On a restau­rant with wings, the menu’s any­thing but plane

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - Ju­dith Elen

MATT Mo­ran, chef at Syd­ney’s Aria Restau­rant, will be fly­ing high in the gal­ley on Sin­ga­pore Air­lines’ in­au­gu­ral su­per-jumbo Air­bus A380 Sin­ga­pore-Syd­ney flight on Thurs­day, to hover over his kitchen cre­ations.

Mo­ran is one of the air­line’s panel of food con­sul­tants and, with Sin­ga­pore chef Sam Leong, has cre­ated the menus for this un­usual fundraiser. The air­line has auc­tioned tick­ets for the first flight on eBay, earn­ing about $S2 mil­lion ($1.53 mil­lion), which will be split three ways be­tween Sin­ga­pore’s Com­mu­nity Chest char­i­ties, Syd­ney’s chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals at Rand­wick and West­mead, and Medecins Sans Fron­tieres. FoodDe­tec­tive last week vis­ited the din­ing room at Cat­erair Air­port Ser­vices near Syd­ney air­port to taste dishes planned for the flight, many of which will be served on the new ser­vice (from Oc­to­ber 28).

De­tec­tive can tes­tify that the A380 will have su­per food, such as Mo­ran’s tomato con­somme with lob­ster medal­lion; many of his dishes are sourced from Aria’s archives. The new busi­ness class will be sim­i­lar to first on nor­mal flights, with caviar on the menu.

The lo­gis­tics of it all are fas­ci­nat­ing. Her­mann Frei­d­anck, the air­line’s Sin­ga­pore­based food and bev­er­age man­ager, says cater­ing for the A380 is like do­ing ‘‘ four wed­dings, a con­fer­ence and a state ban­quet’’, all at the same venue.

De­tec­tive has picked up some in­ter­est­ing point­ers about air­line food. Mo­ran says baked eggs work bet­ter than scram­bled or omelettes. Ev­ery­thing must be spicier than nor­mal be­cause the dry air on board af­fects the taste­buds. And bread dries out faster. www.sin­ga­pore­air.com.au.

TAPAS star Frank Camorra of Melbourne’s MoVida will trans­port his ex­per­tise to Bris­bane’s De­pot Em­po­rium, where he’s been tapas con­sul­tant for the past 18 months, for the state launch of his book MoVida:Span­ishCuli­naryAd­ven­tures. Camorra will pre­pare four dishes from the book, matched with Span­ish wines; $75 cov­ers four cour­ses and wine, Oc­to­ber 29. (07) 3666 0188; www.thede­pot.com.au.

TAY­LORS Wines, still fam­ily-owned af­ter three decades in South Aus­tralia’s Clare Val­ley, has been awarded best in­ter­na­tional red blend at the In­ter­na­tional Wine and Spir­its Com­pe­ti­tion in Lon­don for its Eighty Acres 2005 Caber­net Shi­raz Mer­lot. Man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mitchell Tay­lor says it’s down to skilled play­ers, team­work, pas­sion, vi­sion and good soil. www.tay­lor­swines.com.au.

THE mid-north coast of NSW is well and truly on the front burner for food lovers, with winer­ies, cheese-mak­ers, cof­fee roast­ers. Port Mac­quarie’s Tast­ings of the Hast­ings is in its third year; hith­erto a one-day fete, it now runs for 10 days, end­ing Oc­to­ber 28. Din­ners, demon­stra­tions at The Com­pany Farm (fresh pro­duce sup­plier to Syd­ney restau­rant Sailor’s Thai), bush-tucker rain­for­est tours with an Abo­rig­i­nal elder, and a 60-stall farm­ers’ mar­ket (Oc­to­ber 28, 8am-2pm). (02) 6581 8633; www.portmac­quarie info.com.au.

