Two weeks is a long time in food, as our bounty of reviews shows. Loosen your belts, pick your location, and read on.
Sepia is as close to perfect as you can get. So says Terry Durack, who gave it a whopping 19/20 in his review for SMH Good Food. And, in a protracted farewell that would have given Dame Nellie Melba a run for her money, the Sepia team has also finally confirmed the restaurant will serve its last meal in Sydney on December 15. “There are a number of things Sydney will miss about Sepia. How you are welcomed into the restaurant, and farewelled as you leave. The high personality count on the floor – Vicki Wild, sommelier Rodney Setter, manager Benjamin Brown. The precision with which the restaurant works; every detail accounted for. The consultative, diagnostic approach to service. The way Setter makes the most esoteric wine seem like a perfectly natural choice. And, of course, the absolute and utter beauty and creativity of the food.”
A week earlier Terry was at Katsumi in Mortlake for Good Food loving the scallop carpaccio among other dishes. “With Yang Wu on board, anything raw is a treat. The chef's selection of mixed nigiri sushi is meticulous, the fish generously draped over hand-warmed rice – although the sweet-natured waiter has less idea of the individual fish than I do. Follow that with a top-value tempura prawn sushi roll, the prawns still warm and crisp from the fryer, and you'd go home happy.” (14/20)
Callan Boys took on the "icon" remit for Good Food and reviewed Italian stalwart Buon Ricordo, which, he says, "exists in a private universe with little care for food trends and contemporary design. Terracotta pavers steady a dining room decorated with Italian collector plates and still-life paintings. I'm pretty sure my grandmother owned a lounge set featuring the same floral upholstery that covers the chairs. When Percuoco is on duty, you'll most likely find him on the floor, sharing stories and shaking hands with the many regulars – a mix of eastern-suburbs elite and old blokes fond of hyper-hospitality and hot pasta. Chef David Wright now heads the kitchen and does a damn fine job of it."
Anthony Huckstep found Spanish-style tapas bar Subida at Woollahra's Light Brigade Hotel colourful and enticing in his delicious. on Sunday review. "Snack on Don Bocarte anchovy atop tomato and crisp bread, or a delicate salt cod omelette. Then rich romesco sauce adds sweetness to crunchy black squid-ink fritters, and although the potato bravos is a letdown, fermented capsicum and smoky tomato are spot on with a stunning snapper carpaccio."
While John Lethlean found #crimesagainstseafood in the form of a mollusc mornay, his visit to James Parker in Perth for The Weekend Australian Magazine got the thumbs up. “Scampi arrive handsomely on a bed of ice in a lovely example of Japan’s ceramic craft, heads intact and the creamy, opaque sweet shelled flesh on a bed of wakame and a kind of twig raft. Each is dressed with fat orange roe – a hint of salinity – with fresh wasabi on the side, and is outstandingly fresh. Memorable.” (3.5/5)
Besha Rodell delved into the history of the cold-cut-filled continental roll, unique to Western Australia (who knew?), reviewing Northbridge’s Re Store for The New York Times. “I love the idea that Italian immigrant culture morphed into the same kind of crusty, meaty magic, independently, on opposite sides of the globe. The Italian roll is not a thing you can get elsewhere in Australia, even though other cities have much larger Italian populations.”
MELBOURNE + SURROUNDS
John Lethlean visited Doot Doot Doot, the fine diner at Jackalope Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula for The Weekend Australian Magazine, finding plenty to love. “One, the staff are good, particularly the sommelier, who exhales enthusiasm. No “regional” excuses here. Two, the $95 set-price, five-piece menu is good value for money. And three, the food is pretty good, but not uniformly so. It’s hard to reconcile a snack of steamed mussel with a brown butter emulsion studded with fingerlime, dusted with seaweed powder – so good – with a piece of tepid King George Whiting with ostentatious grill marks, caramelised fennel/ink puree and a crab tortellino.” (3.5/5)
Larissa Dubecki gave brinner the thumbs up at Field Black for The Age Good Food. “Breakfast is the new dinner and that means we now expect to wake up over vibrantly composed plates of textural, multi-elemental loveliness rather than a couple of eggs slapped on toast. That's certainly the guiding philosophy of chef Ritchie Boucher (formerly head chef at Oakridge winery in the Yarra Valley) who brings mac 'n' cheese into the pre-midday fold with oozy croquettes, a poached egg and paprika-dusted smoked cauliflower, a virtuous-yet-tasty kale hummus and nicely acidic turmeric mayo.”
Gemima Cody says you should throw moderation to the wind at mod-Korean Restaurant Shik in Melbourne in her review for The Age Good Food. “What are you supposed to do, when after months of menus of roast chickens, heirloom tomato salads, hanger steaks and carpaccio
there's suddenly gelatinous terrine made of pig's ear that might be the key to the fountain of
youth; sticky beef intercostals for wrapping in fragrant herbs and green tomato pickles; when there's salt-and-miso cured perilla leaves (Korea's answer to shiso) for filling with warm rice to make sorta dolmades and daikon turned tingly and floral from raspberry wine vinegar and sansho pepper? Don't fight it.” (14.5/20)
Gemima was also at "broadly Middle Eastern" Bar Saracen in Melbourne for Good Food (not yet online), where the okra - yes, okra - gets a big wrap. "Even if you don't normally like the slippiness of okra - those fat green pods you see in gumbos - a dust and deep-fry in cumin-y chickpea flour cuts the slime and gives incredible fragrant crackle. Squeeze with lemon. Add a beer. Repeat whenever you have five minutes to kill around Spring Street." (14.5/20)
Dan Stock says 2018 is the year of the pig’s head, tucking into a pig’s head sanga at Congress in Collingwood for the Herald Sun. “Between two slices of fluffy soft white bread, a fat perma-tanned puck is literally filled to bursting with rich meaty goodness, as all that deliciously gelatinous pork is set with a chicken jus jelly that liquefies and bursts upon first bite, like a soup dumpling. Along with a squirt of vibrant green mustard leaf mayo and some baby capers to cut through, it’s a hot dripping mess of yes.” (14.5/20)
Masterchef is back, with its 10th season. Mumbrella
When licensing your personal brand can leave you unstuck. The Australian
GROW Assembly, the mentoring and networking hospitality event, expands from Melbourne to Sydney. Good Food
Get your chops back into fried chook at Wish Bone, from the Hartsyard crew. Good Food
Noma alumnus Thomas Frebel to open Inua in Tokyo. Bloomberg, Japan Times
Clare Smyth named World's Best Female Chef 2018. World’s 50 Best
Giles Coren says Brat is the most exciting new restaurant in Europe. The Times
David Thompson steps away from Nahm. Gourmet Traveller
Ottelenghi to open a new restaurant (and brand) in London. Eater
The restaurant decibel problem. Vox.com
David Chang x Heinz = Ssam sauce in a bottle. Grub Street
The Six Senses group debuts in Singapore with not one but two properties, including one designed by Anouska Hempel. Wallpaper
The Soho House juggernaut rolls on. Wallpaper
We're listening to...
The Pass with James Viles from Biota restaurant in Bowral. He talks about hunting, fishing and foraging, and how he's inspired by produce not only from his local area, but from all around Australia. The Pass