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Reader lunch: Fred's, Sydney
24.01.2017

Beat the queues to Sydney's most sought-after table and join us for a knockout summery lunch at Fred's.

Greg Malouf returns to Dubai
24.01.2017

After spending the past 12 months writing books and doing one-off dinners the Australian chef is poised to open an exciting new restaurant in the Middle Eastern capital.

Merivale’s The Chicken Shop opens this week
24.01.2017

Ben Greeno’s long-awaited side-hustle, The Chicken Shop, is opening on Australia Day, right next to The Paddington.

Nour Sydney kicks off guest chef series
23.01.2017

Ghostboy Cantina did it with Temp Taquero in Dixon House and at Tio's. Automata did it with Auto.Lab. And now Nour, the powder-pink themed modern Lebanese eatery in Surry Hills, is joining the club with a guest chef series, too.

Our third Chinese-language edition is out now
23.01.2017

Dedicated to being the best guide to Australia, our latest Chinese-language edition includes a checklist of the country's essential new restaurants, our most beautiful beaches, and much more.

Blanca Bar & Dining to open in Bondi this week
23.01.2017

Bjorck describes the food as "European-style," but with "nice fresh Japanese flavours".

Jackalope hotel opens on the Mornington Peninsula
20.01.2017

Glamour, sophistication and luxury have arrived on the Peninsula, with a crack-team of staff assembled to make it a success.

Stokehouse, Melbourne Review
19.01.2017

An Australian dining landmark rises from the ashes: the Stokehouse is back ready to please the crowds for at least another generation to come, writes Michael Harden.

Sommelier of the year 2008: Simon Curkovic, Catalina, Rose Bay, NSW

One of Simon Curkovic’s favourite words is ‘fun’. He uses it when he tells you how he regularly introduces adventurous diners at Catalina restaurant to the wine world’s more obscure bottles ("drinking something different is great fun"). Tellingly he also uses the F-word when talking about the great older-vintage Burgundies at the heart of Catalina’s excellent wine list: "At the end of the day, it’s just such fun to be able to play with wine like this, in a major way, and to work with a restaurant owner who wants the best list possible."

The owner in question is veteran restaurateur (and renowned great-wine tragic) Michael McMahon, who clearly recognised a kindred spirit in Curkovic when he hired him fresh from working at a string of big-note Sydney restaurants (Quay, Aria, Rockpool) two-and-a-half years ago. Since then, Curkovic has developed a list that does his boss proud: there’s a great balance between the ‘classics’ (Burgundy, Bordeaux, Grange, etc.) and the more obscure, with informative, pithy descriptions for some of the less well-known wines. This personal touch is esp-ecially appropriate and nicely done on the sommelier’s selection pages at the front of the list: you could happily drink from these two pages alone – a real achievement.

The clincher, though, is the pricing. Compared with other restaurants in similar locations and with similar reputations, Catalina’s prices are (relatively) sensible. "Look, there are certain costs involved with running a restaurant like this in Sydney," says Curkovic. "And that’s how many others justify their 300 per cent mark-ups. But there’s another philosophy: I don’t like the wine list to be a museum. I don’t want bottles just sitting there looking good. I want these wines to be drunk."

Now that’s our idea of fun.

Lyne Park, Rose Bay, NSW, (02) 9371 0555, www.catalinarosebay.com.au.

WORDS MAX ALLEN PORTRAIT ANSON SMART

  • Destination:
  • NSW
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Greg Malouf returns to Dubai
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