Take it slow
I use to eat anything and everything and didn’t particular care how my food was prepared, nor where it came. If it tasted good, who cares right ? Then I got older, this blog came along and I started paying attention to the food I was eating and appreciating the blood, sweat, tears and passion which goes into some restaurants. My food doesnt have to come from a 3 hat kitchen, it could be the dodgy noodle store run by a granny and her son. No longer would I be happy with KFC for dinner every Friday night as a treat, I want my moneys worth and I’ll stay in the queue even it if means a 1 hour wait.
Now what does this have to do with Mumu’s Grill ? Well, Chef Mumu aka Craig Macindoe is exactly the type of person I am talking about in regards to caring about his food. He not only cooks up a fantastic lamb, but he’s passionate about his food, where it’s come from and how it gets to his restaurant. I feel at ease eating his food, because I know that the meat he uses has been prepared with the best interests of our environment in mind, also know as sustainable food.
Anyway onto the evening itself where we were invited to a Take it Slow dinner courtesy of Craig and Mr Rigg’s wines. The Take it Slow dinner is part of a wider initiative called Slow Food Sydney. Slow food ? It consists of three things :
- Good: food must be healthy and delicious.
- Clean: it must be produced in ways that are sensitive to the environment.
- Fair it must be produced with respect for social justice, and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.
Thanks to Lorraine @ NQN, I am joined by a few other Sydney food bloggers in Anna, Jen, Lisa, Trina, Shez and Steph. We start off the evening with a tour around the kitchen accompanied by an interesting insight into the intrinsics of preparing meat.
This piece of lamb was dry hung in order to help with the tenderising process. What was interesting was that the cool room would be cleaned out and tested every 2 days for bacteria.
Jamon, the love of my life
I’ve recently developed quite an expensive set of taste buds by becoming addicted to jamon. This evening we are treated to a magnificant tasting 18 month old jamon served on catalan bread which is lightlty covered with a roasted tomato puree. I scoffeed down over five of these, thereby continue my good form of stuffing myself to the brim in bread before the meal actually starts.
The main event
This lamb is slowcooked for 13 hours served with minted eggplant and white bean paste, green beans, beetroot jus. The result of this 13 hour process is some of the best lamb I’ve ever tasted. It’s consistently and properly cooked, pink on the inside and unbelievably tender, melt in your mouth , you name it.
The minted eggplant and white bean paste added some sweetness to the dish, a great addition to the meat as it had quite a strong and rich flavour.
The good thing about being mainly surrounded by females is that I usually get to finish off their leftovers. I managed to score alot more duck than anticipated from the generous Trina and Shez, score!
The duck is infact double roasted for 2 1/2 hours. Step 1 involves roasting it (or perhaps just the bones) whole in the woodfired oven for 1 hour before being cooked for another 2 hours which forms a stock. It is then boned, and the bones are used for the stock. The duck is then braised for a further 2.5 hours. The result is a soft and stringy duck which is lightly crispy on the outside. The poached pear was a surprise hit as I’m not usually a fan of the sweet and savoury combination. It contrasts well with the gameyness of the the duck, did I just make up a new word ?
duck raosted whole in woodfired oven for 1 hr, boned, bones used for stock, braised for 2.5 hours . C HEERS
I must admit, when I saw this on the menu I didn’t think much of it. Pavlova ? pffft please!
Oh how I was so wrong, sorry for doubting you Craig.
The crisp and crunchy pavlova exterior is accompanied by a of soft brown sugar interior and a generous dollop of cream. I would have been quite content with just the pavlova, but an explosion of flavour in the form of seasonal fruit and passionfruit was awaiting me. This is truly a top dessert, all round perfect in texture and flavour.
But it didn’t matter how the dessert looked, it was cleaned up in no time.
Blogs, twitter and chefs
At the end of our meal, we had a brief conversation with Craig about his addiction to Twitter and how alot of chef’s are now jumping on the twitter train. I think it’s a great idea for chef’s to embrace this concept, as it gives an insight into the day to day shenanigans of being a chef as well as having an idea of what kind of the personality he or she might have. In saying that, the way Twitter is used is extremely important, as using it as purely a marketing communication medium is often frowned upon (for me it is anyway). Thankfully Craig isn’t in this category.
The other day he tweeted about picking up some fresh produce from the markets in the morning, and a subsequent tweet he described how he turned these ingredients into daily specials. If I was around the area, this would be enough for me to make a visit to Mumu’s Grill if the specials appealed to me. Often, I goto a restaurant and am told the menu has changed. Why didn’t they update the website ? Twitter could change this, it allows you to broadcast changes by the second without the red tape of a website. In fact, if restaurants could integrate a Twitter feed into their main website that would even be better. There is nothing worse than going to check out a restaurant menu online only to find that it is Summer and that they still have the winter menu online.
After a recent trip to Japan, I noticed one thing about their chef’s which I don’t often see back in Sydney. The Japanese chefs like to put on a show, they like the concept of the open kitchens and not only do they like to show how they cook and prepare the food but they also like to engage in coversation with the diner. They give insight into how something is cooked and even showed us how to eat it. This wasn’t something which happened everywhere, but often enough for me to notice. This doesn’t have anythng directly to do with Twitter, but I guess Twitter can give an insight into the personalities of the chef as well.
In terms of blogs, Craig is watching them with interest and acknowledges the impact of them. They offer alternate views of food, restaurants and products without the intricacies of conventional publications. After all, most of us just do this for a hobby. I think it’s great that we have the privelege to engage with Craig at his level, it brings great satisfaction to be able to find out a bit more on the life of a chef but also it is great to know that a simple hobby of mine involving food has some perks as well.
Shop 1-6 / 70-76 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065
Ph (02) 9460 6877