Miche­lin pos­si­ble as Tokyo stars in Asia’s first red guide

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel - Ju­dith Elen

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.

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