Happy New Year from Best Restaurants!

2015 has been an exciting year! We have not only relaunched Best Restaurants but have also launched Australia’s first dedicated gift card website called Best Gift Cards – which now has both restaurant and spa cards which is already proving a huge success.

Best Gift Cards is where you’ll discover Australia’s best luxury gift cards. Choose from the ever-popular BEST RESTAURANTS GIFT CARD or a BEST SPA GIFT CARD for a friend, family member or colleague.

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Best Restaurants Gift Cards are currently accepted at over 800 restaurants Australia-wide. Best Spas Gift Cards are welcomed at over 300  luxury day spas, beauty / hair salons, 5 star Day Spas, Wellness Retreats and Resorts throughout Australia.  We are adding new restaurants and spas regularly so the list to choose from is constantly growing.

The cards are available from selected stores across Australia including Australia Post, Woolworths, Coles, Australia Post, Officeworks and Big W. Our Gift Cards are also available to buy online with a fast track delivery option and you can also choose to purchase an elegant gift box, to make your present even more special.
GIVE THE GIFT OF INDULGENCE AND LUXURY AT BEST GIFT CARDS OF AUSTRALIA

Maureen

La Puerta Latino Flavours – Neutral Bay – Sydney – Restaurant Review

Just a hop, skip and samba over the bridge, Sydney’s newest Latino addition offers food lovers a truly authentic South American dining experience. La Puerta Latino Flavours in Neutral Bay embraces the true essence of South American culture making one feel like they have walked straight into an Argentinean dining room.

La Puerta

Leche de Tigre, King fish Peruvian style

Red hearts hang from the ceiling and there’s a painting of tango dancers in a fiery embrace adorning the wall and this passion extends to the flavour rich menu. Start with a creamy smoked butter served with cassava flat cheese bread or, my favourite, the Costillitas of bite size deep fried pork ribs.

Seafood fans will rejoice with the Tiradito- thinly sliced fish served with a chili style Peruvian sauce that expertly balances the heat from the chilli with zest of fresh lime. The coastal prawn cocktail is a modern Latin twist on this 70’s classic with fresh prawns elegantly presented on a layer of tomato, aioli and their signature crispy platanitos. The dish encapsulates summer in a cocktail glass.

The passionate decor of La Puerta

The passionate decor of La Puerta

A soundtrack of buzzing patron conversations mixed with the mellow tunes of a Spanish guitar make La Puetra ideal for a romantic date night, or a vivacious birthday celebration with family and friends.

Chloe Varga

La Puerta Latino Flavours

Brigade Dining – Paddington – Eastern Suburbs – Restaurant Profile

The Bayfield Family have ventured across the bridge to the East, after selling iconic venue, the Newport Arms, earlier this year. Under this new ownership, Paddington stalwart, The Light Brigade has not only been given a fresh facelift, but La Scala has been replaced by Brigade Dining, under the direction of Executive Chef Marco Adler.

Scallops, Salmon Belly Tartare, Pea, Watermelon  $23 GF

Scallops, Salmon Belly Tartare, Pea, Watermelon $23 GF

Rather than soaking up the attention of his doting customers, Chef Marco takes refuge in the kitchen. Unlike many chefs, the former executive chef at Fresh Catering seems almost daunted by the prospect of any attention. This is something he will have to overcome, as his dishes are attention seekers. Beauty is only skin deep, except when it comes to the food at Brigade. In fact, the worst bit about dining here is not being able to decide which dish to upload to instagram, they’re all worthy of a spot on your news feed.

Fried Squid, Squid Ink Mayonnaise, Sorrel $22 GF

Fried Squid, Squid Ink Mayonnaise, Sorrel $22 GF

Beyond aesthetics, the menu is well thought out – it doesn’t stray too far from classic flavour combinations yet still offers the diner something new and unexpected. Simply fried squid is paired with a black-hued squid ink mayonnaise which is so subtle that it appeals to all palates, even those wary of seafood. A little mix-and-match plate of just-seared scallops, salmon belly tartare, pea puree and cubes of watermelon sounds unusual but is a standout dish, with each element complimenting the other. A classic heirloom tomato, burrata and basil salad is given an upgrade with the addition of a salty olive soil and rhubarb. An exciting new addition to the Paddington restaurant scene.

