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Monday, June 27, 2016

Mercado, Sydney

Spit roasted wagyu beef shortrib with bone marrow salsa at Mercado restaurant, Sydney

They're not garlic cloves. The glistening hillocks on our wagyu beef shortrib are melt-in-the-mouth dabs of bone marrow, splashed over with a richly sweet jus poured with ceremony at our table. It's a dish that exemplifies the approach at Mercado - simple and uncomplicated fare that doesn't rely on fancy garnishes or plating.

Mercado, which means market in Spanish, is the latest undertaking for head chef and co-owner Nathan Sasi. There's a strong continuation of the in-house food production he instilled at his last restaurant, Nomad. Here you can expect house-made cheeses, small goods, breads and preserves, as well as nose-to-tail use of its whole animals butchered in-house.

Del Sol mocktail and Custard & Co apple cider at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
De Sol mocktail of house made rhubarb cordial, orange soda and grapefruit $9
and Custard & Co apple cider (Donnybrook, WA) $10

We find the place is full by 7pm on a Saturday night. A glass facade provides passersby on Ash Street a view into its subterranean dining room and the open kitchen. The dining room extends behind the bar into a cosy alcove filled with banquette seating and a stately wooden table for a group of eight.

House-cured truffle mortadella, fennel salami, smoked wagyu cecina and smoked cutalatello at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Mercado's house-cured meats, pickles and bread $32

The menu is split into a large list of snacks, half a dozen mains cooked either in the rotisserie or wood oven, and a handful of sides. We start with Mercado's house-cured meats, pickles and bread. Sasi's passion runs from his father, himself a small goods maker when he emigrated from Hungary to Australia in the 1970s.

Smoked wagyu cecina at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Wagyu cecina

We flit between shavings of smoked culatello, fennel salami, smoked wagyu cecina and the perennial favourite, the truffle mortadella. The fattiness of each meat melts tantalisingly on our tongue. The little platter of pickled carrots, cauliflower, radishes and some fiery chillies offers acidic relief.

Foie gras parfait, cornichons and toast at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Foie gras parfait, cornichons and toast $29

The foie gras parfait is an unassuming slab on the plate, but seriously, if there's one dish you should order at Mercado, it's this one.

Foie gras parfait on toast at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Foie gras parfait on toast

If creamy, silky, boozy richness is your idea of a good time, then hit speed dial on the parfait. It's even better on the hunk of sourdough, heavily charred on the grill so it's sweetly caramelised.

Dining room at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Dining room

Buffalo milk haloumi at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Buffalo milk haloumi, honey and za'atar $19

The buffalo milk haloumi is also made in-house, made by hand everyday in the kitchen.

Inside the buffalo milk haloumi at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Buffalo milk haloumi

There's a noticeably light milkiness to this, still squeaky but without the usual heavy saltiness you get from vacuum-sealed packets imported from overseas. The haloumi is sweetened with a drizzle of honey and tempered by savoury notes from the nutty za'atar, fresh oregano leaves and a generous squeeze of fresh lemon.

Smoked wagyu tongue in brioche at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Smoked wagyu tongue in brioche, pickled green tomato $16

Are toasted sandwiches the new slider? We're not complaining if they include as much attention to detail as this one. Two fingers of toasted brioche hold thin shavings of smoked wagyu tongue and pickled green tomato. It's rich but good.

Spit roasted wagyu beef shortrib with bone marrow salsa at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Spit roasted wagyu beef shortrib with bone marrow salsa $48

The spit roasted wagyu beef shortrib doesn't look insurmountable but wait until you see the fatty slices within.

Tender slices of wagyu beef shortrib with bone marrow salsa at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Wagyu beef shortrib

The meat slides straight off the bone, each mouthful almost squelching with fatty lusciousness. The cleansing effect of the salsa verde is completely obliterated by the chunks of bone marrow. But we're not complaining. We're just rapidly reaching satiation.

