Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Duck Panic : Perama Restaurant
88 Audley St
NSW 2049
Ph : (02) 95697534

25 August 2009 : Dinner

A minor panic ensued when David Tsirekas tweeted that it was the last week before his Spring menu would appear and I realised that I hadn't yet had his Roast Duck. No fear, for where there's a Duck Will there's a way!

This time I was smart. I told the friend who arrived before me that the reservation might be under my online moniker of "aptronym", since this had been the cause of a certain amount of confusion last time.

Unfortunately, it seemed that my duckish exhortations also lead to some sort of hive mind decision that spread to the others, who also insisted on having duck. Pleas on my part that perhaps they might like to try something different, so that I would have something else to photograph, fell on the proverbial deaf ears. Playing the Possible Pneumonia Sympathy Card didn't seem to work either.

Well at any rate we could get some photographic variety with the entrées.

Mixed Dips ($13.50)

Tzatziki, tarama , split pea, olive paste and smoked eggplant served with paximadia seasoned with white sesame seeds and oregano.

I've had the mixed dips every time I've been to Perama and my favourite remains the tarama.

Zucchini Fritters ($5.50)

This was the first time that I've had the Zucchini Fritters and all I can say is that I regret not having eaten them earlier.

Sheftalies (Cypriot Sausage) ($6.5o)

Rich, meaty, tender, they had to be carefully portioned out so that no-one felt left out.

That afternoon David had warned me to be prepared for my stomach to be filled. Fortunately for me, I'd decided to skip lunch anyway. Fortunate because the following appeared.....

Soft shell Crab with Raki & Wasabi Mayonnaise

This is a new item that will appear on the Spring menu. Soft shell crab is actually one of my favourite things to eat, usually in the form of salt & pepper soft shell crab. This unexpected Greek/ Japanese combination was made using Raki (ρακή), an alcoholic beverage made from the distillation of pomace, the pieces of grapes (including the stems and seeds) that are pressed for the winemaking process. The mayonnaise didn't taste of either alcohol nor was it strongly tasting of wasabi, it just worked nicely with the soft shell crab and some lemon juice (give me some lemon and I'll inevitably use it, can't resist the call of the lemon) gave the soft shell crab the additional citric zing.

Next up came another surprise, what I call the Lamb Tasting Plate.

The taste off was between milkfed lamb and Saltbush lamb. The Saltbush won on a 2:1 vote, including mine. I have never been a huge lamb person but definitely found the taste of the Saltbush more to my liking. It wasn't even a close race for my particular tastebuds. I subsequently found out that it was Bultarra Saltbush Lamb from Urban Food Market. All I can say is to vote for David to continue using the Saltbush!

Roast Duck ($32)

The duck is roasted with a cumin spiced quince and served with wilted greens.

The duck! Finally the duck. To the consternation of many, I don't eat duck skin, nor do I eat chicken skin. Or pork crackling for that matter actually. People tell me that I'm missing out on some of the best parts of the relevant beast but I don't feel that I'm losing out on anything. In this case I certainly didn't think that I did. This generous serving was was tender, pinkish in the middle and perfectly fine without the skin. Perhaps even better, since I let the meat do the talking. So was it worth the frantic rush to Petersham to try? The vote here was "aye" by all three of us.

Dessert anyone?

Not having yet tried the Ekmek ($13), I had been determined to try it.

Described thus : "Byzantine peasants of Constantinople enjoyed a simple dessert of oven fired brioche soaked in a spiced sugar syrup and served with kaymaki (clotted cream)", this is indeed a simple comfort food type dish. I liked it but admit to preferring David's other desserts such as his Bougasta and Caramel Baklava ice cream.

The other dessert ordered was the Olive Oil Ice Cream ($8.50), two scoops of Olympia extra virgin olive oil, pistachio and dried fig ice cream.

Naturally, I took off with some of the ice cream, as it is something that I've had and enjoyed previously. Adding some to my Ekmek actually worked as a combination too. The taste of the ice cream can only be described by me as having an alluring perfume about it. My dining companions had never had it before and were both pleasantly surprised.

Last but not least came the pièce de résistance which David had tweeted about during its making, but which only @felixexplody seemed to know about.

This, folks, is the Snicker Baklava, aka Snicklava or Baksnicker or whatever else takes your fancy. It is appearing in the new Spring menu so its ultimate name is only known to David at present but in two days, the rest of us will find out.

The photo is somewhat misleading in terms of its size, it was easily portioned into three decent sizes. My dining companions, whose level of sugar tolerance is lower than mine (and I don't consider mine spectacularly high), could only manage about two mouthfuls each, so I ate the rest. At the end of it I was in a bit of a sugar coma and wanting to go another savoury round but I guess that having two desserts is more than I'm used to.

This dessert is not for the faint of sugar heart. An intense nutty chocolate-y experience, it is for the chocoholics and if you are one, you will be left happy. Oh and the whole chocolate bar dessert thing made me think inevitably of Elvis but this mad dessert doesn't come from Elvis but from this man :

As I write this I am actually in the position where I'm going to Perama again this coming week for a Tweetup and I'm already thinking about trying the new venison item he has mentioned, having some more of the zucchini fritters, and perhaps some other things that I haven't yet tried as well as some favourites.


1 comment:

Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

The duck looks great and the snickers baklava is certainly a new twist on a greek favourite! I'd go with Snaklava. lol