This article was written for The Sydney Morning Herald blog.
The Crave Sydney International Food Festival ends this week, and last Friday I was feeling slightly guilty for not having taken advantage of all that is on offer. To make up for it, I thought it would be a good idea to fit in as many events as possible from now until the 31st of October. For most of us, the only time we have available is our lunch break – and that’s perfect for a series of one of Crave Sydney’s favourite events, Let’s Do Lunch.
Many of the city’s restaurants participate yearly, and the concept is simple: a main course, a glass of wine and a coffee for $35.00. I managed to convince two of my colleagues to go all out and join me for a Let’s Do Lunch session for every work day this week. Trust me; nothing makes you look forward to a Monday like knowing that lunch is at Becasse at Clarence Street, Sydney.
I am in love with Plan B, the busy, little food outlet also by Becasse’s chef/owner Justin North, where I get my $10 wagyu burger fix (if you haven’t tried it, go, now). Becasse is right next to Plan B, and this time, I am excited to actually be going inside rather than staring sadly through the glass, holding a Plan B takeaway burger bag.
The space is elegant and minimalist, with uniformed wait-staff and table linen – its neutral colours remind my colleagues and I of our office and though comfortable, we feel the room lacks a bit of vibrancy to offset our usual drab daily decor.
The friendly French-accented waiter swiftly navigates us to our table and hands out the menu. A more expensive, three-course Let’s Do Lunch is also on offer, but we opt to remain cheap and stick to plan A, the $35.00 option.
To start, an amuse-bouche of wonderfully crunchy olive biscotti is slightly sweet, its texture well contrasts with a silken dollop of goat’s curd, aromatic with lemon. Justin North ought to branch into packaged foods, mass produce and wrap this little fellow in cellophane – I could happily munch on a dozen, or two.
To follow, a small, warm bread roll comes with a separate dome of whipped butter. Again, nothing too fancy, but totally delicious. Good bread and good butter. Then comes the main event, a risotto of prawns and prosciutto. At first glance, the portion seems lean and a bit mean, but the big flavours make up for size. The rice is cooked with velvety prawn shell bisque enriched with cream and brandy, and the taste of the sea is torrential. Prosciutto adds a punch of meatiness, while slightly translucent South Australian prawns are amongst the softest and sweetest you’ll ever try. South Australia, we salute you.
This is a good omen for the week ahead and we leave more than satisfied. On the way out, our sweet tooth is tempted by Plan B’s tarts and brownies, but the decision is unanimous – we’d better not. There’s a whole week of eating ahead, and the kilos won’t shed themselves.