night between 6-7pm. The tasty hot dogs take a top-notch smoked pork snag and wrap it white bread that’s kept pillowy soft by cutting off the crusts. Drizzled with a super-creamy habanero mayo. it’s a gently spicy, three-bite eat that’ll leave you wanting more.
With Executive Chef Sean Connolly nominating bacon as his own personal panacea, it should be unsurprising to find the bar offering up a bacon-washed Bulleit Bourbon Hog Fashioned ($18).
Flavoured with maple syrup and chocolate bitters, this enjoyable riff on the Old Fashioned is likely to cure all that ails you. Prosciutto-washed bourbon is slightly less evident in Don Melon Ham ($18), which takes on an orange tinge with Aperol and rockmelon.
Amp up your bacon cure by slurping a couple of barside Oyster Kilpatrick ($5/each) before moving to a dining table for the rest of your porky feast.
While the special event menu offers up everything from pork burgers to pork schnitzel, each item has been given a special Sean Connolly twist.
Connolly draws upon his English heritage for his Chilled Pigs Head Terrine ($24) accompanying the tasty pink slab with a sharp house-made piccalilli and buttered toast.
While eyeing off the Double Bacon Chops ($36) cooked in a mushroom and crème fraiche ragout, we were lured into this experience on the promise of Suckling Pig ($360/half, $680/whole).
By whole or half, this is one experience you’ll need to share with friends, many friends; though it would be prudent to choose those who are comfortable knowing where their meat comes from.
The slow cooked pig – massaged for tenderness then popped into the oven at lunchtime – is presented on a board that was bigger than our table for four.
Our slightly nervous waiter – this is his first whole suckling pig – breaks it down at the table, starting with the head (which, by the way, contains some of the tastiest meat).
With Head Chef Martino Pulito watching on, he takes off the trotters, before being relieved of his duty as the chef makes short work of cutting up the rest of the body.
Padded with super tender slabs of pork loin, the ribs are a great place to get started on your porcine feast. Along with roasted spuds and sweet onions, it’s accompanied by five different sauces running from a gentle habanero aioli to salsa verde, chimichurri and a more traditional apple sauce made using James Squire Orchard Crush Apple Cider. For me it's the aioli and the apple sauce all the way, though I did wish for something more spicy.
Meanwhile, Pulito keeps on chopping, and our second platter of pig arrives piled high with trotters and head. Punctuating pig with sips of 2015 Domaine De La Poultiere Tuffo Vouvray Sec Chenin Blanc ($73/bottle) we’re dedicated but defeated by the sheer amount of swine. My only complaint: the ears were the only place I saw proper crackling on this tender baby pig, and - for the price - the whole meal could do with some greens. However, what I was very happy about, was that the kitchen happily packed up the remainders, which fed us at home for another two amazing nights. While I make no pretence about still eating meat, I hate being wasteful with animal products.
With sharply puckered lips, I have to recommend the Lemon Tart Brulee ($14) as an excellent way to strip any remaining pork from your palate. Full of swine, Bruichladdich Classic Laddie Whiskey ($16/glass) and good cheer, I’m inclined to say it’s the best lemon tart in town. Happy Pork-A-Palooza!
The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room
225 George Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9247 6744
NOTE: You can find previous reviews of this venue back HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.