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.
RATED: Pimped! FOOD: 4.5/5 Fresh flavours
VALUE: 4/5 VENUE ATMOS: Industrial modern VIBE: Friendly and generous
Visit me on facebook at Awia’s Kitchen or twitter: @pimpmyplate @awiaskitchen