Food & Culture

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

Snazzy new restaurant openings, a Mexican culinary escape with a Gordon Ramsay-trained chef, and fresh places to stay. It's going to be a good month.

By Jordan Kretchmer
The grounds of Ser Infinito, a private estate described by many as a Santa Fe castle. Photo: Bryce Thurston.

RESTAURANT NEWS

SYDNEY
La Salut has opened within Norfolk House and Hotel, bringing sought-after natural Spanish wines and Catalan-leaning small plates to Surry Hills. Snack on three different types of jamón, Manchego and anchovies alongside glasses of pétillant-naturel from Nuria Renom or bottles of vino from the Canary Islands. barlasault.com
In the CBD, Shell House has nabbed another talent, with Sixpenny's Aaron Ward set to step into the head chef role in the sprawling venue's Dining Room, working alongside culinary director Joel Bickford (ex-Aria). shellhouse.com.au
Nearby, pop-up bar and restaurant About Time is hoping to bring the casual frivolity of the backyard barbecue to the more serious end of town. Run by a team of seven owners – who have worked across The Baxter Inn, The Gidley and The Roosevelt – the pop-up will run for less than a year, making the most of its Hunter and Bligh Street location before demolition in late 2022. Expect a few nods to retro Australiana, from a housemade French onion dip with Jatz to a tricked-up coal-roasted lamb sandwich; and cocktails including a Pavlova Milk Punch and a Rocky Road Old-Fashioned. abouttimebar.com.au
Sommelier Rebecca Lines and her husband, chef Hamish Ingham, have opened Tequila Daisy, replacing their former Banksii Vermouth Bar and Bistro in Barangaroo. The 200-seat waterfront bar and restaurant has more than 100 tequila and mezcals available by the glass; while Ingham will be slinging beef cheek empanadas, kingfish tostadas and spicy chilli spanner crab a la diabla.tequiladaisy.com.au
Over the bridge, Lavender Bay will welcome Loulou Bistro. The three-pronged boulangerie (baking croissants and baguettes), traiteur (delicatessen) and bistro will be led by Lyon-born Sebastien Lutaud as culinary director, alongside head chef Billy Hannigan (Bistro Guillaume and The Ledbury, London) and sommelier Shun Eto (Icebergs Dining Room and Bar). loulou.sydney
NORTHERN NSW
Tweed River House is a grand new bistro with sweeping views of Wollumbin and Mount Warning on Bundjalung land. The beautifully restored river house sees Irish-born executive chef Joseph McGrattan working with regional produce across two-, three- and five-course set menus. tweedriverhouse.com.au
Meanwhile, people of Brunswick Heads are eagerly awaiting a new charcoal chicken shop by the team behind Fleet, with Birds of Paradise set to take flight at the former Ethel Food Store site. Hoping to have chooks on the rotisserie by February next year, birds will be slowly cooked over the coals then joined by a reworked version of Fleet's sugarloaf cabbage salad. There will also be sandwiches and rolls, plus alternating chicken-related specials that may include the beloved Kiev, a classic schnitzel or fried chicken. "I hope Birds of Paradise brings with it a sense of comforting nostalgia with a twist," says owner Josh Lewis. "For quite some time I've felt there has been something missing in Brunswick and it took a few episodes of being hangry to realise what it was." Instagram/@birdsofparadiserotisserie
The team behind La Salut, Sydney. Photo: Dexter Kim
BRISBANE
After nine years working alongside Miguel Maestre and cooking in Spanish and Italian restaurants along the east coast, chef Kevin Ernesto Fredes has opened his own intimate restaurant, Paella Y Pa' Mi, in Coorparoo. While the menu kicks off with tapas – including seared scallop with salsa salvitxada (a sauce similar to romesco, but thickened with garlicky toast and vinegar); cured and fried pork belly with spiced pear; and fresh and macerated peppered strawberries with a molasses and Idiazabal cheese – the namesake dish is the only main on the menu. By focusing on paella, the chef hopes to share his love for the traditional dish with four variations: a mixed paella; another with rabbit, chicken, broad beans and green beans; plus seafood and vegetarian paella. Instagram/@paellaypami.restaurant
Meanwhile, Mai Gai has arrived at Everton Plaza. Chef Suchada Nakbunchuay (formerly of Byron Bay's Bang Bang) will oversee a mostly Thai menu, which also has influences from Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia. maigai.com.au
MELBOURNE
Tippy-Tay is a bright new Italian bar and restaurant set to open within Flinders Lane's Garden State Hotel. Expect playful riffs on cacio e pepe (in arancini), salami (made with octopus), and "last night's" lasagne (pressed, portioned and grilled, so it gets a crisp outer shell), alongside tiramisù, cannoli and digestifs, which will be dished out from a roving airline trolley. gardenstatehotel.com.au
Glutards, rejoice! Pasta Pi-Ci, a fresh gluten-free pasta deli has opened in Brunswick. Chef-owner Lachlan Peachey developed his own gluten-free pasta recipe because his girlfriend, descended from a family of gluten-intolerant diners, was craving "not-shit" gluten-free pasta. Armed with a motorised Marcato Atlas pasta machine and a carbon-steel ramen knife, the chef hand-rolls, folds and shapes about 10 kilograms of dough a day. "I have tagliatelle knives which are similar shape, but they're not as cool," he says. The winning recipe is one that has been tweaked over the years, and combines rice starch, corn starch and free-range eggs from Burd Eggs in Goulburn Valley. The result is a silky pasta akin to traditional whole-egg pasta, minus the sliminess typical of gluten-free versions. Instagram/@pasta.pici
A spread at Melbourne's Tippy-Tay. Photo: Pete Dilon

