A Sneak peek... Taste of Melbourne - 13 -16 November 2014 - Albert Park - Saké | Nieuw Amsterdam | Gazi

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Saké, Nieuw Amsterdam and Gazi.
Melbourne’s premier restaurant festival Taste of Melbourne arrives for 2014, once again gracing Pelican Lawn at Albert Park, November 13 – 16. The food and wine celebration sees Melbourne’s favourite restaurants return, as well as new movers and shakers on the dining scene. 

Gastrology bloggers were invited to fly #TasteAir with friendly pilot Adam Valentine who took us on a culinary flight around town, tasting some of the dishes that will be on offer this year at the festival. 

First Stop - Saké 
Saké Restaurant and Bar serves up contemporary Japanese cuisine in the revitalised Hammer Hall within the MCA on the Yarra river. 
With a unique menu that features contemporary sushi alongside traditional Japanese dishes, Executive Chef and sushi master Shaun Presland brings Japanese food and culture to life, where diners are treated to dynamic culinary experiences. 
Our visit started with a sushi making masterclass.
Our pilot
Miso cod lettuce cups & prawn dumplings

Saké’s Taste of Melbourne offering is an absolute winner. The miso cod lettuce cups were filled with a beautifully grilled miso-marinated tooth fish with crunchy katafi pastry. Bursting at the seams with umami, the cups were exquisite in taste. The accompanying prawn dumpling was another standout. Coated in a delicate rice noodle skin, the dumplings were moist, well-flavoured and melt-in-your-mouth tender. 
Sake Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Second Stop - Nieuw Amsterdam
Located at 106-113 Hardware Street in Melbourne, Nieuw Amsterdam is owned and run by Michael Roszbach (former Cookie Manager) and Nick Stanton (former Head Chef, Woods of Windsor). The venue’s name is a throwback to Roszbach’s Dutch heritage, with New York originally named Nieuw Amsterdam when it was first settled by Europeans.

The unique venue is located in a 1880s iron foundry building (originally of hardware merchants) and is said to have named the Hardware Street precinct. Nieuw Amsterdam opened its doors to the public in late December 2013 and specialises in New American style food with a mix of quirky and classic cocktails. 
The menu builds on new interpretations of classic American dishes, such as the chicken waffles with pate, terrine, crispy chicken skin and orange caramel.
Pork trotter and ham hock nuggets burnt onion jam
Chicken waffles pate, terrine, crispy chicken skin, orange caramel
Smokey beef brisket. Kim Chi, BBQ Sauce

We absolutely adored Nieuw Amsterdam’s Taste of Melbourne beef brisket dish. Particularly noteworthy for its fragrant and complex beefy flavours which were enhanced by the tart kim chi and one hell of a bbq sauce. The meat was both soft and delicate.
Berry split White chocolate mousse, Cream cheese sorbet

Their Taste of Melbourne dessert offering was clean, refreshing and fun. We loved the decadent white chocolate that came through on the middle palate and the deliciously refreshing lashings of berries and the decadent yet light cream cheese sorbet. 
Dessert served wtih Salted caramel negroni
Nieuw Amsterdam on Urbanspoon

Final destination - Gazi
Our delicious dinner concluded on a high note at Gazi. An entirely different side of Greek cuisine, Gazi offers earthy, Athenian ‘Street’ food partnered with exciting and experimental cocktails and spirits.
Left: Cheese - Honey, balsamic Saganaki, lemon
Tiganites patates - Chips, oregano, garlic oil, feta

We shared a few starters. These well formulated dishes of bold and vibrant flavour combinations showcased the culinary potential of Greek cuisine.
Crab Souvlakakia 
Soft shell, mint, coriander, honey, mayo

Gazi’s Taste of Melbourne dish was stunning. The soft shell crab mini souvlaki boasts the legendary George Calombaris pita bread which was the perfect canvas for the beautifully crispy and juicy soft shell crab. The deep fried crustacean pieces were coated in a semi-thick crisp batter that encapsulated firm, sweet flesh. With a touch of fried garlic and a myriad of spices, it was simply superb. It was a dish that was both well thought out and executed.
Gazi on Urbanspoon

Now in its 7th year, Taste of Melbourne is firmly established as an annual ‘must attend event’ that celebrates the city’s ever evolving food, wine and dining scene...

What: Taste of Melbourne 2014
When: Thursday November 13 - Sunday November 16, 2014
Where: Pelican Lawn, Albert Park Lake
Price: Tickets start from $25.00.