Food & Culture

What to eat, see and do this month: your GT news wrap for November

Chefs on the move for pop-ups, celebration essentials, the picnic renaissance and David Chang’s memoir.

By Jordan Kretchmer
David Chang, chef, restaurateur and author of his memoir Eat a Peach.


As Victoria slowly reopens, with it comes some new offerings from bold and brave hospitality folk. Tiny pop-up pasticceria Monforte Viennoiserie has cropped up in Carlton North. You'll find a changing rotation of short-run pastries: one week you may get a leatherwood honey and sea salt croissant, the next, one topped with asparagus, goat's curd and hazelnut. Owner Giorgia McAllister Forte spent the past four years learning tricks of the trade from Boris Portnoy at All Are Welcome.
As Marion reverts back to its original wine bar format, just a few doors down you'll be able to enjoy the community grocery vibes of this pivot permanently. Morning Market will take cues from the Marion Grocer, offering sandwiches, salads and coffee, alongside fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, and bread by Baker Bleu.
After the upheaval of this year, chefs are now on the move to bring new life to Sydney mainstays. Nik Hill has taken to La Rosa at The Strand for a pop-up dubbed The Milan Cricket Club. It's pitched as a British-Italian steakhouse, but there's not a squiggle of pasta in sight. "The food is far more British than Italian," says Hill.
Similarly, Nigel Ward (formerly of Sagra) will breathe new life into the Ivy's Uccello. He'll make the most of the existing wood-fired oven, serving up Ulladulla ruby snapper with salsa verde and Melanda Park suckling pig.
Mitch Orr is also on the move, heading up the kitchen at Freshwater's Pilu Baretto Nights.
Eagle Street Pier has welcomed Naga. Bangkok-born head chef Suwisa Phoonsang is returning to her roots, steaming chor muang (flower-shaped dumplings), stir-frying pad kra pao gai (Phoonsang's lunch of choice) and slow-cooking khao soi, Chiang Mai's curry-noodle-soup. The 150-seat venue is pinned as a "long-term pop-up", driven by Andrew and Jaimee Baturo of French-Vietnamese restaurant Libertine.
The chor muang at Brisbane's Naga. Photo: Darcy Starr


The Everleigh Bottling Co. has released two new carbonated bottled cocktails. The effervescent numbers include an old-world Americano and an elegant French 75.
$48 for four,


Celebrated American chef, restaurateur, and television and podcast host David Chang has added yet another book to his burgeoning list of achievements, with the release of his debut memoir Eat a Peach. Eight years in the making, the book is a culinary coming-of-age which unpacks Chang's struggles and triumphs in both his personal and professional life. "The book touches on my Asian identity and mental health, plus the crazy ride that has been the culinary world for the past 15 or so years," says Chang.
From stories of growing up as an "outsider" in Arlington, Virginia, to working as a line cook, dealing with negative criticism and managing bipolar disorder, the book reveals an intimate and honest account of Chang's experiences.
"The hardest part was shaping it into something that makes sense for someone else to read, rather than it just being a stream of consciousness," adds Chang. "The first half is more linear than the second, as I'm still working through the past 10 years; I'm still trying to make sense of it all. It has been a long process." And as for his success? "So much of the world today is preparing you to become successful. No one tells you what happens after success – that's the hard part."
Eat a Peach: A Memoir by David Chang (Square Peg, $42.99) is out now.
Words by Karlie Verkerk.
David Chang, chef, restaurateur and author of his memoir Eat a Peach. Photo: Andrew Bezek


Picnics aren't a new summertime thing, but with the growing preference (and at times necessity) for outdoor dining, chefs, restaurants and start-ups are celebrating the moveable feast now more than ever. Chez Micky is a Sydney-based picnic purveyor, focused on delivering packs of handmade preserves, pickles, cheese and condiments. Owner Michaela Morgan uses vegetables and herbs from her plot at Camdenville Paddock Community in Newtown and seasonal market hauls, to create her own pesto, harissa and labne (which you can order as a three pack); alongside a summer seafood essentials pack comprising of lime mayonnaise and pink mignonette (ready to slather on prawn rolls and spoon on oysters respectively). For now, she's servicing the greater Sydney region, enlisting friends and family to help deliver the goods, with hopes to expand across NSW and Australia.
Stalwart chefs are also turning to portable al fresco affairs: in LA, Australian chef Curtis Stone has opened Picnic Society by Gwen at The Grove, while closer to home his events offshoot in Melbourne is doing large-scale catering packs designed for picnics and outdoor celebrations. Melbourne's Meatsmith is also joining the park party, hampering small goods (including wagyu pastrami, duck terrine and chicken liver pâté), artisan cheese, bread and skin-contact wine, all in a neat Meatsmith cooler bag.
Meanwhile, catering business Cookes Food has expanded its offerings to send out European-inspired grazing packs.
Chez Micky's pink mignonette, best served on oysters. Photo: Gabrielle Penfold and Michaela Morgan


North Bondi's Porch & Parlour has reopened with a fresh refurb for summer and a new side hustle, launching Porch Ceramics. Co-owner Sammy Smith has collaborated with ceramicist Ryan Der to craft a beautiful range of neutral-toned crockery. Handmade in a garage-studio in Tamarama, Porch Ceramics are now the base for serving meals and coffees in-house. Each piece is available for purchase, from piccolo cups to plates in the café, and through the soon-to-be-launched online store.
The Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA) has opened just off the coast of Townsville in North Queensland. The series of subterranean sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor draws attention to the conservation and restoration of the Great Barrier Reef, merging art, science and the joy of diving.
Car aficionados will be impressed by the sleek new Mercedes E-Class range. It includes the practical and refined sedan, the chic cabriolet and a sporty coupé, with each vehicle offering both modernity and luxury.
Festivals are back on the cards, and Mona Foma is one of the first to announce dates. Mona's Festival of Music and Art will double down on locations next year, hitting Launceston (January 15-17) and Hobart (January 22-24). With two locations more people can attend the left-of-centre immersive festival.
The art of sabrage (where Champagne is opened using a sabre) is usually reserved for big-ticket events, but Cygnet Sabres offer three different sabres – including the "Spartan Xiphos" – so you can crack open a bottle in style whenever the mood strikes.
Ceramics at Porch & Parlour in North Bondi, Sydney. Photo: Kitti Gould


In a bold move all Ovolo Hotels across Australia have announced their restaurants will be wholly vegetarian
for the next year. Woolloomooloo's Alibi set the tone (it's been vegan since it first opened), while other restaurants will welcome new chefs to spearhead the vegetarian shift, including Canberra's Monster Kitchen & Bar (Paul Wilson) and Brisbane's Za Za Ta (Roy Ner, previously from Nour and Lilah).
Glamping accommodation Sierra Escape is bringing some extra off-grid luxury to its Mudgee site. The eco-focused stay has been given a refresh and now has a pool (crafted from a shipping container) and deck to relax on.
While the opening of W Melbourne has been pushed back to February 2021, the hotel has announced chef Adam D'Sylva (co-owner and chef of Tonka and Coda) will head up the creative culinary direction for Lollo, which is set to be one of the hotel's signature restaurants.
Following COVID-related delays, Crystalbrook Flynn is set to open in sunny Cairns on November 10. The Sea King and Sea Suite rooms enjoy views of the pristine Coral Sea. Just north, Accor will open the first Fairmont-branded hotel in Australia, with the opening of the Fairmont Port Douglas in Queensland in 2023.
Sierra Escape in Mudgee, New South Wales.
  • undefined: Jordan Kretchmer