THINGS TO DO

A DAY IN MEXICO, December 4-5
Award-winning chef Josue Lopez will transport guests to Mexico for a day next month, hosting an exclusive pop-up restaurant at Ser Infinito Estate, giving NSW residents a rare chance to experience his acclaimed cooking.
Lopez, who trained under Gordon Ramsay before moving to Brisbane where he was head chef at GOMA and now owns The Wolfe in East Brisbane, will explore his Mayan heritage across the long lunch, held in the grounds of Ser Infinito, a private estate described by many as a Santa Fe castle. The sprawling adobe property was built as a private residence by the new-age author Stuart Wilde in the late 1990s, complete with handmade tiles and fixtures imported from New Mexico.
Guests will be treated to a tour of the luxury property as part of event, where they can spy footprints in the floor tiles, said to be from a pack of wild coyotes that walked across the wet clay before the tiles were shipped to Australia.
Live music and entertainment will ensure the day feels like a true festival of fine food, with matching wines, cocktails and Champagne, paired with the exclusive dégustation menu.
Transfers by helicopter or sea plane are available, or guests can make a weekend of it and stay in nearby Mollymook or Ulladulla.
A Day in Mexico, Ser Infinito Estate, Milton, NSW. December 4-5, 2021. Tickets $600, to book call 0451 113 631.
The views from Ser Infinito in Milton, NSW. Photo: Bryce Thurston
JULIA
Julia Child's legacy is set to find its way back onto the silver screen with the release of a new feature documentary, Julia. Narrated by her friends and family, influential chefs and quotes from the late Child herself (including zingers like, "I find if people aren't interested in food, I'm not ve​​ry much interested in them. They seem to lack something in the way of personality.") The film charts her impact on cooking, feminism and television. Chronicling her moves to Sri Lanka and Paris, her endeavours at Le Cordon Bleu and revolutionary first book Mastering the Art of French Cooking (which took 12 years to write and test) and its subsequent impact, Child's story is empowering, uplifting and of course, delicious. From the opening scene of Child butchering, buttering and roasting a chook; to braising beef for Bourguignon, the food cinematography will leave you wanting to dive into Child's recipe archive, all while doing your best Child impressions along the way.
In select cinemas from November 4.

THINGS TO EAT

Yuzu's short and limited season in Australia means it is hard to come by, so this limited-release olive oil is a boon for fans of the Japanese citrus. Mount Zero has collaborated with specialty citrus growers, Mountain Yuzu, based in north-east Victoria, for this special bottle, which sees whole yuzu fruit and olives cold-pressed together resulting in a zingy and freshly flavoured oil. Drizzle over fresh pasta, raw fish, salads, citrus desserts or any dish in need of an Italian-meets-Japanese kick. $25.90 mountzeroolives.com

HOTEL NEWS

Sydney is welcoming a slew of slick new hotels, ready to host tourists in the Emerald City. One of the most anticipated is The Ace Hotel – the first in the southern hemisphere. Located in the historic Tyne House in Surry Hills, the 264-room design-focused hotel will showcase distinctive modernist interiors by Flack Studio. acehotel.com
In the CBD, Kimpton Sydney (the first property for the brand in Australia) has enlisted Luke Mangan to oversee the dining offerings in the luxury hotel, located within Pitt Street's heritage-listed former Water Board headquarters. The main restaurant is set to be Luke's Kitchen, alongside a 1930s-inspired cocktail bar, an intimate wine bar and a poolside rooftop bar, plus a casual café. ihg.com/kimptonhotels
A peek inside Sydney's The Ace Hotel. Photo: Anson Smart
SHAREPIN
  • undefined: Jordan Kretchmer