Performance Art in Bowral

We were looking for some entertainment over the Easter Long Weekend. The movies on offer did not appeal. We had been to the Canberra Folk Festival. Then we heard about Biota in Bowral and so off we went for lunch.It fulfilled all our expectations and more. It was performance art at its best.

Arriving during daylight hours allowed us to spend some time shopping in Bowral and to inspect the Biota kitchen garden. The fresh bread smells of Bowral and the goodies in the garden made us eager to get involved in the main performance. The interior of the restaurant with its open space, interesting art works, and open kitchen was a perfect setting. As we were amongst the first diners chef had time to greet us before going back to his plating stage. The staff at work were visible for the whole performance and for those people in the far flung reaches of the restaurant the staff appeared on closed circuit TV.

We were given a pre-teaser (amuse bouche) of pomegranate seeds with a eucalyptus based foam served in a beaker followed with Biot s own sourdough bread with cultured butter. These were the first of many culinary surprises that would make the next two hours great fun and good entertainment.

All the dish descriptions looked interesting so we used the time honoured method of closing our eyes and pointing. We would have been pleased no matter what we picked. As it was each dish was not what was expected and as the meal progressed we tried to guess how each dish would appear. There was always a twist to the listed ingredients and a few other amuse bouche in each dish. A few of these follow and we leave it up to you to discover those we missed.

We had expected the strips of mackerel to be grilled but they were warmed in pan. The surprise were what appeared to be tiny lotus buds but were long red baby radishes.

The strips of duck marinated in juniper syrup were served with some form of roasted cereals. I had expected something like a natural muesli and am still puzzling over the type of cereal. The surprise was the perfectly soft cooked egg supporting the duck pieces.

The finger had pointed to pig s jowl. We had imagined roasted pork with crackling. The dish was decadently rich with a high percentage of pork fat but where was the crackling? We found out when we tasted the rich sauce covering the dish. The best of the crackling had been ground and used in the sauce. The surprise was the leek cooked with amaranth.

The lamb rump was perfectly cooked with an olive caramel sauce. What appeared to be pepper over the accompanying vegetables was garlic ash and the surprise was crispy prosciutto.

We expected a cake covered in a sauce when we ordered Green Tea Cake and Coconut Milk. We did not expect a mound of chocolate earth with green moss covered with an early morning frost.

The fruit salad with ice cream was a potpourri of fresh and preserved ingredients. The surprises were the small pieces of cucumber and the gelatinised chia seeds which we thought, before asking, were melon and some form of sago.

We were allowed to take pictures for our scrap book and you can see them here. http://ahfongcox.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/performance-art-in-bowral-biota-restaurants/

Next time we will book into the next door motel and attend the evening performance. This will allow us to have that extra glass of wine to round out the event.

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