Travel News

The Hot 100 2013, 26-50

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.

Cipro, Sydney

Anthony Geernaert

THE HOT 100 2013

The Hot 100 2013, 1-25

The Hot 100 2013, 26-50

The Hot 100 2013, 51-75

The Hot 100 2013, 76-100

The 2013 Hot 100 in pictures

**26 Peng’s next trick

** He single-handedly changed the Singapore boutique hotel scene with his Hotel 1929, Wanderlust and New Majestic properties. Then came Town Hall Hotel in London’s revitalised Bethnal Green. And now, Irish-born Singapore lawyer-turned-hotelier Loh Lik Peng has set his sights on London’s W1, with his Unlisted Collection taking over Fergus Henderson’s St John Hotel site in Soho this month. And then what? The Unlisted Collection will open its first Sydney hotel in 2014. Watch this space.

**27 Best use of a kitchen with no electricity

** We tipped our hat to Tulum in the 2012 Hot 100, and the appetite for this Riviera Maya hotspot shows no sign of waning. The single most enticing reason to get thee to Tulum right now? Hartwood, the open-air restaurant that operates without electric power (solar panels keep it going) and adheres to a strictly local and sustainable ethos. Yes, that means almost everything is cooked over flame, with spectacular results. Learn all about it at the upcoming Oh! Food Workshop, a collaboration between Hartwood and Casa de las Olas, a green guesthouse by the beach at Tulum. The festival runs from 24 to 29 May.

**28 The dream team

** It’s time to think about moving to Alexandria, and never mind if you live on the other side of the country or globe. The inner-city Sydney suburb is now home to Cipro, a new Italian eatery from some of the Rockpool group’s most respected alumni. Veteran Bar & Grill head chef Khan Danis, pastry chef Catherine Adams, chef Angel Fernandez and manager Penny Watson-Green are the faces you’ll find presiding over this decidedly casual venture. Pizza al taglio will be a feature, says Adams, but the food will be driven more by what’s at the market than any strict allegiance to Naples or Rome. Expect the likes of braised peas on pizza at breakfast, pizza with smoky eggplant with mint, preserved lemon and feta at lunch, pork meatballs at dinner, plenty of antipasti and grills, and passionfruit-pavlova gelato for afters. We’ll see you there.

**29 Most ambitious emirate

** All eyes are on Abu Dhabi, which is vying for the crown of most dazzling emirate in this luxury-obsessed corner of the world. Most of the attention revolves around the unveiling of the planned cultural precinct on starchitect-studded Saadiyat Island – outposts of the Louvre and the Guggenheim are set to open in the next couple of years – but the hotel scene is also white-hot. In August, The St Regis will unveil an audacious new property (its second in Abu Dhabi) on the top floors of Nation Towers, twin skyscrapers joined by a bridge containing a luxe suite with views over the Arabian Gulf. The new Sofitel, meanwhile, is also situated on the glamorous Corniche, the winding road that hugs the coast: its French-leaning clientele grazes on mezze and smokes shisha, the traditional water pipe, at the pool bar. Look for more French greatness in 2015, when Paris’s legendary Le Bristol comes to the desert. Also on the horizon: the 235,000-square-metre Yas Mall, in the same development as the élite Yas Viceroy. When the mega-mall opens in December, it will contain a whopping 500 stores – now that’s what we call giving Dubai a run for its money.

30 Pop-up urban wineries

For two years in a row now, grape-treader David Bowley has set up a mini urban winery in a courtyard in Adelaide’s CBD. This year, visitors also enjoyed tacos from the pop-up Little Miss Mexico cantina as they feasted on the sight of Bowley up to his jocks in fermenting shiraz. In Sydney, meanwhile, winemaker Tom Munro fermented some pinot noir grapes from Mt Majura vineyard in the ACT at the Bellevue Hill Bottle Shop in the city’s eastern suburbs.

**31 Adelaide bars to blossom

** Finally, the tables are starting to turn. The South Australian government has relaxed licensing laws in the Adelaide CBD, making it much easier to open small drinking venues. This could be the year Australia’s city of wine gets to jump on the small-funky-wine-bar wagon that’s proved such a hit in the other capitals.

**32 Wine-only bars

** Speaking of Adelaide wine bars, Cantina Sociale is rekindling the vibe of 1980s wine-merchant tasting rooms on Sturt Street with juice siphoned straight from the barrel. Winemaker Justin Lane opened this 40-seat city cellar door to pour his own eclectic wines as well as barrels from other boutique producers, with tapas to graze on.

