It’s annual Night Noodle Market time!! I managed to make it this Thursday, the second last night that the event was on, and I was excited to hear that Rekorderlig had a beer garden at this year’s event.
Its been great to see the gradual popularity of cider increase in the market as of late, with myself always getting terribly excited when I enter a bar and see more than one variety of cider offered on tap. However, despite the ease at which you can now order a schooner of cider goodness, there is still the appeal of having your cider presented to you in the traditional glass bottle and enjoying it with a good quality pub bistro meal. There is little doubt there will be a further rise of cider in the craft-beer scene with the deliciously warm summer weather fast approaching.
I remember my very first taste of cider was of Rekorderlig’s apple cider (a sneaky sample sip from someone else’s drink), but since then I’ve tried a variety of different brands, partly to compare and determine which brand I liked the most, but also because none of the bars I frequent stock Rekorderlig, with it being amongst some of the higher-end, premium brands. After hearing that Rekorderlig would be having a beer garden at the Night Noodle Markets, I was quite eager to visit, especially when I heard that they had some food pairings suggested. As someone who has consistently paired my schooner of cider with pub schnitzel with mash, the idea of pairing exotic cider flavours with Asian food was quite foreign to me.
Knowing from previous years that the markets get crowded very quickly, Lara Croft and I turned up at 5pm to the Rekorderlig beer garden. The beer garden was a lovely addition to the markets, set slightly away from the main crowd, with a raised wooden platform on which was arranged wooden outdoor seating and tables, as well as red beanbags for those who wanted to relax a little more! Colourful Chinese paper lanterns had been strung up over our heads. The DJ arrived a little later, playing a good remix of beats which gave the setting an almost tropical-island feel – a little spot of heaven smack bang in the middle of the Sydney CBD!
Of course we weren’t just there to soak up the atmosphere… It was Rekorderlig o’clock! Luckily Lara Croft is a cider fan, so we got a selection of three untried flavours between us: Wild Berry, Mango and Raspberry, and the more classic Pear. The first thing that struck me when they arrived was how clear the ciders were; if you’ve had the opportunity to have cider not straight from the bottle, you would be well aware that the color of cider ranges from dark amber to very clear. The resulting taste varies, but whichever tastes ‘better’ is purely a matter of preference; personally I’ve found I prefer clearer ciders.
Cider-induced happiness, haha! Trying the Wild Berry cider first, I was immediately taken aback by it – it completely wiped my mind clear of every other cider I’ve ever tasted, as it was just so different! Sweet, fresh and not too bubbly, both K and I were entranced that something this delicious could be classified as cider.
I had heard numerous things about the Mango and Raspberry flavour from a friend who is bartender, and upon trying it myself I found the flavour quite enjoyable. The cider had a distinct mango aroma (Lara Croft’s least favourite fruit, so I was happy to have it all to myself), however the dominant flavour in the cider was unmistakenly raspberry throughout. At this point I had a little tantrum over how I was supposed to write a review – these two flavours have blown everything I’ve known about ciders out of my head! Normally after half a schooner of traditional cider I lose interest, but in this case I couldn’t stop guzzling it down.
The last flavour we tried was the pear, and unfortunately due to trying the other two ciders first, the delicate taste of the pear cider was quite lost on our palates. After drinking simply pear cider for a while, it was more easy to detect its honey undertones, however it was also a little less sweeter in its own way and those who enjoy the more traditional ciders will probably favour this taste more.
Pairing ciders with food? Knowing we had two schooners each of bubbly cider to finish, we decided to take it easy with selecting what food to share, and ultimately ended up getting some Dim Sums from the Let’s Do Yum Cha stall (prawn gow gee, chicken dim sums, and pumpkin dumplings – one for $2.50 or five for $10) which apparently would go well with the wild berry cider, and some duck pancakes that were recommended to be paired with apple Rekorderlig.
We had the Dim Sums first and found they went with any of the ciders we had really!
The Dim Sums definitely weren’t as good as the ones you get when dining in at Yum Cha, but for hawker-style, they were passable.
The real revelation came when trying the duck pancakes. While it had been suggested that they be had with apple cider, I tried it with the wild berry cider and ka-boom! The berry flavour of the cider brought out the freshness of the cucumber (normally my nemesis but in this case..) in the pancake, and I swooned at this lovely combination.
Devouring the rest of our food and after two schooners of deliciously sweet cider, Lara Croft and I eventually conceded defeat and thought it were best to give up our seats as the market was rapidly filling up. I sincerely hope the Rekorderlig beer garden returns for the Night Noodle markets next year!
Make sure you get yourselves down tonight for its last night, especially with the beautiful weather today, I can’t think of anything more idyllic than sitting back with friends over a plate of fresh flavoursome food, and an iced bubbly cider in hand; a mini oasis right in the hustle and bustle of the city.