I was immediately taken in by the prospect of a Chinese New Year banquet at Bar H, whose menu I’d been admiring and trying to find an excuse to visit. So, after a few frantic minutes trying to secure tickets, I was all set to celebrate the start of the year of the dragon.
I wasn’t disappointed. The night was a showcase for the free range meat provided by Urban Food Market, and the meat couldn’t have been better treated. Pork and prawn wontons were a great match with fennel, whilst any fear I had about eating chicken feet quickly disappeared once I’d tasted the smokey chilli sauce. A clear stand out in the first half of the meal was, however, the much-talked-about pork buns – I believe they are now on the menu and they’re definitely worth a return trip.
The star of the evening was the roast suckling pig. Sitting at the bar I’d caught glimpses of it throughout the evening, and the excitement was well-founded: crispy, crunchy crackling, tender meat and served on top of spicy szechuan eggplant.
The meal was rounded off with dessert, a balanced and pretty plate including poached peach, 20 second raspberry sponge and a ginger custard, and finally fortune cookies.
We left feeling full, both with food and in awe of the amazingly smooth and calm running of the barely-there kitchen. Each of the multitude of courses was a hit, and I can’t wait to taste the rest of the menu and more pork buns. It may be the year of the Dragon, but that night the pig was the star.
Urban Food Market’s Chinese New Year Meatup cost $99 including matching ciders, wines and sakes.
Pork rating: Crack(l)ing
80 Campbell St, Surry Hills
Tuesday to Sunday, 6pm onwards
Urban Food Market
Unit 1, 168 Victoria Rd, Marrickville 2204
Open to the public Saturdays, 9am-1pm