THE RYDGES POST

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Drink/Dine,Humour ian 3/13/2014

In the best tradition of MKR today we have a Port Macquarie Kitchen Rules cook off between two top restaurants, Spinnakers on the Waterfront at Sails Resort by Rydges and the Zebu Bar & Grill at Rydges CBD. And having a little fantasy here… let’s invite Manu and Pete to judge!

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Ding Dong.

It’s the doorbell. No time for panic because preparation is complete. The two Executive Chefs are ready with duelling ladles poised!

With the heavily sponsored car parked, the dapper diners straighten their matching suits, say ‘bonjour’ and ‘g’day’ to their waitress who smiles and shows them to their table. Curiously they sit on the same side of the table. Cosy indeed, but lousy for conversation. That’s okay, however, these chaps are used to dining without talking – they have developed a secret code where raised eyebrows and quirky grins speak volumes.

The waitress moves the cutlery to accommodate the seating arrangement and entrées are served…

Pete has chosen from the Sails Spinnaker’s menu and his entrée is the Tempura Soft Shell Crab with Sweet Soy, Wombok and Asian Dressing. Pete anticipates a surprise in this dish, seeing he had always thought that Wombok was an island in Indonesia.

Manu has chosen from the Zebu menu and opted for the warm pressed pork terrine apple & vanilla puree chouxcroute with apple & radish. His eyes teared up with homesickness when he saw that French word, ‘chouxcroute’. Of course, chouxcroute is French for dressed sauerkraut. Undressed sauerkraut could get arrested.

Pete and Manu eat. Slowly. In silence. With their mouths closed, as their mothers taught them.

Pete’s left eyebrow arches like a sprayed caterpillar. He is obviously very impressed. Either that or he has wind. Manu’s brow furrows and he nods sagely. He’s also impressed. Either that or he has detected that Pete has wind.

The mains are served. From the Spinnaker’s menu Pete has gone for the Tuna Fillet Furiake with Kipfler Potatoes, Chinese Broccoli, Oyster Mushrooms and Ponzu – could be another pleasant surprise in store. Until now he thought that ‘Ponzu’ was an elaborate money laundering scheme… or an ancient Inca civilization… or the name of that penguin made from lego. Not to worry, time to dig in!

Manu is busy mopping his homesick cheeks with his serviette. There is more French in his chosen dish than you could poke a bâton at – it is the crisp skin kingfish, confit eshallots, lemon and chervil pomme dauphine, butter poached scampi with white anchovy salsa verde!

They again eat in silence, leaving not a skerrick on the plate. In fact, the plates are so clean they nearly sport that little animated sparkly thing that goes ‘ding’.

Pete and Manu’s eyes meet. The moment must be seized. They nod, give a simultaneous wry smile, spring to their feet, rip open their shirts and do a lap of the table, performing an overactive impression of flappy birds.

“Perfection!” Pete announces, climbing onto his chair. “Oui! Parfekshon!” Manu agrees. “Ten out of ten!” shouts Pete. Manu agrees, “Oui! Dix out of dix!!!”

Well! Were our Executive Chefs surprised at the judges’ reaction?! Not at all. Apparently it happens all the time…

For the full menu from Spinnakers on the Waterfront, click here.

And for the menu at Zebu Bar & Grill, click here.

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