Category Archives: Events


Sydney’s VIVID 2016 Dining Events

Secure your seat at some of the most popular dining events taking place for Sydney’s VIVID 2016 festival. Enjoy views of the harbour and city as it comes to life through a show of neon bright lights whilst dining on some of Sydney’s best gourmet dishes.

Book now to experience Sydney’s lively side from May 27th til the 18th of June.


aqua dining vivid2016

Opening Night at Aqua Dining- Milsons Point

Celebrate the opening night of the VIVID 2016 festival with spectacular views of Sydney at Aqua Dining. Milsons Point. Book your seat now for a Four-course degustation dinner $125 pp with optional wine matching only $65 additional.


Intercontinental Sydney Vivid2016

InterContinental Sydney

With several foodie events taking place at one of Sydney’s most prestigious hotels, diners can choose from Supper Club’s Lumière Package, a delectable three-course meal by the talented 117 Dining, seafood heaven at Cafe Opera and the mysterious and exclusive VIVID pop-up laneway experience.


the theatre bar at the end of the wharf vivid2016

The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf

Located within the Sydney Theatre’s home, The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf offers diners prime waterfront views of the city. Crafted by Fresh Catering, explore a VIVID inspired menu of cocktails and dishes that channel the creativity from light to plate.

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QT Sydney and Sydney Opera House

Indulge in the ultimate VIVID dining and accommodation package QT Sydney and Sydney Opera House. The package includes an exclusive backstage tour for two people of the Opera House, cocktails and to finish the night a stay in the King Deluxe room at the QT Hotel. Complete the experience the following morning with breakfast at Gowings.


Cruise Bar

Three levels and three exciting events, Cruise Bar is one of Sydney’s popular hotspots with a vibrant atmosphere. Whether it’s celebrating with a group function on The Wharfside Level, one of the many private rooms in the Junk Lounge or for an exclusive event your guests will be sure not to forget, hire out the rooftop.

Keep up to date with all the latest food and wine events happening around the nation at


Oro Rosso Luncheon, Osteria Balla Manfredi

The recent Oro Rosso Luncheon held at Osteria Balla Manfredi (Stefano Manfredi’s Italian masterpiece at Sydney’s The Star) saw a culinary collaboration from some of Sydney’s top Italian chefs, showcasing the humble Italian tomato in all its canned, sundried and fresh forms.

Organised by the Italian Trade Agency, diners were privileged to taste a five-course degustation crafted by the collective talents of Francesco Spartaro (Aperitivo), Eugenio Maiale (A Tavola, Besser), Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater, Pilu at Akuna Bay) Gabriele Taddeucci (Osteria Balla Manfredi) and Danny Russo (Russolini).

Creative dish highlights included Pecorino Tortellini in a tomato broth and bottarga and a very left of field Tomato Cannoli with saffron cream gelato. With the event all about paying homage to the big red, this was a rare opportunity to try some truly inventive dishes that demonstrated artistic finesse.


Washoku Lovers Kitchen x Raita Noda

There’s something to be said about Japanese food. After all, there’s a reason why the Japanese people have the longest life expectancy in the world. The portions are small and delicate, and the cuisine is refined and elegant. Chef Raita Noda seems to be a direct manifestation of these Japanese attributes. He’s gentle and softly spoken – there’s no Gordon Ramsey rambunctiousness here. Perhaps best known for his eponymous restaurant in Surry Hills called Raita Noda, he is also one of several chefs who contribute to the Washoku Lovers project, an initiative aimed at promoting the Japanese food culture in Australia.


As the host of Washoku Lovers’ inaugural cooking class, it’s fascinating to watch Raita Noda demonstrate how to prepare his own version of traditional dishes. Sukiyaki is typically served in a hotpot but Chef Raita gives the dish a modern twist by creating a sukiyaki roll, wrapping rice with wagyu beef in a sushi mat, before searing the roll and serving it with tempura egg and a salad of julienned leek, shallots and tong ho (chrysanthemum leaves). There’s a level of meticulousness that you appreciate when you watch an accomplished chef cook – Raita Noda carefully rinses the rice twice and lightly massages it each time. The second best online casino dish is smoked marinated tuna accompanied with soy sauce and salad. Who knew you could smoke fish by pouring smoke into a glass then covering the fish?


Putting our newfound knowledge to the test, we try our hand at preparing the dishes ourselves inside the hands-on kitchen within Sydney Seafood School. My self-made dishes lack finesse but the wagyu beef is rich and succulent and the blue fin tuna sashimi is deliciously smoked. Washoku Lovers is onto a good thing – Japanese food is truly a celebration of the flavours, textures and colours of fresh produce.

