Tag Archives: One Hat

Toque Time (Melbourne) – The Age Good Food Guide 2017 Awards

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Fill the tank with petrol, people.  If you want to try The Age’s Restaurant of the Year, or sample the fare of the Chef of the Year, its an expensive Uber ride. Its happening out of the Melbourne metro with twenty eight regional restaurants awarded hats this year.  That’s not to say the city isn’t bustling, with Shannon Bennet’s Vue de Monde regaining its three toque status and Japanese fine diner Minimishima jumping one as well.  Plenty of newcomers in the one hat category, and Heston’s Dinner was a double toque debut. Moon Under Water, Bistro Vue, Da Noi, Huxtable, Movida Aqui, No 8 by John Lawson, Pure South, The Roving Marrow, and Kenzan all dropped from the list.

And the winners are…….

Restaurant of the Year: Brae, Birregurra
Best New Restaurant: Embla, Melbourne
Chef of the Year: Aaron Turner, Igni
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Igni, Geelong
Bar of the Year: Heartbreaker, Melbourne
Best Cheap Eat: Hem 27, Flemington
Café of the Year: Higher Ground, Melbourne

CITY

Three Hats
Attica, Minimishima (up a hat), Vue de Monde (up a hat)

Two Hats
Circa, Cutler & Co, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (new hatter), Estelle by Scott Pickett (new hatter), Ezard, Flower Drum, Grossi Florentino Upstairs, Lume (up a hat), Matteo’s, The Press Club, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Saint Crispin, Spice Temple, Woodland House

One Hat
Amaru (new hatter), Anchovy (new hatter), Bacash, Bar Lourinha (new hatter), Bistro Guillaume, Cafe Di Stasio, Cecconi’s Flinders Lane, Centonove, Coda, Cumulus Inc., Dandelion, Donovans, Easy Tiger Smith St, Elyros (new hatter), Embla (new hatter), Epocha, European, French Saloon (new hatter), The Grand, Highline at the Railway Hotel (new hatter), Ides (new hatter), Il Bacaro, Kappo, Lee Ho Fook (new hatter), Longrain, Maha, Marion (new hatter), Merricote, Mister Jennings, MoVida, Noir (new hatter), Nora (new hatter), O.My, Oter, Pei Modern, The Point Albert Park, Rosetta (down a hat), Sarti, Supernormal, Tipo 00, Tonka, The Town Mouse, Union Dining

REGIONAL

Three Hats
Brae, Birregurra

Two Hats
Fen, Port Fairy; Igni, Geelong; Lake House, Daylesford; Provenance, Beechworth; Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld; Stefano’s, Mildura; Ten Minutes by Tractor, Main Ridge

One Hat
A La Grecque, Aireys Inlet; Catfish, Ballarat; Eleonore’s, Yering; Ezard at Levantine Hill, Coldstream; Gladioli, Inverleigh; The Good Table, Castlemaine; Healesville Hotel, Healesville; Kazuki’s, Daylesford; Masons of Bendigo, Bendigo; Montalto, Red Hill South; Paringa Estate, Red Hill South; Patricia’s Table, Milawa; Pickled Pig, Warrnambool; Port Phillip Estate, Red Hill South; Public Inn, Castlemaine; Simones, Bright; Source Dining, Kyneton; Tani Eat & Drink, Bright; Terrace Restaurant, Wahgunyah; Tulip, Geelong

Toque Time (Sydney) – SMH Good Food Guide 2017 Awards

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With Spring comes restaurant award season and all the angst that goes with it.   It seems a little less dramatic this year with the three hat list remaining unchanged bar the disappearance of Rockpool, which, if you haven’t heard, just re-opened as Eleven Bridge (apparently to avoid diners getting confused). Newcomers Hubert, Automata and regional restaurant Paper Daisy made strong two hat debuts, and Hartsyard regained the gone toque from the previous year.  Pop up Café Paci finished its popping and is gone from the list, Mark Best threw in the towel at Marque, and MoVida decided to close its doors.   Balla, Bistro Moncur, Three Blue Ducks, Longrain, and Osteria di Russo and Russo also lost a prized toque.

