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Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Dessert Degustation at Studio Neon, Waterloo

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern

There are two cheap and easy ways to make fake blood. Green detergent mixed with red food colouring is perfect for splattering all over your next Halloween outfit. For fresh trails of blood running down your face, use golden syrup mixed with red food colouring and a touch of black. It will be ridiculously sticky, but it will trickle and glisten realistically.

And if you do happen to be wearing a blood soaked t-shirt, with your face and arms smeared enthusiastically in fake blood, noone will bat an eyelid if you're walking from Central to Redfern. I know because I did this last Friday night, initially a little worried that I would freak out passersby, and then worried because noone seemed fazed in the slightest.

But it was a weekend for Halloween festivities, and I was headed (in costume) to the Halloween Dessert Degustation, a pop-up event by food bloggers Billy, Karen and Phuoc.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Dining room at Studio Neon

For two days, Billy, Karen and Phuoc have been cooking in preparation for the event held at Studio Neon, a quirky hire space with mismatched chairs, a massive communal table and an awesome speaker display along one wall. There are two sittings, and after pushing out six courses in two hours for the first session, Billy confesses that the second session is much more relaxed, primarily because there is no time deadline, and also that fact they'd already had one complete run-through.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Phuoc, Karen and Billy

Thirty-two guests assemble for the second session, unsure of what to expect but ready for a ghoulish feast.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Billy handing out the petit fours

Tonight's degustation would be in reverse, starting with petit fours and progressing through desserts to savouries.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Petit fours: pineapple marshmallows by Karen; balsamic vinegar strawberry pate de fruit by Phuoc; and black sesame and charcoal powder macarons with pumpkin and blue cheese filling

Petit fours are a group contribution: fluffy pineapple marshmallows by Karen, sugar-crusted balsamic vinegar strawberry pate de fruit by Phuoc, and black sesame and charcoal powder macarons with an intriguing pumpkin and blue cheese filling by Billy.

halloween dessert degustation cocktails at studio neon redfern
Ghoulish cocktails

A bar to the side keeps everyone liquored up with spooky cocktails. Dry ice adds theatrics to the Transfusion cocktail, but I love the naming of the Human Sacrifice, with three jelly babies skewered across the top!

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Phuoc plating her deconstructed apple crumble

The open kitchen gives everyone a chance to watch the plating process, even if at times there are more photographers than cooks hovering around the pass! The level of organisation and communication is particularly impressive - everyone knows what they have to do, and pitch in seamlessly when required.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Billy and Phuoc

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Deconstructed apple crumble by Phuoc: Apple and green tea sorbet, popping candy crumble, mille feuille and apple jelly

Desserts kick off with a deconstructed apple crumble by Phuoc. It's an elaborate construction, a scoop of icy cold apple and green tea sorbet, a crisp tile of mille feuille pastry, slippery curls of apple jelly and a bed of macadamia crumble with the surprise addition of pop rocks that crackle in the mouth.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Phuoc making apple juice pearls

There's a splash of molecular gastronomy too, with apple juice pearls created using a process of spherification.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Pouring moscato into the test tubes

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Apple pearls with moscato

Test tubes of apple pearls topped up with moscato provide a fizzy and refreshing complement to the apple crumble.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
A Frolic in the Dirt by Karen: Chocolate parfait with minted chocolate dirt, caramelised white chocolate and long pepper infused cherries

The second dessert is by Karen, a bowl of chocolate soil littered with caramelised white chocolate and cherries infused with long pepper. Digging deep in the bowl reveals a hidden core of chocolate parfait. There's an occasional flash of mint in the soil which we discover is courtesy of crushed up Fisherman's Friend tablets!

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
The hardest working but often overlooked pillars in the kitchen - the dishwashers!

