When Terase invited me to the media launch of the Balcony’s Pork-a-Palooza I said “No thanks, an evening of eating an abundance of pork, prepared and served in a variety of different ways, drinking cocktails doesn’t really appeal to me. You go ahead and enjoy it without me”…….. Not really, what actually happened is, I immediately started salivating and asked When and Where? (duh, at the Balcony of course!).
When we arrived we were delighted to be greeted by Esmerelda, the gorgeous and very regal, stuffed pig brought along for the Pork-a-Palooza launch by Executive Chef and Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. part owner Sean Connolly.
On arrival we were served mini Suckling Pig Burgers. So tasty and juicy I could have happily eaten nothing but these for the rest of the evening. Between the buns was a beautifully crumbed pork fritter, parmesan slaw and not-too-spicy packing the perfect bunch habanero mayo. What a fabulous way to start an evening full of the many and varied swine delights.
Along with the burgers we were served some delicious tacos. The star of the fillings was a lovely, crispy delight that I couldn’t get enough of. I couldn’t help myself, I had to keep going back for more, and eventually asked what the crispy element was. When the answer came back “pig’s ear crackling” I must admit to some mild surprise, who knew the ear of a swine could be made so appetising? Please please please, do not be put off by the name, trust me, the Pigs Ear Tacos are the bomb!
(Pig’s Ear Tacos)
And I believe somebody mentioned cocktails?? Yes, along with our porky starters we were offered cocktails. My favourite was the Apricot Sezeriac, (Hennessy VS, Apricot Brandy and Peychaud’s Bitters). I did not realise I was a lover of Brandy until now! Other highlights in the liquid form from the evening were; Slow Hog Fashioned (Brookie’s Slow Gin, Orange & Plum Bitters), Southern Sweet Tea (Woodford Reserve, Peach Liqueur, Lemon Juice and Sweet Tea Mix) to name but just another two.
After taking our seats it was time for the oysters! Now I personally am not a huge fan oysters, but I certainly enjoyed these ones. The bacon and Worcestershire sauce that topped these Oysters Kilpatrick added another layer flavour, without overpowering these delicate bivalves. I know the oyster purists like them au-naturale, but the way I see it, is that these were just yum, and a tonne of fun to eat, and besides, tonight was about the pig, not the seafood.
Next up (we’re still only on the entrees mind) was Pork Belly and Squid. Literally two of my favourite things to eat, paired together. Here they are served with mint coriander, chilli salad and a miso dressing. The flavour combos is just ridiculous (ridiculously good that is). And most importantly that pork belly skin is beautifully crispy.
Before the mains we heard from Jamie Ferguson of Borrowdale Free-Range Pork, who briefly talked us through what “free-range pork” actually means. In short, these pigs we were so enjoying, are farmed in an ethical way, allowing them unrestricted access to outdoor paddocks giving them plenty of space to engage in their natural behaviours like truffl’nand wallowing in mud.
Lucky for us, this not only makes these guys happier, but also much tastier too.
Next on the menu was BBQ Pork Ribs. These succulent and tasty guys are marinated and cooked in a coca cola BBQ glaze. Sounds a bit odd, but I can certainly tell you it tastes good. The ribs themselves were beautifully tender and simply a joy to eat (if a little messy, but I’m OK with that!).
The crowning glory though of the evening was the Slow Roasted Suckling Pig, it was everything you’d expect and want from a suckling pig, succulent, juicy, crispy skin and downright delicious! If I had to choose a last supper menu, then a slow roasted suckling pig from Borrowdale, cooked by the crew at the Balcony would most definitely be on the menu!
A selection of desserts were also served, but I’ll be honest, we were both completely full by this point, and literally could not fit another thing in.
All in all, this was a fantastic night. I’ve always loved pork in all it’s forms, but Pork-a-Palooza just added to my appreciation of all things swine.
The Pork-a-Palooza menu is running for a month at Balcony Bar & Oyster Co and includes plenty of epic porky goodness like; Serrano Jamon Croque Monsieur, Pork Schnitzel Holstein, Double Bacon Chops and so much more!
(Serrano Jamon Croque Monsier)
(Pork Schnitzel Holstein)
Check out the FULL MENU HERE! available until 30th June!
To quote the great Molly Meldrum, “do yourself a favour”, and get down to the Balcony before the end of June to enjoy it for yourself.
Dave ……… PS. that’s me in the middle!