And the winners are……

Restaurant of the Year: Quay
Chef of the Year: Federico Zanellato (LuMi Bar & Dining)
Best New Restaurant: Restaurant Hubert
Regional Restaurant of the Year: Paper Daisy
Café of the Year: Paramount Coffee Project
Best Bar Food: Bar Brosé
Wine List of the Year: Monopole
Bar of the Year: Continental Deli Bar & Bistro
Best Cheap Eat: Bovine & Swine Barbecue Co

CITY
Three Hats
The Bridge Room, Quay, Sepia

Two Hats
ARIA, Automata (new hatter), Bennelong, Bentley Restaurant & Bar, Est., Ester, Guillaume, Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, Lucio’s Italian Restaurant, LuMi Bar & Dining, Momofuku Seiobo, Monopole (up a hat), Mr. Wong, Ormeggio at The Spit, Oscillate Wildly, Pilu at Freshwater, Restaurant Hubert (new hatter), Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sixpenny, Spice Temple, Tetsuya’s

One Hat
10 William St, ACME, Ajo, Aki’s Indian Restaurant, The Apollo, Baccomatto Osteria, Bar Brose, The Bathers’ Pavilion, The Bellevue (new hatter), Berowra Waters Inn (down a hat), Billy Kwong, Bistrode CBD, The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay, Bodega, Buon Ricordo, Catalina, China Doll, Cho Cho San, Continental Deli Bar & Bistro (new hatter), Cottage Point Inn (down a hat), Da Orazio Pizza + Porchetta (new hatter), The Dolphin Hotel Dining Room (new hatter), Felix, Firedoor, Fratelli Paradiso, The Gantry, Gastro Park, glass brasserie, Hartsyard (up a hat), Izakaya Fujiyama, Jonah’s, Kepos & Co, Kepos Street Kitchen, LP’s Quality Meats, Master, Mercado (new hatter), Ms.G’s, Nomad, One Ford Street, Otto Ristorante, The Paddington, Porteño, The Restaurant Pendolino, Sagra (new hatter), Sean’s Panaroma, Sokyo, Stanbuli, Sushi-e, Uccello, Vini, Yellow

REGIONAL

Two Hats
Aubergine, Biota Dining, Fleet, Muse Restaurant, Paper Daisy (new hatter)

One Hat
Bistro Molines, Caveau, Courgette, Darley’s Restaurant, eightysix, Eschalot Restaurant, Fins, Lanterne Rooms, Lilotang, Lolli Redini, Margan, Monster Kitchen & Bar, Muse Kitchen, Ottoman Cuisine, Pearls on the Beach, Pialligo Estate Farmhouse, Restaurant Como, Restaurant Mason, Rick Stein at Bannisters, St Isidore, The Stunned Mullet, Subo, Temporada, Tonic, Town Restaurant & Cafe, Waters Edge, Zanzibar, The Zin House

http://www.goodfood.com.au/

 

Firedoor, Surry Hills

You’re in a bit of trouble at Firedoor if you don’t like a hint (or a whack) of smokiness in your food. In the electricity-less kitchen, everything is cooked on fire, and the taste is distinct.   One of the hot openings of 2015, in the early days it was near impossible to score a table, and we’re glad we finally get to road test it and see if it is worthy of its one hat. Our friendly waitress gives us the menus and suggests an appropriate number of dishes to order between four – the menu is designed to share – and leaves us to ponder.

We start off with some bread. Big, thick slabs of bread with butter. Sprinkled on top of the butter is smoked salt – the smoke journey begins – and I love it. They should sell jars of that salt. The bread also comes in handy for mopping up some of the lovely sauces and juices that come with subsequent dishes.

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The first handful of dishes arrive quickly, almost too quickly, and the table gets crowded.