Anna Lisle
Follow Anna’s food adventures here

Brigade Dining

The new Chefs Gallery – art and artistry, all in one place

Fifty years ago in Australia, Chinese food consisted of deep-fried honey chicken, sweet-and-sour pork and a bowl of fried rice. Despite Australia’s large Chinese population, due to the goldrushes in the 1850’s and 1860’s, it has only been in the past couple of decades when ideas of what Chinese food can be have expanded. Forging this way is Chefs Gallery, which, due to its popularity, now has restaurants all across Sydney.

Host Claudia Chan Shaw speaking with Sourced by Art Atrium gallery director Simon Chan and artist. Photo credit: Mick

Host Claudia Chan Shaw speaking with Sourced by Art Atrium gallery director Simon Chan and artist Fan Dongwang. Photo credit: Mick Ross

Not only has the modern Chinese menu had an upgrade, Chinese-influenced artwork will now hang on Chefs Gallery restaurants at Town Hall in the City, Macquarie Centre at North Ryde and the new Little Saigon Plaza in Bankstown.

I have a new appreciation for those handmade noodles - this was tough!

I have a new appreciation for those handmade noodles – this was tough! Photo credit: Mick Ross 

Chefs Gallery has established a reputation for its modern, and sometimes cheeky, interpretation of Chinese cuisine. Their handmade noodles are a star attraction and not just on the menu. Behind glass windows, the chefs roll, swing and swirl noodles in front of customers, creating a multi-sensory theatrical experience. Now, the chefs will have to vie for attention as the artistry is not only on the plate and in the kitchen, but also the surrounding the walls. Sourced by Art Atrium gallery director Simon Chan, the displayed artwork – including paintings, prints, sculpture and ceramics – will all be for sale.

Anna Lisle

Chefs Gallery Town Hall
Chefs Gallery Macquarie Shopping Centre
Chefs Gallery Metcentre
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hefs Gallery Bankstown
Opening soon, Chefs Gallery Parramatta

The 2107 Restaurant – Avalon – Restaurant Review

You don’t have to go far from the city’s hustle and bustle to find that relaxed small town feeling. Less than an hour’s drive from Sydney you’ll find a sleepy Northern Beaches suburb called Avalon. The area may be renowned for their beaches but their food scene is just as exciting.

A 10 minute walk from Avalon Beach, 2107 exudes a tropical vibe with bright linen and umbrella-sheltered tables outside, while inside a slick wooden bar pairs well with the palm tree views. The restaurant exudes a feeling of quality dining at a relaxed pace. The staff are welcoming and knowledgeable, and every table of guests are greeted like an old friend (even if you’re an out-of-towner, like us).

2107-avalon-kingfish

We start our lunch with flash-fried salt and pepper squid, a classic coastal seafood treat and their signature dish; locally caught too, of course. The flesh is tender and the accompanying lime aioli gives a fantastic zing. We are recommended to try the Two Birds Sunset Ale and the Pines Kolsh with our entree – again, the beers are locally-brewed dazzlers.

Our mains are another treat; thought and passion has clearly gone best online casino into every dish that leaves the kitchen. The Cone Bay WA barramundi fillet comes with a sweet potato mash and a zesty salsa. Every element pairs together beautifully, the sweet puree complimenting the luscious salty goodness of the barramundi, and matching the tart and aged Italian Pinot Grigio I’m recommended. My companion opts for the hearty ‘surf and turf’ special. He praises the beef tenderloin (finally, a steak cooked properly!) but it is the big, smokey king prawns that are the star-player of the dish. The 2014 Hemera ‘Lights Out’ Shiraz, a recent award winner with a slide of pepper and plum on the tongue, adds punch to the meal.

2107-avalon-dessert

Although the sun is making us sleepy, we rally for dessert. The lime and Midori cheesecake is liqueur-tart, and wears an elaborate, cut-glass shard of toffee like a crown. The ‘death by chocolate’ tasting plate includes Grenache tart and a handmade strawberry truffle. We try the 2014 Piggs Peake Vanilla Shiraz as a final treat. It has a light berry sweetness without any syrupy heaviness; no wonder the restaurant owner makes a trip to the Hunter every three months just to pick up a case. We luxuriate in the warm coastal afternoon, happily full and in no rush to leave this little slice of paradise.

Liz Stern

The 2107 Restaurant

Wolf Wine Bar – Sydney CBD – Restaurant and Bar

Once upon a time and not so long ago, at nightfall the streets of our city were a ghost town. In the blink of an eye however, Sydney’s CBD has transformed into a bustling food and drink oasis, with new venues and restaurants opening weekly and in the heart of our financial district, just a short stroll from Martin Place is The Wolf Wine Bar. Run by Chef Peter Varvaressos, who you may know from his other venues Contrabando and Barrafina Tapas, has created yet another all-day venue that seamlessly transitions from café to hip bar and restaurant.

