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Earlier this month, the lovely Mindy Woods (Season 4 Masterchef Australia) returned to Melbourne for her Melbourne pop up restaurant event, which took place at Brasserie Bread in South Melbourne. After hearing about the event from Mindy herself after a chance encounter at this year’s Good Food and Wine Show, I immediately knew that it was a must-attend event, and it didn’t take any effort to convince Jma, my dining compadre, to come with me (Thanks Jma).
The venue: Brasserie Bread.
While the place was relatively empty at the very start of the night (6pm), it gradually became filled with people… to the brim!
Upon our arrival, we were greeted with lucky red envelopes filled with cha ching. Although the currency was fake (oh, how I wish there was a 1000000000 dollar note), each note could be exchanged for a drink at the bar.
After receiving our monies, we immediately made a beeline for the food: a bread and cured meats spread. There was an assortment of breads from Brasserie Bread, slices of proscuitto and salami, a massive bowl of caviar, and Pepe Saya butter. The ONLY thing that could have possibly made this spread even tastier would be the addition of some cheese.
I LOVE my breads, so it took much effort (from both me and Jma) to refrain from scoffing down the entire table. It was even more difficult to do so after actually tasting the bread - each sourdough variety tasted fresh and their flavours were spot-on.
Fortunately, some seafood canapes soon began to circulate, and definitely aided in my efforts to distract myself from the bread!
Prawn crackers with a salmon salad.
The salmon pieces tasted fresh and contrasted perfectly with the sweetness and crunch from the prawn cracker underneath.
Served at the right temperature, and with its smooth and creamy texture, and aromatic flavour, the veloute was very easy to down. The flavour profile combined a mix of salted mussels with a rich creaminess. While I don’t usually enjoy eating mussels, I was a big fan of this soup-like canape.
Cod on betel leaf.
The salad was minty fresh, and together with the betel leaf, provided a crisp crunchiness. Additional crunch came from what appeared to be deep fried rice grains. All elements contrasted perfectly with the delicate and equally fresh cured cod.
I can’t remember what exactly went into this bite, but there was a seafood salad served on an eggplant chip. The eggplant chip’s texture and thickness was similar to that of banana chips, but thankfully not so sweet. On the other hand, the dressing on the seafood salad and the caramelised onions were quite sweet, but was balanced out by the mintiness in the salad and the savouriness from the eggplant.
Coconut prawns on prawn crackers.
There was enough spiciness in the batter to counter the sweetness from the prawns, and the delectable crunch in that batter also served as some distraction. The freshness from the small amount of mint on the side finished off the dish perfectly.
The talented Mindy Woods in her element: preparing the main course of a Malaysian curry with fresh seafood (featuring Kinkawooka mussels among other morsels such as clams and prawns).
With the curry paste prepared by Mindy a few days earlier prior to the event, and the curry cooking practically all evening, a sensationally fragrant aroma could be smelt even from the outside when we had first arrived! And the taste? It tasted every bit as flavoursome as hinted by its aroma. The seafood itself was super fresh, and its presence wasn’t outshone by the curry, with the two elements instead sharing the limelight.
And to go with the seafood curry… BREAD!
Dessert: brioche bun, with buttermilk ice cream and beer caramel.
The dessert was interesting to say the least… the caramel was somewhat sweet before fading into that bittersweet flavour of beer. Fans of beer will no doubt enjoy the dessert form of the drink, but for me… let’s just say it’s an acquired taste.
I had felt super excited in the lead up to Mindy’s pop up restaurant event, and the actual night itself did not pale in comparison to what I had anticipated. Combining her culinary skills with the spectacularly fresh produce on hand, we were treated to one delicious feast that ended our weekend on a high (and tasty) note.
But wait, there’s more:
Our night finished off with goodie bags.
Wow, not only were we well-fed with good food, but we were also showered with a gift upon departure.
And in our goodies bag…
A HUGE LOAF OF SOURDOUGH BREAD (SCORE! I was one happy camper), fresh clams and some Pepe Saya butter.
I should mention that I wasn’t the only happy camper… my family members managed to consume over half the loaf within a day!
To end the post, I would like to say a big thank you and kudos to Mindy and the various producers (Brasserie Bread, Pepe Saya, Kinkawooka Shellfish, Two Birds Brewing Beer and Fowles Wine) for what was truly one fantastic food adventure.
150 Thistlethwaite St,
South Melbourne, Victoria, 3205.
1300 966 845