SUGAR HIT

This mod-thai eatery is crank­ing up the vol­ume serv­ing In­sta­gram-wor­thy fare washed down with cool ‘rock­tails’

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Eat Out -

ROCK SUGAR: RE­VIEWED BY DAN STOCK

IT’S the loud­est thing to hit sleepy Hawks­burn vil­lage. It’s cer­tainly the bright­est. And, judg­ing by the full house this cold, mid­week night, right now it’s also the hottest.

Rock Sugar is the lat­est venue adding to the grow­ing canon of funky panAsian din­ers that have taken the city by storm. Here, with Kam Mc­manamey on the woks, it’s a mod-thai, share-plate af­fair bathed in neon pur­ple. The Spo­tify mix gets the party started with Mariah Carey’s Emo­tions, while the bub­ble cup ma­chine helps it along with #rock­tails mak­ing boozy he­roes of ly­chee, co­conut, ginger and pan­dan.

Mc­manamey (ex-bang­pop and Bother­ambo) is a dab hand at turn­ing chilli-fired Thai flavours into cooler zingy ver­sions that keep the crowds com­ing back for more.

Dishes such as the mas­saman spring rolls, where Flin­ders Is­land lamb cooked down into co­conut-sticky sub­mis­sion is wrapped in a thick pas­try blan­ket, might not be au­then­tic, but they’re most cer­tainly tasty and high­light a fo­cus on prime pro­duce worlds away from the streets of Bangkok.

Chilli caramel-driz­zled chicken ribs fried to a crunch make good friends with a frosty Singha beer poured on tap, while one-bite won­ders to start in­clude vi­brant smoked ocean trout spiked with kaf­fir lime and dot­ted with roe on a be­tel leaf – ready to wrap and roll.

Mc­manamey’s mas­saman curry is gen­er­ous with chunks of slow-cooked beef, his red duck even bet­ter for those seek­ing some heat, but it’s the baby snap­per, crunchy coated and stand­ing to at­ten­tion bar­ing its fangs for the cam­era, that’s the menu’s real In­sta-hit.

When your mar­tini is frocked up with fairy floss, or comes as vod­kadriz­zled choco­late sor­bet spiked with scud chilli, you know Rock Sugar has fun times writ large, which the bub­bly staff help de­liver. It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s full. Hawks­burn is rock­ing.

LA DOLCE vita, Ital­ian for “the sweet life”, is not merely the name of Sil­via Col­loca’s new cook­book, but a seem­ingly ac­cu­rate way to sum up her life.

The opera singer, ac­tor, food blogger, au­thor, TV host, wife to ac­claimed ac­tor Richard Roxburgh and mother of two young boys is what could be de­scribed as the ul­ti­mate over­achiever. Her quiver of tal­ents is so vast that it could ren­der some peo­ple en­vi­ous – that is, if she wasn’t so damned like­able.

“Ev­ery­body is made of so many mil­lion things that they do. I think I just made it a point to let everyone know that I do them, which wasn’t very hum­ble of me,” the raven-haired Ital­ian beauty says with a coy smile.

“But I just want to do more and to be given the op­por­tu­nity to do them pro­fes­sion­ally and I never want to choose.”

Re­fresh­ingly hon­est, sidesplit­tingly funny and brac­ingly au­then­tic, Col­loca could bring a buzz to any­thing.

No doubt it is her ef­fer­ves­cent na­ture that has led to a string of new projects of late.

She’s just fin­ished star­ring as the Wicked Queen in an Opera Queens­land pro­duc­tion of Snow White at Bris­bane’s La Boite the­atre, wrapped film­ing on her new ABC food se­ries, Sil­via’s Ital­ian Ta­ble, and re­leased her third cook­book, La Dolce Vita, which hits shelves to­mor­row.

But the 40-year-old ad­mits that hav­ing her fin­gers in so many pies means, oc­ca­sion­ally, one of those dig­its gets burnt.

“It doesn’t al­ways trans­late to a very sweet life be­cause I lose it quite of­ten,” the mum to Raphael, 9, and Miro, 5, says with a giddy laugh.

Home for the fam­ily is Sydney’s North­ern Beaches. The cou­ple met on the set of 2004 movie, Van Helsing. Roxburgh played Drac­ula and she was his bride.

“Both Richard and I, we think we’re the worst school par­ents ever,” she VINO PAR­ADISO Sil­via Col­loca does it all – cook, TV pre­sen­ter, ac­tor, singer, au­thor and mum.

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