To find out more information about Washoku Lovers, visit

Jenny Wang

Keeping it local

Last week the Best Restaurants team were invited to tour the Sydney Fish Markets under the guidance of celebrity chef Matt Moran (of Aria and CHISWICK fame) to learn about where our food comes from. As a vocal advocate of locally-sourced ingredients, Moran was the perfect man for the job.


Anthony Puharich and Matt Moran at Vic’s Meat Market

We began the day by learning how to select fresh seafood from Peter’s Fish Market, where one must look for “bright, clear eyes and shimmery scales”.  From there we popped over to the newly opened Vic’s Meat Market, where Anthony Puharich, CEO of Vic’s Premium Quality Meat, chatted with Matt about providing customers with the culinary know-how to select the best quality meats from their butcher.  We were advised to look for light cherry coloured meat that is firm and finely textured as well as cut’s with marbling (fat doesn’t have to be a bad thing)! The best meats have fat weaved throughout to ensure the meat stays juicy after cooking.  Vic’s is also home to a Wagyu tasting bar  where you can sample some of the world’s finest such as the Rangers Valley BMS9+ Emperor’s Cut. Whilst there you must also try a slow-cooked pulled pork roll, fresh from the custom built BBQ smoker (by Yoder Smokers in Kansas City) that has been affectionately named Kong.


Matt Moran cooks up a feast at Sydney Seafood School

After the tour we were invited back to the Sydney Seafood School kitchen where the bounty of the day was expertly prepared by Moran himself. Fresh scallops and delicately spiced mussels were a highlight. We also got to sample a selection of both grass fed and grain fed meat from Vic’s to see if we could quell the age-old question…grass or grain? Alas, no luck, we foodies remained divided.

The event celebrated the launch of LG’s newest Door-in-Door Refrigerators.

Booze, Burgers and Beards

What do booze, burgers and bearded men have in common? They all reside at Rupert & Ruby’s in Darlinghurst of course, and each is a sight for sore eyes.

Let’s start with the beards. A good-looking troop of bearded boys fronts the kitchen with Canadian head chef Eli Challenger at the helm (okay, he’s not bearded…but he wears great specs). They maintain cool composure behind the pass, despite the fact that the 90-seat restaurant is always buzzing with boisterous youths boozing up stairs and a wall of sweetheart wooers below.  The team works together effortlessly allowing time for banter and collective humming to the sweet classic rock tunes pumping from the speakers.  If you are perched at the bar, feel free to join in. Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ makes for a great sing-a-long.


Vancouver born chef Eli Challenger with his fabulous spectacles

The team began at the IconPark venue in August, taking over from the popular Stanley Street Merchants. The venue is the world’s first crowd-funded restaurant and bar, which supplies budding restauranteurs with a ready-to-trade, licensed location to showcase unique and temporary dining concepts that the public have ultimately chosen.

Ruby’s BBQ, a Deep South barbecue joint, was the original idea proposed by Eli, his wife Ruby and friend/great-bearded business partner Aaron Pearce (from Fat Rupert’s in Bondi). The concept was so popular at the Taste of Sydney festival that the talented team was invited to take up the second residency. This time round, the trio combined the best of Ruby’s BBQ and Fat Rupert’s to create a traditional American meets modern Australian dining experience that operates from breakfast through to dinner.


The famous Big Poppa Burger filled with spiced smoked brisket

The food is rustic, honest dude-food that is not for the calorie conscious. Think Big Poppa burgers filled with 12-hour smoked brisket, oozing cheese, lettuce, onions, and pickles paired with a bowl of crunchy rosemary and lavender salted shoestring fries. Crispy fried chicken (prepared and soaked in buttermilk for two days prior to cooking) is another house specialty, owing to the batters blend of secret spices. Vegetarians may find the menu harder to navigate, but a colourful salad of grilled witlof, cauliflower, apple and toasted walnuts with pleasant charry undertones is a good option. The food tangos nicely with the punchy cocktail list, but it’s the Stone & Wood Pacific Ale with its big fruity aromas that will truly steal your heart.

Although Rupert & Ruby won’t be around for a long time, they can definitely promise a good time. This Thursday night the venue hosts an extravagant Halloween party with neighbouring Kubrick’s and the Hazy Rose, followed by Melbourne Cup shenanigans, and finally a traditional Thanksgiving feast on November 27th that will give Aussies a taste of the much-loved American celebration, and of course more booze, burgers and beards.

