I recently had the pleasure of documenting a celebratory feast for the Westend Pumphouse, an eatery and bar on Murray Street in Hobart. The Pumphouse has been selected as one of the top 500 restaurants in Australia, as voted for by a distinguished panel of Good Food Guide Editors, reviewers and industry experts. To celebrate, they decided to put on a feast, a five course banquet of some of the most delicious food in the country.
I was scheduled to be working the day of the feast and as such, had to cut my rostered evening short to grab my gear and head to the Pumphouse. It was a bit of a dash to get back to Mount Nelson and then back in to town before the event started but I made it.
The guests started to arrive and I politely took their photos before they sat down to begin their evening of deliciousness. It quickly became apparent that the kitchen staff were a very well oiled machine and at the top of their game. I left the guests alone to enjoy their food and focussed on documenting the work in the kitchen. The way everyone knew exactly what they were doing was fascinating to watch, the dishes would be prepped and served in the blink of an eye as all the various ingredients, sauces, flavourings and decorations would be brought to the plate be the various teams in the kitchen. It sounds so clichéd but it was like a ballet, a mesmerising dance of motion and skill that, as a customer you rarely get to see. The kitchen at the pumphouse is wide open for all to see which is probably why the team there are so tight and go about their work in a seemingly effortless buzz.
Each dish looked more delicious than the last and having not had time to get dinner myself, watching them being whisked away to tables became painful after a while. There was work to be done though so hunger could wait. The highlight of the evening’s culinary experience was to be a whole roast pig, that had been cooking for 6 hours or more. Once out of the oven it was placed on a decorative wooden trolley before being transferred to a large table in front of the guests who could watch the head chef prepare it in lightning quick time. One minute there was an entire pig ready for carving and the next, a pile of bones were returning to the kitchen.
The Pumphouse team weren’t done yet though and quickly moved on to the desserts, the highlight of which was a team effort utilising liquid nitrogen to make a unique frozen delight. Again the team attacked the dish with their usual gusto and coordinated skill, having it ready to serve within moments.
The full list of dishes on the night is below:
- Tamari cracker, wild mushroom, miso, black garlic
- Steamed Bruny Island oysters, 2 year old cider vinegar
- Cabbage, Goji rice, Gojuchang
- Potato Crisp, cured fish roe
- Fried blood pudding, quince, crab apple
- Charred beef tongue skewer, mustard oil
- Blowtorched blue mackerel, bletted medlar, magnolia
- Raw wallaby topside, pickled elderberry, winter radish
- Pyengana custard, dried mussel, house cured pork, charred leek
- Smoked eel, potato cream and skins, fried garlic
- Six hour roasted Berkshire pig, soft potato buns, assorted condiments, autumnal vegetables
- Local highland peat smoked barley cream, rye, whisky
- Apple and whey sorbet, kunzea shortbread, frozen apple, sorrel
Yes I had to have a Google for some of the ingredients also 🙂
You can view the full Australia wide list of the 500 best restaurants here.
And now for some photos from the night. Can you guess which dish is which?