Thursday, 19 July 2007

Oscillate Wildly

Every young kid needs a playground, to develop their motor skills, dexterity and co-ordination. Perhaps even meet someone special on the monkey bars… then disposing of them for hogging. Don’t cry for teacher little girl, dibber-dobbers wear nappies.

So Oscillate Wildly is Daniel Puskas’ (Josephine Pignolet Award winner for young chef of the year) playground and you are guests on his turf. It’s a small and intimate dining space for 30ish. The chess board floor tilings suggest strategy is required, the abstract paintings and eccentric mood lighting act as a distraction and creates tension.

The menu is far from boring and deserves more attention than Victoria Beckham craves. It’s diverse, innovative, taking pretty normal ingredients and sexing them up, presenting them in trendy forms such as gels or foam. The spotlight shines on you when you order, feeling the searing heat. “What’s a rillette?” you might ask to buy more time, to which the hosts will cheerfully and expertly answer in a “why thank you for asking” tone. During a quick timeout, you come up with a game plan. There were five of us, at least four of the six choices for each course as appealing, ok break up, hut hut everyone choose something different but double up on these… Excited and executed, itching for the food to come out. It would be a tasting menu of sorts, sharing the plates.

I can’t begin to tell you how good everything was, so I’ll just leave it to the menu below and your imagination to run wild. A brief highlights reel included the rillette, which was more like a shredded rabbit cake as opposed to a paste, with the subtle sweetness of mango and distinctly burnt avocado providing smoothness to the crumbly bunny. The venison, seared and panther pink inside was melt in your mouth, its gamey taste complemented by the sweetness of the pumpkin puree and the slightly bitter chocolate soil. Chocolate fondant, rich dark chocolaty flavour had the texture of clouds with its cinnamon ice cream sending you up there.

That was yesterday’s menu (well, ok early February). This talented young gent has so many guns in his arsenal, the menu changes monthly. Fantastic, if there was a place I’d want to go to 12 times in a year, this would be right up there. At 3 courses for $52 (YES THAT IS CORRECT), you’d be crazier than John not too go at least once. The kids won’t hurt you if you dob this place to your friends. Hurry though while Daniel’s still around, he’s the cool kid everyone wants to play with.

4 / 5 yums!


Where? 275 Australia St, Newtown

What? 3 courses $52

Entrees: Wapengo Oysters; Cured Salmon; Corn Puree and snowpea, pink onion salad; Chicken liver parfait, garlic fossil and port gel; Rabbit rillettes, burnt avocado, mango and puffed red rice

Mains: Fish of the day, caramelised eschallots, potato puree and herb salad; Roast spatchcock, onion liquorice puree and pink radish; Seared venison, pumpkin puree and chocolate soil; Seared lamb, braised cannellini beans and celery salad

Desserts: Braised pineapple with sorbet and cherry, violet liquor; Milk panna cotta with fresh mango and coffee; Pumpkin cake, chocolate and banana black pepper cream; Chocolate fondant, cinnamon ice cream and corn paper

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