A few weeks ago I heard about a great regular event at Lamaro's in South Melbourne: Ever Tuesday in August and September two of their chefs go head to head and cook a four course meal. At the end the guests judge which dishes they preferred. Two starters, two mains. We had booked a few weeks earlier but had to re-schedule. When the time finally came around I was quite excited as none of us really knew what to expect.
We were greeted by a lovely front of house who explained the process to us and when one of my friends mentioned she was gluten intolerant they were amazing how they adapted the dishes, they made sure that she still got a very similar experience and checked with her before each course.
That Tuesday it was Manni Singh vs Javier Perez-Gonzalez, according to the front of house Manni was going to cook with a Indian/ modern Australian influence whereas Javier was going to cook with a Spanish influence.
Accoring to the leaderboard Manni was leading (there are three chefs in the running), followed by Javier and Shaun.
Truffle spa egg, globe artichoke, jamón
Spiced brandade bread roll, tamarind & date purée, mint sauce
I loved both I have to say, but the truffle coddled egg and artichoke just won me over a little more. The spiced brandade bread roll was really well executed too, nice and crunchy and full of flavour. Apparently there was a gender divide when it came to voting, all girls in our group voted for Javier's Truffle Spa Egg but the guys all preferred Manni's brandade bread roll.
New version Aussie paella
Five spice glazed duck breast, apple purée, star anis jus
Unfortunately I'm not a massive paella fan, but the langoustine and mussels, that were served with it were great. The paella came out with a white and a black sauce which turned out to be aoili and squid ink aoili, they looked and tasted really good. I thought the squid ink was a great idea, certainly the first black aoili I've ever tried.
When the duck came out I was kind of relieved I hadn't finished my paella, no way would I have been able to fit it all in. The five spice glazed duck breast was cooked to perfection, slightly pink in the middle.
It was served with an apple purée which must have had some rosemary in it (it was amazing), daicon, tapioca and star anis jus. It just all fitted and went really well together. We all voted for Manni's duck.
If you can fit it in, do yourself a favour and head down to Lamaro's on one of the remaining Tuesday's in September. If you can't do a Tuesday, they have their regular menu on the other nights which is also really good. Mr. L and I will try to go again, we loved the concept of The Battle of The Chefs. Lamaro's 273-279 Cecil Street