Everybody seemed to have a good time at Taste of Sydney. This is my view from a casual dinner looking for a memorable experience.
First observation is that, it’s more of an alcohol festival than an eating one. Almost half of is wine and liquor with one quarter coconut water and lastly 25% of stuff that you can actually eat.
My biggest gripe is the overall value of the offering. I don’t expect freebies, but these restaurants must have made a killing. Charging a range from 150% to 300% or more of their restaurant menu, it is certainly better to book a table and eat in the comfort of their respective restaurants. Easy to be critical of them, without knowing the festival fees but their is no value in the food they sell. The following do leave a sour after-taste:
Fast food version of their usual standard in terms of quality
Premium price for fast food version – usual stuff was at least $12/crowns and the really interesting dishes that I wanted to try were $20+/crowns for minuscule portions and/or sold out anyways.
Expensive entry fee
Long queues for anything good
Quality of restaurants
Unknown chef or more a cook from Rojo Rocket who demos how to make… guacamole in a two minute session, seriously? (probably just a bad session, but still it put me off). What next? How to fold a burrito?
Quality of participating restaurants has gone been declining over the last four years, sure some have one or two so called hats but most of them are unknowns that should not be commending those prices with the exposure they are getting.
Crowns? non-transparent way for making attendees waste and overspend. No easy way to check your balance and knowing how much is really being deducted.
These are neither the best restaurants nor best chefs in Sydney. What kind of business model is this? where entry is at least $20-30 and on top of that, charge a premium for the fast food versions of the restaurant menu?
If you do decide to go next year to, set aside at least $150 per person and it still might not be satisfying.
End of the day, I will not be in a hurry to visit any of these restaurants. On the other hand, you will probably have a blast if you have no expectations and just going drinking, chilling with some mates. However if you were looking for a culinary experience this is the wrong event for you.