Crispy Crocodile Swag Bags. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA -- Australian cuisine takes center stage during the “Flavors of the Land Down Under” promotion at the Diamond Hotel Philippines’ Corniche restaurant. Running for a limited time until August 10, the buffet features the culinary creations of guest Australian chef Steve Shrimski.
Shrimki was a trainer and assessor for the Australian Training Framework, as well as teacher on cookery at the Western Sydney Institute. Since 2009, he has been residing in Cebu City as the owner and executive chef of Canvas Bistro in Ayala Cebu and Circa 1900 in Lahug, Cebu.
He is also the preferred chef for AUSTRADE initiatives to promote Australia and New Zealand products by the Australian Embassy in the Philippines.
“You will taste dishes with Australian indigenous ingredients,” the chef said, when asked about what makes the buffet interesting.
Oysters With Warrigal Greens and Macadamia Nut Pesto. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
Indeed, a lot of different tastes and flavors can be experienced at the food festival, like the strange and appealing Warrigal greens, which tasted of mint in the Oysters and Macadamia Nut Pesto. This is a perfect appetizer as the smoothness and natural salt of the oyster is accentuated by the creamy mouthfeel of the pesto, and balanced by the herby kick from the greens.
Another local ingredient, the Bunya nut, which is a kind of pine nut native to Queensland, was used for the Warm Duck Breast Salad with Bunya Nuts and Aussie Merlot Vinaigrette.
For the mains, a must-try is the Grilled Ostrich with Balsamic Honey Jus, perfectly cooked in the grill. While the meat has a somewhat beefy taste, it is actually low-fat and ideal for those that’s looking for a healthy alternative.
Pepperberry Encrusted Aussie Beef Medallions. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
Other mains include the Roo Ragu with Fussili Pasta, the Lemon Myrtle (an herb that tastes like kafir lime) and Beer Battered Fish Fillets, and the Pepperberry Encrusted Aussie Beef Medallions, which used pepperberries that added a certain endnote that was almost herby instead of just peppery.
Meat lovers can dig into a big leg of Australian roast leg of lamb with native thyme, mint and garlic, the special roast beef, or the Australian beef tenderloin grilled to your likeness.
Chocolate and Coconut Lamingtons. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
For dessert, enjoy the Chocolate and Coconut Lamingtons, a dessert truly of Australian origin. This is a sponge cake dipped in chocolate, allowing the outer covering to absorb the chocolate, and then covered with desiccated coconut. This had just the right amount of sweetness and chocolate.
Another dessert treat is the Lemon Delicious, which gives a bite of sponge, lemon curd and lemon cream with little chocolate crunch balls, for a great mix of acidic and sweet.
The creme brulee, meanwhile, was re-interpreted with a bush food twist using wattle seed, which gives a unique hazelnut almost coffee taste to the dessert classic.
Praline Pavlova with Strawberries and Cream. Photo by Jeeves de Veyra for ABS-CBNnews.com
The pavlova has been a source of dissent for New Zealand and Australia. But it is undeniable that the Corniche buffet offers a yummy version of this dessert -- the Praline Pavlova with Strawberries and Cream.
For this buffet, Shrimpki has created about 75 dishes to be showcased throughout the promotion. Among those that feature bush food ingredients and Australian ingredients are: Whitebait Fritters with Coriander, Citrus and Mango Mayonnaise; Kangaroo Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus with a Balsamic Apple Reduction; Vegemite and Rosemary Braised Lamb Shanks served Boneless; Char-grilled Kangaroo with Davidson Plum and Chili Sauce; Braised Crocodile and Chorizo Jambalaya with Risotto; two kinds of pavlovas, one with mango and cream, and another with passionfruit and cream; and an Illawarra Plum Cheesecake with Rhubarb Sauce.
Guests spending a minimum of P5,000 on the Australian lunch and dinner buffet (P2,050 nett per person) will get the chance to win two round-trip tickets to Sydney, Australia from Philippines Airlines.