The Good Food staff presents its mid-year report card on what we have beloved and loathed up to now.
What I really like The pint-sized pocket of enjoyable that’s Sydney’s Cantina OK. The pitch right here is narrowly particular however extensively enjoyable: a handful of mescal- or tequila-based cocktails (the Department of Awesome reviews all of the ice for the margaritas is churned by hand) and an inventory of tequilas and mescals to be drunk neat, from the furthest reaches of Mexico by the tiniest producers. No seats, no meals, no drawback. Everything right here is OK.
What I detest Cynical service. Look, not everybody eats out as typically because the Good Food Guide group. What we will put right down to a waiter having a nasty day/hangover/life, make a remark about and transfer on, is the kind of factor that ruins your complete week of an individual who eats out just a few occasions a yr. It all the time makes me unhappy when I’ve poor service. Not as a result of it ruins my night time, however as a result of it is in all probability ruining everybody else’s.
What I’m wanting ahead to Seeing what opens within the second half of the yr. There’s nothing extra thrilling than last-minute additions to the Good Food Guide. It’s the edge-of-the-seat stuff I reside for.
What I really like Sommeliers who embrace flexibility and creativeness of their drinks lists and their service. So as an alternative of rigidly following the one-wine-per-course formulation, sensible operators at locations comparable to Navi in Melbourne and Igni in Geelong are suggesting half pours, pouring each second wine, or tucking within the occasional glass of kombucha, sake or beer the place it is sensible. Less lovable: sommeliers who anticipate you to share a single glass once you cut up a wine match with a good friend.
What I detest Look, I get that some thoughtless restaurant customers have given us all a nasty identify by making bookings throughout city for a similar timeslot, then not cancelling undesirable tables. And I get that individuals who reserve a desk for 10 then present up as a four-top can wipe out an evening’s income. But I am not loving on-line reserving techniques that harvest all of your particulars, an upfront deposit and the promise of your first-born earlier than you even increase a fork to your lips. Add in a bunch of guidelines about forfeiting the deposit in case you cancel lower than 48 hours forward and I begin considering virtually fondly about no-bookings eating places.
What I’m wanting ahead to The launch of the third nationwide Good Food Guide in October. It’s 40 years since The Age revealed its first eating information, with The Sydney Morning Herald following in 1984. It’s all the time an awesome alternative to mirror on how far the Australian meals scene has come and the place it is heading subsequent.
Bay lobster with persimmon and shiso at Pipit in Pottsville. Photo: Supplied
What I really like That eating and consuming in regional Australia is on an upwards trajectory that has no seeming finish. That you possibly can go to a wee city in northern NSW, Brunswick Heads, and discover the duo behind two-hatted Fleet has opened La Casita, a Mexican joint with a courtyard designed for smashing pork and pineapple tacos. Then there’s Pipit in nearby Pottsville, the place Ben Devlin (ex Paper Daisy at Halcyon House) has launched his ode to all issues native. Even probably the most far-flung locations in Australia are in on this nation social gathering; Flinders Island Wharf has just launched with a cafe, restaurant, distillery and built-in bee hive. Pass the protecting headwear and purchase me a aircraft ticket.
What I detest Cafes, eating places and retailers who haven’t received or are ignoring the waste-minimisation memo. I really like a Vietnamese place close to our workplace for its heady pho; I hate the takeaway model which options two big cups with lids, two condiment containers, sauce containers, wrapped chopsticks and a carry pouch. Just for soup. Guys, critically. Cut it out.
What I’m wanting ahead to The opening of Andrew McConnell’s latest offering on the altar of culinary excellence. This will take the type of a fine-ish diner in a stunning previous dame of a constructing at 33 Russell Street in Melbourne’s CBD (due in November). Also, spring, as a result of I can not wait to get zucchini seeds within the floor. I really like all of the heirloom varieties from diggers.com.au that I grate, mandolin and julienne into each dish potential all via summer time.
Life-changing bread on the Summertown Aristologist in South Australia. Photo: Nat Rogers
What I really like It’s develop into fairly widespread to name your self a wine bar in 2019, to chuck a bunch of charcuterie and a seize bag of wines on the menu, add banquettes and hope for the best. But search for those the place the personalities are huge and the menus are tiny however tight as a drum. Like Lucinda, the offshoot of Dier Makr in Hobart (take notice, Dark Mofo attendees), Adelaide’s Summertown Aristologist, the place the bread can change your life, highly effective pasta bar Lulu La Delizia in Perth or the freshly cheffed Etta in Brunswick East.
