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About Jackie McMillan

I'm counting my blessings in being the Dining Editor for the Alternative Media Group. It provides me with countless opportunities to dine out in new and exciting restaurants every week. It's a tough job - especially on the waistline - but someone has to do it (and I'm very glad it's me). First and foremost I love good food and wine. I'm an intrepid explorer where it comes to good produce, and I will drive to the ends of the earth to meet primary producers, and to buy produce that excites me. I'm trying to be an ethical consumer, and (where possible) I buy local, pesticide, hormone and chemical free. But I admit that for me, taste is the final arbitrator, so yes, I eat foie gras. I love getting tips from fellow 'foodies' about good restaurants, and good new products - so drop me a line to jackie @ alternativemediagroup.com (remove the spaces) if you have tried something you think should feature in the Eat & Drink section of our publications. Regards, Jackie McMillan

Master

“The sauce is quite good,” I say, gesturing at the Burnt Cabbage ($18) with fish sauce butter. “It is. What do you think about Kiss,” my dining companion snarks, “it’s Chinese Ester, but at least Ester gives you the full half cauliflower.” The eclectic (and often inappropriate) music is not solely responsible for his mood.

Darlo Country Club

Gone are the eccentric lamps and mismatched antiques that made The Victoria Room so endearing when it burst onto the Sydney bar scene around eight years ago. The new quartet of owners - The Lobo Plantation’s Michael Hwang and Eddie Levy, and The Island's Adam Abrams and Julian Tobias – have redone the spacious loft with an L.A. country club in mind.

Food News – Food Tours

"You're always welcome here, to do your shopping, it is safe, like any suburb of Sydney," our Egyptian guide Sahar says encouragingly. It’s hard not to cringe a bit when Sahar explains Greenacre “is a beautiful village, the people here try as hard as they can to undo the perceptions people have of them from the media.”

Gou Sushi

Chef Chun Man Lau (Rio) makes a powerful case for fusion at this new Surry Hills sushi train, using methods he honed endearing Yukiguni to Cabramatta’s diverse locals. "We have to use the local ingredients - local fish or local ingredients - to make something new," says Rio.

Food News – Quick Bottle

The holidays are almost upon us, and like many Australians, if you use your time off to eat, drink and be merry, you’ve likely been caught needing to visit a bottle shop whilst a little on the side of merry. Throw in NSW Police’s current MDT campaign (no it’s not a hip new drug, they mean Mobile Drug Testing) and you start to amass a powerful number of disincentives to driving under the influence of anything.

Walsh Bay Kitchen

I’m surprised to find Braised Mushrooms Bibimbap ($24) on the menu at Walsh Bay Kitchen. With charred vegetables, pine nuts, brown rice and abundant slippery oyster mushrooms, it’s a bibimbap that warrants being eaten piecemeal, rather than mixed.

Roadhouse Bar & Grill

Lured by the promise of poolside Frozen Margaritas ($15) and High Tea ($45/person) I parked myself under one of the swishing hula-skirt umbrellas for the afternoon. It’s a very modern high tea rendition with the customary cucumber sangers switched out for sliders, Reuben sandwiches and grilled cheese toasties.

Food News – Xmas Books

Yes, beer matching is a thing. Beer Bites [RRP $45] by Christian DeBenedetti and Andrea Slonecker is pitched at the home beer enthusiast, with plenty of beer consumption tips. Trust me when I say: you won’t ask for a pub-chilled schooner glass after reading this book.

Food News – Ovolo Woolloomooloo

Lit up cherry blossom trees and vibrant washes of colour turned the 100-year old Woolloomooloo Wharf into a magical fairyland for the launch party of Ovolo Woolloomooloo last week. Alongside celebrity guests like Marcia and Deni Hines, and Jessica Mauboy, I wove my way through the clever interiors that have transformed the cavernous warehouse style-space into something surprisingly intimate, all without losing sight of those soaring ceiling heights.

Chefs Gallery

More than just a menu change, this year Chef Gallery have changed their logo, livery and launched a unique art initiative showcasing Chinese (or Chinese-inspired) art, curated by Simon Chan. Responsible for the gleaming red chair, artist Laurens Tan explained that China is “the nation or the culture that underwent the most change in the last two decades.”