Food News

Hot 100 2015 – Restaurant news

The world is getting hotter and we’re not talking about global warming. From food to faraway destinations, artistic accomplishment to technological triumph, our trend-hunters have combed the planet for what to eat, see, do and watch – right now. Here are the restaurants, and restaurant trends, to watch this year.

Curtis Stone

Courtesy Maude & Rob Shaw


What would you expect from Curtis Stone’s first-ever venture as a chef-owner? Certainly not Maude, a teeny 25-seat restaurant in Beverly Hills, named after his nanna. Against a backdrop of white subway tiles and dried hanging roses, Stone presents a nine-course tasting menu, each month focused on a different seasonal ingredient. This can be something as modest as the lowly parsnip or as luxe as his insane December truffle menu, but no matter what, the chef manages to make each dish distinct and surprising. A meal here turns into a pleasurably philosophical musing on a season and a flavour. Turns out our golden boy is more than just a pretty face after all. Maude, 212 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, California, +1 310 859 3418


The racy Pink Moon Saloon has been contrived from a four metre-wide laneway in Leigh Street, Adelaide. The team that created distinguished cocktail bar Clever Little Tailor has overseen the construction of two skinny cabins with steep-pitched roofs (loosely based on American wilderness huts) and a rough-hewn interior design by Matiya Marovich of Hey! Jose. When it opens around mid-winter, Matthew Standen will be in the tiny kitchen slow-cooking meats for sandwiches and stand-up food to suit serious craft beer and less-than-serious cocktails from Marshall King. The accent on fun makes it a bit looser than CLT without skimping on quality.


Fisherman’s Wharf Café in New Zealand’s Ohope Beach will hopefully set a new culinary precedent for this stunning (but restaurant-shy) neighbourhood in the eastern Bay of Plenty. Sprightly founder Tom Maguire left behind his two Auckland cafés (City and Reuben) when he discovered this site while visiting family. “I got a little carried away by the ridiculously beautiful view, blacked out, and when I came to I was carrying a bottle of pinot gris to a table and taking their dinner order,” he says. Fisherman’s Wharf Café, 340 Harbour Rd, Ohope Beach, +64 7 312 4017


Iñaki Aizpitarte, the enigmatic self-taught chef of Paris’s Le Chateaubriand, is opening in London this year. Mysteriously, he hasn’t chosen anywhere edgy to match the scuffed glamour of his original rebel bistrot in the 11th, opting rather for a spiffy site on haute finance-fuelled Mount Street, halfway between the Connaught hotel and Morton’s Club. If Aizpitarte and his UK-bound head chef, Paul Boudier, can pull it off with an à la carte menu for a Balenciaga-clad crowd, their marble and brass dining room might just become the coolest place to eat in Mayfair. Le Chabanais, 8 Mount St, London


It’s cracking when all goes according to plan. But sometimes, if it doesn’t, the results are even better. Chef Ben Devlin’s departure from Brisbane’s Esquire hasn’t yet translated into a bricks-and-mortar Beerkary Bakery (he and partner Yen Trinh’s beer-baked goods project), but the Noma alumnus’s plans sound tasty. “We want to create a space which runs 24 hours a day – not seating guests 24 hours, but a big space which is constantly moving and changing,” says Devlin. Bakery breakfasts, from 6am to 7am, morphing into bread-showcasing snacks, and drinks, will all display the same craft shown in the Beerkary Bakery pop-ups. A chef’s table for the finest cuts and choicest morsels. At midnight, bakers take charge and the whole process restarts. And then there’s the beer brewing. Yes, please.


Three things on a plate? Too easy for talented pastry chef Lauren Eldridge at Marque, who has created one of the most interesting desserts in Australia right now simply by combining soured cream and honeycomb to dazzling effect. Marque, 355 Crown St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 9332 2225


Hospitality guru and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer continues to expand his empire with the opening of Marta, a Roman-style pizzeria in the newly inaugurated Martha Washington hotel. The thin-crusted pizza of Rome has long been absent from the vast NYC pizza scene, which favours the thick-rimmed Neapolitan style. The extensive wine list is decidedly un-Roman, with ample artisanal Champagne priced to move. Marta, 29 E 29th St, New York, +1 212 651 3800


A former stagiaire at Noma, D.O.M. and Coi, Paul Iskov is now focusing on more indigenous flavours. Together with sister Bree, he stages Fervor pop-up dinners around Western Australia, where he shares native ingredients such as bunya nuts, lerp (crystallised honeydew produced, yes, by the larvae of psyllid insects) and native berries with guests in an intimate setting. 


