Tonight on MKR, the second round of instant restaurants began with six new teams and a new judge: internationally-renowned food critic Matt Preston.
West Australian chilli-head mates Che (43) and Dave’s (35) huge risk presenting a chilli-themed menu paid off. The team’s instant restaurant scored 77/110 and set a high bar for the rest of the competition.
Che and Dave served Hot and Sour Tom Yum Soup for their entrée. Critiques from the teams were mixed, with some citing a lack of flavour and heat, saying the team had played it safe.
Judges Manu and Matt both praised the dish. “Amazing soup, I loved it. Hot, tick. It could have been hotter. Sour, tick. It could have been sourer. But the fact that you added that half a lime was genius because if that wasn’t there, the soup, hot and sour, wouldn’t be what you guys were selling,” said Manu.
Matt was a fan of the dish but encouraged the team to be “bolder and brasher” with their remaining dishes for the night.
Che and Dave presented Crispy Skin Barramundi with Hot Thai Green Curry Sauce and Garlic Rice for the main. The flavours of the dish were a hit around the table, with the judges overlooking the failed crispy skin on their fish.
“Che and Dave. Yum. Just yum. I love that you were more confident with your chilli,” said Matt. “I like that your green curry sauce had some proper salty punch. I can forgive the crispy skin. Would’ve loved a bit more garlic, but who cares when the sauce is that good and when the fish is cooked that well?”
Manu agreed, saying the fish was cooked to perfection and awarded the team a perfect 10 for their main.
Riding high on the success of their main, Che and Dave plated up a dessert of Poached Nashi Pear with Watermelon, Peanuts and Chilli Syrup.
Manu was confused by the dish saying the favour combinations didn’t work and the pear should have been the hero of the dish, sharing: “I’m the type of guy who loves to be adventurous in eating and making food. But I also believe in traditional flavours to marry together on a plate. And funnily enough, for me, it just didn’t work as much as I was hoping for.”
Matt commended the team for taking on a brave dessert but was also confused by the flavour combinations: “I think the success of the dish is the textures. When you poach a nashi pear, it almost becomes jellylike. And that’s great with the fresh wet crunch of the watermelon or the crunch of the peanuts. But I think in terms of the flavour, it just gets confused.”