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The Royal Mail Hotel is changing
28.03.2017

Executive chef Robin Wickens has a stronger influence at the Royal Mail Hotel's upcoming restaurant, slated to open later this year.

Adventuring along America's north-west rivers
28.03.2017

The rivers of America's north-west running through Washington state and Oregon form the arteries of epic landscapes and bold discovery routes. Emma Sloley follows in the wake of Lewis and Clark.

The World's Best sommeliers are coming to Australia
28.03.2017

For the first time, the world's top international sommeliers will take part in the World's 50 Best Awards too.

Seven Italian dishes that shaped fine dining in the 2000s
28.03.2017

Italian food in the restaurants of Australia blossomed into maturity in the new millennium, as the work of these trailblazers shows – dazzling and diverse, a successful balance between adaptation and tradition.

Steam ovens: a guide
27.03.2017

Billed as the faster, cleaner way to cook, are these on-trend ovens all they’re cracked up to be? We take a close look at their rising popularity, USP versus the traditional convection cooker and how each type rates in terms of form, function, and above all, flavour in this buyer’s guide.

Our chocolate issue is out now
27.03.2017

Our April issue is out now. In his editor's letter, Pat Nourse walks you through what to expect.

Roast pork with Nelly Robinson
27.03.2017

Nelly Robinson of Sydney's nel. restaurant talks us through his favourite roasting joints, tips for crisp roast potatoes and why, when it comes to pork, slow and steady always wins the race.

Water carafes
24.03.2017

More than mere vessels, these pieces bring a cool breeze of style from the fridge to the table.

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.

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.

All Star Yum Cha

What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

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.

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.

Two Rockpool sommeliers to open their own bar

David Lawler and Tim Sacklin

David Lawler and Tim Sacklin

The Rockpool Group's loss is Collingwood's gain as two of the group's star Melbourne sommeliers, David Lawler (Rockpool Bar & Grill, Spice Temple, Rosetta) and Tim Sacklin (Rosetta), prepare to open their own business, a wine bar-bottleshop called Comptoir this September.

"We only started talking about this about a year and a half ago," says Lawler, who is leaving Neil Perry's restaurant group this month after a 10-year stint. "But both of us had been thinking independently of life after Rockpool and when we had a conversation we realised that our ideas of what we wanted to do were closely aligned."

The ideas were for a place where the two sommeliers could continue sharing their knowledge of wine but in a more hands-on way, something that they realised would only happen in a smaller venue.

"Being at Rockpool has been an amazing experience but because of the nature of my role there, overseeing three wine lists and different styles of service, there were few opportunities for me to talk directly to the customers, which to me is the cherry on top of the sommelier craft," says Lawler.

Comptoir (counter or bar in French) should give him and Sacklin ample opportunity to hit that sweet spot. The place will only seat about 40 people, including on an outside terrace, and the wine list/bottleshop will be kept to a compact 200 to 300 lines. Food will be limited to one hot dish and a small selection of cheese, salumi, olives, anchovies and the like.

"Everything will be there for a reason," says Lawler.

That everything will not include much in the way of natural wine. Lawler says that he's "copped a reputation" for not celebrating natural wines but is happy not to be "hemmed in by a dogma at the expense of giving people a good glass of wine".

"I've worked with some natural wines and think that some of them do work in a gastronomic setting," he says. "But just as other bars have their focus, Tim and I want this bar to have its own ethos, focused on the classic and where conventional is not a dirty word."

Given the sommelier firepower on display (together they've clocked up about 40 years), there's little chance that the list will disappoint, natural wine or not.

Comptoir is expected to open mid-October (updated from early September).

Comptoir, 60 Stanley St, Collingwood. Open daily 10am-11pm.

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