Love and understanding on the menu in restaurant kitchens
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