There’s a new Nordic cuisine on the rise and it comes from a tiny cluster of islands so desolate even the carrots there struggle. The Faroe Islands, a self-governing region of Denmark about halfway between Norway and Iceland, have mostly been known for their extreme weather conditions (read: cold, windy, mercurial), but their isolation makes for some of the most interesting, full-flavoured produce in the world – pristine seafood, wild herbs and grasses, and turnips as sweet as pears. Restaurants such as Koks, the region’s foremost fine-diner, are jumping in to bring Faroese cuisine into the global spotlight. 


Upcycled wares have become commonplace on the tables of hip restaurants, but now it’s the food itself that’s being hauled out of the scrap bin and back onto the plate. In New York City in March, Dan Barber ran his restaurant Blue Hill as a pop-up called Wasted, putting the spotlight on food waste and making things such as gratins of broccoli stems and fish collars with radish-and turnip-green salsa verde, with the help of guest chefs including Mario Batali and Alain Ducasse. “Garbage”, featuring repurposed fish spines and zucchini tops, made for one of the most interesting chapters of Gabrielle Hamilton’s recent Prune cookbook. And while Joost Bakker’s Brothl, which sold soups made with bones donated by other restaurants, closed after a clash with Melbourne City Council, we’re certain it’s not the last we’ll hear from Bakker on the subject.


This dish from Nora, the cutest café in Carlton, was surely designed with Instagram in mind. It’s a breakfast tray with an individual-sized sourdough loaf (Nora’s main trade, after all, is as a bakery), accompanied by nine sweet and savoury “condiments” – ranging from smoked salmon, chicken-liver parfait and seasonal cheese to citrus ricotta and lemon curd, as well as walnuts coated in sugar and fennel seeds. Gorgeous, of course, but also fun to eat and surprisingly satisfying. Nora, 156 Elgin St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9041 8644


There’s a lot of anticipation surrounding Lûmé, the new fine-diner slated to open in South Melbourne this month, much of it generated by owner-chefs Shaun Quade and JP Fiechtner themselves. It’s not just the CVs – Quade’s a pastry guru who’s worked at Quay and the Royal Mail Hotel, while Fiechtner cooked at Le Chateaubriand and Hong Kong’s Bo Innovation. It’s the ambitious 18-course dégustation menu, the stated aspirations to be the best in the world, the bravado refusal to compromise on anything from music to ingredients to accents to décor to Instagram, as well as the well-timed slow drip of information. They have Sally Humble (Vue de Monde, Cutler & Co, Circa) on board as sommelier, and she’s been charged with assembling her fantasy list. They have our attention. Lûmé, 226 Coventry St, South Melbourne, Vic


Take the classic pub meat-raffle tray, drop it in one of Sydney’s hottest restaurants, smoke it and you’ve got a winner. LP’s Quality Meats’ smoked-meat trays, which are bestowed upon a lucky diner between six and eight o’clock every Friday, come replete with the take-home versions of the restaurant’s lamb belly, boudin and sausage du jour. Seriously tasty fun. LP’s Quality Meats, Unit 1, 16 Chippen St, Chippendale, NSW, (02) 8399 0929


The early bird can keep the worm: we’d rather get stuck into Mary’s aged rump tartare with smoked oyster cream or fried wings injected with cod roe and mayo. Mary’s, the after-dark identity of Highgate’s Mary Street Bakery, is far from conventional, and buckets of youthful vim and outré drink choices are just two reasons to keep an eye on this plucky newcomer. Mary’s, 507 Beaufort St, Highgate, WA, 0449 944 861


Cocktails are notoriously difficult to pair with food, so restaurants have begun customising small-batch cocktail-inspired ales to pair with their savoury and sweet menu items. At NYC’s Betony, general manager Eamon Rockey has teamed up with baker Matthew Zarembskito to brew a modern gruit ale made with fresh cherry pits, spruce, fresh lemon verbena, yarrow and sweet fern. It is designed to accompany Betony’s cured, smoked meats and pickled vegetables. Sydney’s Billy Kwong collaborates with Nomad Brewing Co on a limited-edition pale ale while looking to Young Henrys for a bespoke quandong saison. 


