Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a free salt and pepper set - offer ends 26 March, 2017

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Savoury tarts

Will your next baking project be a flaky puff pastry with pumpkin, goat's curd and thyme, or a classic bacon and Stilton tart? As autumn settles in, we're ticking these off one by one.

Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

New cruises 2017

Cue the Champagne.

1980s recipes

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Roti canai

Here, we've made the dough in a food processor, but it's really quick and simple to do by hand as well. If the dough seems a little too wet just add a little more flour.

And the winners are


Apparently, there's a recession on. Clearly, no one told Neil Perry, and the diners who pack his two large new Sydney restaurants must've missed the memo too. To imagine that it hasn't been a tough year in the restaurant business, of course, is folly. All businesses, large and small, have been affected, and even those that have had no trouble filling seats have experienced diners opting for the skirt steak over the sirloin, the leatherjacket over the lobster, and leaving with smiles in place of healthy tips.

It's been a great year for diners, though. On the one hand we've seen a fabulous wealth of new restaurants appearing pretty much right around the country, while on the other, many old favourites have had to sharpen their game to stay competitive. Worthwhile lunch and pre-theatre deals, not previously a strong point at high-end Australian restaurants, have become more commonplace.

With consumption of caviar and truffles off many menus either for reasons of fiscal prudence or for the importance of keeping down appearances, both chefs and diners have had reason to cast about for new ways to make dining special. Service staff are valuing their jobs anew in the current climate, which is not only a boon for diners but a balm to the industry's shortage of experience on the floor. The GFC has underscored the phenomenon of "bistronomy", or fine-dining-quality food in a casual setting. Restaurants such as Le Chateaubriand and Le Comptoir in Paris, Bocca di Lupo and Terroirs in London and the Momofuku empire in Manhattan, not to mention the likes of Sydney's Bodega and Melbourne's Cumulus Inc, appear to have weathered the storm better than most, and without battening down the hatches.

Entirely in keeping with the New Old Frugalism there's no trendier possession for a chef than a garden or farm specialising in herbs, leaves and flowers straight out of Hannah Glasse. This is not to say that the fruits of these fields won't be run through the Pacojet or Thermomix the second they reach the kitchen, but the thought of so many grown men (and it is mostly the blokes) fussing over their elderflowers, borage blossoms and native violets with tweezers warms our hearts nonetheless.

Our reviewers report that they're as horrified by truffle oil as ever, and still consider summer truffles as pointless a garnish as anything else with no texture or flavour value. Glass plates inexplicably continue to be used even by good restaurants, and wines by the glass are all too frequently not poured at the table.

Wine service at our best restaurants, though, seems better than ever, and the amount of young blood in the wine world is making it more straightforward and fun by the day. On that note, we're very pleased to be partnered with SIGNÉ, the boutique drinks division of Pernod Ricard Australia, in presenting this year's awards and guide. "This is a great opportunity for SIGNÉ to align our collection of fine wines, Champagne and spirits with the calibre of Australian cuisine represented by the nominated restaurants and bars," says SIGNÉ's head of marketing, Trevor Hannam.

On the plate, we're loving the attention less popular cuts such as beef skirt and flank and lamb belly and breast are receiving. Some diners report instances of sous-vide fatigue (it's interesting to hear that some chefs are stepping away from the immersion circulators already), while spherification appears to be the technique that became a dated fad even before anyone really paid it much mind in the first place. This may be related to the fact that more of today's chefs are paying more mind to the importance of ingredients' texture as well as their flavour.

Hopefully this time next year, with the economic situation brightening, the choice between the marron and the mackerel will be one we'll make solely on the basis of taste. But we have access to so much local talent that it's going to be a tasty ride whichever route you choose. Strap yourself in and let's go.

WORDS PAT NOURSE PHOTOGRAPHY JASON LOUCAS

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Happy first birthday, Bar Brose
17.03.2017
Happening Hobart
16.03.2017
Neil Perry pulls out of haute cuisine; Eleven Bridge to close
15.03.2017
Aaron Carr to leave Vasse Felix after 21 years
15.03.2017
Momofuku takes over Lee Ho Fook
15.03.2017
Perfect match: Pasi Petanen and Giorgio De Maria pop-up this March
24.02.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Albert Street Food & Wine

Philippa Sibley may have left the building, but Albert St F...

Ananas Bar & Brasserie

With a soundtrack laden with dance beats and a dark, moody ...

Aravina Estate

The family-friendly nature of Aravina explains the terracot...

Assaggio

Assaggio's very red, very mod fit-out has undeniable flair,...

Aubergine

The grey-whiskered Ben Willis could pass for a maturing, bu...

Annie Smithers' Bistrot

Annie Smithers may have decamped for Du Fermier, but the bi...

Bacchus - Brisbane

Rydges doesn't exactly leap to mind when you think "complex...

Balla

Pronounce it "bah-la" for Piedmont-born artist and composer...

Balthazar

The mixing of business and pleasure comes second nature to ...

Boucher

Escargots, foie gras, bouillabaisse - the expected French s...

Carlton Wine Room

The relaxed ambience and witty, irreverent service may say ...

Celsius

A land of smoke and mirrors, Celsius is an urbane, nightclu...

Citron

Mark Newman's cassia beef cheek is the type of dish that ce...

Divido

To those who dream of the old country, Divido is the modern...

David’s

David's hums with renewed energy since its transformation t...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×