The Hot 100 2013, 76-100
Edible insects, wine labels worth framing, boutique hotels-cum-libraries. Welcome to this year’s Gourmet Traveller Hot 100. Consider this your global hit list (in no particular order), from the most exciting food and drinks trends to the latest and greatest in travel.
76 Rib cap
Spinalis dorsi. It may not sound like the most delicious option to hit the butcher’s block, but advocates such as Phil Wood of Rockpool on George and Ryan Squires of Brisbane’s Esquire will tell you, when it comes to beef, rib cap is a cut without compare. Squires has been rocking rib cap since mentor Thomas Keller introduced him to the delights of The French Laundry’s signature calotte de boeuf grillée while he worked at the Californian restaurant. Wood, who names rib cap as his favourite piece of beef, also discovered it working at The Laundry. “Calotte has got all the flavour, and the texture,” says Squires. “You can’t beat it.” At Rockpool, Wood slow-cooks the cut in a light tobacco stock made using a blend of cigar and pouch tobacco and serves it with fennel, mint, green olive and potato. At Esquire, meanwhile, the beef is grilled over coals at fierce temperatures and plated with the likes of parsley emulsion and artichoke or burnt onion with ketchup.
77 Pork neck
“My favourite cut of pork to grill at the moment is neck,” says Anthony Puharich, of Sydney’s Vic’s Meat and Victor Churchill and TV’s Ask the Butcher. It’s a cut usually seen in braises, but Puharich says steaks cut to 2cm and grilled on very high heat result in “beautifully tender and super-flavoursome pieces of porky goodness”. Count us in.
Maggie Beer has been known to both grill and braise them, while at The Point in Melbourne they accompany the Cape Grim porterhouse along with shiitake mushrooms and horseradish on the tasting menu. And what are they? As Beer puts it in her book Maggie’s Harvest, they’re the rich meat found between the ribs. Simple and delicious.
79 Eat the Problem, worship the art
We’re inspired by “Eat the Problem”, the theme of this year’s Saturday summer markets at MONA, David Walsh’s extraordinary museum in Hobart’s suburbs. The brainchild of his partner, Kirsha Kaechele, Eat the Problem saw stallholders turn invasive pests including sea urchins, wakame and wild rabbits into tasty dishes. Speaking of digestion, Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca machine, a large installation that turns food into faeces, is perhaps the antithesis of what many would consider beautiful. But Delvoye’s new chapel for MONA appears to prove the artist’s adaptability. The gothic-inspired 12-metre structure was shipped to Tasmania after being constructed by Delvoye in Belgium. It will be publicly unveiled mid-year, in time for Walsh’s next trick – the Dark MoFo winter festival, running 13 to 23 June.
80 Best move by a tennis star
Reigning US Open champion Andy Murray stepped off the court to acquire Cromlix House, near his Scottish home town of Dunblane. The tennis star (and Rado ambassador) will spend the next year overhauling the Victorian mansion, which is set in woodlands and has its own trout loch, in readiness for the Ryder Cup golf tournament in nearby Gleneagles in 2014.
81 Local shake-up
Full marks to QT Sydney for daring to be different. Its theatrical flagship is an unashamedly OTT addition to the local hotel landscape. Expect more of the same when owner AHL takes its next step this year. First up is the new Spa Q at its Port Douglas outpost, followed by QT Canberra, opening late 2013 on what was the Rydges site. But it’s the next capital-city QTs that we’re keen to see: Perth and Melbourne, both of which will be built in former cinemas, also owned by AHL.
82 Best creative partnership
Baillies Sydney, James and Hayley Baillie’s intimate 10-suite hotel in The Rocks, appears on track for a July 2014 opening. But until then, news that costume designer and film producer Catherine Martin will step straight off the promotional circuit (Martin’s latest cinematic collaboration with her director husband, Baz Luhrmann, The Great Gatsby, opened the Cannes Film Festival on 15 May) to design three suites at the boutique bolthole should surely cheer those watching and waiting.
83 The Gold Coast reminted
Even its most enthusiastic fans would agree that for years the glitter strip has lacked lustre when it comes to attracting savvy travellers. But if it’s been a while since you hit the Goldie, brace yourself for a cool change. The Miami Marketta Arts Creative at Rabbit & Cocoon held on the second Friday of the month is a good place to readjust your vision. And then there’s its sister eats-opportunity, Marketta Street Food. This was being launched as we went to press with dozens of stallholders selling authentic snacks destined to hit the arts precinct every Saturday night. The Gold Coast’s small-bar and coffee scene is also making waves, catering for locals now as much as tourists, and the shift in focus has brought a welcome fillip to service standards. Leaders of the pack include the eclectic Black Coffee Lyrics at Surfers Paradise, and Mods and Rockers Retro Barbershop on Orchid Avenue, which offers a complimentary tot of port, sake or rum plus hot towel rub with its shaves. At Nobby Beach, climb aboard the nautically themed restaurant and bar The Cambus Wallace, while at Hellenika, an Irish chef is creating a little bit of highly affordable Greek culinary magic. In Burleigh Heads you’ll find Hellenika’s brinier sibling, The Fish House, where the focus is on fish done simply with a southern European accent. Justin Lane Pizzeria & Bar is also worth a pit stop. Bin 12, the recently opened small bar from Daniel Ridgeway, owner of Mermaid Beach’s Little Truffle, dishes decent snacks and booze. Coffee spots such as the low-key but excellent Canteen Coffee and Campos-serving Commune will ensure your energy levels remain high. At Varsity Lakes, you’ll find Brisbane’s consistently good Cup Coffee beans on the menu at Blackboard Coffee.