A simple dish of asparagus comes with a delicious accompaniment of mussel sauce

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It’s followed by one of the table favourites, these little school prawns, done with a nice hint of chilli and garlic shoots. Loved this dish and would gladly have it again

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The ricotta is pretty to look at and yes, the smoke is there, but I think I’d rather have my regular serve of Paesanella.

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We move onto the strawberry clams. It’s a pretty small serve for $48, and I also find them a little overcooked and chewy

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The squid with ink and macadamia doesn’t blow me away either, but the celery is refreshing

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We’re back on track with this whiting with some chargrilled zucchini. Beautifully cooked, juicy fish with delicate vegetables.

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So too does the Jurassic quail get a big tick, served with toasted spelt with caper raisin.

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We have to wait a very long time for the lamb, and the waitress is apologetic, but it turns out to be worth the wait. This photo is of a half eaten dish, oops.   Like the whiting, it is expertly cooked and a definite crowd pleaser.

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But the one thing about Firedoor is that you will get sticker shock, the bill does add up very quickly, especially when drinks come into the equation. Steer clear of the steak – the 500g wagyu rib comes in at $89 and the 500g dray aged rib at $139. Now given how well they cooked our other meat dishes, I’m sure that these would be nicely done, but the prices seem a little excessive, even though they are designed to share. The chef’s menu $85 banquet may be the best way to go.

Firedoor, 1a/23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills, Ph (02) 8204 0800
http://www.firedoor.com.au

Firedoor Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Toque Time (Melbourne) – The Age Good Food Guide 2016 Awards

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It’s been a big year for Melbourne on the food front. This year saw Heston announce with much fanfare he was temporarily setting up shop there, cheaters scammed tables, and the chosen few shared their photos of the mad hatter’s tea party. The rest of us will need to fly to the UK. David Blackmore fought the bureaucrats with the help of Neil Perry to try and stay open; Sydney favourites Messina and Din Tai Fung headed south, opening their first venues; while Chris Lucas from Chin Chin and George Calombaris both announced they were heading north to expand their respective empires. By the way I recently tried the winner of Best New Restaurant, and there is some good strong Italian going on there, to die for burrata!

Following hot on the heels of the Sydney awards, the Melbourne winners are…..

Best Bar – Romeo Lane
Best Bar Food – Bar Clarine
Best Cheap Eat – Delhi Streets
Restaurant of the Year – Minimishima
Best New Restaurant – Tipo 00
People’s Choice Award – Red Spice Road

Melbourne Metro
Three hats
Attica

Two hats
Circa (up a hat), Cutler & Co, Ezard, Flower Drum (down a hat), Grossi Florentino Upstairs, Matteo’s, Minimishima (new hatter), Moon Under Water (up a hat), The Press Club (up a hat), Rockpool Bar & Grill, Rosetta, Saint Crispin, Spice Temple, Vue de Monde (down a hat), Woodland House (up a hat)

One Hat
Bacash, Bistro Guillaume, Bistro Vue, Café di Stasio (down a hat), Cecconi’s Flinders Lane, Centonove, Coda, Cumulus Inc, Da Noi, Dandelion, Donovans, Easy Tiger Smith St, Epocha, European, The Grand, Huxtable, Il Bacaro, Kappo (new hatter), Kenzan, Longrain, Lume (new hatter), Maha, Merricote, Mister Jennings (new hatter), MoVida Aqui, No 8 by John Lawson, O.My (new hatter), Pei Modern, The Point Albert Park, Pure South, The Roving Marrow, Sarti, Stokehouse City, Supernormal, Tipo 00 (new hatter), Tonka, The Town Mouse, Union Dining

Lost hats – Becco, Estelle, Hare & Grace, MoVida, Noir, Shoya, The Roving Marrow, Tempura Hajimi, Town Hall Hotel, Yu U

Regional Winners
Three Hats
Brae

Two Hats
Gladioli, Lake House, Provenance, Royal Mail Hotel, Ten Minutes by Tractor