Barbecued calamari with quinoa, lemon, chilli and ginger

Barbecued calamari with online casino quinoa, lemon, chilli and ginger

For fear of pigeonholing, the menu takes cues from across the globe. Fat, twice-cooked fries get dipped in a fragrant Middle-Eastern Harissa mayo while plumply ripe figs are baked and paired with blue cheese and prosciutto, taking a nod to Italy. Quinoa dishes can be a little lacklustre but this, speckled with toasted nuts, a generous glug of olive oil and scatted with chilli and topped with barbecued calamari, is deliciously intriguing.

Braised lamb, burnt eggplant, feta, olives and mint

Braised lamb, burnt eggplant, feta, olives and mint

I could have inhaled a bowl of fried broccoli with shaved parmesan but sanity prevailed and instead I dip into a familiar yet fresh yellowfin tuna ceviche. With a wood fire pizza oven in the works, start with an after-work tipple at Wolf Wine Bar and stay for a tapas-inspired meal or (coming soon) a slice of old-school pizzette.

Anna Lisle Follow Anna”s foodie adventures here 

Wolf Wine Bar

Sokyo Ramen by Chase Kojima

Many would consider Chase Kojima, Executive Chef at one-hatted restaurant Sokyo, one of the best sushi chefs in Sydney. Combine this fact with Sydney’s ongoing obsession with ramen, and it makes sense that a certain level of pandemonium has ensued following the opening of Chase’s pop-up ramen store this September.

sokyo-ramen

Situated on the ground floor of The Star, the hole-in-the-wall popup offers four different types of ramen, including yuzu shio (light and refreshing), Kyoto shoyu (umami soy), gyokairui tonkotsu (slightly rich) and spicy miso tantanmen (mildly spicy). Ranging from $15-$16 per serving, the bowls of ramen offer different flavours based on the broth, richness and toppings. Shio ramen, perhaps boringly, is always my ramen of choice. Chase’s adaptation is based on a chicken broth and topped with pork cheek chashu, egg, nori, yuzu and a mixed green salad. The braised pork cheek is tender and falls apart in your mouth and the hint of yuzu adds a refreshing and citrusy twist to the highly slurp-able broth. One of the fundamental components to any good ramen is undoubtedly the noodles; Chase opts for thin and straight noodles, the relative thickness of the noodles delivering a satisfying chewy texture.

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To accompany your ramen, there are also other Japanese street food classics to choose from including fried chicken karaage as well as a homemade yuzu pop soda. The karaage makes for a no-brainer side, it’s marinated in sake and soy and served with spicy Japanese mayonnaise, making every bite a juicy and tasty affair. The mocktail pop soda is made from yuzu, passionfruit, aloe vera, almond syrup and soda and works as the ultimate refreshing palette cleanser.

Don’t wait too long to hop on the #NoRamenNoLife bandwagon, Sokyo Ramen closes shop at the end of November.

Open 7 days from 11:30am til late

Jenny Wang

Sokyo Ramen by Chase Kojima

Michelin Star dining in Sydney at The Langham

We may not have the internationally renowned Michelin Guide Star System in Australia but The Langham, is giving Sydneysiders a taste of Michelin-standard dishes. You would have seen the billboards with Bradley Cooper, looking sharp in his chef whites, promoting his new movie “Burnt” so to celebrate, The Langham, Sydney, challenged their Executive Chef, Thomas Heinrich and Head Dessert Chef, Miguel Jocson, to deliver three Michelin star dishes from recipes that inspired the concept behind the film.

Tomato tartare created by Executive Chef  Thomas Heinrich

Tomato tartare created by Executive Chef Thomas Heinrich

While not known widely in Australia, the consultant chef for the film was Marcus Wareing, an English celebrity chef who is currently Chef Patron of the two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Marcus (formerly The Berkeley), in Knightsbridge. What’s the connection between the movie and The Langham, Sydney? Burnt was shot at The Langham, London. The hotel’s restaurant, The Roux at the Landau features prominently throughout the film.

Mascarpone, blood orange and streusel, created by Head Dessert Chef Miguel Jocson

Mascarpone, blood orange and streusel, created by Head Dessert Chef Miguel Jocson

The Langham, Sydney’s five- course degustation menu ($149 per person) now features two of Wareing’s dishes, Game Farm quail, heirloom carrots and corn bread and a dessert of mascarpone, blood orange and streusel.