84 One seriously stylish collaboration
Scandinavian cool meets Australian innovation with the new Aesop-Marimekko Sauna Duet. The Finns’ love of a good sweat inspires the invigorating body scrub and balm. The duo contains a robust blend of fir needles, pine needles and sage leaf, while its packaging features the Vellamo print by the famed Helsinki-based textile design house.
85 Travelling Light
A generation ago we couldn’t fly without a paper ticket. Now we never fly with one. With the rise of apps like TripIt, PinTrips and Worldmate to collate and manage itineraries on a smartphone screen or tablet, is the age of paperless travel finally upon us? Here’s hoping.
86 George gets busy
George Calombaris is a busy man this year. First up is the opening of his Collingwood souvlaki bar Jimmy Grants, followed by the gutting of The Press Club. The latter will re-emerge as Gazi, an “irreverent” take on modern Greek food, says Calombaris. Expect classic Athenian lamb souvlaki alongside crab and coriander versions, spit-roasted suckling pig, a big cocktail list and a Turkish delight carvery. Hot on the heels of Gazi will be a development kitchen, Press Club Projects, which will test dishes for the October opening of the new Press Club, a 30-seat modern fine-diner where the Little Press bar used to be. The new restaurant, says Calombaris, will be about “questioning the way things are done” and should be viewed as “entertainment as much as dining”.
87 The new (old) herbs
Borage? Sweet cicely? And what on earth is Jack-by-the-hedge? Our chefs have been getting noticeably more herbal in recent times, and their micro-basil and pea-shoot garnishes have given way to a host of “new” greens, many of which seem like they’re straight from the pages of John Evelyn’s 1699 “a discourse of sallets”, Acetaria. Tony Mann of Petite Bouche, salad leaf and herb supplier to some of Sydney’s top restaurants, says his newer items such as ice plant are in sharp demand: “It’s about generating new blends, textures and different mixes that are more unusual.”
88 Virgin territories
The unstoppable Sir Richard Branson has added a safari camp in the Maasai Mara to his collection of élite travel experiences. Mahali Mzuri accommodates up to 24 guests in 12 plush tented suites – each with a game-spotting terrace for viewing a dazzle of zebras, a tower of giraffes or a leap of leopards. At his Necker Island home in the Caribbean, meanwhile – yes, the very one where Kate Winslet helped rescue Branson’s mum, Eve, from a house fire in 2011 – the new and improved Great House is slowly rising from the ashes and should open for guests again by year’s end.
89 An authentic Celtic experience
Ireland’s tourism industry has designated 2013 the year of The Gathering for anyone with the faintest tinge of greenery in their chromosomes. But if you’d prefer to escape the general hooley, then head for the Aran Islands, off Galway’s coast, and the divine Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites. Despite opening on the least accessible of the three islands, owners Ruairí and Marie-Thérèse de Blacam have quietly built up a cult following for their delicious locally sourced food and five suites with near-monastic simplicity. Here, in the wild landscape of ocean, sky and rock, you’ll see (and hear – the locals speak Gaelic) glimmers of a truly Celtic past.
90 Most unlikely natural-wine hotspot
Although natural wines are gaining plenty of traction locally, the Japanese have long appreciated the joys of hands-off winemaking. Devotees have even coined a name – “shizen-ha” – for the style. Next time you’re passing through the Japanese capital, ensure wine bars like Roppongi’s Shonzui and Le Verre Volé – a local outpost of the fiendishly hip cave à manger in Paris’s 10th – are on the agenda.
91 What Gyngell did next
We wait with bated breath for the opening of Heckfield Place in Hampshire. What makes this grand country pile special, besides the walled garden that will make even amateur horticulturalists weep, is that it heralds the next venture from Skye Gyngell following her 2012 departure from Petersham Nurseries. Heckfield Place is a different beast: a restored Georgian manor house with its own market garden, underground cinema, Gyngell presiding over the kitchen as culinary director, and all just 70 minutes from London.
92 Nut milks
Once the province of the raw-food crew, creamy nut and seed milks are making a splash on some of our hottest and prettiest plates. At Sydney’s Sixpenny, macadamia milk matches with steamed mud crab, macadamia oil, shaved macadamia and chamomile. Pablo Tordesillas, chef at Brisbane’s Ortiga, is another proponent, with splattered pools of rich almond milk kicking his texturally complex lamb breast with vanilla oil and chickpea purée into the next level of awesome.
