Home > Events, Syd: Surry Hills, Sydney, [TOYS] Collective > [TOYS] Collective #7: Old dogs, new tricks, Porteno

[TOYS] Collective #7: Old dogs, new tricks, Porteno

I really enjoyed the [TOYS] event earlier this year in March that I was determined to go to the next one. So when I found out they were holding another event I couldn’t say no. It was at Porteno – one of my favourite restaurant, and the theme was ‘Old Dogs, New Tricks’, chef partnerships between [TOYS] and their mentors. Huge ‘cast’ of chef, I had high expectations – love majority of the chef and well, it did not disappoint. At $220 per person, for six courses, it was expensive as hell but worth every penny! Loads of food and flowing alcohol, as each course was matched with wine and thank goodness I didn’t drive!

The event started at 6pm, I ‘dragged’ the gym enthusiast, S with me and at 6 on the dot we were there. I knew both M and Y were also attending. We started with a cocktail by Luke Ashton: New Sensation which is Laird’s applejack apple brandy, aperol, bespoke mandarin syrup and pimento dram. It was STRONG – kind of burn sensation and not great if you are thirsty – it’s one of those drinks that you drink slowly – sip by sip (well for me anyway!).

Canapes by Morgan McGlone (ex Flinders Inn, it is his last TOYS event as he is moving to New York! So cut I didn’t get to try his restaurant!) and his inspiration Mark Holmes, ferran prawn dumplings which was tortellini with prawns inside. It was tasty and I could have easily eaten half a dozen on my own.


The chilled beetroot shot I enjoyed, served cold and in a shot glass – it was smooth and went down too easily and too quickly!


Unfortunately, I didn’t try the boo-kaki and not even sure what that is! I love the layout of Gardel’s Bar which can be found above Porteno restaurant, we chatted, drank, ate canapes and after about an hour, we moved downstairs where the feast was to start!


As soon as S and I sat down, the flow of alcohol started, and well I couldn’t exactly say no (even though I am doing dry July, tonight was an exception!)


Started with trumpeter fish by Hamish Ingram (Bar H, Surry Hills) and Damian Pignolet. Such a simple and refreshing dish, the sashimi was fresh and the celery, radicchio and chervil a wonderful complement. It was the perfect start.


Red Herring, pickled stalks, mackerel, smoked pine curd by Darren Robertson (ex Tetsuyas) and Dave Pegrum (also ex Tetsuyas, then moved to Forbes and Burton and now head Chef at the Bronte Road Bistro). This was another light dish, served at room temperature, the mackerel was deliciously sour, a little slimy for some and the dollops of goats cheese gave it that extra flavour. Y didn’t enjoy this as much as M, S and I. There were mix reviews amongst the diners, but it was a definite winner for me.


Ham, cheese and eggs by Mitch Orr (Duke, Darlinghurst) and Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater) was probably my least favourite. I can see what Mitch was trying to do – shaped like an ‘egg’, the white layer is actually pecorino and it was strong, salty and extremely cheesy! TOO strong for my liking, I loved the ham stock, full of flavour and I have to admit, it did complement the cheese, but it was just a little too much for me. It was a love or hate dish and Y certainly enjoyed it more than the rest of us.


The truth by Thomas Lim (Duke) and Jeremy Strode (Bistrode, ex Bentley), Pig’s trotter stuffed with veal sweetbreads, chicken mousse, shiitake and ginger, garlic chive, pickled onions, beer mustard was divine! Both M and I were a little ‘nervous’ as his last dish at TOYS event wasn’t a favourite of ours but we were both pleasantly surprised.


The trotter was SO tender it just melted in my mouth. The beer mustard excellent and pickled onions a wonderful complement and I really couldn’t get enough of it. Could have definitely eaten another serving!


Tastes like Chicken by Joel Humphries and Nick Wong (Bodega, Surry Hills) and Ben Milgate, Elvis Abrahanowicz (Porteno, Surry Hills), New Zealand milk-fed lamb, smoked eggplant, flatbread cooked in its own ash was TO DIE FOR!


You all know how much I don’t like lamb, but this was moist and deliciously tender and as M said ‘true to it’s name – tasted like chicken!’. I couldn’t help but have a couple of pieces and could have happily eaten more!


The sides – where do I start? The eggplant puree – magnificent, but it is the flatbread that’s like icing on the cake. It was just SUPERB! Seriously superb and should definitely be on the Porteno menu! M managed to sneak in an extra piece of bread from Joel! Believe it or not, for both M and I, this was a standout dish and this is coming from two girls who does not love lamb, and would avoid it like plague!


Morgs has my flavours by Adriano Zumbo (Zumbo Patisserie) and Dean Gibson – chocolate, orange, and some form of German Cake. Three words – OH MY GOD! EPIC!


The German cake is very similar to that of an Indonesian version of kue lapis and one of my favourite! So thin and soft and oh so frigging delicious. Inside, ice cream and chocolate and oh so good! The chocolate paddle pop like is actually vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate and orange peanut brittle – oh dear god, I am certain I had a foodgasm! I didn’t know which one to eat first, the cake? the ice cream? the cake? It was phenomenal and one of the BEST dessert Zumbo has done!


To end, cocktail by Simon McGoram: ‘Till the Bitter End’ – espresso liqueur and my goodness, so strong that I could only have a sip and that was it. Each course was complemented by a wine – to be honest, I can’t remember the flavours of each, by the third glass of red wine, everything tasted wonderful!

Both M and I have similar taste and for both of us, the most outstanding dish of the evening definitely the Porteno’s lamb – I had great expectations from the Porteno boys and they truly did not disappoint! It trumped over the pig’s trotter and I LOVE PORK! Second was definitely the pig’s trotter followed by the mackerel for me, and silver trumpet for M. The dessert is really on a class of its own. If I wasn’t so full, I would have definitely gone in the kitchen and asked Zumbo for another!

Glad to have met the chefs, and chatted. Give me the trotter for entree, lamb for main and German cake for dessert anytime of the week and I will be ONE SERIOUSLY HAPPY GIRL!

Definitely the BEST TOYS event thus far! It will be hard to top the next event, it was ‘fan-bloody-tastic’. Very impressed with the food, service, alcohol, EVERYTHING was just magnifique and waddled to the car exhausted but extremely satisfied!

Again thanks to the chef and Mel for organising everything.

GA’s ratings: 8.5 / 10

[TOYS] Collective

Porteno

358 Cleveland Street

Surry Hills 2010

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  1. July 20, 2011 at 2:23 am

    I think I may go to the next one, it looks like a lot of fun.

  2. July 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    What a fab collection of chefs and dishes! Great event, though it was a little out of budget for me… đŸ˜¦

    • July 20, 2011 at 11:55 pm

      hey tina! ya a little on the exy side but well worth it! definitely a fun event…. a lot of alcohol and food!

  1. July 28, 2011 at 12:27 am
  2. December 30, 2011 at 7:46 am

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