Love and un­der­stand­ing on the menu in restau­rant kitchens

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - Ju­dith Elen

AMOVE is gath­er­ing pace among restau­rants to give some­thing back to their com­mu­ni­ties, from StreetS­mart Aus­tralia’s work with top ta­bles across the states in aid of the home­less at Christ­mas ( FoodDe­tec­tive , Novem­ber 24-25) to Jackie Chan’s Cafe, Cof­fee and Tea in Sin­ga­pore, Kuala Lumpur and Bei­jing, which is linked to the ac­tion star’s Jackie Chan Char­i­ta­ble Foun­da­tion ( De­tec­tive , Novem­ber 10-11). There’s also Kylie Kwong’s car­bon neu­tral­ity at her Syd­ney restau­rant Billy Kwong ( De­tec­tive , Novem­ber 24-25).

The latest to catch De­tec­tive ’ s ear is Kings­leys Steak & Crab­house, with restau­rants in Syd­ney’s Wool­loomooloo, Bris­bane and Can­berra, and an­other set to open in Melbourne in Fe­bru­ary. The group will be giv­ing $1 to the Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice for each of its pa­trons dur­ing the com­ing year. It’s the ser­vice’s 80 birth­day and what bet­ter time? But steak is the link. Kings­leys says it has a work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the coun­try, par­tic­u­larly with the beef farm­ers in Wagga Wagga, in the NSW Rive­rina. Founder Kings­ley Smith (surely a fleet­ing echo of Kings­ford Smith) is a coun­try boy and un­der­stands what the fly­ing doc­tors do in re­mote re­gions. Kings­leys also of­fers on­line shop­ping for pre­mium aged steaks, ham­pers and re­lated gift items. www.kings­leys.com.au.

SOF­FRITTO, the Lig­urian mem­oir lived by Syd­ney chef Lu­cio Gal­letto, writ­ten by David Dale and pub­lished by Allen & Un­win ( De­tec­tive , Novem­ber 3-4), has been named Aus­tralian win­ner, best Ital­ian cui­sine book, in the Gour­mand World Cook­book Awards 2007. Gour­mand re­ceived more than 6000 en­tries from 107 coun­tries. The win­ners will fea­ture at the Gour­mand Ex­hi­bi­tion at the Bei­jing (April) and Frank­furt (Oc­to­ber) book fairs. Sof­fritto is in con­tention for best in the world, to be named in May. Travel&In­dul­gence ’ s James Halliday was 2006 win­ner of Gour­mand’s best wine tourism award for his WineAt­las ofAus­tralia . www.cook­book­fair.com.

A MAR­KET re­search sur­vey in the US has found that so-called food gift­ing is on the in­crease and Omaha Steaks, a 90-year-old fam­ily com­pany in Ne­braska, says it is ‘‘ at the fore­front of this trend’’. Such gift sales, on­line and di­rect mar­ket­ing, amounted to more than $5 bil­lion in 2004-06. Imag­ine if they were do­nat­ing $1 to char­ity for each sale.

A JUST an­nounced part­ner­ship be­tween The Lon­don Book Fair (to be held in Earls Court, April 14-16) and Gour­mand World Cook­book Awards will have lead­ing world chefs giv­ing hour-long food demon­stra­tions to the fair’s 23,000 in­ter­na­tional pub­lish­ing pro­fes­sion­als. www.lon­don­book­fair.co.uk.

MELBOURNE chef Greg Malouf has re­cently launched a new Hong Kong restau­rant, Malouf’s Arabesque Cui­sine. When he be­gan con­sult­ing three years ago on Olive, on Hong Kong Is­land, it was the first mod­ern Mid­dle East­ern restau­rant in the city, he says. The present ven­ture, also es­tab­lished by Din­ing Con­cepts, the group be­hind Olive, is in Kowloon’s new El­e­ments Com­plex and is a rather more glam­orous af­fair than Olive, Malouf says. Adrian Hall, ex Melbourne’s Taxi restau­rant, will be front of house and chef Robin Sut­cliffe, most re­cently of Vic­to­ria’s Healesville Ho­tel, where he gar­nered two chef’s hats, will head the kitchen. Malouf will be back in Hong Kong to see how things are go­ing in early March. www.gregmalouf.com.au; www.din­ing­con­cepts.com.hk.