Dripping roast potatoes at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Dripping roast potatoes with roasted garlic creme fraiche

How do you make roast potatoes even better? Cook them in dripping. And then serve with roasted garlic creme fraiche on the side. I don't know if Mercado has a defibrillator on site but they should invest in one. We demolished these nuggets of crunch with voracity.

Callos a la Madrilena Madrid-style tripe at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Callos a la Madrilena - oven roasted tripe, espelette and migas

It's also worth ordering the callos a la Madrilena, one of my favourite dishes from Madrid. This dish will change your mind about tripe, transforming it into soft and melting ribbons.

Callos a la Madrilena Madrid-style tripe at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Oven roasted tripe, espelette and migas

Here they've removed the chickpeas and blood sausage and covered the lot in breadcrumbs (migas) but there's still a satisfying sense of comfort with each spoonful.

The open kitchen at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
The open kitchen

I always admire the unmitigated honesty of an open kitchen. The kitchen here runs the length of the front dining room allowing diners a no-holds-barred view into its inner workings.

Spit-roast whole chicken at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Spit roasted chicken

Chef at work in the kitchen at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Seasoning

Cooking Turkish ravioli at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Cooking Turkish ravioli

Chef callign dockets on the pass at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Calling dockets on the pass

Assembling the Ortiz anchovy tart with roasted bull horn peppers at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Assembling the Ortiz anchovy tart with roasted bull horn peppers

Plating the Turkish ravioli at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Plating the Turkish ravioli

Chefs on the line at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Chefs on the line

Pouring vanilla sauce on the Gateaux Basque at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Pouring vanilla sauce on the Gateaux Basque at the table

I return to our table just in time for the arrival of our dessert. We only have room to share one dessert between the three of us, and have no regrets when the gateaux Basque lands before us. Again there's an impressive sense of showmanship when the vanilla sauce is poured across its surface.

Gateaux Basque, preserved cherries and vanilla sauce at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Gateaux Basque, preserved cherries and vanilla sauce $17

Gateaux Basque, preserved cherries and vanilla sauce at Mercado restaurant, Sydney
Inside the Gateaux Basque

The almond-y cake soaks up the vanilla bean-flecked sauce greedily. We find little pockets of preserved cherries that add bursts of sweetness. So good it even comes with a cherry on top.

I'm still aghast I didn't have room for cheese, a process that involves the cheese trolley being wheeled over to your table for your browsing satisfaction. A small number of these are made inhouse.

Like all good markets, the choices on offer at Mercado change regularly according the season. Even more reason to go again soon.

Dining room at Mercado restaurant, Sydney


Mercado Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mercado
4 Ash Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9221 6444

Opening hours
Monday to Friday 12pm-2.30pm and 5.30pm-11pm
Saturday 5.30pm-11pm


Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Nomad, Surry Hills

Spanish - Bodega Tapas Bar
Spanish - Encasa Deli

Madrid - Mercado de la Cebada
Madrid - La Perejila (callos a la madrilena)
Madrid - All the foods you need to eat

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/27/2016 01:38:00 am


Friday, June 24, 2016

Marrickville Food Tour: Open Marrickville and Community Kouzina

Eleni Christou, author of the Community Kouzina project, leading our Marrickville Food Tour

Fifteen kitchens in Marrickville. Fifteen kitchens in Kos, a small island in Greece. Eleni Christou came up with the idea of Community Kouzina Project, a means of insight into what, how and why different people cook the way they do. Eleni, who has a Masters in Applied Anthropology, visited the homes of friends and strangers in Marrickville and Kos, backed by a grant from Marrickville Council to promote international goodwill and cultural understanding with its sister cities.

The stories she unravelled are currently on display at the Chrissie Cotter Gallery as part of Open Marrickville, a ten-day annual festival celebrating Marrickville's multiculturalism. Born in Cyrpus and emigrating to Australia at age 10, Eleni is a Marrickville local who is a keen supporter of its community businesses.

Last weekend she hosted a free walking tour as part of Open Marrickville, showcasing her favourite places in Marrickville. We were glad to discover the surprise tour all involved food, and as ex-locals who spent our childhoods here, we're secretly stoked we guessed four out of five stops.

