Camping isn’t quite to everyone’s tastes, especially mine. I’ve always been a proponent of the idea that the comforts of the modern western world deserve appreciation. Sleeping on the ground and crapping in the woods is nothing but a proverbial middle finger at the wondrous human inventions of spring mattresses and flushing toilets.
Nevertheless, just over a month ago I headed off to Splendour in the Grass and had to prepare myself to ditch my usual standards of food and personal hygeine. When we stopped in at Port Macquarie on the night before the festival I thought I may as well make the most of it while I could before getting into wet-wipe ‘showers’ and canned soup. After a bissful 30-minute shower I headed down to Fusion 7 for dinner.
The menu was, well, fusion-y, with flavours from all over the globe. It was a little bizarre seeing things like fried soft shell crab with tamarind chilli caramel next to grilled kangaroo with wattleseed salad, but I suppose they can’t lose any points for variety.
(By the way, I didn’t bring my camera on the trip, so you will have to make do with iPhone photos).
Crispy skinned saltwater barramundi ($35).
This dish had an East African influence to it, with the slices of fried plantain and curry-like lentils. The coconut broth was fresh with ginger and fresh coriander and complemented the fish well. Sweet, zingy black pepper jam made the dish interesting; it’s definitely something I would like to eat again.
Pan roasted duck breast ($35).
Bob’s choice of duck was served with a taro ‘hash brown’, roast pear, coconut raita and curry leaf chutney. This was certainly a little further up on the ‘fusion’ scale.
Spanish manchego ($15)
I normally like to finish with a sweet, however this time I decided to go for cheese instead. The manchego was crumbly and buttery in texture and had a strong-flavoured rind almost reminiscent of blue cheese. It paired well with the sticky quenelle of quince paste and rosemary croutons.
Warm blackberry and candied ginger pudding ($15)
The moist pudding had a tart blackberry topping, which went well with the lemon syrup and creamy lemon verbena ice cream. The ginger flavour was a little too strong for my liking, although Bob enjoyed it.
I have to admit I was surprised at the quality of food considering the size of the town. It wasn’t just ‘good for Port Macquarie’, it was actually good, with a menu that would easily hold up in Melbourne or Sydney. Well worth a visit if you’re ever in that part of the country.
My only complaint? It made camping food seem even worse.Fusion Seven 124 Horton Street Port Macquarie, NSW