SCOTT Gled­hill, for­merly on the wait staff at Tabou in Syd­ney’s Surry Hills, re­ports that North­bridge Ho­tel at 57 Strathallen Ave, North­bridge, is be­com­ing some­thing of a gas­tropub. Gled­hill has moved in as restau­rant man­ager. He tells De­tec­tive Clover Bar + Din­ing is a white-table­cloth af­fair on the first floor and the names in the kitchen show great prom­ise. Chef Kenji Okuda worked briefly un­der Matt Mo­ran at Aria and has been in­volved with Toko, the Well­come Ho­tel and Three Clicks West, and sous chef Donna Chou was ap­pren­tice un­der Luke Man­gan and was named NSW ap­pren­tice of the year in her third year. There’s a ground-floor bistro, a cock­tail lounge and private din­ing room. Clover opens Tues­day to Satur­day, from 6pm.

THE world’s largest food and drinks trade fair, Anuga, held re­cently in Cologne, Ger­many, saw a record num­ber of Aus­tralian ex­hibitors among the 6000 rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 95 coun­tries. Among them was De­tec­tive ’ s favourite for em­bel­lish­ing mi­nor bub­bles (the pre­mium va­ri­eties are best left un­adorned), the Wild Hibis­cus Flower Com­pany’s blood-red bloom, which comes in a small jar of dark syrup and sits in the base of your flute, slow­ing open­ing and pro­vid­ing you with some­thing colour­ful to con­sume while you’re wait­ing for your next drink. Should be a fes­tive favourite. www.anuga.com; www.wild­hibis­cus.com.

MUDGEE Re­gion Tourism, NSW, has posted De­tec­tive a jar of Mojo Pi­con Verde, a Span­ish-style sauce made of pars­ley, co­rian­der, gar­lic and chilli. While MRT’s Lucy White says it is not ex­actly like green Tabasco (a De­tec­tive topic for the past three weeks), it is ex­tremely de­li­cious and highly ad­dic­tive. We can’t find green Tabasco lo­cally, she says, but we can get this.

CHARGE those glasses for new year’s bub­bles, cheese and jazz at Alexan­d­rina Cheese Com­pany at Mount Jagged on South Aus­tralia’s Fleurieu Penin­sula. Syd­ney­based singer Janet Seidel (who grew up on a dairy farm in Mount Jagged), will per­form at a twi­light con­cert, with the Jer­seys jazz band, on Fri­day, Jan­uary 4, from 7pm ($80); there will be an af­ter­noon con­cert on Sun­day, Jan­uary 6, from noon ($55). www.alexan­dri­nacheese.com.au.

FIND of the week: Homer Hud­son ice cream— which sounds Amer­i­can but is Aus­tralian-owned, made and avail­able only here — is all nat­u­ral, from its straw­ber­ries and vanilla beans, eggs and cream to the honey and dark choco­late. It has no colour­ing or preser­va­tives and is lus­cious. Cook­ies & Cream, Honey Malt Mar­bles and more. From Coles, Wool­worths and se­lected stores; $2.95 (125ml), $6.95 (500ml). www.home­r­hud­son.com.

DE­TEC­TIVE loves: Serge Dansereau’s sum­mer-striped ta­ble nap­kins; heavy-duty cot­ton squares in hot pink, orange, pur­ple, mul­berry . . . and big enough to be a place mat on the grass. On sale at his restau­rant, The Bathers’ Pavil­ion, Bal­moral Beach, Syd­ney ($25 for four). www.batherspavil­ion.com.au.

DE­TEC­TIVE loathes: Wa­tery ices melt­ing on a dessert tast­ing plate of rich choco­late.

Pub chic: Gled­hill and Okuda

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