Nobu to wow locals with Japanese-Peruvian fusion
NOBU Matsuhisa was in Melbourne this past week overseeing the opening of Nobu Melbourne at Riverside at Crown. Chatting with FoodDetective ’ s colleague Graeme Blundell, the peripatetic Matsuhisa says of his $10 million venture, in conjunction with Australian business partner James Packer and investors such as actor Robert de Niro, ‘‘ I amhere for the long stay.’’
The Japan-born Matsuhisa has 19 restaurants in 15 cities, and his trademark dishes include tiradito Nobu-style (originally a Peruvian dish of briefly marinated, thin-sliced fish); yellowtail with jalapeno; squid pasta; and black cod with miso. Matsuhisa says he has fallen in love with fresh Victorian and Tasmanian produce. ‘‘ Every day the fish suppliers have been bringing wonderful samples to work with, such as sea urchins, abalone and Tasmanian ocean trout. And the Victorian wagyu beef is beautiful.’’
He will not be reinventing his famous cuisine for Australian diners, however.
‘‘ I do not like confusion,’’ he says. ‘‘ Basically, we will be doing Nobu style.’’ That term refers to a marriage of classical Japanese techniques with the pungent tastes Matsuhisa learned to love as a young sushi chef in Peru. ‘‘ I use a lot of truffles and olive oil but there is Japanese flavour in every dish,’’ says the man known as the world’s greatest crossover chef.
It’s obvious to Detective that Matsuhisa’s Japanese-Peruvian fusion is the blended cuisine of the moment, and the Travel& Indulgence team can’t wait to try his ‘‘ newstyle sashimi’’. www.crowncasino.com; www.noburestaurants.com.
AS if proof were needed that food is not being left behind in the west, Indulgence reader Karen Gough, proprietor of Settlers Tavern country pub in WA’s Margaret River, tells Detective how sorely she misses genuine Mexican food, having lived in southern California, where it’s readily available. In response to Detective ’ s report last week of the Guzman y Gomez opening in Sydney’s Bondi Junction, Gough says it’s a challenge getting authentic ingredients but the tavern has had real Baja-style soft tacos on the menu for more than a year. The corn tortillas are made fresh in Perth and cold-freighted to Margaret River. She claims some customers are appalled at not having cardboard-crisp tacos but most are over the moon at trying the real thing. www.settlerstavern.com.
THE people at Greens Foods are baking up a storm and are set to launch a special range of cupcakes in support of breast cancer research. Greens will donate all profits from Pink Ribbon Cupcakes, aiming to raise more than $25,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Detective likes the sound of the bite-sized Pink Ribbon Strawberry Baby Cakes, dainty mouthfuls that come with rosy frosting and rainbow flower icing sprinkles. In two varieties at most supermarkets from August.
THAT most charming of chefs, Elise Pascoe, who recently sold her Elise Pascoe International Cooking School at Jamberoo on the NSW south coast, is about to set off with her husband John Kelly for a dream trip to Italy. To kick off her extended sojourn in the land of pasta and parmigiana, Pascoe has been invited by Venice’s Hotel Cipriani to be special guest at a two-week cooking school. From the last week of September, Britain-based Michel Roux of the Waterside Inn at Bray, a 16th-century village by the River Thames, will be presiding over the pots, in company with an Italian chef. www.hotelcipriani.com.
THE owner and chef of family-run Dunyazad restaurant in Melbourne’s Balwyn North, Walid Talj, is holding an Exotic Tastes of Lebanon cooking class on August 7 at the Queen Victoria Market Electrolux Cooking School (69 Victoria St). A traditional tabouleh, lamb fillets with pomegranate and halwa ice cream will feature; the dishes sound intriguingly exotic but Talj says all can be replicated in home kitchens. Cost: $85. (03) 9320 5835.
EMILY Lyons of High Vale Bio-Dynamic Orchard at Pickering Brook in the Perth hills says there is ‘‘ a wide variety of organic and biodynamic apples, pears, plums, citrus and exotic fruits and nuts’’ in the 18ha orchard. Lyons wrote in response to Nigel Slater’s feature on winter harvests ( Travel& Indulgence , July 21-22); High Vale is open for tours from November 1 to May 31, with hay rides for children. www.highvale.com.
NZ-BOUND travellers should take note of a food and wine weekend on August 10-12 at Kauri Cliffs Lodge & Golf Course in the Northland region. Peter Gago of Penfolds will co-host the festive weekend with awardwinning chef Philip Johnson from Brisbane’s e’cco. Highlights include a tutored wine tasting, a wine-matched degustation dinner showcasing signature dishes from e’cco, cooking class with Johnson, optional golf tournament and Sunday champagne brunch. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.kauricliffs.com.
CONSIDERING the debate on child obesity, fizzy drinks and unhealthy eating habits, here’s some lunchbox food for thought. Seedless watermelon — available year-round, inexpensive and nutritious — adds a splash of sunny colour and one cup contains just 203kj, 0.5g of fat and 10g of natural sugars. This thirst-slaking fruit is also a fine source of vitamin C. More facts and recipes: www.seedless.com.au.
AUSTRALIA’S own master and mistress of spices, Ian and Elizabeth Hemphill (of premium purveyor Herbie’s Spices) will be running a masterclass as part of Slow Food Brisbane on August 18 focused on three warming recipes — vegetarian sambar, Kuwaiti fish stew with black lime, and banana pancakes— and hints on spicing up vegetables and fish. Be speedy: the class is limited to 40. www.slowfoodbrisbane.com.
THE best collective noun for a table of diners ( Detective , July 21-22)? Suggestions are flowing in. Stay tuned.
FIND of the week: Detective spy Nellie Blundell, fresh from several years working in London, has alerted Travel&Indulgence to a blog, LRB, the London Review of Breakfasts. It is a very amusing review site of the best and worst breakfasts in the England capital, designed in style and sometimes pompous tone to ape the LondonReviewofBooks . Contributor names include Armand Croissant and, Detective ’ s favourite, A. A. Grill, a delicious spoof on TheSundayTimes ’ s wonderfully acerbic food critic, A. A. Gill. DETECTIVE loves: The new Chef Inox Firenze cheese knife, 18/10 stainless steel and looking like a mini-scimitar. Stylish and effective for slicing that aged parmigiana reggiano. www.chefinox.com.au. DETECTIVE loathes: Weird, self-conscious attitudes to lone diners. Why do we think of eating in restaurants as a celebration? People need to eat, whether they are in company or not. One magazine recently ran a headline about how to eat alone in a restaurant without looking like a loser.
Top class: Matsuhisa