Eat & Drink

Foodies’ Diary: Gastronomic Getaways

Spain Revisited
Surry Hills residents will be happy to hear that a revamped Cru54 Kitchen and Bar reopens on the 3rd August with personable owner Catherine Andreo as Executive Chef. Catherine explains: “This time around I am assuming an Executive Chef role, and am drawing strongly on the country and the cuisine that has inspired me so much… I want diners to feel as though they’ve been transported to a different place.” The restaurant has received a face lift too, with Spanish murals covering the walls in intense reds and oranges. Expect your palate to be tantalised by Spicy Chicken Wings with Basque Capsicum Relish and Jamon Croquettes with Romesco Sauce. Her wine list punches above its weight with a broad selection of wines from France, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Eat New Zealand
The last time I visited Wellington I was amazed by the food; and every cup of coffee I was served over the course of my five-night visit was great! So their annual foodie extravaganza Wellington on a Plate taking place from August 14th-29th already sounds fairly tempting. Apparently they think some Aussie visitors would be sweet as, because they’re offering us all a two-course lunch with a glass of local wine just for showing your boarding pass and passport! Mecure Wellington’s Brasserie 345 is offering up a Kumara and Smoked Fish Bake with Rocket Salad followed by a Pecan Tart with a glass of Martinborough Wine. You can also stay in the hotel, just a hop, skip and a jump from the trendy Cuba Street from a low $71 per night! Remember to pack your appetite; with over 90 restaurants taking part in the festival, you may need to have more than just three meals a day!

Mudgee On The Move
Speaking of winter breaks, nothing says warm and cosy better than a cottage in wine country with a glass of red, a cheese plate, and a hot tub. While most people know about The Hunter region, have you ever considered a trip to Mudgee? It’s the third largest grape-growing region in NSW with over 40 cellar doors, around 6 certified organic wineries, and a great foodie culture! If you don’t believe me, head on down to Olio Mediterranean Brasserie for a mini cellar door experience on Wednesday 1st September at 6.30pm. For $60/head you’ll taste homemade preserves from Angela’s Edibles, Ormiston Free Range Pork and High Valley Cheese on a series of Mediterranean inspired canapés while you drink Mudgee wines and vote on Olio’s first regional wine list! Owner Nicholas Aspros explains: “I wanted to marry a selection of interesting wines with local Mudgee produce to offer guests an opportunity to taste the region without the travel.

Italy With Gusto
The Council of Italian Restaurants Australia (CIRA) reads like a who’s who of Sydney’s best Italian chefs and restaurateurs, including Beppi Polese (Beppi’s Restaurant), Armando Percuoco (Buon Ricordo) & Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater). They’re having their annual festival on Sunday 12th September at Sydney Seafood School. The day celebrates regional Italian cooking with food and wine tastings and cooking classes. Try risotto, Italian cold cuts including salami and prosciutto, antipasti, formaggio (cheese), pasta and dolci (sweets).

Worldly Visitors
Sydney will play host to a number of wonderful international chefs during the month of October as part of the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. One arrival I am particularly looking forward to is Musa Dagdeviren from Ciya in Istanbul. He’s been referred to as one of the most fascinating Turkish chefs today, and he’ll be cooking up a Turkish feast with Somer Sivrioglu from Efendy on the 12th-17th October. At the bargain price of $65/head for world-class food, it’s sure to book out quickly.

Cheese World
Take a trip around the world all in one evening with Astral Restaurant’s decadent cheese trolley. Restaurant Manager Jean-Baptiste Robert will guide you through their 18 unctuous selections personally, assisting you in choosing your own perfect plate of cheese. My mouth was watering as I watching him gently scoop out the almost runny Brillat Savarin, while cheesy aromas wafted over our table. While you’re there, check out the new Ethical Foie Gras Menu that I road test in the review section this week.