May gourmet news
Baking for a cause, water that sings, and the latest restaurant news in the country.
SURE TO RISE
A new social enterprise helps refugees make dough in Sydney.
Put simply, says Paul Allam, co-founder of Bourke Street Bakery, The Bread & Butter Project “is a social enterprise with a mission to train and employ refugees in the art of baking”. To this end, Allam, his fellow Bourke Street founder David McGuinness and their partners have started a new wholesale bakery in Marrickville. Bourke Street Bakery, the pair says, has always been about bread and community at heart. “Put the two together and you’ve got the basis for a social enterprise”. They’ve reached out to every refugee and asylum-seeker group in New South Wales, Allam says, so “there’s a trainee support manager on staff at The Bread & Butter Project, and the end goal is a TAFE-accredited paid year’s traineeship that will teach people how to bake and to learn what it is to have a job in Australia, and then transition them into work”. All profits from the bread go straight back into training and employment programs. David Jones food halls and Thomas Dux’s Crows Nest store are among the project’s first customers. And what of making the project’s namesake butter? “Probably not,” says Allam. “We’ll stick with what we know.”
SINGING FOR YOUR SIPPER
S.Pellegrino has mixed things up with its latest limited-edition bottle. Where the last two were collaborations with design houses Missoni and Bulgari, the new edition celebrates one of Italy’s greatest artists of recent times: the man, The Maestro, the late Luciano Pavarotti. The big man sings for a limited time only on bottles at restaurants and select retailers.
JONES WRIT LARGE
Bars from cult Brooklyn chocolate brand Mast Brothers ($14.10) are just one of the highlights at the new flagship Jones the Grocer store and restaurant at Westfield in the Sydney CBD. Salty licorice syrup and Greek banana jam are among the other head-turners.
IN GOOD TASTE
Killer design. Sunshine. Snow cones. Party on.
We were fortunate to join forces with Kitchen by Mike and Koskela for the recent Taste of Sydney. There’s something to be said for hitching your wagon to leading lights in both the design and food worlds, especially when their stand – well-worn scooter and all – wins the festival’s best-dressed prize. Chef Mike McEnearney kept things fun with snow cones and the world’s coolest Pluto pups, fashioned from sausages made by German butcher Tino Dees (who supplies star butcher Pino Tomini Foresti) in a batter lightened with Pepe Saya buttermilk. Good company? And then some.
DeLonghi’s Icona Vintage range of toasters ($189 for the four-slice model), kettles ($149) and coffee machines ($299) takes 1950s Italy as the inspiration for its curves and palette, which includes a tan-leather model.
ON THE PASS: PAOLO MOTOSI, AUGUSTINE'S ON GEORGE
How are you finding Brisbane, coming from Locanda Locatelli in London, Paolo?
I just spent two years there as sous-chef and I’ve still got scars everywhere! It’s really full-on. There’s a lot of competition because everyone wants to work there. You really have to know the produce and to go to market in the morning – that’s what I’m doing here now.
I’ve finally found a good supplier of mushrooms, so I’ll be serving slow-cooked lamb neck as a main course, with mixed mushrooms – pine mushrooms, girolles – with a quenelle of polenta cooked with cream and milk, not water, so it’s nice and soft inside.
Any other favourites?
Some handmade pasta with a shape I invented. I had a fight with Locatelli because I wanted him to put them on as a special and call them Paolinis, but it was too much ego! He changed it to monachelle which means “little nuns”, so now we have monachelle with Genovese pesto: pine nuts, basil, pecorino and parmesan, because I am from Genoa. It’s my grandmother’s recipe and it’s perfect with a pine nut crumble and some green beans. Augustine’s on George, 40 George St, Brisbane, (07) 3229 0014. FIONA DONNELLY
After almost two years in development, chef Jock Zonfrillo’s plans for Penfolds’ Magill Estate Restaurant have been shelved. Zonfrillo had been building an original take on indigenous ingredients, but he and Penfolds parted ways in late March. The company is looking for a new chef and remains committed to opening the winery restaurant this year, while opening a restaurant of his own in Adelaide is one of the options Zonfrillo says he’s keeping open.
Riccardo Momesso’s first venture post-Sarti is a Calabrian restaurant in Hawksburn called Valentino. The 120-seater has two bars – one dispensing drinks, the other stuzzichini – and a stone-floored oven producing the likes of the number topped with braised endive, Calabrian sausage, black olives and mozzarella.
Those with a guilty addiction to Aussie-Chinese food of the sesame prawn toast/lemon chicken ilk can be out and proud at Happy Palace, a retro-kitsch restaurant replete with dragons and mirror balls. It could have settled in ironic theme-park territory but chef Kim-Maree Moore takes the brief seriously with good ma po doufu, char siu ribs and tea-smoked duck. Level 1, 87 Bourke St, Melbourne, (03) 9972 3699
A restaurant part-owned by health enthusiast celebrity chef Pete Evans isn’t where you’d expect to find one of the meatiest meat fests in town (even the butter is studded with chicken skin), but with American chef Gavin Baker (formerly of The Fat Duck) in the kitchen, meat is front and centre at Little Hunter. The meat is sourced from ethical and artisan producers and the basement space, dark and masculine, underscores the classic steakhouse vibe. 195 Little Collins St, Melbourne, (03) 9654 0090
A new fit-out with a beach shack vibe has given the boardwalk-level Stokehouse Cafe a clean-lined lease on life. The menu is big on trend-surfing with hot dogs, burgers and pork sandwiches. The cooking, courtesy of chef Nick Mahlook, who joined the Cafe after a couple of years upstairs, is all about big flavours delivered swiftly, while jugs of cocktails and a hefty beer list provide theme-appropriate refreshment. 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda, (03) 9525 5445
NEW SOUTH WALES
The Blue Mountains has hitherto been a tough place to find a really properly good coffee. “That’s why we opened this place,” says one of the blokes behind the counter at Anonymous in Blackheath. And lo, the coffee (from boutique roaster Golden Cobra) is damned fine. The eats, for that matter, ain’t half bad either. Thumbs up to the corned beef sandwich. 237-238 Great Western Hwy, Blackheath
Beer is a focus at basement boozer Old Growler – brought to you by people from Darlinghurst bar Ching-a-Lings and Camperdown caff Runcible Spoon – and inner-west brewery Young Henrys wares are on tap. The food is more ambitious than you might expect for a place this loud: the pork scratchings are complemented by the likes of peppered mackerel with poached egg and black pudding with dates and almond. 216-218 William St, Woolloomooloo
Sydney is, of course, well served for Hunanese food by Chairman Mao, but if Chinatown proves more convenient than Kensington, consider newcomer Yummy Eight. Its fare is simpler, often with a focus on steaming – duck giblets with boiled peanuts, brisket noodles with plenty of dry chilli, classic steamed belly pork with preserved vegetable, steamed spare ribs with blackbean sauce – but the welcome is warm. G04/345B Sussex St, Haymarket, (02) 9268 0660
The doors at Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, a saloon on Paddington’s Caxton Street, are due to swing open this month. A collaboration between Jason Scott, co-owner of Sydney’s Shady Pines and Baxter Inn, and Brisbane’s Jamie Webb (Peasant, Cabiria), Lefty’s will have a beer and whiskey focus, and its menu channels America’s deep south.
Brad Hornby’s return to Margaret River is good news for locals and out-of-towners alike. Just don’t go looking for him at his old haunt, Knee Deep (chef Ben Day has that covered): he and partner Liz Buttimore are bringing the good times to Wills Domain, just a little further north along Caves Road.