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About a month ago I sat my final exam for the CA (if you don’t know what that means, consider yourself lucky) - a post-grad accounting course that’s taken me a grueling 6 years to complete. However, I’ve learnt loads and it’s essential for my day job, which pays the bills and supports my food habit. In all honesty, I really enjoy my job in finance, so I’m glad I did it.
To say that it was a massive relief to finish is a bit of an understatement. I feel so free! So free, I finally got to start this blog! And we had an excuse to celebrate with a bang by finally visiting Oscillate Wildly, Newtown. Ok so we ate there just before I got my results back, but thankfully, I passed the exam and officially became a CA. Phew!
Oscillate Wildly is one creative place. Ok, so they’ve been around for years… and for good reason. These days, they offer a nine course degustation - everyone at every table gets served nine courses of food – so the only decision you get to make is what to drink and whether to have the bonus course (dingdingding!).
I have to credit their staff – eating was only half the experience (and the food was incredible). A lot of places that offer degustation are quite formal and a little stiff, which comes with the territory I suppose. It is meant to be special - that much food needs to be treated with a certain level of adulation. However, as we walked through the doors, we were welcomed like old friends. They are relaxed, which allows us to relax and really enjoy the night. We were served by three staff, and while they were all knowledgeable, they weren’t cardboard cut-outs either. They knew each course inside out, and any questions we had (we had a few), they answered with an understanding of not only the individual aspect of an ingredient, but how it fit into the whole dish. Though sometimes I didn’t understand what they were saying, just hearing them talk about each dish with such knowledgeable gusto was a pleasure in itself.
Once we were seated, we were presented with a simple white sheet outlining the degustation menu. They were purposeful in their lack of detail, simply stating the three main ingredients of each course. We sat peering at the menu – little did we know, what we imagined of each dish wouldn’t even come close to what we were about to experience. So they had us exactly where they wanted us – assuming meat-and-two-veg when we were about to enter an Alice in wonderland tea party.
Ok enough talk. Down the rabbit hole we go…
Wakame and Black Sesame Cracker
It had the texture of those prawn crackers you get from your local Chinese restaurant, but was so much more delicate. The hint of salty seaweed and a subtle sweetness was a nice way to wake up the taste buds.
Foie Gras, Scallops, Hazelnut
Looks very much like a bit of fluff to start the night but it was really tasty. Foie grois is duck liver, which I haven’t had too much of before - but here it was aerated so it looked like honeycomb. It was fluffy, as fluffy as meat could be, but had a slightly bitter aftertaste. The hazelnuts added a contrasting sweetness and distinct crunch, along with that scallop cracker that it’s all sitting on.
Scampi, Ponzu, Wild Rice
It was such a pretty salad. But I had no idea what Ponzu was. Still don’t (but please, enlighten me). I found the raw scampi had such a weird texture. Sticky and slimy, I’m not sure I’d have it on its own. But on the salad it melded well with lots of different textures, that made it feel like I had a party in my mouth.
Pine, Curd, Needles
Entirely vegetarian, it introduced me to some food that I’d never had before (sea asparagus?! carrot sponge?!?). This was a great example of their staff – they knew how to explain the dish and what each ingredient was. I got them to repeat it a few times, and though I still didn’t get it, at least they knew what it was. Unfortunately, I didn’t really like the dish. It was quite earthy with those mushrooms, but for me, it was just too intense. Still, I polished off the lot and my plate left the table scraped clean.
Blue Eye, Peas, Hops
The first hot course of the evening was yum – what can I say, I like fish.
Duck, Sorrel, Plum
Yummy duck breast, it was juicy, tender and rich. The two varieties of plums were tart and cut through the sweet duck, so again, another party in my mouth.
Beef, Yolk, Brussel Sprout
A delicious piece of meat - the speck gave it a smokey flavour which I really liked. The prawn floss added texture and a salty bang. I’m not usually a fan of brussel sprouts, but I could easily have eaten a whole bowl full of these chips.
Cheese on Toast ($10 bonus course)
I’m so glad we got this course, this was the coolest dish of the night (har har). The ice-cream was slightly salty and pungent, and on the bread crumb, it was crunchy, smooth heaven.
Rose, Lychee, Violet
It was the prettiest tasting dessert I ever had, and I didn’t feel guilty. It felt like spring. And reminded me of sunshine, puppies, and bubbles. A dessert for the girly girls.
Pandan, Rye, Milk Jam
This was weird, man. Toasted milk?!? A dessert with grunt - one for the boys.
Tea & Petit Fours
What Oscillate Wildly does to food will make your head spin. Although we’d love to go back soon, we’ll just have to wait for that special occassion…
Good: not your average dinner, excellent service, be expected to be surprised
Bad: not your average dinner, it’s expensive and features weird ingredients that most people have never even heard of
Cost: degustation menu, $100 per person
275 Australia Street, Newtown NSW 2042