Pimp My Plate #32 – Will & Steve’s pop-up restaurant, Rozelle, NSW

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Salmon Tartare with peas, apple & fennel remoulade

Can Will & Steve’s pop-up restaurant PIMP MY PLATE?

 

‘The gourmet pommies pop up at TRAMSHEDS’

Anyone who watched Australia’s TV cooking show My Kitchen Rules last year will remember the charming and affable Will & Steve, or as they call themselves, ‘the gourmet pommies’.

Hailing from Britain, Will Stewart and Steve Flood were the winners of the 2015 series of My Kitchen Rules, and first met when they moved to Australia with the same investment bank.

When circumstances changed in their financial careers, the pair decided to fully embrace their foodie side, the catalyst being when Steve applied for them both to appear on the show. It was a good move.

Since their TV win, Will and Steve have continued their career in food, lifestyle and media. And for the last 12 months the pair has been busy producing their first cookbook, appropriately named Will and Steve, Home Cook, Aspiring Chef.

Tonight’s event is one of four pop-up dinners hosted by them, to meet some of their fans who share their love of good food, and to promote their new cookbook by serving us a 3-course meal from it.

The venue is Sydney’s new dining hub TRAMSHEDS at Harold Park. The atmosphere here is a bit like dining in a restaurant inside a restaurant. The freestanding kitchen space and tables are positioned in the busy Artisan Lane area.

It’s Saturday night and all around us, the whole of TRAMSHEDS is buzzing, while we sip champagne at our tables, in anticipation. Diners from other bars and restaurants walk by, glancing across at our tables twinkling with glassware and tea lights.

Will and Steve are happy to pose for selfies and answer all our questions, before, during, and after plating and serving. Both are energetic personalities – Will loves to engage and share a laugh, and Steve is passionate about food. And both are generous with their time throughout the night.

With a glass of champagne in hand we watch the boys’ hard work that usually happens behind-the-scenes in a kitchen. Their rhythmic precision is enjoyable to watch, and despite them having only one person to help them prep and plate, Will and Steve manage to make the work appear effortless.

Then our entrées arrive, a pretty pink and green plate of Salmon Tartare with peas and pea foam, and apple and fennel remoulade. It’s a light and refreshing start, served with slivers of crunchy black sesame seed lavoche on the side.

The main is a juicy and beautifully crispy piece of Pork Belly served with Colcannon, heirloom carrots, and apple cider juice. The only improvement on this dish would be a sharper knife to glide through that crackling and maintain the architecture of the pork. But sharp knives are a rarity in restaurants these days.

Dessert is a Chocolate, Beetroot and Milk Crunch with dramatic plating with a dark red sauce embellishment that is part strobe effect and part ‘how to get away with murder’.

As we finish each course, we flick to the corresponding recipe page in cookbook. It’s beautifully produced and also features fresh reinventions of classics, including The Perfect Steak with truffle butter and parsnip chips; Lobster Rolls with mango salsa; White Pudding with apple chutney; Sarnies (British slang for sandwiches); and a Maple Pumpkin Tart with sweet dukkha and yoghurt – a must-cook alternative to serving pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

Will and Steve are now touring around Australia to promote cookbook and share their passion for fresh flavours that showcase Australian produce. Will and Steve’s website also features their recipes so take a look and be inspired.

 

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RATED: Pimped!  FOOD: 4.5/5   Fresh flavours
VALUE: 4/5   VENUE ATMOS: Industrial modern   VIBE:  Friendly and generous

http://www.willandsteve.com.au

Visit me on facebook at Awia’s Kitchen or twitter: @pimpmyplate   @awiaskitchen

 

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Spaghettini Bolognese a la Awia

 

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In Italian cuisine Bolognese sauce is known as ragù alla Bolognese, a meat-based sauce originating from, you guessed it, Bologna, in Italy.

A traditional version of the sauce includes onion, celery, and carrot, different types of minced or chopped beef, and sometimes small amounts of fatty pork, red wine, tomato concentrate and/or ripe tomatoes.

On my travels around Sydney, I didn’t find anyone serving a version of Bolognese sauce that contained all the above ingredients.

Here is my version – it contains beef, bacon, carrot, onion, garlic, tomato and tomato concentrate. Yes, I skipped the celery and red wine, because I was happy with my version. Better than red wine is in a glass in your hand to toast the meal than in the sauce!

Instead of using freshly grated parmesan cheese, I use feta cheese, but you can grate fresh parmesan cheese over the top if you like. I didn’t use celery in this sauce as – personal preference – I don’t like adding that texture in this recipe.

Buon Appetito! And I hope you enjoy my version… sans the celery

Spagettini Bolognese
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

(T=tablespoon)

2 medium carrots, finely diced
1 brown onion, finely diced
Unsalted butter
Olive oil
8 grape tomatoes cut in half, then into thirds
5T Chicken stock
1 lean rasher of bacon
500g lean beef mince
4T (heaped) of tomato paste
400g can of whole peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper
100g piece of full cream feta cheese
Half a packet of spaghettini (durum wheat)
1-2 cloves garlic, grated

METHOD

Heat 1T of butter and 1T of oil and cook diced carrot and onion over a medium heat, for 15-20mins, stirring continuously.

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Add the grape tomato chunks and cook for a further 10 mins on a medium heat. Then add canned tomatoes and 3T of chicken stock, and simmer until the carrot is almost tender, then take off heat.

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In another pan, cook diced bacon in 1T oil until browned. Add to the onion mix.

Cook the beef mince over a medium heat in 1T oil until browned and almost cooked. Add the can of peeled tomatoes, then add 4 heaped tablespoons of tomato paste, and simmer for 20 mins on a medium-high setting. Turn off heat. Season lightly with salt and ground black pepper.

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Meanwhile, in a large saucepan heat water to a boil and then add the spaghettini and cook until the pasta is cooked al dente, then drain.

Combine the carrot and meat mixtures together in a large saucepan, and reheat, simmering for 15-20 mins. Add 1T of chicken stock if needed to prevent the mixture sticking to the pan. When cooked, crumble handful of feta cheese into the meat mixture and stir through.

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Divide the spaghettini into bowls. Add the hot Bolognese mixture over the top and sprinkle with more crumbled feta cheese and mix through.

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Feta cheese is very salty, so taste before adding more salt and pepper.

Serve with a green salad.