What I detest I’m genuinely excited concerning the prospect of Sepia 2.0 at Melbourne’s 80 Collins subsequent yr, and I really like Congress Wine Bar and its new Italian sibling Lagotto (each a part of condo complexes), however I am edgy about all these mega retail and residential developments which might be about to drop promising to be packed to the brim with high-end quick meals joints but in addition critical eating places. Where will all the great employees come from? And the bums for all these seats? How will they get the brand new construct odor out and the Melbourne soul in? We’ll see.
What I am wanting ahead to My season of consuming like a goose destined for foie gras is nearly over (this month I clocked up 20 eating places in 13 days), and whereas I am undoubtedly counting right down to a soup and juice cleanse, I plan to again it up with a Julia Child-style omelette ceremonial dinner. Seasoned eggs, cooked in 30 seconds in a scorching, buttered pan, BYO toppings and gallons of wine. Three-ingredient dinner events have to make a comeback. I additionally extremely advocate a YouTube spiral of Child’s movies.
Adam Liaw’s cider pork stew (recipe here). Photo: William Meppem
What I really like Winter consuming. Raise a glass of pink to an extended chilly winter fuelled by slow-cooked, rib-sticking, mega meaty one-pots atop buttery spuds (as seen all over goodfood.com.au), best consumed in tracky pants on the sofa in entrance of the footy. When I do enterprise out it’s going to be for an extended Sunday lunch by the hearth at my favorite native, Neighbourhood Wine. At $40 for 3 programs, it is the best discount in Melbourne.
What I detest Paint-by-number cafes that include the deal at each new house improvement. You know those: pithy quotes in neon, many monsteras, subway tiling and extremely ‘grammable brunch lighting with a menu that includes one or a combo of waffles, out-of-season berries, powders, petals and a single paltry slice of unbuttered toast together with your eggs, served alongside a too-milky $5 latte. About as soulful as a Millennial’s Spotify playlist. Give me someplace darkish with previous data spinning and a terrific fad-free brekky. Espresso in Ballarat I am taking a look at you.
What I’m wanting ahead to Docklands lastly discovering its mojo. We’re not precisely spoilt for selection on this draughty outpost of Melbourne – 4 years working within the precinct and nonetheless no go-to coffee or lunch spot. Outrageous! This might all change when Melbourne Skyfarm opens in 2020 – a ginormous rooftop city farm subsequent to the characterful previous Seafarers constructing. Or when The Market – a sprawling “Chelsea-Market-style” meals corridor opens in District Docklands later this yr, apparently.
Mushrooms with finger lime and macadamia cream at Paperbark in Sydney. Photo: Anna Kucera
What I really like The chocolate-licorice comeback. Darrell Lea’s new chocolate block suffering from licorice bullets and shrapnel (aka aniseed-flavoured crisps) was successful with the Good Food NRA (National Reviewing Association). Elsewhere, Jill Dupleix continues to be desirous about the nostalgically licorice-y flan with bittersweet cocoa sauce at Ester (Sydney), whereas Aria (Sydney) is pairing the “choc-lic” combo with passionfruit and Captain Moonlite (Vic) is scooping sensational licorice ice-cream. Katrina Meynink’s darkish chocolate, licorice and caramel loaf cake is locked and loaded on my winter baking listing (recipe here).
What I detest Bubble tea packaging makes my blood boil. The plastic cups and thick straws are dangerous sufficient, however to then place stated cup in a plastic bag actually is the ultimate straw. Major chains ought to inventory branded reusable cups and supply an incentive for refills. If BYO consuming vessel reductions can encourage us to kick our collective takeaway coffee cup habit, let’s construct it up, bubble cup.
What I’m wanting ahead to Macadamia puree turning into the subsequent bit-on-the-side. It’s nutty, creamy and could possibly be the brand new tahini. As seen with grilled broccolini at Melbourne’s Park Street Pasta, paired with shiitake oil alongside fermented potato flatbread at Lesa, or for dipping squiggly mushroom skewers in at Sydney’s plant-based Paperbark. Did I point out it is by chance vegan?
Gnocchi al pomodoro at Peppe’s. Photo: Wolter Peeters
What I really like Instagram. Not for all of the show-offy stuff, however for the sheer visible great thing about the dishes that seem on the “feed”. Go previous the hype and the humble-brags, and there’s actual info available – cooks and restaurateurs now use Insta to inform us they’re opening or closing, to showcase producers and to disclose new dishes; and travelling foodies give us lots for the bucket record. I additionally use it as a report of memorable meals and magic moments, particularly on hols when I’ve extra time to submit (all the time staying inside my self-imposed 15 minutes a day. One does have a life, you realize).
