Tag Archives: Modern Australian

Sepia Restaurant Cover

Sepia Restaurant | Sydney CBD

March 3rd, 2017 was not a great day for Sydney foodies. On this day Sepia Restaurant, considered one of Australia’s finest dining venues, announced it is moving to Melbourne. While it has been common knowledge for over a year that the humble – but immensely talented – Martin Benn and FoH Vicki Wild intend to take the restaurant in a new direction once its Sussex St lease expires, the announcement that the institution would move to Melbourne was a pure shock to the system. Good news Melbourne, bad news Sydney. With this, my fifth visit may well be my last as it exists now. Here’s to a farewell for an influential fine dining giant in Sydney.

Melbournians, read on to get a taste of the skill that’s about to hit your city. You lucky ducks.

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Impromptu Dining | Potts Point

The struggle of aimlessly drifting along mazes supermarkets call “aisles”; struggling to absorb impenetrable food label jargon; eyeing down that seemingly tempting $7.5 for 3 bunch of Asian veg yet refusing to admit that half of it will spoil. And then there’s the act of cooking itself – what a BOTHER. Wouldn’t it be nice to throw caution to the wind, clear your mind, and take yourself to Impromptu Dining where everything’s taken care for you?

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Bouche on Bridge | Sydney CBD

“Fine dining, without the pretension” – that’s the philosophy of Bouche on Bridge. A focus on produce, core ingredients, and exceptional cooking without overt complications round out the package. Head chef Harry Stockdale-Powell’s ostensibly got the chops for it too – having worked at both Marque and Rockpool. Looks like it’s time to head back to Bridge St for something that isn’t Eleven Bridge and see what “no fuss fine dining” is all about.

Date Last Visited: 23/11/2016 (1st visit 29/10/2016)
Address: 6 Bridge St, Sydney NSW 2000
Go-to Dish: eschallot tarte tartin (if you like onions a lot)

Price Guide (approx): $80-$100pp plus drinks

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Restaurant Automata | Chippendale

Last year, a meal at Automata counted as one of my favourite restaurant experiences. That it gained two chef’s hats in the 2016 Good Food Guide Awards, along with ex-Momofuku’s Clayton Wells lauded as Time Out’s chef of the year was, to my mind, no brainer. As was usually the case, I felt that it had been far too long in between visits, and so made a return visit almost exactly one year down the track. However, it was with a deep melancholy when, on that second visit, I discovered that while fragments of the experience were the same, I was not eating at Automata.

It’s almost as if it’s become something else entirely.

Date Last Visited: 24/09/2016 23/09/2015
Address: 5 Kensington St,Chippendale, Sydney, NSW
Highlight Dish(es): steamed hapuka, roasted quail

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Berowra Waters Inn | Sydney North

Hat trick (n, sporting context): success achieved three times in the same game. In the cutthroat sport of restauranteering, three rounds of excellent results over multiple years of visits is something rarely achieved. But that’s exactly what Berowra Waters Inn has accomplished under Brian Geraghty in his stewardship of this remote restaurant. Sydney’s hidden gem remains as polished as ever.


Date
Last Visited: 22/10/2016 7/12/2014
Address: Public Wharves Berowra Waters, NSW
Price Guide: $165 plus drinks

For this latest visit, I was invited to Berowra Waters Inn by Victoria Zwierzynski (partner to head chef Brian Geraghty) herself, so The Usual Disclaimer applies. Having said that, as my third visit here, there’s really no denying my near-unconditional affection for Berowra Waters Inn.

The Inn is about 50km from the Sydney CBD, so convenience isn’t exactly going to be on the “pros” column. However, remoteness is very much the allure of the restaurant. It starts with the private ferry, which takes around 2-3 minutes and deposits you at the beautiful Glenn Murcutt-designed limestone building that dates back over 85 years. You can also get here by seaplane, but given that it’s 2-3x the price of your $165pp meal here, you may want to save that one for the most special of occasions for that most special someone.