I'll leave this post as mostly a pictorial wander through Marrickville's gustatory gems. All the addresses are at the end of this post so you can recreate this tour for yourself.

Lamia Super Deli on the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Lamia Super Deli

Every food tour of Marrickville includes a visit to Lamia Super Deli. Even after its move a few doors up, this poky deli and grocery store stocks every European product you could think of. And more. We're talking bags of Turkish ground coffee to yerba mate tea to giant wafer sheets to pickles and preserves. There's the salty whiff of olive brine from the self-serve olive bar, a cabinet stuffed to the gills with smallgoods and cheeses and fridges jam-packed with more cheese and homemade dips.

Stumped on where to look for Mexican supplies? They have that too. Load up on white hominy field corn, refried black beans, masa flour, cactus and tomatillos. They also stock Pepe Saya butter and ghee.

Cheeses at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Cheeses in the display cabinet

Christina Calligas, co-owner of Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Christina Calligas, co-owner of Lamia Super Deli

Lazania Greek lasagne at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Lazania - homemade Greek lasagne

Sampling olives, taramasalata and cheeses at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Sampling olives, taramasalata and cheeses

Tsoureki sweet bread at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Tsoureki sweet loaf, like a Greek version of brioche

Harry Calligas, co-owner of Lamia Super Deli slicing prosciutto during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Harry Calligas, co-owner, slicing prosciutto

Self-serve Greek olives at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Self-serve Greek olives

Greek black olives at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Greek black olives

Mixed olives at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Mixed olives

Attiki raw Greek honey with wild flora and thyme at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Attiki raw Greek honey

Portuguese olive oil at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Portuguese olive oil

Peeled chestnuts, chestnut spread and chestnut puree at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Peeled chestnuts, chestnut spread and chestnut puree

Brined cactus nopalitos and canned whole tomatillos at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Brined nopalitos cactus and canned whole tomatillos

White, yellow and blue corn masa flour at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
White, yellow and blue corn masa flour

Smallgoods at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Smallgoods

Behind the counter at Lamia Super Deli during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Behind the counter

Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Save More Fresh Fruits and Groceries 

Around the corner on Illawarra Road we head into Save More. This is the biggest Asian grocery store in Marrickville - their range of rice paper sheets is pretty incredible. I'm also endlessly fascinated by the selection of Vietnamese desserts and snacks stacked up high near the cash registers. They even sell rice cookers and pots for steamboat.

Customers at the registers at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Customers at the registers

Pomelo, jackfruit and tropical fruit tastings at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Pomelo, jackfruit and tropical fruit tastings

Asian greens at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Asian greens

Fresh chillies at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Fresh chillies

Giant pandan essence, sesame oil, young corn and baking powder at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Bulk buying: 2 litres of pandan essence, 2 litres of sesame oil, 1.5kg baby corn and 2.7kg baking powder

Vietnamese biscuits, cookies and crackers at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Vietnamese biscuits, cookies and crackers in bear jars

Noodle aisle at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Noodle aisle

Banh trang rice paper at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Bánh tráng rice paper in different brands, shapes and sizes

Vietnamese desserts and snacks at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Vietnamese desserts and snacks

Luncheon meats at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Luncheon meats

Banh giay sticky rice cake sandwiches at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Bánh giầy glutinous sticky rice cake sandwiched with cha lua luncheon meat

Boiled peanuts at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Boiled peanuts

Visiting the Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Smiles all around

Chrysanthemum leaves and Asian green vegetables at Save More Asian grocery store during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Chrysanthemum leaves and other Asian green vegetables

Visiting Banana Joe's supermarket for the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Banana Joe's

Across the road you'll find Banana Joe's, a one-stop shop that combines supermarket, fruit and vegetable shop and a proper butchery. There are usually bargain specials in the display facing the street. A relatively recent renovation means the refrigerated aisle is super organised - the number of cheese fridges has to be seen to be believed.

