Pastry chef Dean Gibson and industrial designer Jon Pryer are on track to set a world record for their production of a kinetic chocolate sculpture with the most moving parts.
It's called Iron Shark and it's a 2.1-metre-long steampunk-inspired chocolate shark.
The shark is fully edible and made from Italian Irca chocolate. The pair have spent the past month in a submarine themed space at Hamilton's The Creator Incubator, meticulously putting Iron Shark together. They have now packed it up - carefully - and will transport it to Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. All are welcome to join them there this Saturday, August 6, when they will add some finishing touches and officially attempt to set a world record for the most moving parts from a single point (29 parts).
Sponsors of the Iron Shark project include Continental Patisserie, Anest Iwata, Inteliprint, Lamond Catering Equipment, Gumnut Patisserie, Fivespice Creative, Barnes, Vanrooy and The Creator Incubator.
READ MORE: Take a deep dive into project Iron Shark
TINTA at Belmont held a "soft opening" last Thursday night. An abundance of fresh seafood was served in attractive shells and careful consideration had been given to the balance of flavours. The Tuna Ceviche (ponzu, cucumber, avocado and black sesame crackers) and the Kingfish Crudo (blood orange, black caviar, fennel, dill and capers) were highlights.
Executive chef James Orlowski has crafted an impressive menu, from the starters to dessert. Speaking of, the Warm Chocolate Brownie (honeycomb, candied nuts, bitter chocolate, cremeux and crème fraiche) was delicious, as was the Passionfruit Pavlova (passionfruit curd, Italian meringue, white chocolate and black sesame crunch).
Then came the real test for managing director Ben Stehr and his team. Opening day, which was Friday, followed by a hectic first weekend. Cars were parked along the Pacific Highway at Belmont South both days. Stehr was working the floor, taking orders and clearing tables. I was invited to lunch at TINTA with friends on Sunday and was curious to see how it was faring. A handful of the menu items had sold out (by 2pm) and the drinks were slow in reaching our table, but these are just teething problems. The presentation was stunning and the food delicious. A shout-out to the Squids Ink Linguine (with prawn, chilli, herbs, tomato, butter and lemon).
And that lake view? Magnificent. Bring on summer.
The Urban Wine Walk is coming to Newcastle on September 3. What's that, you may ask? It's basically a classier version of the good old pub crawl. The walk will take you to Blue Kahunas featuring Agitate Wines; Bar Mellow (Mercer Wines); Saints Bar (Dirt Candy Wine); Customs House Hotel (Scarborough Wine); Babylon (Mayfield Vineyard); The Great Northern Hotel (Margan); Good Brother Espresso Shop (Yarrh Wines); Clarendon Hotel (Hart & Hunter); The Star Hotel (Toppers Mountain Wines); and The Lucky Hotel (Thomas Wines).Tickets are $75 plus a booking fee and are on sale now.
Signal Box Newcastle has a new menu which head chef and co-owner George Mirosevich was keen to talk about.
"The menu has more of a bistro feel now," he said. "We are working closely with local suppliers such as Michael Robinson from Hungerford Meats. His famous pate is now an option on our menu. We have a specials board which is changing weekly. This week we had a beautiful 900-gram aged rib eye from the Manning Valley, a seafood pie, and a Basque cheesecake with ice-cream.
"We have a larger variety of starters including the likes of a hot smoked salmon rillette and the addition of caviar with brioche, crème fraiche and chives. My favourite, though, is Ortiz anchovies with Pepe Saya butter and Josper roasted sourdough. We have put more emphasis on our Josper grill section too. Our short rib, pork chop and mornay lobster all get a kiss from the charcoal oven.
"One of our biggest sellers this week has been our vegan gnocchi. We pan roast Mother Fungus Mushrooms with potato gnocchi in a garlic butter, add a house-made cashew butter, white truffle oil and fresh chives, and top it with Jerusalem artichoke chips and shavings of fresh black truffle.
"In saying all of this we still have crowd favourites such as our sticky barbecue lamb ribs and Hervey Bay scallops with cafe de Paris butter. To be honest I think there would be a riot if I were to ever take them off, so they are here for good."
Also, Signal Box is no longer open for breakfast (for now) due to staff shortages.
"We haven't excluded breakfast by any means, just quietly I think everyone is enjoying the sleep in," Mirosevich said.
Humbug and Flotilla have made the top 100 restaurants in NSW in this year's delicious.100 list (Humbug at 96, Flotilla 79). The countdown from 50 to 1 comes next. What a year it's been for Humbug owner and chef Michael Portley: a restaurant of his own, a baby, a win at Food Fight 2022, and now this. And as for Flotilla, well, it is a favourite of mine. If you haven't experienced it yet, do yourself a favour.
You know you've made it when you have a Doughheads doughnut made in your honour. The Mr T doughnut featured Usher Tinkler's Mr T liqueur and was a special treat for 60 or so guests at "The Church" on Saturday night (Tinkler's cellar door) where Anna Weatherup was performing and he hosted a tasting.
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