I heard about The Bucket List’s Local Produce Dinner from a friend and was rather upset to find that I had completely missed out. Fortunately, it wasn’t a one-off dinner, but a series… Yay!
The dinner comes with complimentary drinks: sparkling mineral water from Beloka Water, various beer from Young Henry’s, and wines from Tertini (a riesling and pinot noir).
It also comes with two positively scrumptious canapes.
The Nettle, Fetta & Quinoa Arancini with Lemon and Yoghurt was deliciously crumbly, surprisingly light, and had a bit of a kick. While I had about 2, F had about 3 or 4 of these – he couldn’t get enough of it!
It was the Fraser Island Spanner Crab with Romesco Sauce, Cucumber and Finger Lime that really stood out for us though. The crab was amazingly fresh and each mouthful was bright and well-balanced (I had about probably 4 spoons and had to force myself not to eat any more, which was incredibly difficult to do).
I was a little relieved when the dinner finally started (I was being horribly tempted to have one more arancini and possibly 2 more spanner crabs haha), only to find myself in pure buttery heaven.
Pepe Saya, you do bewitching things to your butter. It was gently creamy (as in you could eat lots of it and not feel greasy at all, F can attest to that) and so delectable; this is how butter is meant to be.
The roasted cauliflower was a simple, rustic dish done very, very well; I loved how the roast added a bit of texture and the curd that touch of zing.
This. This dish was our highlight of the night. The gnocchi was a fabulous pillow of softness and subtle flavour made earthy with a medley of shiitake, enoki, and oyster mushrooms – all topped with the wonderful dairy goodness of Pepe Saya’s creme fraiche.
I was blown away at this simple dish’s immense flavour and wished I could take some home to extend the love affair (yes, I fell for this dish rather hard).
The main was a grass-finished Taralga Springs Beef that’s been spit roasted to perfection and topped off with some scrumptious salsa verde (I believe).
The Taralga Springs ranch is situated west of Goulburn and is roughly 2,000 acres – and they own all of the cattle on it. The beef is also grass-finished, which (as we learnt) meant that the cattle ate nothing but grass. Did you know that beef can be legally called “grass fed” even though its diet may consist only of grain for its last 95 days (at most)? This change in diet would drastically change the flavour of the meat. Thought that little tidbit was fascinating, though a little disturbing.
I never really understood the hatred or dislike kids are suppose to have towards vegetables. I adored vegetables as a child, so it was all a bit mystifying, especially the infamous brussels sprouts. This veggie doesn’t feature much (ie at all) in Asian cuisine and my first experience of it was at a neighbour’s dinner when I was in my mid-teens. It was broiled and had a really weird after taste; I understood its infamy immediately and was rather wary of it since.
Sprout haters take note: Chef Walton knows what he’s doing with these brussels sprouts. They were great tasting and everyone raved about how he didn’t even have to fry them to an inch of their life to make them taste good.
As good as the sprouts were, my potato love took over and I heaped onto my plate the wonderful variety of roast potatoes on offer. There were kipflers, sapphires (which I’ve never even heard of), and… goodness, I’ve forgotten what else, but they were (of course) fantastic and even better with a sploge of that creamy Pepe Saya’s butter.
The Apple and Hazelnut Crumble was… was like getting a warm, comforting hug from your nanna. That’s the best way I can describe how I felt eating it.
I loved that it had just the right amount of sweetness, which was just a touch, and that the apples were still bright and juicy. Paired with the divine lavender ice cream was simply smashing… the perfect way to end an amazing meal.
The Local Produce Dinner is a celebration of locally produced food, where Food Orbit facilitates a way for chefs / restaurants to connect with their suppliers and producers. Chef Walton has actually been around the state visiting various local farms about their produce and getting to know his suppliers and producers better.
There was a list of the suppliers / producers of the dinner on the back of our menus – what region they were from, contact names, and where to buy the produce – which I thought was a pretty neat touch. Most of the produce are available at Eveleigh Market – so I’ll be seeing you soon, Pierre (Pepe Saya) and Norm & Robyn (Southern Highlands Gourmet Potatoes with your 32 potato varieties)!! (That wasn’t creepy at all, was it?)
The dinner is $80 per person for which you get a selection of complimentary drinks, canapes and a 3-course dinner. Pretty good value for great food, I thought!
Each dinner showcases a different protein – the next dinner will be “Pig on a Spit” and is going to be held on Thursday, 11th July. Chicken / venison is being showcased on Thursday, 25th July, but we’re eyeing the last dinner: the local sustainable seafood on Thursday, 8th August. Argh… I can’t wait!
Booking is required and at the time of this post’s publishing, you’d need to ring The Bucket List to make a reservation; details of the dinners are on their website, under the “What’s On” section.
I love Chef Walton’s approach to food; no-nonsense dishes that are simplicity at its best (and incredibly fresh). I also love The Bucket List’s cheerful and slightly quirky decor – I don’t feel like I have to act classy to fit in and I can just chill.
My friend’s partner adores this place and I can totally see why… I mean, I’m already planning when I can go back!
The Bucket List
The Bondi Pavilion, Queen Elizabeth Drive
Bondi Beach, NSW, 2026
Ph: (02) 9365 4122