Sami-Jo Adelman

Rupert & Ruby 

Criniti’s 10th birthday bash

Their motto is “Italians do it better” and this week, the Criniti’s family certainly proved this true. In celebration of their 10th birthday, Criniti’s pulled out all the stops for a bash that featured everything we love about the Italian approach to socialising; which is pretty much summed up by the adage that more is more.

Criniti's glitterati - the guest list certainly left us feeling a little star struck

Criniti’s glitterati – the guest list certainly left us feeling a little star struck

The guest list left us feeling a little star struck, with celebrities and us regular folk rolling up in their monochromatic best for the black and white dress code.

The ravishing Ricki-Lee Coulter

The ravishing Ricki-Lee Coulter

Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without champagne, and the fountains of Veuve Clicquot, along with a steady stream of cocktails and red, white and green canapes, went down a treat.

Rooster's star Anthony Minichiello

Rooster’s star Anthony Minichiello

Congratulations to the winner of the Criniti’s Facebook competition, who scored a trip to Rome, including flights, accommodation AND $2k worth of spending money. Bravo bellissimo!

Keep your eyes peeled for the video of the night on our YouTube page.

* Photography courtesy of

An Amazing Bathurst event to remember – the Country Larder Leisurely Lunch

One of the highlights of 2012 was my weekend in Bathurst in October to celebrate the launch of Amazing Bathurst, a collaborative project undertaken by local business operators, passionate about offering world-class experiences in the heart of the Central West. It was such a pleasure to be a guest at this wonderful event and I must say one I will not forget. Christine Le Fevre owner/operator of Bishops Court Estate Boutique Hotel had very kindly invited me to attend the lunch and stay the weekend.

Amazing Bathurst’s first project came to fruition on 13th October – supporting All Saints Cathedral to raise funds for the restoration of its historic bell tower. The event was held at the private chapel of the magnificent Mayfield Gardens near Oberon, one of the largest privately-owned cool climate gardens in the world, nestled within a 5,000 acre working farm.

Wandering the stunning surrounds of Mayfield Gardens

Wandering the stunning surrounds of Mayfield Gardens

Christine came up with the concept of ‘The Country Larder Leisurely Lunch,’ a totally unique spring event that was aimed to bring people together to literally break bread and share good food, wine and the passion of Amazing Bathurst. In true country style, the lunch table was set with traditional jars full of preserves, condiments and other delicious things all made with passion from family recipes.

“We wanted to celebrate traditional values and local produce, so the starting point was to bring a team of volunteers from All Saints to my kitchen at Bishop’s Court to make everything from preserves and terrines to freshly baked country tarts from old heritage recipes. We made everything from marinated local cheeses, figs infused with earl grey, citrus and thyme jelly, cranberry and onion jam and beetroot relish just to name a few, all presented with handmade tags and labels explaining their history to really conjure up the sense of a true country larder,” Christine said.

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In the chapel, guests were seated at tables laden with an abundance of country larder, local wines and homemade lemonade. Bishop Richard Hurford broke the first loaf of bread and everyone proceeded to share the preserves around and settle in for the leisurely feast – all prepared offsite with passion and transported with care to the chapel. Local author and gardener Mary Moody, who lives part of the year in France, was called on to MC the event and ensured that all 90 guests enjoyed plenty of French-inspired conviviality.

We had many of our Amazing Bathurst members on board – wine was provided by Renzaglia, Vale Creek and 3 Views Wines, along with Stone Pine Distillery. Legall Patisserie baked 60 loaves of bread and provided their sensational pastries for dessert and the meal ended with coffee from Fish River Roasters and gorgeous sweet treats made lovingly by the Anglican ladies.

The table was overflowing with local cheeses, home made breads, preserves and relishes

The table was overflowing with local cheeses, breads, preserves and relishes

Christine had invited two very talented musicians Rob Shannon and Veren Grigorov to play guitar and violin throughout the meal, which created a wonderful ambiance.

Thank you, Christine for the invitation, I am looking forward to promoting Bathurst this year and coming back to your beautiful hotel. It is one of the best places I have ever stayed in Australia and I could easily compare it to some of the boutique hotels in Europe. Readers, put Bathurst and Bishop”s Court on your itinerary this year, as it is definitely worth the drive over the mountains to experience the hospitality, food and wine of the Central West.

Maureen de Groot

Read more about Bishop”s Court Estate here.

Stars come out for a Taste of Tennis

The Australian Open is in full swing, and we were lucky enough to be invited as guests to the launch of Swisse Taste of Tennis at the Grand Hyatt last week. Over the past 13 years, AYS Sports Marketing has produced this fantastic event in New York to kick off the US Open Tennis Championships but this was the first time it has hit Australian soil.

