Alex: A few weeks back I attended the media launch of the new William Blue College of Hospitality Management campus in The Rocks, which was hosted in William Blue’s award-winning training restaurant, William Blue Dining, now operating out of the venue previously occupied by Neil’s Perry’s famous Rockpool Restaurant.
The event was flourishing with prominent industry figures including Neil Perry himself who cut the ribbon to launch the opening of the campus. The owner of the Rockpool Group said he was happy his former Rockpool venue is being used to help develop and inspire the next generation of hospitality leaders.
All of the media and bloggers sat at one big happy table as all of us clicked and snapped away!
The day consisted of a 5 course degustation. So I will be very brief and let the pictures do the talking!
The 1st course was Taleggio with pickled baby beets, salsa verde and grissini. A wonderful opening to the day. The cheese lingered beautifully on the palate and the juxtaposing textures were a welcomed touch, whether it was from the crunch of the bread stick to the vibrant and smooth salsa verde.
The 2nd course is one of Neil Perry’s signature dishes. The Tuna Tartare, with moroccan eggplant, cumin mayonnaise and harissa. I am not a fan of fish, especially when it isn’t cooked so I was a little hesitant to try this but my gosh. What a clever dish. Each bite harmonised in flavour and was enhanced by the punch of that harissa sauce!
My favourite of the day, the 3rd course. Braised pork belly with caramel vinegar, shitake mushrooms, asian master stock and baby coriander. The broth itself was enough to make all of us at the table go in a bit of a frenzy. Wonderful and aromatic. I did notice a few people at the table pull away some of the fat off the pork belly, but there were no issues with mine.
The 4th course was a Smoked breast and confit leg of spatchcock, compressed watermelon, celeriac puree, and pepper jus. This was probably the least favourite of mine and a few others at the table. I feel as though anything smoked is something of an acquired taste but for me it was a little too much. The spatchcock itself was cooked perfectly and I do think the compressed watermelon aided in creating a refreshing dimension to an otherwise dense dish.
The dessert and thus the 5th and final course of the day was a Dark Chocolate and Honeycomp parfait, with meringue, dried raspberry and lemon balm. I think by this point a lot of us had reached tipping point but I, of course soldiered on. The parfait itself looked a little limp but the taste was exquisite. There were zesty hints and punches and it was a fantastic way to end a phenomenal lunch.
I actually forgot for the most part of the day until I was reminded that it was in fact just students cooking the food. It’s obvious that at William Blue the standard for professional hospitality, commercial cookery is set on such a high pedestal and I think I speak for myself and everyone that attended the event that they should be very proud of themselves.
If you are interested in trying William Blue Dining they offer an incredibly affordable a la carte menu offering meals for fantastic value ($38 for 3 courses), and caters for small to medium groups with customised menus. There is also the option to utilise the private dining area or book out the whole restaurant for a private function.
Until next time!
*For Food’s Sake attended as a guest of William Blue Dining but all opinions remain independent and our own.