Author Archives: Anna Lisle

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this new ownership, Paddington stalwart, The Light Brigade has not only been given a fresh facelift, but La Scala has been replaced by Brigade Dining, under the direction of Executive Chef Marco Adler.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
C
hefs Gallery Bankstown
Opening soon, Chefs Gallery Parramatta

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

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

Waterman’s Lobster Co. – Potts Point – Sydney

Nothing could stop us from visiting Waterman’s Lobster Co. Our dining party of 10 dwindled to just four, as our group, one-by-one fell prey to the nasty cold currently engulfing Sydney. The weather Gods turned against us too, promising nothing but torrential rain and even a few spots of hail, to add to the drama of trying to find a park in Potts Point. Alas, our loyal quartet arrive, slightly soggy but in good spirits, eager to feast like royalty.

Potts Points' Waterman's Lobster Co pays homage to the Maine lobster roll (pictured), popular in New York.

Potts Points’ Waterman’s Lobster Co pays homage to the Maine lobster roll (pictured), popular in New York.

The menu’s attention is drawn towards the sea, which will undoubtedly work a treat on hot Sydney summer days. We whet the palate with an Asian-ified tartare of Kingfish, seaweed and radish which hits the spot and gets us in the right head space for our Maine-style lobster roll. Claw and knuckle meat is tossed with a decent amount of mayo, butter, flecks of celery and a squeeze of lemon. Stuffed inside a not-too-sweet hot dog-shaped bun and served with matchstick fries and a pickle, there’s nothing to criticise. It’s perfect. It seems odd to order the lobster salad but once it arrives, there’s no regrets – tossed with fennel, orange and bottarga (which we requested on the side), the only thing lacking was a dollop of aioli, which was quickly brought to the table and completed the dish. There’s sides galore and we opt for a purple cabbage slaw and a baby cos salad with smoked oyster mayo and croutons, which are happily devoured. Even with such adversity, our Waterman’s experience is flawless – we will be back with the full troop.

Anna Lisle
Waterman’s Lobster Co.

William Blue Dining – Restaurant Review – The Rocks, Sydney

William Blue Dining is a live classroom where the future stars of the hospitality industry showcase their talent to the public and, let me be clear, there is talent to be shown. The waiters, as well as the chefs and kitchen staff, are students at William Blue College of Hospitality Management. The restaurant is part of the students’ training and it gives them an opportunity to get first-hand experience with paying customers.

Kingfish ceviche, blue swimmer crab, baby coriander, lime, chilli, mustard cress (GF)

Kingfish ceviche, blue swimmer crab, baby coriander, lime, chilli, mustard cress (GF)

Residing in the beautiful space that was once home to Neil Perry’s Rockpool, the menu features all your fine dining favourites. Braised pork belly with fennel puree or a simple kingfish ceviche with baby swimmer crab make a strong start to a three-courser. Follow this up with a crisp skinned Ora king salmon, paired with braised witlof casino online and a sort of sweet corn puree or stick to the tried-and-trusted eggplant and mozzarella tian.

Grilled Ora King Salmon fillet, crispy skin, pink pepper sauce, sweet corn, prawn, chives, braised witlof (GF)

Grilled Ora King Salmon fillet, crispy skin, pink pepper sauce, sweet corn, prawn, chives, braised witlof (GF)

Dessert-wise, we loved the old-school rice pudding, vanilla scented and studded with poached apricots and poached rhubarb. At $38 for a three-course meal, you’d be hard pressed to find better value for money in The Rocks – in fact, based on the quality of the ingredients, I dare say this might be the best bang for your buck in Sydney.

Vanilla rice pudding, stewed rhubarb, sesame nougatine, poached apricot

Vanilla rice pudding, stewed rhubarb, sesame nougatine, poached apricot

If this is the future of the Australian hospitality industry, then we”re in safe hands.

Anna Lisle

William Blue Dining

Photography: Jenny Wang

Firedoor – Restaurant Profile – Surry Hills

Two wood-fired ovens, four grills and a cast-iron Aga oven.  That’s it. For most chefs of a certain calibre, this almost-archaic kitchen would be like stepping back in time.  For Lennox Hastie, head chef at Firedoor, this is the type of kitchen that dreams are made of.