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Lamb ribs

By this point everyone is hankering for something savoury, and unlike the first session, we switch to savouries slightly earlier.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Mexican smoked Saddleback pulled pork and Asian style chilli and soy lamb ribs with balsamic braised red cabbage, apple puree with walnut and cauliflower puree

The savoury main is a hearty platter of pulled pork with braised red cabbage and a sweet puree of apple with toasted walnuts. The lamb ribs, cooked Asian style with chilli and soy, are amazingly tender but it's the creamy smooth cauliflower puree that has everyone sinking into gastronomic bliss.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Pumpkin soup with red pepper oil and pork crackling

The final savoury, or reverse entree, is a nutty pumpkin soup served in dainty tea cups. Pork crackling shards make for deliciously crunchy croutons.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Karen plating Billy's Snow White dessert

The finale is Billy's dessert, a dish that involves almost everyone scooping, dabbing or dotting various components on the plate.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Billy, Phuoc and Shaun

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Raspberry mousse, oat crumbs, lychee and rosewater gel, pistachio praline, freeze dried raspberry

It's pink, delicate and pretty but before we know it, boxes are hauled out from nowhere and then the real big guns come out!

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Snow White by Billy: Raspberry mousse, oat crumbs, lychee and rosewater gel, pistachio praline, freeze dried raspberry, white chocolate dome

White chocolate domes are gingerly placed over each plate, hiding the contents from view.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Snow White army

The 60 white chocolate domes took eight hours to make, according to Billy, who undertook a crash course in the joys of chocolate tempering.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Snow White at the table

It's hard not to be impressed by the dome when it arrives at the table. Even the brush strokes of white chocolate are mesmerising.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
White chocolate domes at the dinner table

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Pouring hot raspberry coulis over the white chocolate domes

Don't touch the dessert yet! we're warned, and it all makes sense when teapots of hot raspberry coulis are brought around and poured over the top. 

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Melting.... melllltttttttting

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Snow White collapses

Destruction. Puddles of blood. Everyone is fascinated by the different ways in which each dome folds in on itself and then eventually collapses.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Blood and carnage

It's a big dessert, but the acidity of the raspberry coulis provides some relief against the sweetness of the white chocolate. There's a lovely crunch from the pistachio praline and the lychee rosewater gel is elegantly refreshing.

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern

We leave on a sugar high, clutching our stomachs with a renewed appreciation for salt. Congratulations to Billy, Karen and Phuoc on a fantastic evening. A great night had by all!

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
Phuoc, Karen and Billy

halloween dessert degustation at studio neon redfern
This won't hurt a bit, Billy!

The Halloween Dessert Degustation ($80 per person) was a public pop-up event held on Friday 26 October at Studio Neon.


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Studio Neon
136 Raglan Street, Waterloo, Sydney
Tel: +61 (0)404 003 330

30 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 10/29/2012 02:51:00 am


30 Comments:

  • At 10/29/2012 7:22 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    OMG everything looks very impressive! Wish I went! The pumpkin and cream cheese macarons sounds interesting. I'm drooling at the ribs lol

     
  • At 10/29/2012 8:22 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    A huge shoutout goes to Phuoc, Billy & Karen. Looks like they did a superb job and like Raff, I wish I had the chance to go! What a great reverse halloween degustation.

     
  • At 10/29/2012 8:44 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    awesome work guys! and naww Helen I want to see pics of your costume!

     
  • At 10/29/2012 10:05 am, Blogger Missy Piggy said…

    So much sweetness - I need a trip to the dentist after just looking at the pictures!

     
  • At 10/29/2012 10:11 am, Anonymous Tina @foodfortina said…

    Yum, this Halloween degustation evening seems like it was heaps of fun indeed! I hope there'll be another event like this next year, those three are so talented!

     
  • At 10/29/2012 10:25 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    great action shots of the kitchen hard at work. your costume was scary. i can't believe you walked from work to the venue in public. that takes a lot of confidence.

     
  • At 10/29/2012 10:53 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    WOW!!! this looks AMAZING! great pics.. the white chocolate dome looks soooo goood...!

     
  • At 10/29/2012 10:57 am, Anonymous cassie@nextstop:food said…

    OMG that snow white dessert was amazing!
    It was just also looking at the photos and each step of what was created to the final product!
    Amazing ...
    Everything else was also amazing, but that snow white was just ... wow!

     
  • At 10/29/2012 11:21 am, Anonymous gaby @ lateraleating said…

    Great stuff! And most of you managed to get the post out at the same time :)

     
  • At 10/29/2012 11:27 am, Blogger joey@FoodiePop said…

    What magical fun! It would've only been made better if it was on the actual day of Halloween.

