Ivy abuzz with the kitchens of dynamic duo
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).