Boaties in for a treat, as top names jump on board
A250-SEAT waterfront restaurant fitted out by designer du jour Michael McCann, with a menu overseen by former Wildfire chef Michael James, will be part of a new multimillion-dollar marine centre being built at Sydney’s Rozelle Bay.
A cafe, provedore and bar will also be opened by the rapidly expanding Dockside Group, which recently took over Waterfront restaurant and Wolfies Grill at Sydney’s The Rocks and runs Ice Cube Seafood Bar and Grill at Darling Harbour, Italian Village at The Rocks and four other waterfront function venues.
The as yet unnamed Rozelle Bay restaurant, expected to be open by October next year, will be a casual affair with a large, central pizza oven and a seafood-focused menu, Dockside Group group general manager Philip Beauchamp tells FoodDetective. It will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
‘‘ Michael McCann has put through four concepts for the restaurant interior,’’ Beauchamp says. ‘‘ We are very confident about Michael’s work so will not vary too much from what he proposes. Design-wise, it’s too early to say how it will look, but I can say it will be more Whitewater (a casual Manly waterfront restaurant designed by McCann) than Flying Fish (an up-market McCann-designed Pyrmont venue).’’
The focus will be on laidback dining under the direction of Welsh-born James, who was appointed executive chef overseeing Dockside Group’s restaurants earlier this year. ‘‘ The food will be quite modern and will invest heavily in good produce. The fact that (the restaurant) is sitting (virtually) on top of the Sydney Fish Markets will be a feature,’’ Beauchamp says. ‘‘ It’s never going to be a three-hat restaurant. But that’s not the intent.’’
A cafe-provedore and a small bar will complete the offering at the Sydney Boathouse marine centre site, across the water from Glebe’s Bicentennial Park and Blackwattle Bay.
The controversial development, approved in May last year, will include a $90 million dry storage facility for 670 boats, service facilities, commercial offices, marine retail space and a floating marina.
‘‘ Our intent is to be a one-stop shop for boaties so they can call ahead or book their boat to be dropped into the water. When they arrive they can park their car, go to the cafe, which will have an extensive selection of grocery produce, fresh fish and the like, all to be taken away on their boat,’’ Beauchamp says. ‘‘ As with the rest of the project, it will be fully open to the public.’’ www.sydneyboathouse.com.au; www.docksidegroup.com.au.
ANOTHER potential waterfront development involves Macquarie Wharf No 1 in Sullivan’s Cove, Tasmania. Colourful local identity David Walsh, who is in the throes of building the controversial $70 million Museum of Old and New Art (it has a sex and death theme and claims it will be the southern hemisphere’s largest privately owned art museum when completed in 2010), also wants to develop a large-scale art exhibition space and bar on the Hobart waterfront.
The development, which is still in its conceptual stages, according to Walsh’s spokesman Mark Wilsdon, will include a cutting-edge bar and restaurant, which Walsh intends to replicate in cities such as Shanghai, Melbourne, Sydney, San Francisco and some European arts precincts.
‘‘ We’d like to create an environment (that) allows people to enjoy a drink and socialise while engaging in the art,’’ says Wilsdon, who plans to simulcast arts events between the bars.
‘‘ The working title being kicked around is Bart, a combination of bar and art. In the restaurant, we’d like to showcase Tasmanian produce and investigate the possibility of having a chef in residence program, like an artist in residence, where the chef could develop a theme and run the restaurant under their name for a time before someone else comes in.’’
Walsh hopes to get that famous advocate for all things Tasmanian, Tetsuya Wakuda, on board to help source talent for the project. ‘‘ There is currently a review of the masterplan for the whole waterfront and we are waiting for them to invite expressions of interest before we can apply (for development approval),’’ Wilsdon says.
Walsh is indeed a busy man. In addition to Mona and his waterfront plans, he is spending $17 million upgrading his Moorilla Estate winery, which will include four new accommodation pavilions and an indoor swimming pool. www.moorilla.com.au.
ANOTHER Tasmanian on the move is chef Cassandra Zukauskas, who has joined Amangalla in Galle, Sri Lanka, as its new executive chef. The welltravelled Zukauskas has made stops at Sydney’s Rockpool, South Africa’s Makanyane Safari Lodge and Cambodia’s exquisite Hotel de la Paix in Siem Reap on the way to her latest gig at the up-market Aman resort. www.amanresorts.com.
HERE’S one that Detective, thankfully, hasn’t yet seen on the NSW Food Authority’s controversial restaurant naming and shaming website. A fast-food restaurant owner from Wolverhampton, in England’s West Midlands, has been banned from working with food after he continued making kebabs while his dead colleague lay on a sofa in the same room.
Jaswinder Singh, 45, owner of Pappu Sweet Centre & Catering, begged magistrates for one last chance, but the combination of a corpse, a rat found under a kitchen pan, mouldy food and a fly infestation was all too much for horrified regulators, the BBC reports.
FIND of the week: The key to eliminating plastic bags from our supermarkets is to hit people in the hip pocket, it seems. A 10c charge for plastic shopping bags in Victoria’s Warrnambool, Wangaratta and Fountain Gate areas between August 18 and September 14 resulted in a 79 per cent drop in their use, Victorian Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings has revealed. The trial fee, introduced at Coles, Woolworths and IGA checkouts, is a ‘‘ pleasing result’’, Jennings says. Funds raised by the 10c levy will go into local environmental projects and a final report on the outcome will be made public this month.
DETECTIVE loves: That Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Program (see Atthetablewith Maggie Beer, this page) has just been launched in NSW. The Victorian-originated scheme, in which 20,000 Australian pupils in years 3 to 6 will learn to grow, harvest and prepare food at school, is being funded by the federal Government to the tune of $12.8 million. The scheme eventually will see a vegetable garden and kitchen established at up to 190 schools across the country. www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au.
DETECTIVE loathes: The industrial eyesore across the water that greets outdoor diners at Sydney Fish Markets. Dilapidated sheds and discarded building materials are surely not what we want tourists to be greeted with when they visit one of our best foodiebased attractions. Detective lives in hope that a cleanup of the Pyrmont Bridge Road site will happen in her lifetime.