Michelin possible as Tokyo stars in Asia’s first red guide
MICHELIN is about to launch a first: its inaugural red guide to the restaurants and hotels of Tokyo. Michelin Tokyo 2008 is the French food bible’s exploratory foray into Asia.
Introduced in France in 1900 so motorists need never be without a decent meal on their domestic travels (not to mention having their cars serviced), the guide created its Michelin star system 26 years later, becoming the benchmark for high achievers in the restaurant world. Well, in Europe, anyway.
The guide now reaches beyond the borders of France to a dozen or so European countries and, since 2005, to the US (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco and New York City); remote countries such as Australia have chefs with Michelin stars (garnered elsewhere) but no red guide.
Japan’s hottest city lures the guide down roads previously uncharted. Japanese and Western critics have done the eating and testing, and there is a substantial list of French establishments as well as the (predominantly) Japanese list (whose subheadings include Teppanyaki, Soba and Kaiseki, and Fugu). There are a few Chinese and Italian restaurants, and two each under Spanish and Steakhouse. All the listed restaurants have stars: 118 singles, 25 twostarred and eight with three, including Joel Robuchon and Hamadaya, a 1912-founded geisha house that serves strictly orthodox Edo-style cuisine.
TOURING farther afield, a French feast is on offer for self-drivers during 2008. A twohour cooking class for two with the chef at hotel Les Ursulines in Autun, southern Burgundy, covers the basics of Burgundian cooking; the package includes deluxe accommodation, various dinners and breakfasts and a two-hour private city tour. Tempo Holidays’ three-day Cooking in Burgundy is $638 a person, twin share. www.tempoholidays.com.
ZEMA Estate in South Australia’s Coonawarra region is another example of the food and wine fraternity doing its bit for
What roads will Michelin venture down next? The guide is out in January and available for pre-order at a discounted $US10.36 from www.amazon.com.
HOLIDAY motoring (find your own stars) will be fun in the southeast Queensland region of South Burnett where the local tourism people have expanded their former wine map and launched a Food and Wine Trail Map, which includes eateries specialising in local produce. From South Burnett visitor centres or download from www.southburnettholidays.com.au. charity. During the past year, the winemaker has been working with participants in the Australian Rural Leadership Program, which has raised funds for the charity True Blue Dreaming set up in 2004 by former Young Australian of the Year James Fitzpatrick. The participants raised $24,107, of which $13,000 was from sales of Zema Estate wine. TBD runs youth mentoring programs in rural and regional Australia. www.truebluedreaming.org.au.
APPELLATION, at The Louise, a Peppers vineyard retreat in the Barossa Valley, has won Best Wine List in South Australia in the hotly contested Adelaide Food Awards 2007. Executive chef at Appellation Mark McNamara says wine and food are part of the same experience; the restaurant is known for its regional, seasonal food. Wine manager Alice Trinder puts together Appellation’s wine list, which includes the best of the Barossa. Open seven nights from 7pm, reservations essential. www.appellation.com.au; www.thelouise.com.au.
DRU Reschke of Koonara Coonawarra Wines explains in a recent newsletter: baume is the term used to explain the percentage of sugar in the grapes before ferment. For example, 12.5 baume will be converted by yeast to 12.5 per cent alcohol (if fermented to completion, or dry), more or
Fine time: True Blue Dreaming participants less. Brix is the French term, and is generally double that of the baume (23 brix is 12.5 baume). Now you know. www.koonara.com.
FESTIVE food. Christine Manfield, chef at Universal in Sydney’s Darlinghurst, and queen of the night dessert, will be summoning up Snow White (white peach curd with marshmallow and fairy floss) and Cherry Ripe (coconut mousse, chocolate fudge and cherry jelly) during the season.
Universal’s Christmas cocktail is the Pom Pom, concocted by Alexx Swainston, of fresh white peach sorbet shaken with Remy Martin VSOP, Pomme Verte liqueur and French fizz, adorned with fresh pomegranate and served enflute. Voila.
Universal is part of the StreetSmart Australia program ( FoodDetective, November 24-25) and asks customers, until December 23, to consider leaving a donation for StreetSmart on their bill. www.universalrestaurant.com.
MIDNIGHT Blues will be serving up modern jazz in the lounge bar at Baguette, in Brisbane’s Ascot, on Wednesday, 6.30pm-9.30pm. Chef Bruno Loubet’s authentic Spanish tapas is also on the bill. www.baguette.com.au.
STONES of the Yarra Valley, Cold Stream, Victoria — fast becoming a destination for music lovers in the region — is planning a dinner date with ARIA award-winner Sarah Blasko. The $90 ticket includes a twocourse dinner and performance. Friday, January 11, 7.30pm. www.stonesoftheyarravalley.com.
NOTES: Nora Robinson writes to remind Detective that Homer Hudson ice cream is hardly a find ( Detective, December 8-9), since it’s been around since the 1980s and is on sale at her local Adelaide deli. Detective’s daughter found it (often) in the ’ 80s, but it has been less visible since and there are some fab new flavours. (Any old excuse.)
AND Jose Maria Gonzalez, a reader from Spain who spends summer down under, is appalled by the large servings he finds in restaurants, especially, he says, in South Australia (perhaps he should try Sydney). Yes, Detective will join forces to stamp this out where it occurs (but denies Australians are contenders for the world champions of obesity). As for the gargantuan white dinner plate, Detective hopes restaurants will ring in the new, with a change of style, come 2008.
The sauce mojo picon verde ( Detective, December 8-9), like mojo picon rojo, Gonzalez writes, is a traditional sauce from the Canary Islands.
FIND of the week: Mymoune Rose Syrup from Lebanon (rosewater reduction with sugar and fresh lemon juice added): 500ml, $18. Mymoune’s Rose Water and Orange Blossom Water are distilled essential oils with no chemical additives: 500ml, $30 each. And Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste: 118ml, $33.50. All new arrivals at Simon Johnson stores around the country and available on line. The website is a mini tour of the globe with just the best bits. www.simonjohnson.com.
DETECTIVE loves: Turkey with pomegranate and prawns with mango.
DETECTIVE loathes: Christmas Grinches who raise the spectre of kilojoules and sugar content and sniff at multiple desserts. Have an indulgent festive season.