Photo credit: Nikki To

Photo credit: Nikki To

The Fink Group have opened two of the most anticipated restaurants across Australia within months of one another – and they couldn’t be more different. Bennelong, residing in the iconic Opera House is a multileveled glamour-house with all the trimmings of a fine dining restaurant, while the pared-back Firedoor, tucked away on Mary Street in Surry Hills, prides itself on simplicity.

Photo credit: Nikki To

Photo credit: Nikki To

The kitchen burns five to six different types of wood a day; hay, ironback, pecan, orange, wine barrels and pear, to name a few, each used to infuse the various dishes on the menu that night. Prawns, butterflied and grilled on orange wood, are unadulterated – perfect in their no-frills state. Brussels sprouts pop up on almost every on-trend restaurant but these, char grilled and served in a thick pool of rich stock with chunks of smoked ham hock, put others I’ve tried to shame.  Unsurprisingly, sea fare dominates the menu however a Ranger’s Valley Wagyu rib eye will make anyone believe they could happily go paleo for the rest of their lives. At Firedoor the produce is served as-is, in all its flawless glory. This philosophy has challenges though – there’s nowhere to hide even the smallest mistake. Thank goodness Hastie is a genius.

Anna Lisle

Firedoor

Stockroom InterContinental Double Bay – Restaurant Review – Sydney

As I stand in the grey marble lobby of InterContinental Double Bay, I look around, secretly terrified that somebody is about to catch me out. You see, five star hotels make me nervous – I feel as though I don’t belong. I cautiously flit through the complimentary cookbooks in the lounge area, and can’t but notice the amount of staff, all ready to leap to your help with just a nod. My nervous anticipation doesn’t last long though, as we’re shown to the Stockroom, I’m immediately put at ease.

The lime-hued tone of the dining room is the antithesis of what I expected. Velvet cushions beg to be leaned on, natural light streams through the high windows and there is a warm, affable vibe that encourages you to relax. In fact, it’s so down-to-earth that I could almost imagine coming downstairs from my suite, in my white dressing gown and fluffy slippers, to nibble on bundles of organic grapes and slices of crispy bacon, perfectly poached free range eggs and anything else that tickles my fancy from the buffet breakfast – well, almost. Today, however, we are here for lunch.

Buffet-Sunday-brunch---Stockroom---InterContinental-Sydney-Double-Bay

If I were a chef, I’d like to work in the Stockroom kitchen. Spatchcock is sourced from the Southern Highlands, barramundi from Cone Bay, beef from Cape Grim – while the butter is Pepe Saya, bread is courtesy of Infinity Bakery and they work with butcher Anthony Puharich from Vic’s Meats. Executive Chef Julien Pouteau, who formerly worked at InterContinental Sydney, leads the kitchen and clearly knows how to write a menu. Homemade damper bread is served on a board, complimentary, with two dipping sauces; a smoky, whisky barbeque sauce and a nutty, crunchy peanut and bacon sauce. To start, the shaved fennel salad is clean and fresh, with an avocado sort-of mash, with flecks of cottage cheese and dressed with a subtle lemon vinaigrette. The faro crisp, golden and crunchy, is like the restaurant version of a vita-weat, which creates texture but also adds a nutty-earthy dimension to the dish. A classic chicken Caesar salad is jazzed up with umami-loaded white anchovies, crunchy baby gem lettuce leaves and crisp flecks of bacon.

Roasted Blackmore rump cap with tomato salsa

Roasted Blackmore rump cap with tomato salsa

The grill menu steals the show, with its abundance of locally-sourced ingredients. It reads simply; flame roasted Angus beef rib eye, robata grilled tiger prawns, rosemary Pyrenees lamb rack – however, as our dishes arrive in front of us, simple is the last word on my mind. The duck is elegant, refined and, I don’t want to say ‘fancy’ as that has negative connotations but, each dish is almost too pretty to eat. Again, that almost word – ‘almost’, but not quite. As I take a mouthful of still-pink duck with a thin slice of golden beetroot – it tastes better than it looks (and that’s usually an apt description for dishes like lasagne), not a dish as pretty as this. I sit upright, as this food suddenly reminds me that this is not just a restaurant in a five star hotel. It is a five star restaurant.

Anna Lisle

 Stockroom at InterContinental Double Bay