Anna Lisle

Kent Street Kitchen at The Langham Sydney

Biota comes to the city, for a unique collaboration with Bombay Sapphire

 

After two sold-out seasons in Melbourne, Bombay Sapphire’s Project Botanicals pop-up is coming to Sydney, but with a unique twist.  Held at ‘The Old Rum Store’ warehouse building in the newly established lifestyle precinct, Kensington Street in Chippendale, this event is open for three weeks only.

Young celery - soured creme made from local milks & the freshest green peas. Paired with The Coriandrum Cocktail

Young celery – soured creme made from local milks & the freshest green peas. Paired with The Coriandrum Cocktail

 

Launching on Wednesday 18 November, the distinctive cocktail and dining experience will feature one of Australia’s most respected and awarded regional chefs, James Viles of Biota Dining, Bowral. The incredible five-course menu has been designed around the ten botanicals found in each bottle of Bombay Sapphire and will be matched with a Bombay Sapphire cocktail created by the Bombay Sapphire team and some of Sydney’s best bars, including local favourites The Barber Shop, Eau De Vie and This Must Be The Place.

Guests can choose between two menus – ‘Plants & Roots’ and ‘Berries & Bark’. At a special media event, we were fortunate to sample ‘Plants & Roots’ which was a selection of some of the most beautifully presented and perfectly executed dishes we have experienced. A tribute to the seasons, Chef Viles has a unique flair for pushing culinary boundaries while still ensuring his food is accessible and enjoyable to the humble diner.

Native lemon soft serve. Paired with Lemon Peel Eye Opener

Native lemon soft serve. Paired with Lemon Peel Eye Opener

As James explains, “I’m constantly challenging myself to work with new and unusual ingredients. Working with the ten botanicals found within Bombay Sapphire was really exciting in creating flavour combinations that emphasised what is at the core of Bombay Sapphire”.

With Biota Dining one of Australia’s most in demand regional restaurants, Project Botanicals is likely to sell out quickly. To avoid missing out, tickets should be purchased ASAP from: www.projectbotanicals.com.au.

  • Sittings available at 6pm and 8.30pm, Wednesday to Saturday evenings
  • Tickets are $105 + booking fee and include a five course menu matched to five Bombay Sapphire cocktails and can be purchased here.

Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence winners announced last night!

Last night, NSW’s best restaurants, caterers and cafe operators were recognised at the annual Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence.

2015 marks the 17th year of the awards with PR guru and long-term industry advocate Stewart White national chair of judges for the Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence. The Savour Australia HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence is a nationally recognised, independently judged awards program that recognises exceptional service and culinary talent across Australia.

We would like to make special mention for many of our Best Restaurants client – a huge congratulations to the following finalists and winners.

ASIAN RESTAURANT
China Doll, WOOLLOOMOOLOO
WINNER – Red Lantern on Riley, DARLINGHURST

BREAKFAST RESTAURANT
Intermezzo Ristorante, SYDNEY
WINNER – Kazbah, BALMAIN
Ripples, MILSONS POINT

CHINESE RESTAURANT
Chefs Gallery, SYDNEY
The Eight Modern Chinese Restaurant, HAYMARKET
Zilver Restaurant, HAYMARKET

CONTEMPORARY AUSTRALIAN RESTAURANT – FORMAL
360 Bar and Dining, SYDNEY
Catalina, ROSE BAY

CONTEMPORARY AUSTRALIAN RESTAURANT – INFORMAL
Botanic Gardens Restaurant, SYDNEY
WINNER – Ripples Chowder Bay, MOSMAN
Sydney Tower Buffet, SYDNEY

FINE DINING RESTAURANT
Guillaume, PADDINGTON
WINNER – Quay, THE ROCKS
Tetsuya’s Restaurant, SYDNEY

ITALIAN RESTAURANT – FORMAL
Aqua Dining, MILSONS POINT
WINNER – Intermezzo Ristorante, SYDNEY
Otto Ristorante, WOOLLOOMOOLOO

NEW RESTAURANT
Coogee Pavilion, COOGEE
Kazbah, POTTS POINT
Saké, DOUBLE BAY
The Governor’s Table, SYDNEY
The Spice Room, SYDNEY

SPECIALTY RESTAURANT
WINNER- Efendy, BALMAIN
GPO Cheese and Wine Room, SYDNEY
Kazbah, DARLING HARBOUR 

STEAK RESTAURANT
The Meat & Wine Co, CIRCULAR QUAY
The Meat & Wine Co, DARLING HARBOUR