Where Luke Mangan, Guy Grossi, Matt Moran and co eat in the country
TEN OF AUSTRALIA’S MOST CELEBRATED FOODIES SHARE THEIR FAVOURITE REGIONAL DESTINATIONS.
1 CHRISTINE MANFIELD HOBART AND SURROUNDS, TASMANIA Each year, renowned chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Christine Manfield hosts an intimate, seven-day Tasting Tassie tour that starts in Hobart and takes in a sea-foraging cruise and a paddock-to-plate cooking lesson at The Agrarian Kitchen in Lachlan, 45 minutes west of the city. “You’re spoilt for choice in this region,” Christine says. “It’s so rich with food and wine experiences, dedicated, passionate producers and farmers, clean air, space and creative energy.” Saturday mornings should be spent at the markets — “Look for Provenance Growers, the primary reason to visit Salamanca Market” — before meandering along the coast road through Kettering, Woodbridge and Birchs Bay. Then head west, to Cygnet, for lunch at The Lotus Eaters. Other must-haves: the pork belly with black pepper caramel at Asian-influenced restaurant Aloft in Hobart, and a bottle of D’meure Wines Pinot Noir (vintage 2015 or earlier). Produced on the shores of the D’entrecasteaux Channel, “it’s the best pinot made in Australia,” says Christine. For accommodation, try MONA Pavilions, the beautifully restored Islington in South Hobart or Somerset on the Pier.
2 ROSS LUSTED BYRON BAY REGION, NSW When 2016 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Restaurant of the Year winners Ross and Sunny Lusted take a break from running the three-hatted The Bridge Room in Sydney’s CBD, they head north to the blue skies and rolling hinterland of Byron Bay. “I love the combination of rural and beach experiences,” says Ross. After lazy days spent swimming, and foraging for produce and mementos at the local markets — “some of the highlights for me are Byron Sugar Cane Juice, Bee Raw honey and Louise Gordon ceramics” — Ross savours yakitori, and the organic tofu and wakame salad at Kinoko Sushi Bar & Restaurant in Byron or heads 20 minutes north to sample the “very of-the-moment menu” at tiny Fleet in Brunswick Heads. When they’re not renting a house in the region, the couple love to stay within the rainforest setting of five-star The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, and often meet family from Brisbane halfway at Paper Daisy restaurant at Halcyon House on Cabarita Beach. 3 GUILLAUME BRAHIMI MARGARET RIVER, WA The Margaret River is such a beautiful and special part of Australia,” says French-born, Sydney-based chef and cookbook author Guillaume Brahimi, who has visited the south-west region of WA several times as part of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape festival held in November. The white-gold sand and turquoise shallows of Yallingup and Castle Bay beaches are always a highlight for the award-winning chef — who currently runs hatted restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne, and a bistro in Perth — as are the region’s wineries. “I have a soft spot for Cullen Wines and my dear friend Vanya Cullen,” he says. “My favourite WA wine is Cullen Kevin John chardonnay and we have always had it on our wine lists.” When it comes to produce, local marron “is one of the best ingredients in Australia and the truffles, I think they are as good as the ones from Europe”. >
Chef Christine Manfield says Tasmania is a top spot for food and wine experiences. FACING PAGE, CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT Halcyon House, a boutique hotel at Cabarita Beach, is home to Paper Daisy restaurant; Ross Lusted, chef and owner of Sydney’s The Bridge Room; Cullen Wines’ vineyard in Margaret River, WA; chef Guillaume Brahimi.