**33 Best bet out west

**Crown Perth‘s renaissance continues to stack the odds in guests’ favour. The casino’s latest opening of note is La Vie, an opulent art deco-styled Champagne bar that follows in the Gallic footsteps of Guillaume Brahimi’s newish Bistro Guillaume. While nothing says “party” quite like ’82 Krug or a magnum of ’93 Dom, smart cocktails and canapés are on hand at La Vie for less hedonistic moments. Travellers will also be pleased to hear that construction of Perth’s Crown Towers is under way, with the $568-million six-star hotel on track for completion in 2016.

**34 Best bet out west marque II

** Since opening in September, Print Hall, with its four storeys of eating and drinking, has fast won over locals. Whether it’s breakfast at on-site coffee roastery and bakery Small Print or an expenses-be-damned dinner in the dining room, this inner-city food and drink precinct lives up to its considerable hype.

**35 The big Balinese bonanza

** Our favourite Indonesian island is firing on several fronts ahead of this year’s APEC summit, with an airport redevelopment due to open in August (not a moment too soon), new roads to ease congestion in the island’s south, and $2 million worth of landscaping to pretty the place up. There’s also a host of new hotels at the top end of town, including the all-suite Regent Bali resort on the Sanur beachfront, and Double-Six at Seminyak, where Sydney chef Robert Marchetti (North Bondi Italian, Gowings Bar & Grill) will direct the hotel’s restaurants and rooftop cocktail bar. The Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua will open its 415 rooms by September, in time to receive APEC delegates, but Philippe Starck’s high-concept villa hotel The Stairs won’t make its début in Seminyak until 2014. The family-friendly Le Méridien has already opened for business beside the seafood diners at Jimbaran Beach, while on Petitenget in Seminyak you’ll find the petite L Hotel, an urban oasis with teppanyaki and tandoori on the menu. The big news in Ubud is the overdue arrival of the 107-room Westin Ubud Resort & Spa, expected to welcome its first guests by year’s end.

**36 Vine design

** Wine bottle labels become screenplay vignettes in the hands of Dom Roberts and James Brown at their Adelaide design studio, Mash. Commissioned to make an impact, Mash’s striking designs for Two Hands, Changing Lanes, Alpha Box & Dice, Killibinbin and Jacob’s Creek Moscato combine sophistication and intrigue. Having obtained international winery clients, from Linnaea in the Napa Valley to Le Grappin in Burgundy, Mash keeps pushing its ideas further, from sandblasting etched labels into bottles to using lenticular printing technology.

**37 Buggin’ out

** There’s never been a better time to add insects to your culinary repertoire. Bug-loving South East Asian and Latin American cuisines are on the ascendant, and earth-conscious chefs are also looking to them as a green source of protein. Following a bug-centric Chinese New Year banquet, Kylie Kwong now offers insect-enriched specials at Billy Kwong – hello stir-fried crickets, ni hao mealworm cakes – while Mexican favourite El Topo in Bondi Junction offers crisp crickets with chilli and garlic as a bar snack. Tequila!

**38 Vermouth bowls us over

** Yes, you could use Gilles Lapalus’s and Shaun Byrne’s extraordinary Maideniirange of vermouths to mix some killer cocktails (the sweet vermouth makes a stunning Negroni), but they’re so good, so complex and so uniquely Australian – a third of the 30-plus botanicals are sourced locally – that they make for great drinking on their own, unadorned.

**39 Provenance Growers

** It’s beautiful to look at, especially the Farm Gate salad mix, an ever-changing mélange of leaves and flowers that might include dark-purple shiso leaves, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, borage, and radish flowers, but the real allure of Paulette Whitney’s Provenance Growers edible flowers and greens is their flavour. No one else seems able to coax so much intensity from a simple leaf or petal as Whitney can from what she grows in her garden on the lower slopes of Mount Wellington, outside Hobart. There are vegetables too, most recently equally beautiful tiny Mexican sour gherkins, heirloom zucchini and tomatillos. She has a stall at Hobart’s Farm Gate Market on Sundays.

**40 Taking off takes off

** Pioneering explorer Ernest Shackleton spent two Antarctic winters living beneath upturned lifeboats to survive the ferocity of the South Pole’s climate. Englishman Frederick Selous was one of Africa’s great white sons, a revered hunter and gentleman philosopher in his adopted homeland. The feats of these two men inspired the Shackleton & Selous Society, a new invitation-only group that has partnered with Leading Hotels of the World to take guests to some of the last wild places on earth. Its arrival reflects one of the biggest trends to emerge already in 2013: that of raising the bar even higher for seen-it-all travellers. Abercrombie & Kent has reintroduced its private jet safari, exploring the length of Africa via Boeing 737 with Geoffrey Kent as your guide to the Serengeti. And our own Bill Peach Journeys, a longtime leader of private-plane travel, has added a Brisbane pick-up to its 12-day Great Australian Aircruise and a new Australian circumnavigation option, such is the demand for its private jet itineraries.