One Hat
A La Grecque, Broadgauge, Catfish, Chris’s Beacon Point, Eleonore’s, The Good Table, Kazuki’s, Masons of Bendigo, Montalto, Paringa Estate, Port Phillip Estate, Public Inn, Simones Restaurant, Source Dining, The Stag, Stefano’s, Tani Eat & Drink, Terminus at Flinders Hotel, Terrace Restaurant, Tulip

ACME, Rushcutters Bay

When I heard there was a new restaurant called ACME, I thought that maybe the owner was a fan of  the Road Runner and Wile E Coyote cartoons I used to watch when I was little with its ACME brand explosives that never worked. But no, the name was born from the four initials of the four partners, with M being the head chef, Mitch Orr. I met him at the Young Gun’s dinner series, and he seems like quite a character, which is reflected in some of the left of centre food coming over the pass. Yes there is pasta made in beautiful Italian tradition – which has no doubt been a big contributor to the hat earned in the recent awards – but it may be paired with a little Filippino, Korean or Japanese flavours.

At first glance the pricing seems reasonable – snacks and entrees go from $5 to $24, and the pasta dishes from $12 to $24, but be warned the serves are small. If you’re hungry you may need entrée, main, dessert and then some, so it is not as good value as you would think, or may require the Macca’s pitstop on the way home. Service though, is top notch and the staff are warm and friendly. Out for a team dinner, we had a group banquet for $60 (not including dessert) in the lovely space downstairs which can be used for private dining, which meant we got to try quite a few dishes.

We start off with the baloney sandwich. It isn’t something I would have automatically ordered, and I’m very glad they chose it for us. A soft fluffy roll, delicious mortadella, and some tangy relishACME (1)

The pippis too are nicely done and not tampered with too much, a little bit of lime and pepper, lovelyACME (4)

The following two vegetable courses though leave me a little uninspired. Fried parsnip is just ok though the mayo has a bit of a kickACME (2)

The pencil leeks are chewy, but the seaweed butter is decadent, would have been nice to have some crusty bread to spread it onACME (3)

In between as a bit of a cleanser is a combination of blood orange, pomelo and mascarpone. Its not a combination that works for me.ACME (8)

But we get a comeback with the pasta dishes which shine. The wonderfully thin linguine and given flavour and texture with burnt chilli and black garlic, and it’s a table favourite.ACME (5)

So too is the maltagliati (that’s “badly cut” for the non Italians) with rabbit and pistachio, silky pasta and nicely braised rabbitACME (7)

The only pasta dish I’m ambivalent about is calamari with Korean Bolognese, it falls in the “interesting” category and I’m not quite sure if I like it.ACME (6)

But the macaroni with pigs head and egg yolk proves another winner.ACME (9)

ACME, 60 Bayswater Road, Rushcutters Bay, Ph (02) 8068 0932
http://weareacme.com.au/
ACME Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Toque Time (Sydney) – The SMH Good Food Guide 2016 Awards

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It is restaurant award season again and this year the GFG has announced Sydney first, with Melbourne to follow.    There’s been plenty of criticism of food critics over the past year, with many saying they are less relevant with the myriad of food bloggers like yours truly, and the immediate nature of feedback via Instagram and other social media platforms.  But most bloggers and ‘grammers will go to a restaurant only once, snap a quick pick, tick a box on their ‘to do’ list, and move on (I must plead guilty to that on occasion).  These guys on the other hand, will visit each place 3-4 times, take copious notes, and make their way through the menu before pronouncing judgement.  It sounds like a dream job, but frankly I couldn’t eat that much rich food or eat out so often, having been sustained on Southern Italian peasant food for most of my life.  But anyway, the winners are…….