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LuMi Bar & Dining | Pyrmont, Sydney

When one is on the everlasting quest for great food, one goes to great lengths to consummate the experience that bestows on us food euphoria on a higher plane. But in doing so, one may sometimes forget that there is excellence everywhere around us. LuMi Bar & Dining is, quite simply, one of the worst-kept secrets in Sydney. In the two years since it opened this Japanese-Italian lightbox, perched at the tip of Pyrmont harbour, raked in awards so fast the yachts & speedboats in the habour seemed positively slothful.

You don’t even have to click into this post to infer that I’m going to wax lyrical about the place – if it’s between reading this piece and making a booking right now, I think you know where my recommendation lies. But for those with a bit more curious? Read on to find out why I think this may just be one of my favourite Sydney restaurants in 2016.

Date Last Visited: 17/09/2016  22/03/15
Address: Wharf 10, 56 Pirrama Rd Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Go-to dish: parmesan chawanmushi
Price Guide (approx): $115 for 8-courses

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Neil Perry’s Eleven Bridge | Sydney CBD

Stalwart (n) – a loyal, reliable, and hard-working supporter/participant in an organization or team. If there was ever a shoehorn restaurant fitting this definition in Sydney’s dynamic fine dining landscape, it would absolutely, unequivocally, be Neil Perry’s Rockpool. Established in 1989, it has the incredible honour of being the longest-running fine dining restaurant in Sydney. As far as the high-end goes, Rockpool is immutable.

But now, times are a changing – Rockpool closes its figurative doors, re-opening under its new mantle Eleven Bridge. The biggest question then – same same, or different?

Date Last Visited: 26/08/2016
Address: 11 Bridge Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Go-to Dish: Whole partridge steamed in bread w/glazed turnip
Price Guide (approx): $40 entrees, $50-$70 mains, $25 dessert

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Attica | Melbourne

In 2013, I visited Attica, then the #21 best restaurant in the world on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best List. And  I was not impressed – Ben Shewry’s food wasn’t my idea of world-class. Certainly – the polished service, the attention to detail and the use of native Australian flora and fauna were all most exemplary and worthy of recognition. However, the food just wasn’t all that…tasty. My palate is my palate, after all – as such, while I appreciated it, I didn’t like it anywhere near what I thought I would.

But short of a disaster, I’m all about second chances – there’s no way true restaurant reviewers would score a venue based off just one visit, and if I’m going to make a judgement call on Attica, I ought to take a page out of their books. A second visit, three years later, was in – colour me seriously impressed.

Date Last Visited: 07/07/2016 27/11/13
Address: 74 Glen Eira Rd Ripponlea, VIC 3185

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Flying Fish Cover

Flying Fish – Soaring to New Heights

Returning to Flying Fish is like seeing an old friend. My first visit was during the halcyon days of 2012 – you know, when people still actually read food blogs instead of going to Instagram. It’s cool, I get ya – I do it too.

Needless to say, change affects us all – Stephen Seckold’s flagship restaurant being no exception. Does the Flying Fish continue to soar, or is it now merely a fly-by? It’s been a long four long years, let the reunion begin.

Date Visited: 8/3/2016 26/10/2012
Address: 21 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Go-to dish: seared yellow fin tuna, pork belly, pink grapefruit & black pepper caramel

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Aubergine Restaurant | Griffith, Canberra

A restaurant named after an eggplant, that doesn’t serve the eponymous on the menu. What gives – I ought to be incensed! Even The Fat Duck wouldn’t dare not put duck on its menu, right?

But then, when every table in sight is covered for the night, I knew that Canberra’s Aubergine restaurant is doing something right!

Date Last Visited: 31/10/2015
Address: 18 Barker St, Griffith ACT 2603
Recommended Dish(es): wagyu rib & black garlic, brown butter ice cream w/frozen verbena milk

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