     
  • At 10/29/2012 11:53 am, Anonymous Christine @ Cooking Crusade said…

    What a wonderful looking night! Love that you guys started with dessert haha. That snow white dessert looks soo pretty and love the melting with the raspbery coulis..can't believe it took Billy eight hours to make them all.. epic!

     
  • At 10/29/2012 12:03 pm, Blogger Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    What a great review Helen, thanks for capturing the night. It was an awesome night had by all (maybe not by our dishwashers lol), but I surely did enjoyed my time with service. Though, I probably won't be rushing to change my career.. :p

     
  • At 10/29/2012 12:14 pm, Anonymous JJ - 84thand3rd said…

    So glad you posted this, I had seen all the instagram pics an was wondering what it was all about! Looks like they did a brilliant job!

     
  • At 10/29/2012 12:15 pm, Anonymous JJ - 84thand3rd said…

    So glad you posted this, I had seen all the instagram pics an was wondering what it was all about! Looks like they did a brilliant job!

     
  • At 10/29/2012 12:16 pm, Anonymous billy @ A Table For Two said…

    At first you told me you bought a mask, then u turned up in full costime! I'm impressed a shy gal like you actually walked on the street in a full blooded costume! LOL!

    It was a great night wasn't it?

     
  • At 10/29/2012 1:05 pm, Blogger milkteaxx said…

    that is one heck of a halloween feast! congrats guys!

     
  • At 10/29/2012 2:25 pm, Blogger Jacq said…

    haha I love that you got a shot of Shaun and Ant washing the dishes. All the dishes look amazing! and I can't help but lol at the poor jelly babies about to die in the human sacrifice cocktail

     
  • At 10/29/2012 4:47 pm, Anonymous Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy said…

    Everything looks amazing! Well done guys! I hope they do another....

     
  • At 10/29/2012 8:13 pm, Anonymous Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    Ah bless the second session for upping the Halloween blood count! Thank you so so much for an awesome post and all the photos and so happy you all enjoyed it. Also cheers for the special shout out to the kitchenhand/dishwashers, without them we would've been gone crazy!

     
  • At 10/30/2012 10:43 am, Anonymous Vivian - vxdollface said…

    Looks like a really successful event! Wish I could've made it, would've loved to join in on the ghoulish fun :)

     
  • At 10/30/2012 12:44 pm, Blogger thecitygourmand said…

    I loved the drama of Billy's dessert. It was a total winner and so much fun to attend! http://thecitygourmand.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/fright-night.html

     
  • At 10/31/2012 1:57 am, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    Fantastic night, they did an amazing job. Still can't believe how cool and clam they all were.

     
  • At 10/31/2012 5:50 pm, Blogger My Hunger will go on said…

    The cocktails looks fantastic!!! love the colours tooooo

     
  • At 11/01/2012 1:00 pm, Anonymous The Food Sage said…

    Being more savoury toothed than sweet the Mexican smoked Saddleback pulled pork and Asian style chilli and soy lamb ribs would have been the icing on the cake for me. Although the Snow White domes do look pretty amazing!

     
  • At 11/01/2012 5:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Oh wow!! Everything looks so creative and delicious!!! I am so impressed with every dish! I just wanted to dive right into,the lamb ribs and the Snow White dessert!

     
  • At 11/01/2012 5:41 pm, Anonymous GourmetGetaways said…

    I love all these delicious images! I just want to dive straight into the lamb ribs yum!! It all looks delicious but also so creative.

     
  • At 11/02/2012 11:54 am, Anonymous Cath@confessionsofaglutton said…

    What an amazing-looking dessert degustation! Those charcoal macarons, omg....and almost a shame to see those 8hour chocolate domes melting...into deliciousness :D

     
  • At 11/04/2012 12:19 am, Blogger cquek said…

    loved the post! your captions are excellent

     
  • At 11/04/2012 1:31 pm, Blogger The Drunken Pig said…

    This is so cool! I like the laboratory concept :) Awesome!

     
  • At 11/10/2012 10:29 am, Blogger Lisa said…

    This looks like so much fun! I was sad to have missed it while I was overseas. Hopefully those 3 crazy kids host another dinner soon :)

     

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