Al­pha­bet soup

El­iz­a­beth Mery­ment presents her A to Z of hot culi­nary trends

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - INDULGENCE -

AN­GUS beef: Wagyu may still be the chefs’ meat of choice, but An­gus, also known as Black An­gus, is start­ing to eclipse it on qual­ity menus. Known for its deep, smoky flavour, the meat is be­com­ing a favourite at pre­mium steak restau­rants, with Bris­bane’s Cha Cha Char even of­fer­ing steaks from some in­trigu­ing An­gus cross­breeds. Try an An­gus-Santa Gertrudis T-bone for a top car­niv­o­rous ex­pe­ri­ence.

Berowra Wa­ters Inn, Syd­ney: The one-time re­doubt of Gay Bil­son is en­joy­ing a well-de­served re­nais­sance cour­tesy of chef Di­et­mar Sawyere’s de­ci­sion to re­open the venue. Not only does the inn en­joy a divine lo­ca­tion on the Hawkes­bury River north of Syd­ney but its culi­nary his­tory is leg­endary. This is the na­tional home of gas­tron­omy, where in the 1970s Tony and Gay Bil­son in­tro­duced Aus­tralians to the gourmet life. Crown Com­plex, Melbourne: The Vic­to­rian cap­i­tal’s once-re­viled casino precinct has emerged as the un­likely king of Aus­tralian cui­sine, with many of the na­tion’s (and the world’s) big­gest food names jostling for busi­ness here. Chefs in­clude Guillaume Brahimi, Neil Perry and in­ter­na­tional su­per­star Nobu Mat­suhisa, and it’s likely Bri­tish fire­brand Gor­don Ram­say will be next.

Dry-aged meat: In­creas­ingly preva­lent in fash­ion­able restau­rants, meat that is dry-aged has been hung in a cool room for up to eight weeks to deepen the flavour and in­crease the ten­der­ness. Try it at Syd­ney’s Mad Cow in the Ivy precinct, which has a 650g dry-aged T-bone for $59, or Melbourne’s Botan­i­cal, where a 450g dryaged T-bone costs $48.

Evan­gel­i­cal cook­ery: It was hard enough when Ram­say, in a bid to show view­ers where food comes from, butchered his chil­dren’s turkeys on his television show TheFWord. But now Jamie Oliver has gone all preachy about food with his Eat­toSaveYourLife . Oliver’s Jamie’sFowlDin­ners , shown re­cently on Chan­nel 10, has shocked view­ers with graphic con­tent about the food-pro­duc­tion sys­tem. If such shows make view­ers feel guilty, that is their aim. Ex­pect more of the same.

Fair­trade: In this era of global con­sumerism, chefs are (or should be) painfully con­scious of the prove­nance of their pro­duce, with many in­sist­ing on the Fair­trade la­bel. Even food gi­ant McDon­ald’s is tak­ing note, ad­ver­tis­ing its cof­fee is Rain­for­est Al­liance cer­ti­fied, mean­ing it will buy beans only from sus­tain­able farms with free and fair work­ing con­di­tions.

Gor­don Ram­say: Long known to food­ies for his world-beat­ing restau­rants and fiery tem­per, Ram­say has be­come hot prop­erty this year fol­low­ing the suc­cess of Ram­say’sKitchenNight­maresUSA, shown on the Nine Net­work. And his Aus­tralian fame is set to con­tinue, due to his plans for restau­rants in Syd­ney and Melbourne.

Hi­ra­masa king­fish: Farmed in South Aus­tralia’s Spencer Gulf and renowned for its clean white flesh, hi­ra­masa king­fish is the sashimi seafood du jour. Try it at Rock­pool Bar and Grill Melbourne on a sashimi plat­ter also fea­tur­ing ocean trout, yel­low-fin tuna, horse­rad­ish and soy sauce.

(The) Ivy: The brain­child of hote­lier Justin Hemmes, this Syd­ney hot spot is draw­ing crowds de­spite be­ing a work in progress. A weird con­glom­er­a­tion of bars, restau­rants and even (in the fu­ture) a party pool com­plete with ca­banas, the Ivy is un­like any­thing in Aus­tralia. Its first three restau­rants — Tep­pa­nyaki, Mad Cow and Sushi Choo— are thriv­ing and an­other three are due to open.

Ja­paz: New North Syd­ney restau­rant Ja­paz says ev­ery­thing about 2008 din­ing trends. Here is a partJa­panese, part-Span­ish restau­rant run by chef Hiro, whose cre­den­tials were forged in the kitchen at Tet­suya’s, which spe­cialises in Franco-Ja­panese cui­sine. The world on a plate or sheer mad­ness?

Kilo­me­tres to plate: Or­gan­ics used to be the foodie buzz word un­til con­sumers be­came aware that many or­ganic prod­ucts re­quired a lot of trans­porta­tion, thus negat­ing their en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits. So food miles has be­come the new trend term, with some restau­rants, such as Melbourne’s 100 Mile Cafe, list­ing how far key in­gre­di­ents have trav­elled be­fore ar­riv­ing on the plate. The mes­sage? Buy lo­cal.

Luke Man­gan: Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of his Glass Brasserie at the Hil­ton Syd­ney, quick-talk­ing chef Luke Man­gan seems to be tak­ing over the world. Last year he launched Salt Tokyo, a luxe diner in the Ja­panese cap­i­tal, fol­lowed by South Food and Wine Bar in San Fran­cisco. Next stop? Sin­ga­pore. Then Los An­ge­les. And then?