Kenny McHardy, chef at Due South, a new waterfront bar and restaurant in Albany, WA, is serious about using Great Southern produce. So much so that he dropped five-figures on a custom-built mill so the restaurant can make its own flour. Working with locally grown wheat, Due South produces baker’s flour daily as well as coarse and fine semolina. The bran, meanwhile, finds its way into house-baked breads. Due South, 6 Toll Pl, Albany, WA, (08) 9841 8526


Opening in June on London’s Cavendish Square, just off Harley Street (still HQ for physicians to the upper-crust), Les 110 de Taillevent, or “Lay Son Deece”, as we reckon you’d say it, is an offshoot of the Paris-based luxury wine diner, offering 110 cuvées by the glass – four to go with each of 30 dishes on its smart brasserie menu. Paying reverent tribute to vines and viticulture, the interior is smooth oak from floor to ceiling, with green-bottle room divisions, and a golden vineyard mural at eye level. Château d’Yquem ’97 by the glass? Cancel the doctor’s appointment and stay another hour.  


Sitting down for a sardine katsu sando at Sydney’s 10 William St is, put simply, everything you love about snack time, with better booze. Chef Daniel Pepperell lightly pickles the sardines, before they’re crumbed, fried and ultimately find a home between crustless fingers of soft white bread, shredded iceberg and furikake mayo. The pub schnitty can wait. Trust us. 10 William St, 10 William St, Paddington, NSW.


The palm tree bursting forth at Mission, Charlotte and Michael Sager-Wilde’s second East End wine bar, is arguably the most glamorous life form in Bethnal Green, and London has never sniffed and swirled the like of its 150-bin list of mainly Californian wines. Add quail and aïoli, mutton meatballs and monkfish and lardo, as well as guest-chef action and one-off events with winemaker banter, plus the Argentine grill planned for Mission’s 40-seater terrace, and summer in E2 is looking hot. 


Lune, the croissanterie in Melbourne’s Elwood, by aeronautical-engineer-turned-croissant-maestra Kate Reid and brother Cameron, is the cause of slavish devotion, queues, quotas, ticketing systems and disproportionate misery when the pastries run out (as they always do). Now the Reids are going to share the buttery crumbs of Lune’s brand with people in Fitzroy (on the corner of Rose and Young streets), teaming up with Nathan Tolman (Top Paddock, Kettle Black), with a new, expanded northside version of the shop. 


The Midas touch of entrepreneur Loh Lik Peng (New Majestic Hotel, Cocotte, Wanderlust) continues to brighten Singapore’s drinking and dining scene. His latest coups include Sorrel, an intimate dégustation spot in emerging Telok Ayer, once the city’s oil and bamboo port. Sorrel’s open kitchen features a young team (executive chef Johnston Teo is 24), all getting their tweezers on at this interactive diner in the Momofuku mould. Highlights include pasta with langoustine bisque. 


Ludo Lefebvre has given his tiny tasting-menu LA restaurant, Trois Mec, a feisty younger sibling in next-door’s Petit Trois, a slot of a restaurant that is meant to evoke the bars of Paris. Sit on a stool at the counter (the only seating) and fall hard for the fat Burgundian escargots drenched in garlic butter, or the hulking, almost pornographic croque-monsieur. There’s an omelette so perfect it’s reached cult status, and not just because Justin Timberlake is a devotee (yes, he is). 

Edited by Pat Nourse & Eliza O’Hare Words Dominique Afacan, Max Allen, Akash Arora, Sophie Dening, Fiona Donnelly, Sue Dyson & Roger McShane, Michael Harden, Kendall Hill, Natasha Inchley, Maya Kerthyasa, Shane Mitchell, Katie Parla, Besha Rodell, Maggie Scardifield, David Sly, Anthea Tsaousis & Max Veenhuyzen

Luke Powell, LP’s Quality Meats

Related stories