Not so long ago, I went to the Delicious magazine dinner at The Flinders Street Project with chef Stewart Wesson.  In 2012, Stewart won best Australian Young Chef in the Electrolux Appetite for Excellence awards.  At that point he was working at the magnificent Bridgewater Mill.  I hadn’t been to The Flinders Street Project yet so this was an excellent opportunity.  Last time I’d had Stewart’s food was at Public CBD.

The Flinders Street Project is only a small venue seating up to around 25 people.  They’re usually open only for breakfast and lunch but also do catering and events.  When you’re inside, make sure you look up at the brilliant ceiling art made from hundreds of wooden spoons.  Very clever.

We started off with some fresh oysters served with ants – yes, ants.   Entrée was Braised carrot, black sesame, goat’s curd and finger lime.  The organic carrots had been braised in miso and honey and were served with Woodside goat’s curd.  I didn’t know how good a carrot could taste!  The Outback Pride finger lime was a beautiful touch working well both in terms of flavour and texturally.  This dish was a winner.

Next up – octopus.  Octopus with eggplant, olive and chilli aioli.  Stewart told us the story of how much he loves cooking this dish.  One of his first jobs was at the Grange at the Hilton, where he was taught how to prepare the octopus.  Heat up 10 litres of olive oil until it’s really hot then dip the super-fresh octopus in, 20 seconds at a time.  Cool the oil down to 80 degrees with iced white wine and cook the octopus slowly.  The end result is octopus with a good chew and smoky exterior.

The main course was beef.  Seared rare beef with beetroot and yoghurt.  Stewart’s choice was a grass-fed beef sirloin because of the superior flavour.  He prepares it by cutting 600g pieces, rolling them in soy chilli spice glaze and slow-cooking them in the oven at 80 degrees for a couple of hours.  This was matched with a combination of earthy, woody beetroot, shaved pickled younger beetroot, candy striped beets and pickled Spanish chillies.

Dessert was simply titled ‘Chocolate Cake’ but what it was, was an excellent melding of peanut butter, rice bubbles and white and dark chocolate mousse.  Gorgeous.

The courses were all matched with Beach Road wines which were very enjoyable.  My only complaint would be that, with only a small splash each course, there wasn’t enough of it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this meal.  If you go to a ‘Delicious’ magazine dinner you expect it to be delicious and, on deliciousness, it certainly delivered.

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