Hats on and off at Syd­ney res­tau­ra­teurs’ night of nerves

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - Susan Kuro­sawa

NTheSyd­neyMorn­ingHer­ald ’ Good Food Guide Awards, held at the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art at the APEC-en­forced Cir­cu­lar Quay on Mon­day night.

Even the most com­pet­i­tive (catty?) among the as­sem­bled crowd couldn’t help but ap­plaud an­other suc­cess for Tet­suya Wakuda’s world-ac­claimed venue. Travel& In­dul­gence ’ s Alis­tair Jones stood in for FoodDe­tec­tive and re­ports that al­though there was no blood on the floor, there were gasps of mock hor­ror and flexed claws at a few of the night’s sur­prises. ‘‘ It’s like school bul­lies wait­ing to pounce on the new kids,’’ com­mented one guest.

Chef’s hat rat­ings came and went but it was the loss of one hat each for Guillaume at Ben­ne­long (from three to two) and Bathers’ Pavil­ion (one to zilch) that got the crowd of res­tau­ra­teurs, press and food­ies nat­ter­ing. Per­haps it was just as well the Good Food Guide edi­tors didn’t choose the de­moted Guillaume at Ben­ne­long as the awards venue. It hosted the event last year and food ap­par­ently was many notches above, and more plen­ti­ful than, that of the MCA’s cater­ers.

Aria and Rock­pool failed to pick up that elu­sive third hat but Tony Bil­son sighed O shock hor­ror that Tet­suya’s should be named restau­rant of the year at

s with re­lief when Bil­son’s re­mained a firm three-hat­ter, one of seven in the city. He told Jones he had put on 7kg dur­ing his re­cent visit to France, in­ter­view­ing (and pre­sum­ably eat­ing the spoils of) ris­ing Miche­lin-hat­ted stars.

De­spite the ri­val­ries, Jones re­ports he viewed one vi­gnette that sums up the pos­i­tive side of the awards. Dar­leys, the her­itage restau­rant at Lil­ian­fels in the Blue Moun­tains, kept its first hat in the re­gional cat­e­gory. The Lil­ian­fels rep­re­sen­ta­tives glowed with de­light only to al­most faint with joy mo­ments later when Dar­leys won best re­gional restau­rant.

The Good Food Guide 2008 is now on sale; for the first time, there are half-points and ‘‘ the bar has risen’’, say co-edi­tors Si­mon Thom­sen and Joanna Sav­ill, ‘‘ to a score of 14.5 for a restau­rant to earn a chef’s hat’’. The ones to watch? The freshly capped Glebe Point Diner, with its com­fort food, and Azuma, where chef Kim­i­taka Azuma must surely as­pire to a sec­ond hat to join fel­low Ja­panese-Aus­tralian chef Ryuichi Yoshii of the stel­lar Yoshii at The Rocks.

ASIDE from the ac­co­lades for es­tab­lished res­tau­ra­teurs, it’s good to note that new­bies and vet­er­ans are not forgotten in theSMH an­nual award­fest. Daniel Hong of Bent­ley Restau­rant & Bar picked up the Josephine Pig­no­let Best Young Chef tro­phy while Michael Man­ners, for­merly of Selkirks, Orange, was hon­oured with the Vit­to­ria Leg­end award for his con­tri­bu­tion to re­gional fine din­ing.

De­tec­tive fondly re­mem­bers de­li­ciously drawn-out week­end lunches in the 1980s at Man­ners’s Glenella at Black­heath in the Blue Moun­tains. By the way, his ut­terly charm­ing for­mer wife Monique Man­ners is now in charge of guest re­la­tions at Lil­ian­fels, bring­ing an ex­tra rung of savoir faire to pro­ceed­ings.

THE Strath­bo­gie re­gion, 90 min­utes north of Melbourne, is where to head on Septem­ber 30 for win­ing and din­ing with a lo­cal flavour. The White Hart Ho­tel at Long­wood will host a lunch fea­tur­ing lo­cal pro­duce, fol­lowed by tast­ings from 2.30pm to 5pm at­tended by wine­mak­ers from the parish. White Hart’s co-pro­pri­etor Na­di­ene Power says, ‘‘ Our chef Vikram Ko­tam­raju will pre­pare a spe­cial lunch fea­tur­ing lo­cal pro­duce, matched to some fine ex­am­ples of Strath­bo­gie wines.’’

