Sydney smokehouse of esteem NOLA, which overlooks the pointy end of Barangaroo (well, at least until Packer’s hotly debated monolith of a casino stymies the view), has teamed up with the highly celebrated champagne maison Taittinger, to deliver an experimental lunch next month, and the menu is huge.
While many sommeliers prefer to match fine champagne with cheese or fresh fruits, NOLA’s Jarrod Mills, in partnership with Champagne Taittinger, pours out some of the tastiest and rarest drops from the cellar alongside rich, smoked sausage and lashings of heavily dressed smoky meats. And it’s a surprisingly perfect pairing.
This pairing harks back to the heavy French influence in New Orleans, arguably the birthplace of some of America’s most famous cooking, which is on display at NOLA. NOLA smokes approximately 100 chickens, 175kg of brisket, 75kg of house-made sausage and 90kg of pork shoulder for pulled pork weekly, and has fast become one of Sydney’s favourite places for smoked meats. The two enormous smoking ovens housed in the kitchen are also used for other produce, including yoghurt and oysters.
Available for one day only, on the 15th of September, guests will enjoy cocktails and appetisers (a lot of appetisers) including bread from Victoire with whipped maple and chicken butter, smoked ocean trout with beetroot jam, and cajun fried shrimp, amongst others.
Then there’s the main course. Or rather, three of them. BBQ pork ribs are dished up with fried brussels sprouts before being cleared to make way for the famous house-made twice smoked sausage, a melange of beef, pork and spices, which is paired with blackened carrots and smoked yoghurt. These are both served with Taittinger’s Folies de la Maquetterie and Prestige Rose, respectively.
Lastly is NOLA’s star of the show, the beef brisket. From Rangers Valley, the black onyx brisket has been cooked slow enough to make it fall apart on the tongue. Served with a boise boudran relish and chilli-dusted fries, this is a seriously tasty slice of meat, though a tall order to fit in after the previous offerings. The delicious 2009 Millesime from Taittinger helps with digestion, and given there’s only a handful of these bottles left, a good opportunity to get a taste before it’s all gone.
Dessert, by the end, feels superfluous, as the thought of any more food is jarring. When it arrives, however, you’ll find your second stomach. Passionfruit s’mores (a little fancier than your average campfire fodder) are served with the NV Nocturne release, a delicious finale to the affair.
Not only is this an excellent showcase of NOLA’s impressive abilities with a smoker, it’s a successful marriage of two seemingly dichotomous concepts: the refined, delicate, balanced nature of vintage champagne, and the rich, fatty, sticky texture of smoked meats. But it works, and for AU $120, you too could be gorging on giant plates of the good stuff while sipping the better stuff.
But get in fast, it’s a one-off, and selling out by the minute.
The NOLA X Champagne Taittinger long lunch is on the 15th of September at NOLA’s Barangaroo dining room. Tickets are $120pp and available at the link below.