On the pass: Ben Russell, Aria Brisbane

What's cooking at Aria Brisbane in late spring, Ben?
Things like roast scallops with pickled kohlrabi, green shiso and smoked eel, grilled lobster with tomato, asparagus and lemon, lamb neck with shiitake mushroom, pea and spring garlic, and bass grouper with grilled octopus, green olives and saffron.

What makes a great party in your book?
You've got to get the crowd right. I don't invite anyone that wears designer loafers, no wolf tattoos, no one that's ever listened to Creed and no one with hair plaits - unless Willie Nelson's coming and even then I would suggest perhaps that you invite him to come later for a cup of tea.

What about the food?
Pickled chillies, some grilled chorizo, some olives - that kind of stuff. Load the table up with that to start with and then a whole joint of meat, whether it be a shoulder of lamb, a leg of pork, something that you've brined and perhaps partially cooked the day before, and finish it off on the barbecue. I think most people these days are grown-up enough to admit that we all like a soft white bun from time to time.

And the drinks?
Fill up the bathtub with cans of beer.

Is there anything you never want to see at a party?
I don't think we need to play Twister.

How do you negotiate the day after?
Plenty of coffee, deep breaths and a lie-in.

Aria Brisbane, 1 Eagle St, Brisbane, Qld, (07) 3233 2555


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