What I detest Those 60-degree tender eggs that cooks love (as a result of they will management the temperature and timing, and achieve this lots of them at a time). We ought to stand up as one and reject them outright, calling as an alternative for the extra personalised care and effort that goes into making the right fried, poached and scrambled egg to order. And whereas I am at it, are you able to cease sending out toast that is solely grilled on one aspect (the presentation aspect), leaving the opposite aspect steamy? That’s simply plain foolish.
What I’m wanting ahead to More loopy, quirky, passion-driven cafes, bars and eating places that select to do one factor properly; whether or not it is ramen, fried hen, falafel, jaffles, Macau’s baked rice, negronis, or lobster rolls. We have a lot variety in our eating scene that when somebody drills right down to concentrate on one factor – vegan gnocchi at Peppe’s Bondi, as an example, or grilled cheese toasties at Maker & Monger’s new Chariot of Cheese at Prahran Market – it is a aid to cease making selections and simply dive in. Now if somebody might open a restaurant that did solely roast hen.
What I really like I really like that our obsession with the pork stomach bun is lastly dropping steam, and that cooks are elevating the bread roll to big-end-of-town standing. I name as witness, the brioche roll encasing frivolously tempura’d Moreton Bay bug, gem lettuce and spicy chilli mayo at Rick Shores, on the seashore at Burleigh Heads in Queensland. The good spherical of sentimental, white bread encasing crisp pig’s head schnitzel at Congress in Melbourne (pictured proper). And the cutest little breakfast slider at Hobart’s Small Fry – three bites of egg, bacon and onion jam and it is gone, however not forgotten.
What I detest Queueing. I am going to do it for a gelato on a stinking scorching day, however do not make me queue for a civilised, elegant dinner with pals. You make us really feel that we’re on the all-you-can-eat buffet on the native pub, when in reality we’re going to pay $38 a major course and order an attractive wine. At the very least, take our identify and give us a sign of once we can get a desk. Otherwise, I will be becoming a member of the far queue.
What I am wanting ahead to I can not wait until August, when Linda, Eric and Billy Wong of Golden Century open XOPP by Golden Century within the hanging Kenga Kuma constructing in Sydney’s Darling Square. The Golden Century has been such an necessary a part of the Sydney eating scene for 3 many years; imprinting itself on our hearts and minds with every and each late-night abalone congee, pippis in XO sauce, and king crab with noodles. Now for the subsequent dynasty.
What I really like That fish and chip shop-style potato scallops/muffins are the brand new blini. Dan Hunter serves golden-fried dutch cream desserts with delicate pearls of brook trout roe and cultured cream at Brae, whereas James Viles rocks a model on the Biota bar in Bowral. Swiping spud scallops by way of taramasalata topped with salmon caviar is probably the most enjoyable you’ll be able to have within the Southern Highlands with an area riesling in your hand. South of Bass Strait, potato muffins fried in a batter made with Rodney Dunn’s sourdough starter hold Agrarian Kitchen visitors heat on the coldest Derwent days. The final in high-low deliciousness.
What I detest Sommeliers who reckon it is A-OK to serve a $40 glass with out telling you the worth. BC (that’s, “Before Coravin”, the needle-through-cork gadget that permits wine to be poured in small quantities whereas the remainder of the bottle stays in respectable nick), most wines by the glass have been fairly priced. Now that somms can shift their massive hitters hitherto gathering mud, we’re experiencing extra invoice shock than traditional when dropping the ol’ “whatever you have by the glass to suit this chicken/lamb/magpie goose liver”. A fantastic sommelier ought to be capable of pull the cork of a Puligny-Montrachet, say, and be enthusiastic about (and know sufficient about) that wine to maneuver it over 24 hours. Being open about worth is significant to that course of.
What I am wanting ahead to More feral animals on plates. Eat the Problem by American artist Kirsha Kaechele, that includes contributions from cooks David Moyle and Heston Blumenthal, created larger public consciousness of how invasive species could be became beautiful dishes when it was revealed in March. Here’s hoping cooks, environmentalists, scientists and forward-thinking politicians can capitalise on that buzz to see feral animal meat ethically obtainable in eating places. Existing legal guidelines prohibit the sale of many invasive species for meals in Australia. However, new meals security laws have been launched by the Victorian authorities in October that may permit for wild deer to be processed for human consumption. Times are altering.