Best Bar –  Monopole
Best Bar Food – Rockpool Bar & Grill
Best Cheap Eat – Chaco Bar, Darlinghurst
Restaurant of the Year – Bridge Room
Best New Restaurant – Bennelong
Chef of the Year – Pasi Petanan (Café Paci)
Regional Restaurant of the Year – Fleet Restaurant, Brunswick Heads
People’s Choice Award – Catalina, Rose Bay

Sydney Metro

Three hats
Bridge Room (up a hat), Quay, Rockpool, Sepia
Two hats
Aria, Bennelong, Bentley Restaurant and Bar, Berowra Waters Inn, Café Paci (up a hate), Cottage Point Inn (up a hat), est, Ester, Four in Hand (up a hat), Guillaume (re-entry), Icebergs Dining Room, Lucio’s Italian, LuMi Bar & Dining (new hatter), Marque, Momofuku Seiobo (down a hat), Mr Wong, Ormeggio, Oscillate Wildly (up a hat), Pilu at Freshwater, Porteno, Rockpool Bar & Grill, sixpenny, Spice Temple, Tetsuyas

One Hat
10 William St (new hatter), ACME (new hatter), Ajo Italian Restaurant (new hatter), The Apollo, Bather’s Pavillion, Billy Kwong, Bistro Moncur, Bistrode CBD, Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay (new hatter), Bodega, Buon Ricordo, Catalina, China Doll, Cho Cho San, Felix, Firedoor (new hatter), Fratelli Paradiso (new hatter), Gastro Park (down a hat), glass brasserie, Izakaya Fujiyama (new hatter), Jonah’s Restaurant, Kepos Street Kitchen, Longrain, LP’s Quality Meats (new hatter), Monopole, Moon Park, MoVida, Ms G’s, Nomad, Osteria Balla, Osteria di Russo & Russo, Otto Ristorante, Pendolino, Sagra (new hatter), Sake Double Bay (new hatter), Sean’s, Sokyo, sushi e, Three Blue Ducks, Uccello, Ume Restaurant, Vini, Yellow

Lost hats – 4Fourteen, Aki’s, Alpha, Arras, Bar H, Black by Ezard, Café Sopra, Fish Face, Flying Fish, Hartsyard, Longrain, Lox Stock and Barrel, Sake CBD, Vincent

Regional Winners

Two Hats
Aubergine, Biota, Muse Restaurant, Subo, Zanzibar Café

One Hat
Bistro Molines, Caveau, Courgette, Darley’s Restaurant, eightysix, Eschalot, Fins, Fleet, Lanterne Rooms, Lilotang, Lolli Redini, Monster Kitchen and Bar, Muse Kitchen, Ottoman Cuisine, Pearls on the Beach, Pialligo Farmhouse, Restaurant Como, Restaurant Mason, South on Albany, St Isadore, the Stunned Mullet, Temporada, Tonic, Town Restaurant and Café, Waters Edge, The Zin House

Felix Bistro and Bar, Sydney CBD

It was the birthday of our small fry, and their request for a meal out – some steak and pomme frites like they’d eaten in Paris.  Felix immediately sprung to mind.  I hadn’t been for at least a couple of years, and thought it would be good to return.  The décor is classic French bistro and the menu full of Gallic favourites.

I must comment on the service – it was really really impressive – great attention to detail, prompt, thoughtful – we felt so well looked after, compliments to the team on the floor that day.

The last time I went I regretted not ordering seafood – I saw plates of it being delivered to neighbouring tables and it looked great.  This time I would not miss out and started with half a dozen oysters. The oysters were fantastically fresh with a tangy red wine vinegar and shallot dressing.

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As it was a warm day I then opted for a salad – king crab, prawn, eggplant, quinoa  and pickled beetroot  – an unusual combination that worked, but I really would have liked some crisp baby cos to take it up another notch

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Perfectly cooked salmon with sauce soubise (an onion sauce), peas and broadbeans

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And the steak and pomme frites? I didn’t get to take a photo of it, it was devoured so quickly, but I did get a nibble and the steak had a fabulous flavour to it – not sure if it was cooked over some kind of wood?

We also tried the tarte tatin – its meant for two and is quite huge.  Oh, the pastry, the pastry!

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I’ve got my eye on the seafood platter for next time.

Felix Bistro and Bar, 2 Ash Street, Sydney, Ph (02) 9240 3000
Felix Bistro and Bar on Urbanspoon