George Calombaris, Kerri Anne Kennerley and Lleyton Hewitt

George Calombaris, Kerri Anne Kennerley and Lleyton Hewitt

Kim Attwells and myself had no hesitation in accepting the invitation from Brian Hester, the organizer of the event, who had flown out from the USA. We spent the night mingling with the guests, chatting to the chefs and playing ‘spot the celebrity tennis player.’ With over 400 guests, the event was a great success. There was just one problem – we must have missed the memo that stated, “must be mid-20’s, tanned, good looking, have long legs to attend”.

Maureen with Sake chef Shaun Presland

Maureen with Sake chef Shaun Presland

The fun continued at the after party at Silk Road. Here we had drinks with a very good-looking Argentinean who introduced himself as Horacio Rearte – at the time, we weren’t sure if he was one of the players so we didn’t display our ignorance and ask about his day job, but on googling him back in the hotel room we discovered he is one of the of the world’s most prominent tennis coaches, who has trained the likes of Jennifer Capriati and Andy Roddick.

Melbourne's top chefs and restaurants helped kick off the Australian Open

Melbourne’s top chefs and restaurants helped kick off the Australian Open

Staying at The Grand Hyatt topped off our Melbourne trip, not just because it’s such a beautiful hotel but we also got to rub shoulders with many international tennis stars. It was a lovely treat to just “bump” into the athletes in the lifts and lobby, but going to the gym for a workout riddled us with anxiety. The thought of being on a treadmill besides Roger Federer or doing a few laps alongside Maria Sharapova in her swimmers wasn’t as appealing. Fortunately, our self-esteem remained intact as we were able to work out celebrity-free.

Events like Taste of Tennis make the many hours of working to build de Groots Media worthwhile. It was such a fabulous couple of days and now watching the tennis back in Sydney is even more exciting, having met many of the players and coaches that grace the television screen. I was only disappointed Rafael and Roger were not at the event. Would have loved a pic with them for the de Groots album!


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de Groots Media goes international… first stop, London

What a great decision it was to take some time off from de Groots headquarters in Sydney and fly to London to see Yolanda, who has been living here for the past year, setting up the company’s UK venture. Sydney was picture perfect when I flew out, all summer sunshine and blue skies. London has turned out to be its dreary self – grey clouds hang low and dense like a bunker, the sun disappears by 4.00 in the afternoon and a constant veil of rain obscures our vision. But I don’t regret the city swap for a moment.

A dreary yet beautiful welcome to London

Yolanda has set up an office in Lancaster Gate – not a bad address for the new office – across from Hyde Park and within walking distance to Mayfair. We have had a number of business meetings to discuss our exciting new venture, in between riding bikes in Hyde Park, spending an afternoon at the Christmas Markets at Embankment, window shopping in Mayfair and Bond Street and sitting in London pubs enjoying a glass of wine. We also shopped till we dropped at Portobello Markets and Covent Garden before a well-deserved brunch at Bill Granger’s restaurant in Notting Hill, Granger & Co.

Yolanda”s London life – at Roux at The Laudau – Langham Hotel

The highlight of my stay would certainly be today’s lunch at The Ledbury in Notting Hill, one of London”s leading restaurants. It was opened in 2005 by one of Australia’s best exports, the young Brett Graham. The boy who started his career in a simple fish shop in Newcastle has built casino such a reputation for his restaurant that it now bears two Michelin Stars to its name. Brett blazed a trail to London via a stint working under Liam Tomlin at Sydney’s highly acclaimed Banc restaurant, where he won the Josphine Pignolet Award. This recognition is one of many he has amassed, but possibly the most influential, as it granted Brett a trip to the UK, where he secured a job at The Square under Chef Phillip Howard.

Chef Brett Graham is one of Australia”s hottest exports

Needless to say, The Ledbury is busy every day and evening, so Yolanda and I were very lucky to get a table when we visited and delighted when the restaurant manager invited us down to the kitchen to meet Brett.

Yolanda and Maureen, the dynamic mother-and-daughter duo behind de Groots Media.

I have been looking forward to next week, when we will get down to business and discuss our UK plans, but Yolanda had another surprise in store for me before we get too engrossed in official business. She has booked a weekend in Barcelona so we are off to Spain tomorrow. I guess we will have to make time over tapas and wine or whilst walking through the Gaudi to discuss business – or maybe I’ll just have to extend my stay here, it seems the office is running perfectly fine without me.

Maureen de Groot