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Masterchef Pop-Up Restaurant at Bar H, Surry Hills

It takes a lot to tear me away from my blanket and heater on a winter’s night but the thought of someone else cooking dinner for me for a change is a good start.  When those people cooking dinner are three MasterChef finalists, I’m there without a second thought.  Mindy, Audra and Kylie from MasterChef season 4 took over Bar H in Surry Hills last night to produce an Asian inspired four course meal.

Of course I wanted to support these lovely ladies in their new ventures, but part of me was also intrigued to see whether they could pull it off without the cameras watching.  We arrived for the second sitting and were greeted with a full restaurant of diners who clearly didn’t want to leave.  The girls looked very relaxed so I figured we were in for a good night.

I’m not a huge fan of hot chilli in food so I was a little nervous about how much of dinner I would be able to eat, especially as it was a set menu.  Mindy started off the evening with her version of KFC – AKA 3 pepper crispy chicken with a sweet chilli sauce.  Perfect – the sauce was served separately so I could taste just enough to confirm that it was too hot for me. I opted for a drizzle of lemon and enjoyed the chicken in all it’s crispy goodness, minus the chilli.

Just look at the funky way it was served in paper bag.

Bar H is a great destination for a pop-up restaurant offering a cozy, intimate atmosphere.  I would ordinarily love the low, mood lighting, but I’m afraid it doesn’t make for the best photos.

The second course was Audra’s famous beef short ribs.  I have to confess I’ve always been put off by ordering short ribs in restaurants because of the thought of eating off the bone in public, but little did I know that the meat doesn’t necessarily come attached to the bone.  There is a similar version of this recipe on the MasterChef Website.

Served with Chinese greens, the beef was full of flavour and very tender.  The greens were pretty good too.  Actually, the husband went as far as saying they were the best Chinese greens he’d ever eaten (it’s not something I cook with…)

Between course there were plenty of opportunities to watch the girls at work.  The team work you see on TV was clearly evident in the real world and there wasn’t a whiff of pressure or stress.

There was even time to talk to the diners during service which made for a very happy dining room.

As if beef and greens were not enough to fill you up, along came a third course.  I was reliably informed that this dish was also good but after the first mouthful I couldn’t taste anything beyond the burning of my mouth.  Yes, I’m a wuss when it comes to chilli and the Mapo Tempura Tofu beat me.  I did enjoy picking out the cured sausage though.

Thankfully for my mouth, dessert came to extinguish the fire in the form of Lychee Granita. It was served alongside black sesame ice-cream and tapioca.  In all honesty, and not being a dessert person, I wasn’t a huge fan of the ice-cream and the tapioca was texturally challenging for me.  But as a newbie to the dessert world I think I’m still allowed some food phobias.  The rest of the dining room cleared their plates so I think it was just my peculiarities.

I’m not sure how many of these pop up restaurants are scheduled but if last night is anything to go by there certainly should be more.  I suggest you follow these lovely ladies on Twittter for all the latest news, you will find them @AudraMorrice @MindyWoodsMC and @KylieJMillar

At $70 it wasn’t the cheapest set menu I have ever eaten but I was happy to part with my cash for some quality, home cooked food and the privilege of sampling what the MasterChef ladies had to offer.  And of course, who can resist a groupie photo!  Thank you ladies, I look forward to following your journey from here on in.


Comment from Sneh | Cook Republic
Time August 8, 2012 at 8:23 am

The food looks stunning and everyone looks so happy! :-)

Comment from Tina@foodboozeshoes
Time August 8, 2012 at 9:12 am

Wow, that menu looks pretty delish! Bar H looks like the perfect setting for it too! <3

Comment from gastronomous anonymous
Time August 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm

i was going to go to this, but had to fly out the weekend prior! food looks great and i love the look of the beef ribs!

Comment from Kyrstie @ A Fresh Legacy
Time August 10, 2012 at 7:36 pm

My mouth is watering and I just ate dinner… Looks like it was a fun night.

Comment from Michelle
Time August 11, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Glad you enjoyed it too! Funny that we all have such different tastes textures and flavours we love. I have a thing about balls of flavour so loved the tapioca (and things like salmon row, finger lime, Israeli Cous Cous!)

Comment from Nic@diningwithastud
Time August 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

What an awesome menu :) great experience!

Comment from muppy
Time August 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm

haha texturally challenging! love the group shot. btw i will remember to drop that stuff off soon, it keeps staring at me!

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