ORANGE Wine Week, in the cen­tral NSW foodie town, also got un­der way yes­ter­day. Seventy events over the next nine days (it’s a long week) in­clude din­ners and tast­ings, and cul­mi­nate in a grand finale of food and wine stalls at the Orange Botanic Gar­dens (Oc­to­ber 28, 11am-4pm). (02) 6360 1990; www.tas­te­o­r­ange. com.au. ■ CHEF Grant School­ing, from Kur­ra­jong Restau­rant at Ade­laide’s Chi­fley Ho­tel, pit­ting his culi­nary imag­i­na­tion against 150 in­ter­na­tional con­tenders in Bei­jing re­cently, won the gold medal at the World Mush­room Cook­ing Com­pe­ti­tion. It’s our third con­sec­u­tive win and the Aus­tralian Mush­room Grow­ers’ an­nual Mush­room Ma­nia com­pe­ti­tion, held in restau­rants and clubs across Aus­tralia, has fur­nished the Bei­jing win­ners (www.mush­room­ma­nia. com.au). School­ing flew the flag in China; one of his win­ning dishes was chicken breast stuffed with shi­itake mush­rooms, Tas­ma­nian brie and Aus­tralian wal­nuts, served with lemon vin­cotto and a glass of d’Aren­berg The Olive Grove Chardon­nay from McLaren Vale in South Aus­tralia.

AT the re­cent launch of Pauline Nguyen’s Se­cret­soft­heRedLan­tern at her fam­ily’s restau­rant in Syd­ney’s Surry Hills ( Red Lantern), Danks Street De­pot chef Jared Inger­soll let De­tec­tive in on his plan to cre­ate an in­ner-city vegie patch. It in­volves a Wa­ter Board prop­erty in Surry Hills and a lot of card­board pack­ing to cre­ate the equiv­a­lent of deep beds, with soil added for an or­ganic base. It all hinges on the land­hold­ers. Inger­soll could start an in­nercity trend for kitchen-gar­den al­lot­ments on aban­doned land.

At the launch, Mur­doch Books pub­lisher Kay Scar­lett, the other wo­man be­hind Se­cret­soft­heRedLan­tern, told De­tec­tive about one cri­te­rion for se­lect­ing food books for pub­li­ca­tion: they must be able to stand alone, with­out the sup­port of the chef’s restau­rant. Nguyen’s book is two in one: prized fam­ily recipes, plus the story of the fam­ily’s flight from war-torn Viet­nam.

HOME­SICK in Helsinki? A group of Aus­tralians and New Zealan­ders last year opened the Aussie Bar, which serves Aussie and Kiwi beers. There’s also meat pies, mu­sic, danc­ing and live sports on big screens. You have been warned. Salomonkatu 5, Kamppi, Helsinki. www.aussiebar.net. ■ FIND of the week: Who ever thought teabags could be el­e­gant? Si­mon John­son’s new se­lec­tion (Grand Yun­nan, Earl Grey in­fused with berg­amot, Trop­i­cal Blend Green with petals and pineap­ple. . .) come in shiny, hand-stitched, biodegrad­able fab­ric bags, with the gen­er­ous serve of whole-leaf tea vis­i­ble. $14.95 a 15-bag packet. www.si­mon­john­son.com. ■ DE­TEC­TIVE loves: Moet & Chan­don’s stylish pres­ence at David Jones food hall oys­ter bars in Bourke Street, Melbourne, and Mar­ket Street, Syd­ney. Fol­low­ing a style set at Lon­don’s Sel­fridges and at New York fash­ion weeks, M&C’s cus­tomised bars serve Brut Im­pe­rial, Rose Im­pe­rial, Nec­tar Im­pe­rial and Grand Vin­tage 2000, with matched tast­ing plates. Un­til Novem­ber 10. ■ DE­TEC­TIVE loathes: Cafes serv­ing teapots with bags (of­ten just one); pro­fes­sional kitchens can surely cope with loose leaves.

in­dul­gence@theaus­tralian.com.au

On air: Matt Mo­ran

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