Archive for November 19th, 2010

Silly Season is Go – Freelancer’s Lunch at The Burlington, Crows Nest

Melissa Leong and Jane Corbett Jones

Long lunching with Huka Retreats' Jane Corbett Jones, left, and Fooderati's Melissa Leong

There are times as a food writer that you feel that you spend all of your time scoping out the latest and greatest eateries, and sometimes you forget to check out other fantastic eateries that you miss along the way. That’s definitely the case with Lela Radojkovic’s The Burlington Bar & Dining. I never got there during the “news” window when she and then-hubby (now ex), Balzac chef Matt Kemp, first set up this fine Crows Nest bistro and then, admittedly, it got buried amid the new-and-notable circuit. I love consistency as much as anyone, but writing food news for MasterChef and other food mags often means I need to be timely. But yesterday I was in luck – a freelancer’s lunch of food writers and editors gave me a perfect reason to finally get there.

The gig was organised by Carli Ratcliff, who has not only recently scored the gong as the best new food writer at the 2010 Australian Food Media Awards, she’s also one of the most likeable people in the biz. And if you’ve been reading the Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Good Living’ section of late, you’ll notice her byline plastered across countless pages. She’ll probably hate me saying that, but it’s true. She is a machine.

Lela greeted me at the door with a glass of bubbly and then I joined our happy troupe of food pros to enjoy a lovely, long three-course lunch. OK, so I possibly enjoyed myself too much to get very stuck into details, but suffice to say, the food was beautifully rustic, comforting and well-priced, yet with enough flair to keep things interesting. Highlights included a lovely, rich and earthy housemade ‘morcilla’ (much sexier sounding than blood sausage, that is) with scallops, watercress and peperonata, that stew-like mix typically comprised of capsicum, tomato, onion, garlic and olive oil. I say typical, because, like I said, I was too busy gasbagging and gave my critical food radar a leave pass for the afternoon. I also devoured my two-ways lamb, with its fall-apart neck and shoulder cuts, although I did have menu envy after I ditched my slightly under-set crème caramel – I shifted to someone else’s chocolate panna cotta, with its fabulous pairing of sweet milk chocolate ‘foam’ on top with hidden pieces of hazelnut ice-cream and a moodier foundation of dark chocolate panna cotta. If you fancy a peek at the food fest, here are some highlights:

Burlington paella

The Burlington's deconstructed 'paella'

Burlington morcilla

Earthy, crumbly morcilla with scallops and peperonata

Burlington salmon

Pan-friend New Zealand king salmon. Check out the midnight-black squick in gnocchi!

Burlington pavlova

A super-smooth pav with a spritzy 'strawberry soda' foam. What's not to love?

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