Saturday, October 31, 2009

Watching Sculptures By The Sea

31 October 2009

What an amazing sight this morning when I went to the annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition!

Found a watch in the sand... what is the crab complication? And how do I get one?

Close up of said crab. What watch has a month wheel but no date wheel? Maybe the crab took it

More watch obsessed crabs

AHA!! Found the missing date wheel (diagonally up from the number 12)

This series of crabs and watches sculptures are works of Western Australian artist Gordon Mitchell.  Sculpture by the Sea is on until 15 November 2009.


Monday, October 26, 2009


Time : 6.30pm
Date : Thursday 22 October, 2009
Place : Quay Restaurant

Such is the allure of Quay that the better half of one of the Tarts, who normally would rather stick needles in her eyes than attend a watch function, was happy to endure the tediousness of watch chatter in order to enjoy a spectacular dinner. And Quay did not disappoint (though we're not quite sure about whether this was necessarily the case with the watch talk....).

With a formal, yet casual atmosphere, spectacular views of the Sydney harbour (one which I’m sure people will be offering limbs and organs for come NYE), you could not ask for a better venue for a watch "do".

I’ve never been to Quay (their price point being a little prohibitive) and I was determined to enjoy myself as a guest at an event (rather than work at) and try not to drink myself silly (which the Quay had indirectly and inadvertently helped by controlling the flow of alcohol). I’m not usually much of an events kinda person since I don’t really enjoy the small talk and mingling with complete strangers. No, not even for the goodie bags at the end of the night. However, it was a watch thing and I was happy to note that I knew almost half the people in attendance. (The Tarts making up the majority of that).

Hublot TV

Although it was touted as a Hublot function, Mr Jean-Claude Biver had other motives – the cheese!! I think he spent more time talking about the cheese than his watches, a point he humorously mentioned, “… a watch thing and all he can talk about is the bloody cheese! And we can’t even sell it!” and he had also declared his love for Mac “…those bloody d*** machines… yes I’m a Mac user, and sorry for the advertisement for Steve Jobs…”

Mr Biver had a way with words, and if only all CEOs gave speeches like he did, I think the world would be a much better place indeed… well, at least the corporate world. I believe his soft sell approach (by talking about cheese at a watch function - HIS watch function), his charisma  and his personality sell more watches than any advertising can.

We were shown pieces from the current range, as well as some bling-bling, (a must have accessory in the days of the GFC, or the recovery from…) and some new pieces that have just been launched.

The major selling point of Hublot is the “FUUUUSION!!!!!” of materials to make the watch. Rather than simply using traditional materials such as steel, gold, and ah… gold, Hublot combines many different materials, high tech and traditional, much like the fusion of Eastern and Western dishes into one. For example, you could get a watch combining gold, titanium, carbon fibre, steel and rubber. This multitude of materials give the Hublot watches a very striking and distinctive case, making them stand out in a sea of boring Swiss watches.

Tom, Chris & Gary

Gary, Narelle, John Z.

Inevitable shoe shot : Corthay Wilfred in leather and suede

As for the food…well…I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Needless to say all the dishes that were laid in front of me were simply amazing, and Quay did live up to their reputation. The service was attentive and friendly, really couldn’t fault it.

Italian Proscuitto, Green Figs, Roasted Almonds, Baby Rocket, Spring Onions

Sashimi of Hiramisa Kingfish, Baby Radishes, Gently Poached Octopus,
Nasturtiums, Dashi Jelly, Horseradish.

Brioche and Parsley Crusted South Australian Mulloway, Leeks, Celery Heart, Fennel, Tomato and Saffron Confit.

Roasted Fillet of Grain Fed Beef, Shitake, Enoki and Swiss Brown Mushrooms, Eschallots, Walnuts and Baby Spinach, Potato Puree.

Potato Side dish

Salad side dish

Vanilla and Passionfruit Fusion
(created for the eveining)

Seven Texture Valrhona Chocolate Cake

Petits Fours


The goody bags

Now, the cheese… it’s another one of Mr Biver’s passions and I have to say it was the best cheese I’ve ever had. Coming from me, that might not mean much as I’m not much of a cheese connoisseur, but that’s because a lot of the cheese just didn’t appeal to me in taste or smell. But this cheese was absolutely delightful, and goes great by itself or with wine. I believe the taste and texture was due to the cows eating flowers or something. I didn’t quite catch that part. But apparently (from those who know a bit about cheese) it was a surprisingly mild Gruyere.

Naturally, what is a watch event without some watch photos?

Panerai PAM203

Jaquet Droz

More Hublot

Some of the Tarts in attendance (with new friend Milan)


Final thanks go to Hublot, Swiss Prestige (Emil Klingelfuss, Loic Biver and Jacqueline Ng in particular), Peter Gilmore and the wonderful folks at Quay and especially to Mr Biver for making the long trip down under. It took him 32 hours to get to Sydney and the next day he was off to Melbourne for another dinner, after which he hopped straight on the plane for a 1am flight to Tokyo!

It was a thoroughly enjoyable night and I haven’t enjoyed something like this for a very long time. Great food and great company and great watches and great cheese! I could easily do one of these every week. And you have no idea how portentous that previous sentence is…Stay tuned…

[Onomatopia. Photos by Onomatopia & AP]

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sweetness Patisserie

38 Oxford St
Ph : (02) 9869 3800

Mondays to Wednesdays, Fridays : 8.30am-5.30pm
Thursdays : 8.30am-8pm
Saturdays : 8am-5pm

After the disappointing lunch at nero across the road, it was only natural that I visit Epping's most famous food destination, Sweetness, a place whose wares I had only previously eaten when purchased at various  Sydney weekend markets, where I could be guaranteed of a happy gastronomic experience.

Taking pride of place in the shop is this diploma from La Fondation Le Cordon Bleu.

It's a rather pastel and pinkish type of place, with the cakes, slices and other sweetmeats attractively presented.

Even if you're at the counter you can't escape the temptation!

A peek into the kitchen.

A closer look....

One of the items for which Sweetness is known is their delicious marshmallows.

As is the case at their market stalls, there are some marshmallow samples for customers to try.

One of the features of the shop is the attractively displayed "Daily Menu", placed at the window and just asking to be photographed and eaten.

I wanted to buy one of everything.....

...but decided to exercise some self control by only having three items. The fourth (the raspberry macaron), was the sole choice of my friend.

ONE item?!?!

The meringues, at $3 each, were raspbery and pistachio, both filled with chocolate ganache.

I had high expectations of these, as I am partial to a macaron or two.

Tastewise it was good, but as you can tell, or some reason it was a little hollow. To my mind, one of the joys of macarons is their chewiness, so this was a bit of a disappointment. The raspberry one was similarly hollowed out.

However, this was more than compensated by the lemon meringe tart ($4).

The tart base was buttery, the lemon curd's tartness just right, and the meringue topping (unusually not browned), was light and just the right level of sweetness. The taste of the meringue and the fact that it was not browned were testament to its freshness.

Ah the Jam Cookie ($1.75). A small cookie that I regretted not having purchased more of! I can't describe how buttery and flaky the cookie was, and how fruity the jam was. There was nothing solidified about the dollop of jam. I don't know if it was added subsequent to the baking of the cookie itself, as opposed to before the cooking process, but however they bake it, it works!