Power adds that more than 75 per cent of the wines she serves are sourced lo­cally. Strath­bo­gie pri­mar­ily pro­duces shi­raz and caber­net, and dis­trict winer­ies in­clude Elgo Es­tate, Long­wood Win­ery, May­gars Hill, Plun­kett Fowles, Daw­son & Wills and Kith­brook Es­tate. Lunch is a mod­est $35 for two cour­ses or $45 for three cour­ses, in­clud­ing matched wines. Book­ings es­sen­tial. (03) 5798 5203; white.hart@big­pond.com.au.

THERE are whis­pers of a heav­enly new brew out west, ac­cord­ing to New Nor­cia’s Belinda Hill. She tells De­tec­tive that Chuck Hahn of Syd­ney’s Malt Shovel Brew­ery (of James Squire fame) has hand­crafted a lim­ited edi­tion Abbey Ale for the Bene­dic­tine monks of New Nor­cia, 132km north of Perth and dubbed ‘‘ Aus­tralia’s only monas­tic town’’.

The brew is de­scribed as ‘‘ a tra­di­tional monas­tic ale, golden in colour, blessed with scents of fruit and spice, with a del­i­cate cham­pagne-like fin­ish bal­anced with just a hint of bit­ter­ness’’.

Hahn will launch the fine brew at New Nor­cia on Septem­ber 23; Abbey Ale will be avail­able ex­clu­sively on tap and in six­packs and car­tons from the New Nor­cia Ho­tel. www.newnor­cia.com; www.malt­shovel.com.au.

READER David Wil­liams of North Ade­laide writes to say that, mo­ti­vated by our fea­ture on best af­ter­noon teas ( Travel& In­dul­gence , Fe­bru­ary 24-25), he re­cently sam­pled the spread at Clar­idges, Lon­don. In­dul­gent? Yes. Hang the cost? Why not.

He asks for fur­ther rec­om­men­da­tions in the Bri­tish cap­i­tal. Of course there’s the splen­dour and his­tory of The Ritz and The Savoy, but on De­tec­tive ’ s spe­cial list are Brown’s (re­opened af­ter a full facelift), The Berke­ley (its fun Pret-a-Portea is in­spired by fash­ion trends) or, for a soup­con of French flair, the Rose Room at the Sof­i­tel St James (with a glass of Lenotre Rose cham­pagne to ease down the scones).

FIND of the week: Tas­ma­nia’s The Pinot Shop at 135 Pater­son St, Launce­s­ton, spe­cialises in pre­mium pinot noir, pinot gris, pinot gri­gio and sparkling wines. There are good-value buys on­line, in­clud­ing specials such as Carpene Mal­volti sparkling pinot nero ($19.99), de­scribed as ‘‘ maraschino cherry in a bot­tle’’. Sounds like just the shot for sum­mer. www.pinot­shop.com.

DE­TEC­TIVE loves: Jan Nash’s Pastilla Nash prune and wal­nut log (260g), an in­tensely flavoured, all-nat­u­ral del­i­cacy (per­fect with cheese) pack­aged in 20 serves. Bravo to Nash: the prod­uct is ha­lal and kosher cer­ti­fied and is sell­ing a storm over­seas. It’s served in Qan­tas first class and at Tet­suya’s. www.pastil­lanash.com.

DE­TEC­TIVE loathes: The im­mi­nent finale, next Fri­day, of the latest se­ries of Great Bri­tishMenu on the Lifestyle Food chan­nel. This has been ad­dic­tive television fare as top Brit chefs bat­tle it out to cook for a ban­quet hosted by the Bri­tish am­bas­sador to France. And the star of the se­ries? With­out doubt, earthy Ir­ish­man Richard Cor­ri­gan of Soho’s Lind­say House, one of Lon­don’s hot-ticket restau­rants. De­tec­tive is in mourn­ing un­til the next round. Ju­dith Elen is on as­sign­ment.

Sushi star: Yoshii

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.