Crowning glory rewards Perry’s bold southern migration
RIVALRY between Melbourne and Sydney takes on a new complexion with Sydney chef Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar & Grill at Melbourne’s Crown Casino named restaurant of the year at
Good Food Guide awards, announced on Monday night at the National Gallery of Victoria.
When Perry was setting up his costly Crown operation, some commentators wondered whether he was plunging in over his head, but diners are flocking in.
Travel&Indulgence ’ s Melbourne Tables reviewer, George Megalogenis, recently described Crown as the Sydney end of Melbourne. But other winners in the awards are deeply Melbourne, offering modern cuisine steeped in traditional influences.
Chef George Calombaris flavours his modern dishes with Greek cooking traditions, following in the path of one of his role models, Melbourne chef Greg Malouf with his Lebanese modern.
Calombaris has had some professional ups and downs in the past, but is feted as chef of the year in the awards. And his restaurant, The Press Club, which The Age ’ s John Lethlean describes as ‘‘ one of the most exciting restaurants to open in Melbourne this decade’’, has been named best new restaurant.
Italian style in Cafe di Stasio, opened in 1988, won the professional excellence award for owner Ronnie di Stasio.
Markdowns include Vue de Monde (last
Gourmet year’s top restaurant and
’ s only three-star spot in Victoria; ( FoodDetective August 18-19), from three hats to two.
Regional restaurants with two hats are up by one to four ( Lake House, Daylesford; Simone’s of Bright; Stefano’s, Mildura; The Range, Myrtleford) and one-hat hits are up by three to 14.
STILL in Melbourne, the Maloufs are on the move again. Geoff Malouf (formerly of Zum Zum and still of Arabesque), restaurant-owning brother of chef Greg, is dusting off the grit from just-completed building work at his new venture, 80-seat Mamaganoush at 56 Chapel St (the bohemian end), Windsor.
‘‘ It’s like my first time,’’ Geoff says of tussles with builders, architects and designers. But after a week’s run-through with chefs and kitchen staff, the team expects to have a trial opening on September 8 and to officially open the doors on September 9.
Geoff is in partnership with brother-inlaw Michael Baroud, with hands-on help from brother Greg.
Backstage will be an impressive cast: Greg will be there for the first week (or two or three, Geoff says), and he has lured Eric Hendry, from Taxi, as head chef, with recruits from Circa, the Prince and MoMo. The look and feel of the place will be New York meets Casablanca, Geoff says.
And the food? Just to whet the appetite: spiced boned quail wrapped in vine leaves, wagyu beef shish kebab with Syrian chopped green salad, and chocolate halva ice cream with fig fritters.
IN the spirit of CalendarGirls and do-ityourself fundraising, a group of women from the Hay Plains in NSW plan to spin gold from a pile of old recipes. They’ve put together a cookbook— not a calendar and with no artistic nudes— with lots of good home recipes, great pictures and some worthy causes lined up to benefit. (It has distracted them from the drought, the women say.)
($20) is a glossy hardback with more than 100 recipes, bits about plains life and 20 pages of photographs of Hay kids.
The women have collected the recipes from families throughout the region, some handed down through generations.
If you’re in the vicinity, food author Anneke Manning will show food from the book at a launch at One Tree Hotel, a Cobb & Co staging post (then Finch’s Inn), on the Cobb Highway, north of Hay, on September 15, 11am; $10, including lunch. (02) 6993 1757. (This is also the restored inn’s first function for many decades.)
And the worthy causes: Hay Mobile Children’s Service (a remote regions childcare operation), Hay Preschool Kindergarten and Hay School of the Air Parents & Citizens Association. The book can be ordered on (02) 6993 3059.
WINE writer Jeremy Oliver has a line-up of 20 great cabernet sauvignons — all 2004 vintages, from Coonawarra, Yarra Valley, Margaret River, Hawkes Bay, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Napa Valley and more— to taste and talk about at Zema Estate, Riddoch Highway, Coonawarra, South Australia, on September 15, 10am-3pm. Cost: $250, including lunch prepared by Francesca and Teresa Zema. Bookings: (08) 8736 3219; www.zema.com.au.
THE chef and the writer, Kylie Kwong and Tim Winton, have joined forces to publicise the plight of the once bounteous seas. Awareness of the seafood we eat, what species are over-fished and endangered, and why, is crucial to us all, consumers and fishermen, as well as the planet.
Did you know, for example, that sharks and rays — as well as long-lived deep-sea fish — should be kept off our tables and in the seas? Farming is not necessarily the answer either.
The Sustainable Seafood Guide ($9.95), produced by the Australian Marine Conservation Society, was launched last week at Kwong’s Surry Hills (Sydney) restaurant, Billy Kwong.
The society’s website has lots of information for starters, but the guide, for sale online, helps support the organisation and tells us all we need to know to eat fish into the future. www.marineconservation.org.au.
SHAW Vineyard Estate, in Murrumbateman, north of Canberra, has turned over its two-year-old vineyard restaurant to award-winning Canberra caterer Kitchen Witchery.
Vineyard owner Graeme Shaw tells Detective the wines are reaping such success in shows and reviews that it’s time to focus on core business. The restaurant is in the hands of chef Sven Hossack-Smith and doing well. Open Friday evenings; for long lunches Thursday to Sunday, and Sunday breakfasts. A new spring menu will be in place soon. www.shawvineyards.com.au.
Find of the week: EatYourWords:AMenu SpellerforFoodies by Helen Lucas and Brenda Millott ($22.95) is a handy little primer that should be within reach anywhere food, staff and public come into contact. It includes comprehensive lists of dishes and ingredients; covers Japanese, Italian, Indian and Mexican; and offers an alphabetical list with phonetic pronunciation. More: Futura Training, 1300 651 040.
loves: The latest kitchen film. No, not Catherine Zeta-Jones’s No Reservations but Ratatouille, the animated story of a French rat. Detective has had a sneak preview and was entranced. As a gourmand, Remy’s an outsider in the ’ hood, nor is he accepted in the kitchens of the best Paris restaurants he aspires to frequent. The film’s catchcry is that everyone can cook. And Remy does. The kitchen detail is brilliant (the credits include some leading restaurants), and watch for the delicious critic Anton Ego ( Peter O’Toole). In cinemas Thursday. www.ratatouille.com.
loathes: First, the steady disappearance of BYO restaurants in Sydney and, then, if bottles are allowed, the beyond extravagant corkage charges.
Homely: Hay cookbook