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A Bad ‘Taste’ In My Mouth

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on May 19, 2013 in Other

Photo: Starvin' Marvin

Photo: Starvin’ Marvin

I’ve had a crack at foodies before in this monthly column and I have to admit I thought it was just another case of Eastern Suburbs one-upmanship that encouraged these wankers to waffle on about their latest culinary conquests. But, spurred on by the success of Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules, the foodie craze has spread well beyond Sydney’s affluent suburbs and infected the great unwashed. It seems that everyone wants to be part of this ghastly gastronomic flog-fest.

The mob who put on Taste of Sydney Festival have certainly cottoned on to the fact that foodie fad is spreading, and they’ve been more than willing to take advantage of those willing to part with their cash so that they can boast that they’ve sampled the creations of some of Sydney’s top nosheries.

I was lucky enough (at least I thought so at the time) to score a couple of free passes to this year’s festival and given that I had nothing planned I thought I’d pop along to check it out with a lady friend. I should note here that your everyday punter would have to pay $30 for the privilege to pass through the gates of this festival.

Once inside, attendees had the chance to peruse the stalls of a number of food purveyors pushing everything from cheese and wine to olive oil, meats, beer, cider and more. A number of high profile restaurants were also flogging portions of their freshly prepared product.

Dishes from the likes of Longrain, 4Fourteen and Porteno generally ranged between about $8 and $12 for a serving that was meager at best. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a poor value proposition.

More annoying still was the payment system that the festival employed. I was forced to change my dollars into ‘crowns’ (with a one dollar to one crown exchange rate), the festival’s currency, and from what I’ve heard since, forty per cent out of every crown spent went in to the festival’s coffers. Given that information, it’s little wonder the restaurants had to charge so much for such a miserly portion of food. If they hadn’t they most certainly would’ve lost money.

Furthermore, and adding to my frustration, when I’d finally managed to get myself feeling close to full (after about five or six $8 to $12 plates) I was left with four crowns on my card but required six crowns to purchase a frozen yoghurt fro dessert. When I tried to get an extra couple of crowns, I was told that minimum amount I could change over was $10. What a rort! That certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.

So it’s fair to say that I wouldn’t advise anyone to go along to Taste of Sydney Festival next year. After doing the maths I worked out that had we paid the entrance fee, the night out would have cost my lady friend and I over $120. For that price we could’ve just gone to one of the fancy restaurants featured at the festival and enjoyed a much better meal!

Before I finish on this month’s rant, I need to pose another foodie related question: how many cafes/restaurants/bars is too many? It’s starting to get a bit ridiculous over here in the Eastern Suburbs and I’m just wondering when it will come to an end. Surely we’ve got something better to do than sit around drinking coffee and taking photos of our food?