Fresh vegetable aisle at Banana Joe's supermarket during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Fresh vegetables

Baklava at Banana Joe's supermarket during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Baklava

Cheap fruit in buckets at Banana Joe's supermarket during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Discount fruit in buckets

Simsek Petit Beurre biscuits at Banana Joe's supermarket during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Petit buerre tea biscuits

Sweet potatoes, potatoes and onions at Banana Joe's supermarket during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Sweet potatoes, potatoes and onions

Visiting Marrickville Seafood during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Marrickville Seafood

Marrickville Seafood has been around for years, although it has recently come under new management. They are always busy on Fridays and are manic before Easter. Take home a package of fresh fish fillets to pan fry for tea or pull up a chair and go old skool with fish and chips or a baggy of potato scallops.

Seafood cabinet at Marrickville Seafood during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Seafood in the cabinet

Visiting Marrickville Seafood during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Being welcomed

Fried and grilled hot food menu at Marrickville Seafood during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Hot food menu

Seafood salad, octopus, fried fish and oyster samples at Marrickville Seafood during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Samples of seafood salad, octopus, battered fish, prawns and seafood sticks, crumbed calamari, oysters and crumbed fish

Pagoto Gelato and Waffle House during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Pagoto Gelato & Waffle House

Our last stop is Pagoto, a gelato house that offers a Greek twist to many of its flavours. This place is always pumping late at night on weekends. I love that you can grab a kebab at Victoria Yeeros a few doors up and then roll here for dessert. The watermelon and feta gelato is super refreshing in summer and the melamakarona gelato, traditionally a walnut syrup biscuit, tastes just like gingerbread. What does pagoto means? It's Greek for ice cream.

Gelato flavour menu at Pagoto Gelato and Waffle House during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Gelato flavour menu

Gelato cabinet at Pagoto Gelato and Waffle House during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Gelato cabinet

Katerina Magoulias, co-owner of Pagoto Gelato and Waffle House during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Katerina Magoulias, co-owner of Pagoto

Melomakarona gelato and kataifi gelato at Pagoto Gelato and Waffle House during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Melomakarona walnut syrup biscuit gelato
and kataifi pastry nest gelato (at rear)

Kourambiedes gelato and almond macaroon gelato at Pagoto Gelato and Waffle House during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Kourambiedes Greek shortbread gelato 
and almond macaroon gelato (at rear)


Ferrero Rocher gelato at Pagoto Gelato and Waffle House during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Ferrero Rocher gelato

Special gelato flavours at Pagoto Gelato and Waffle House during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
Special gelato flavours

Gelato cabinet at Pagoto Gelato and Waffle House during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville
One scoop of everything please

Pagoto Gelato and Waffle House during the Community Kouzina Marrickville Food Tour for Open Marrickville

The Community Kouzina Project is on exhibition at the Chrissie Cotter Gallery (Pidcock Street, Camperdown) until this Sunday 26 June, 2016. The official closing event for Open Marrickville will also be at the gallery this Sunday 3pm-6pm.


Banana Joe's Foodworks
258 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9559 7064

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday 8am - 8pm
Sunday 8.30am - 8pm
~~~~~

Lamia Super Deli
278 Marrickville Road, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9560 1011

Opening hours

Monday to Friday 7am - 6pm
Saturday 8am - 5.30pm
Sunday 10am - 2pm
Lamia Super Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
~~~~~

Marrickville Seafood
187 Marrickville Road, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9550 0277

Open daily 8am - 6pm
~~~~~

Pagoto Gelato and Waffle House
301 Victoria Road, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (0)401 724 686

Open daily 12pm til late
Also in Oakleigh, Melbourne and Mt Gravatt, Brisbane
~~~~~

Save More
307-311 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9559 3117

Open daily 8.30am - 7pm


Related Grab your Fork posts
Marrickville - Eat Fuh
Marrickville - Gelato Franco
Marrickville - Goni's Schnitzelria
Marrickville - La Cocina de la Abuela
Marrickville - Yen for Viet

Food Tours - Auburn
Food Tours - Bankstown
Food Tours - Cabramatta
Food Tours - Cabramatta with Luke Nguyen
Food Tours - Newtown

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/24/2016 01:17:00 am



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