**41 Con’s World of Entertainment

** The Con Christopoulos-led takeover of Melbourne’s Spring Street continues apace with the opening of Spring St Grocery, a grocery store, panini bar and cheese cellar. It follows the opening of the superb marble-lined Gelateria Primavera over the summer in which maestro Massimo Bidin creates up to 10 milk-based gelati and six sorbetti each day. How does coconut gelato with dulce de leche swirl grab you? Or goat’s curd with pear and walnut?

**42 Too many cooks

** The cult cook’s cookbook of the moment, Too Many Chiefs Only One Indian, British chef Sat Bains’s magnus opus, is reverent of the hard yards in the kitchen, but thoroughly irreverent (and indeed sometimes profane) when it comes to just about everything else. Bracing stuff. It’s $152 including shipping,

**43 The next great travel revolution

** Given the success of the short-term home rental revolution spearheaded by, it’s no surprise that we’re now all wondering what else we can sell, rent or exchange with each other. Enter peer-to-peer travel, in which travellers use social media to procure everything from a loaner bike to a coffee date with a local in an unfamiliar city and bespoke walking tours. Sites such as provide dining recommendations by local “tastemakers” in your city of choice, allows travellers to swap houses. As for campinmygarden.comand – we’ll let you work it out.

44 The new al dente

It’s easy to overcook pasta; not so simple to serve it crunchy and chewy, and even harder to convince people it’s not undercooked. Rinaldo Di Stasio is on the case with the spaghettone at Bar Di Stasio serving to convince people to “leave their sloppy pasta favourites behind and recognise the true beauty of a crunchy, mouthfilling, flavoursome spaghetti or bucatini”.

**45 Redfern now

** Newtown has been on the way up for some time culinarily speaking, and now its near neighbours in inner-city Sydney, Chippendale, Redfern and Marrickville, are lighting up the radars of eaters and bon viveurs. Redfern bar Arcadia Liquors, Chippo bakery café Brickfields and pop-up The Eat In have drawn interest from well beyond the tattoo-and-facial-hair set, and Ester, the new project from team Vini, opening this winter, is the one to watch.

**46 The whirl from Ipanema

** Things are heating up in Rio de Janeiro. The city’s Maracaña stadium will become the epicentre of world football next year when Brazil hosts the 20th FIFA World Cup, a nice little warm-up event for the Rio Olympics in 2016. Showing a sense of timing to match its impeccable style is the storied Copacabana Palace hotel, which is open again following a makeover that ensures the 90-year-old landmark will look its best from any camera angle.

**47 The origin of sweeties

** What happens when a Margaret River winemaker gets his hands on a king’s ransom of archaic chocolate-making equipment? If we’re lucky, something likeBahen & Co, a range of single-estate, single-origin and blended chocolates that prove terroir is just as important in cacao plantations as it is in vineyards. Chocolate cravings will never be the same again.

**48 This year’s spirit to watch

** Ron. Rhum. Nelson’s blood. Answering to different names the world over, rum is arguably mankind’s most diverse spirit, thanks in no small part to the absence of any universal production regulations. Translation: a wondrous miscellany of spirits, from tarry, gutsy Trinidadian expressions to delicate, grassy Okinawan and Thai agricole rums (yes, really) distilled from fresh sugarcane juice. See you at the bar.

**49 Mirage resort

** As fairytale Indian forts go, Alila Fort Bishangarh tops the swoon scale. The 230-year-old pink-stone fortress atop a granite tor in the Aravalli Hills of Rajasthan is about to be reborn as an extraordinary 59-suite hotel with distinctly Mughal accents. The resort crowns and extends the original fort, supplanting arrow slits and turrets with bay windows and daybeds.

**50 Si, David

** If you dig David Coomer’s tapas bar, Pata Negra, the odds are good you’ll like Xarcuteria. A joint venture between the Perth food patriarch and former Star Anise offsiders Adam Willie and Anna Campos, this handsomely stocked Spanish deli sports a dazzling assortment of smallgoods, Spanish cheeses, paella pans and some of the most satisfying bocadillos this side of MoVida.


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