Crown­ing glory re­wards Perry’s bold south­ern mi­gra­tion

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - Ju­dith Elen

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;

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.marinecon­ser­va­

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.shawvine­

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.rata­


loathes: First, the steady dis­ap­pear­ance of BYO restau­rants in Syd­ney and, then, if bot­tles are al­lowed, the be­yond ex­trav­a­gant cork­age charges.


Homely: Hay cook­book

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