93 Meet Salt Meats Cheese
If the Galería del Jamón doesn’t get you to this stunning new warehouse in Sydney’s Alexandria, the tasting sessions will. Did we mention they make wedding cakes out of wheels of cheese?
94 Cooking with ash
Where there are trends for cooking with smoke and fire, there’s got to be a trend for ash. Ash has deep, deep roots in everything from treating dried corn for Mesoamerican preparations to preserving French goat’s cheeses, but now it’s making its way into restaurant dishes. Hamish Ingham, for example, seasons his salad of ocean trout, parsley and smoked trout roe at The Woods with ash, while Pujol chef Enrique Olvera incorporated ash into a mayonnaise at the dinner he gave at Pei Modern for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.
95 Paris is burning
In Paris, breathless anticipation is the new black. This year, the City of Light is bracing for the Peninsula, a Beaux Arts beauty on Avenue Kléber that combines the savvy of the Hongkong & Shanghai Hotels with the clout of Qatari oil wealth. Also in the 16th, on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne, and scheduled to open late this year or early next is the Fondation Louis Vuitton, an art museum and cultural centre that will display LVMH boss Bernard Arnault’s lavish collection of modern and contemporary art. Designed by American architect Frank Gehry, its typically avant-garde exterior looks like a chrysalis with echoes of the Sydney Opera House. Meanwhile, the Prince de Galles Hotel, an art deco landmark off the Champs-Élysées, has just reopened after its 115 rooms and 44 suites were given a good seeing-to by designer Pierre-Yves Rochon.
96 Creature comforts
Evolution in the Galapagos Islands takes a step forward with the September launch of luxe Italian line Silversea’s second expedition ship, Silver Galapagos. The all-suite vessel will ply the archipelago on week-long itineraries complete with butler service and ocean-view accommodation. It’s bound to give new meaning to the theory of natural selection.
97 The latest from London
The British capital isn’t wasting time basking in the afterglow of its big year in 2012. There’s fresh excitement on several fronts in London, like the jazz-era glamour of The Wellesley in Knightsbridge, with its 36 rooms and suites, including a super-penthouse spanning two floors looking over Hyde Park. The new Me London hotel on the Strand, just by Covent Garden, combines the British design cred of Fosters + Partners with a glimmer of Spanish glamour thanks to Majorca-based Meliá hotels. And it’s all about the outlook at the controversial Shard, where Shangri-La Hotels début their first UK property this (northern) summer. The 200 rooms set over floors 34 to 52 of western Europe’s tallest building (and the 24-hour gym on level 52) will capture some of the best urban views in Britain.
98 Man of the moment meets destination du jour
We know the Middle East is a hot ticket (see entry 29) and so does designer Tom Ford, whose new fragrance, Sahara Noir ($230 for 50ml eau de parfum), is a liquid homage to the Arabian peninsula.
99 Airport food takes off
Jamie Oliver has opened a branch of his Jamie’s Italian chain at London’s Gatwick airport, an all-day trattoria which gives passengers an excellent reason to arrive early and go through security before the rush. The precedent for such refined airport dining was set by Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, which serves a three-course meal in 35 minutes. Singapore’s Changi has a hawker market for those who can’t wait to get among the city’s street eats: Kopi – the 24-hour food court in the basement of Terminal 3 – should be your first stop after clearing customs. And we can’t wait to see what chef Suzanne Goin manages at Los Angeles’s reinvigorated LAX when she and Caroline Styne open Larder at Tavern at the new Tom Bradley International later this year.
100 Full Circle
Call it rigorous spontaneity. Begun by former Vini chef Dan Johnston and Berta manager Kristen Allan, culinary guerilla group Full Circle has in recent years staged everything from impromptu banquets in factories and warehouses to flash-mob soup kitchens on the streets of Sydney. In 2013, through both their involvement with The Eat In dinners in the inner city and through Allan’s cheese-making classes, they’ve stepped up their profile, and with the series of feasts they’ve got planned at their producers’ farms in the year to come, they hope to realise their mission to connect cooks and diners with the sources of their food more fully than ever.
EDITED BY FRANCES HIBBARD AND PAT NOURSE WORDS MAX ALLEN, GEORGIE BEAN, GUY DIMOND, FIONA DONNELLY, SUE DYSON & ROGER MCSHANE, JULE EARLIE-LEVINE, AMY EGAN, GEORGE EPAMINONDAS, MICHAEL HARDEN, KENDALL HILL, MAYA KERTHYASA, FIONNUALA MCHUGH, SHANE MITCHELL, DEBBIE PAPPYN, EMMA SLOLEY, DAVID SLY, MAX VEENHUYZEN PHOTOGRAPHY JULIE CRESPEL
This article is from the May 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.