Ivy abuzz with the kitchens of dy­namic duo

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel - Ju­dith Elen

LATEST Syd­ney places-to-be are the restau­rants Mad Cow and Tep­pa­nyaki at Justin Hemmes’s new Ge­orge Street mega-venue Ivy.

Mad Cow’s menu, de­signed by Est’s Peter Doyle, fea­tures high-end steak dishes in­clud­ing black an­gus and wagyu. Head chef Chris White­head, fresh from head­ing the kitchens at Opera Bar, tells FoodDe­tec­tive the meat comes from Wagga via Hav­er­ick Meats, with its won­der­ful dry-age­ing room.

Mad Cow has also im­ported the kind of broiler used in the best US steak­houses. So, yes, steaks are spe­cial, but White­head says the ex­tra twist, for him, is the full carte , apart from the steaks. His favourite non-cow dish is the con­fit of suck­ling pig with glazed fen­nel, carrots and roasted gar­lic.

Up­stairs from Mad Cow, Tep­pa­nyaki is al­ready at­tract­ing crowds, with Shaun Pres­land — West­ern-born sushi supremo, as he’s been called — head­ing the kitchen. He was touted in some quar­ters last year as pos­si­ble head chef at Nobu Melbourne (al­though, ac­cord­ing to re­ports, Hemmes was al­ways con­fi­dent Pres­land would be in the kitchens at Ivy).

Pres­land tells De­tec­tive he and as­sis­tant chef Adam Lane have both worked for Nobu, he in the Ba­hamas and Lane in Lon­don. Lane has also worked with Thai food afi­cionado David Thompson. So the Tep­pa­nyaki menu can be ex­pected to be on the sharp side.

They trick up Ja­panese clas­sics, the chef says, com­bin­ing tra­di­tion­ally sep­a­rate dishes, for ex­am­ple, such as ocean trout, a white (daikon) salad and miso dress­ing, with smoky egg­plant on the side. Din­ers savour all the el­e­ments to­gether and the chem­istry re­ally works, Pres­land says. www.merivale.com.au. ■ LIVE and learn in Melbourne and around re­gional Vic­to­ria at the an­nual Melbourne Food & Wine Fes­ti­val, across 16 days from Fe­bru­ary 22. Tast­ings, din­ners, classes, ex­hi­bi­tions and tours from the city to the Yarra Val­ley, the Gold­fields, the moun­tains and even on Phillip Is­land. www.mel­bourne­foodand­wine.com.au. ■ CHEF’S mas­ter­classes at The Lang­ham ho­tel are a spe­cial fes­ti­val high­light on its penul­ti­mate week­end, with such lu­mi­nar­ies as English nose-to-tail chef Fer­gus Henderson (of St John Restau­rant), Dono­van Cooke (for­mer Melbourne chef, now at Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Derby Restau­rant) and Oriol Bala­guer, mas­ter Span­ish choco­late artist, grad­u­ate of Fer­ran Adria’s El Bulli kitchens near Barcelona, and much-awarded pas­try chef. March 1-2, 9am to 3pm; $295 for a sin­gle day, $550 for the week­end. www.lang­hamhotelmel­bourne.com.au. ■ BREAK­ING news 1: Melbourne’s MoVida chef Frank Camorra has taken a lease on the take­away spot next to his much-loved tapas restau­rant and is plan­ning a small sep­a­rate bar with An­dalu­sian-style seafood dis­play and open grill. Camorra tells De­tec­tive the per­mit is through; start watch­ing out in mid-April. www.movida.com.au. ■ MAS­TER provi­dore Si­mon John­son has sup­plies of Perig­ord’s black win­ter truf­fles ar­riv­ing fort­nightly from France’s lead­ing truf­fle trader, Pe­beyre, un­til month’s end. John­son tells De­tec­tive that, as a Valen­tine’s Day spe­cial, two or­ders are ex­pected next week. Pre­order­ing, on­line or from his stores, is the best plan but John­son says he will try to ac­com­mo­date peo­ple (if stocks run out, ‘‘ we can just grab a cou­ple from a restau­rant or­der’’). Many of the truf­fles ■ CAMORRA and writer Richard Cor­nish are also talk­ing to Mur­doch Books about a sec­ond MoVida cook­book. They’re plan­ning a Span­ish re­search trip for the book, ex­pected to be out next year. are go­ing to restau­rants. The sa­cred fun­gus is not cut and the small­est would be about 25g; at present prices ($3250 a kg), about $80. They ar­rive vac­u­umpacked in four to five days from the for­est floor. In a nice touch, John­son repacks them with a lit­tle ar­bo­rio rice for a truf­fle-in­fused risotto. 1800 655 522; www.si­mon­john­son.com.

Frank Camorra ■ ON the sub­ject of pri­mary pro­duce, nom­i­na­tions close next Fri­day for the VogueEn­ter­tain­ing+Travel Pro­duce Awards 2008. In the noble search for lo­cal pro­duce, sup­port for our small pro­duc­ers is vi­tal. And VE+T has added best farm­ers’ mar­ket to the list, a cat­e­gory dear to De­tec­tive ’ s heart. Nom­i­na­tions (there are rig­or­ous stan­dards) are short-listed for judg­ing by the VE+T team of chefs, res­tau­ra­teurs and food me­dia. www.vogue.com.au/in— vogue/vogue—en­ter­tain­ing—travel. ■ BREAK­ING news 2: Pen­guin Books, pub­lisher of Pa­trice Newell’s Treeto Ta­ble:Cook­ing­with­Aus­tralianoliveoil , re­viewed in In­dul­gence (Fe­bru­ary 2-3), re­ports that the book will be in book­shops from March 3. Be pa­tient. ■ SEAN Con­nolly ( As­tral) and Liu Yan Tak, head chef at Lo­tus Pond, both at Syd­ney’s Star City, will of­fer Pek­ing-style roast duck with jel­ly­fish salad and other pros­per­ity-pro­mot­ing dishes at As­tral’s Chi­nese New Year feast, Fe­bru­ary 20, 7pm; $160 a head. 1800 700 700; www.as­tral­restau­rant.com.au. ■ DE­TEC­TIVE loves: Paris’s trans­port author­ity, RATP, has an­nounced a com­pe­ti­tion to co­in­cide with the DVD launch of Rata­touille (loved by De­tec­tive , Septem­ber 1-2). Parisians are to send an orig­i­nal soup recipe in­spired by a Paris metro sta­tion. Per­haps not Stal­in­grad, but Madeleine has sweet pos­si­bil­i­ties. ■ DE­TEC­TIVE loathes: See­ing restau­rant kitchen staff hav­ing a quick smoko in full view of the eatery’s main en­trance. ■ FIND of the week: For Valen­tine’s Day next Thurs­day, from the 1827-founded house in France’s cham­pagne heart­land of Reims, G. H. Mumm Rose, stained del­i­cate salmon pink with grand cru pinot noir ($84.95 at liquor stores). And four ex­tra-dark Lin­dor choco­late truf­fles, 60 per cent co­coa, in Lindt’s spe­cial black heart-shaped tin, to fin­ish ($5.99).

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