Man­jimup truf­fles: Black truf­fles are a peren­nial favourite with gour­mands, and as Europe’s sup­plies dwin­dle due to dis­ease and global warm­ing, Aus­tralian stocks are thriv­ing. West­ern Aus­tralia’s Man­jimup truf­fles are fre­quently de­clared the na­tion’s best and boast a pure, musty flavour. And with the Man­jimup crop in­creas­ing yearly, they will soon be chal­leng­ing the French.

No-book­ings pol­icy: The bane of din­ers who like to plan ahead, this ir­ri­tat­ing fad looks here to stay. The worst thing is that din­ers are forced to turn up at the nurs­ery hour of 6pm rather than risk be­ing put on a list that never seems to clear.

Of­fal: The in­nards of an­i­mals are preva­lent on ex­pen­sive menus, with cuts such as tripe, sweet­breads and brains pop­u­lar with non-queasy din­ers. But things are re­ally get­ting se­ri­ous via the term snout-to-tail eat­ing. Un­der this phi­los­o­phy, ev­ery part of the an­i­mal is used, so it’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore we see eye­ball stew or tail soup on our finest ta­bles.

Parme­san air: Span­ish chef Fer­ran Adria is the rock star of the culi­nary world due to his rad­i­cal ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with food. The lead­ing pro­po­nent of molec­u­lar gas­tron­omy, in which op­pos­ing flavours such as ba­con and ice-cream are forced to­gether, Adria’s most fa­mous cre­ation is the much-ridiculed parme­san air. But don’t laugh; Adria — who’s due in Aus­tralia on a pro­mo­tional tour in Septem­ber — has a mil­lion im­i­ta­tors and his El Bulli restau­rant out­side Barcelona is con­sis­tently voted the world’s best.

Quail: They may be finicky and full of bones, but quail and other ta­ble birds in­clud­ing squab and pheas­ant are a must-have with chefs. Which is great if the birds have been deboned, as at Ade­laide’s fash­ion­able Mantra on King William, which of­fers a ter­rine of con­fit quail with red wine poached pears. De­li­cious.

Royal Mail Ho­tel, Dunkeld, Vic­to­ria: There’s grow­ing aware­ness about re­gional food, par­tic­u­larly in Vic­to­ria, which is de­vel­op­ing some strong culi­nary hot spots out­side main towns. Dunkeld’s Royal Mail is one venue gar­ner­ing lo­cal and na­tional sup­port. And why not, with young chef Dan Hunter’s en­tranc­ing mod­ern menu fea­tur­ing such trea­sures as yab­bies (from a lo­cal dam) teamed with pig’s tails set in as­pic.

San Daniele pro­sciutto: Ja­mon iberico may have been 2007’s fash­ion­able cured meat, but this year’s is San Daniele pro­sciutto. While the ja­mon is Span­ish, San Daniele is an Ital­ian ham, known for its sweet, salty flavour and creamy tex­ture. Try it at one of the na­tion’s bet­ter Ital­ian restau­rants (Syd­ney’s Lu­cio’s in­cludes it on an an­tipasti plate) and savour the sen­sa­tion.

Tapas: Small plates of food are so trendy that many wannabe restau­rants are sud­denly call­ing their en­trees tapas plates, just to cash in on the phrase. Crazily, even sushi is be­ing termed Ja­panese tapas. It’s all in a name.

Uni­ver­sal, Syd­ney: Chris­tine Man­field’s restau­rant re­turn (af­ter her East @ West foray in Lon­don) has been hailed an in­ter­na­tional tri­umph. In in­ner-east Dar­linghurst, Uni­ver­sal was listed as one of the world’s 10 best new restau­rants at US mag­a­zine Food&Wine s 2008 awards and spe­cialises in cui­sine Man­field calls food with­out bound­aries, mean­ing it bor­rows from ev­ery­thing from Turk­ish to Thai. Very now.

Ve­gas: Ex­traor­di­nar­ily, Las Ve­gas (sim­ply Ve­gas to those in the flow), once home to the 99c buf­fet, has be­come one of the world’s hottest food des­ti­na­tions. Crammed with the restau­rants of big-name chefs, in­clud­ing Alain Du­casse, Joel Robu­chon and Thomas Keller, it has all the fine din­ing one could ever need in a sin­gle lo­ca­tion.

Wine bars: Mel­bur­ni­ans may be familiar with chic laneway wine bars but the con­cept is fresh to Syd­neysiders due to NSW’s an­ti­quated liquor li­cens­ing laws. But the laws are chang­ing and Syd­ney drinkers will soon be free to sip wine with­out or­der­ing food. Al­ready the changes are be­ing felt, with a rash of hip wine bars, such as Surry Hills’s MilleVini, spring­ing to life.

(E)xtra Vir­gin Olive Oil: Olive oil has been big for a long time, but Aus­tralian chefs are tak­ing their ob­ses­sion with it to an­other level. At Pen­dolino, in Syd­ney’s his­toric Strand Ar­cade, chef Nino Zoc­cali’s menu de­tails the ex­act oil he uses in each dish. He’s even es­tab­lished an olioteca, or olive oil shop, be­side the din­ing room.

Yamba prawns: As we head into the sum­mer seafood sea­son, ex­pect to see specials fea­tur­ing th­ese crus­taceans, so loved by Aus­tralian chefs. Caught in the clear wa­ters of the Clarence River on the NSW north coast, Yamba prawns have a sweet, clean flavour ideal for fresh seafood sal­ads.

Zuc­chini flow­ers: Th­ese del­i­cate yel­low blooms are ram­pant on bistro menus across the na­tion, and no won­der. Of­ten stuffed with goat’s cheese or gor­gonzola and fried in olive oil, they are enough to turn even the most com­mit­ted meat-eater into a veg­e­tar­ian.

In­ter­na­tional su­per­star: Nobu at Crown

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.