The reviews take us around the country this week.
Gemima Cody was at Rina's in Armadale for The Age Good Food (not yet online), where a duo of chefs are melding Italian and Asian flavours. "There's some experimenting but mostly they're veering traditional and rustic. Today's focaccia is pumpkin and spring onion, making a slightly sweet sponge onto which you'll schmear their spiced-up take on pappa al pomodoro, a bread thickened tomato soup. That same dough hits the deep fryer for gnocco fritto, which emerge like fluffy savoury doughnuts instead of hollow pillows. It's a nice contrast for salami daubed with a fine, if incongruous, eggplant XO." (13.5/20)
Anthony Huckstep revisited Newtown favourite, Bloodwood, for delicious. on Sunday which, nine years on, is still going strong. “Van Vuuren has always taken a global tack with the menu by fusing the Middle East, Europe and Asia using Australia’s best produce, and now it seems she has truly hit her stride, with dishes that are adventurous yet familiar, confident yet comforting... Macadamia and poppy seeds add earthiness to raw kingfish given a lively kick with jalapeño and lime. Pickled currants, chillies, parsley and pistachio add punch to grinningly good chargrilled black garlic pork. An ensemble of green and red tomatoes, asparagus, basil and caraway comes together nicely with creamy fior di latte, while sugar snaps and winter melon temper sumptuous Mooloolaba king prawns lathered in burnt miso butter. Ooph." (3.5/5) We love a story of longevity.
Huckstep was also at newbie Bistecca for delicious, where he liked many things but was underwhelmed by an overcooked steak. "So, to the T-bone, a grain-fed Riverine Black Angus, aged for less time than it takes to get a table. You’re not asked how you’d like it cooked, or told how it will be served. Which I don’t mind in the hands of a chef who believes a certain breed and cut should be cooked a certain way. Only, I don’t care what cut or breed it is, I don’t want my steak medium-well, and that’s what landed on the table. There was some red flesh on the bone, but the sliced pieces were way overdone. Sure, the flavour was big, but the texture was fast approaching car tyre." (3/5)
John Lethlean reviewed Tiny’s in Perth for The Weekend Australian Magazine which he says is “a whole new hybrid” for the city. “Crudités (they’re back) are served with sunflower seed cream and a sprinkling of the Japanese seasoning yuzukoshu; chunks of bream team brilliantly with cucumber, apple, avocado and fingerlime to create a harmonious take on fish crudo, all dusted with seaweed powder; fried pastry “cigars” of mushroom and scamorza (an Italian cow’s milk cheese) are finished with salt and preserved lemon zest, and get a thickened yoghurt with fried curry leaf “dip” for a little hands-on activity.” (3.5/5)
Callan Boys reviewed Merivale's newest bijoux hole in the wall Bar Topa for SMH Good Food (not yet online). "Sea-salty Western Australian sardines are brilliant in a fruity olive oil with slices of soft white baguette to wipe the plate clean. Bread is served with any dish where it makes sense, such as pipis cooked a la plancha in garlic and cider and pickled sweet peppers from a counter display. Morcilla is mellow and accessible to any blood sausage fence-sitters thanks to a generous whack of allspice and higher meat percentage than tradition dictates, and pan-fried butifarra pork snag is fatty and full-flavoured, served Catalan-style with white beans and parsley."
Terry Durack checked out Lankan Filling Station in Riley Street, Surry Hills for SMH Good Food, where O Tama Carey has finally found a permanent home and it’s (almost) all about the hoppers. “Go for a hopper set of one plain and one egg hopper with two sambols on the side – perhaps green pol sambol of coconut, ginger and coriander and kata sambol of onion, chilli and lime… String hoppers are something else again – delicate, flat, noodly nests like soft and steamy tangles of very fine rice vermicelli, which come with sambol and kiri hodi, a gentle comforting gravy with a slurry of onion to which you can (and should), add a boiled egg.” He rates the curries too. (15/20)
Manu Fieldel reviewed Boronia Kitchen in Gladesville for delicious. "The salmon, which I’ve been told, on a smoking day, can be smelled from miles away, gets its flavour from an old Torbreck wine barrel. It is simply outstanding, and served with thin rye bread croutons, lightly soured creme fraiche and slightly pickled baby cucumber, its flavours are to die for."
Besha Rodell discovers a humble Mexican taqueria, Taco Quetzalcoatl, in suburban Adelaide and pronounces it one of the best Mexican eateries in Australia in The New York Times. “Apart from the salsas, it’s the corn tortillas that give the first real indication of the level at which Ms. Gallardo is operating. Soft and pale, their flavor is deep and elegant and almost nutty, with a whiff of something akin to savory marzipan. It is hard to coax this much complexity from masa; like sushi rice or handmade pasta, tortilla-making is a skill that takes years for the fingertips to master."
Finally Lizzie Meryment was back in the reviewer's chair, for her new publication Local East (website coming soon), reviewing A1 Canteen in Sydney's Chippendale. "The dishes are overwhelmingly simple and elegant, and contain deep in their DNA the imagination of Wells, one of Australia's most interesting and on-the-money chefs. Only in his hands can so many challenging, sour-funky-notes (fermented cabbage, salted cucumber, malt vinegar onions) come together so soulfully."
Max Sharrad from Shobosho wins Appetite for Excellence Young Chef of the Year 2018. Tyler Austin from Brisbane's Stokehouse Q is Young Waiter of the Year, and Cam O'Keefe from Centra in Geelong is Young Restaurateur of the Year. The Australian
Three Blue Ducks hit the nightlife in Byron. Good Food
Eat a parma and help a farmer. ABC.net.au
Foodora quitting Australian market. Business Insider
Brisbane becomes a big player in Australian wine. Courier Mail
The Australian's Hot 50 list lands this weekend. We'll report on the results next week.
Tributes flow for Joel Robuchon, one of the world's most influential and decorated chefs, who has died aged 73. Business Insider, Washington Post, Eater, Grub Street, New York Times
Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown to screen one final season. Vanity Fair
The “keep straw” is catching on. Eater
Getting into Tokyo restaurants harder than ever. Eater