Eat & Drink

The Invasion of Europe

Slice of Spain
Sharing food is a great way of getting to know someone. As you pass the paella across the table, you’re sharing more than just a meal; you’re sharing a bit of yourself and your culture, giving them a taste of who you are. Get to know your workmates better by participating in this year’s A Taste of Harmony. Simply set a date between the 21st -27th March, and get everyone to bring a dish of food to share. Register your event on the website below, and while you’re there, share a story about food and cultural diversity. If you do, you might get to share a bit of Spanish hospitality by winning a meal at the handsome Miguel Maestre’s new restaurant Aperitif. Now there’s a man I’d like to share er… share a meal with.

Piece of Portugal
One of the biggest foodie events on the inner west calendar each year is the Bairro Português Petersham Food and Wine Fair. This year it falls on Sunday 13th March; so head on down to the area known as ‘Little Portugal’ to stand cheek-to-cheek with other hungry residents. While you queue for life-giving sangria, send your companion to get some of the spicy chorizo and barbecued sardines you can smell wafting by. Don’t depart before you’ve thoroughly explored the area’s amazing Portuguese tarts. For my money, the best ones come from Sweet Belem.

Two Italian Interludes
Go sample some of the new, unpretentious Italian street food at Hugos Bar Pizza. Or, better yet, book out their new Private Dining Room and take along fifty of your friends! Executive Chef Massimo Mele explains the menu shift: “Italy is made up of many regions with very distinct characteristics. Every town, every village, has its proudest specialty.” They’ll be bringing them to you in dishes like Mozzarella in ‘Carozza’, a crumbed cheese sandwich and fried Baby Calzones stuffed with smoked ham and buffalo ricotta.

February was a big month for Sarina and Micah Rodgers, who moved their Avoca Street bistro Elysium to ‘The Spot’ in Randwick. Their new space is larger, and includes an affordable chef’s table and a traditional wood-fire pizza oven. The menu is still Modern Australian, but there’s a distinctive Italian twist with dishes like Strozzapreti Pasta with Prawns, Calamari and Puttanesca Sauce ($16/$24). Puttanesca by the way is the ‘prostitute’s pasta’, invented by sex workers to serve their hungry clients, presumably after their other urges had been satisfied. Sarina and Micah are also running a new Italian trattoria called Porcellino at their old site.

French For Famous
Head to the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth on Friday 8th April for a chance to dine on a menu prepared by one of Europe’s original ‘master chefs’, Albert Roux. One of his many claims to fame is opening Le Gavroche, Britain’s first ever Michelin-starred restaurant. For the one-in-a-lifetime chance to drink red wine and eat four-courses of Roux in Sydney, you’ll pay $169/head. The hotel’s staff are already excited! Food and Beverage Director, Alastair Mead tells me: “The kitchen brigade always look forward to learning and experiencing working alongside chefs of this calibre. The younger more inexperienced chefs get very excited and animated!” I’m pretty excited about this one myself!

But Wait, There’s More

If you thought this European invasion was over, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Keep your eyes peeled at Westfield Sydney for the latest Euro entry – Quarter Twenty One – by Justin and Georgia North (Bécasse). It’s slated to open at the end of April, and will include a modern European restaurant, a retail shop and a cooking school. My mouth is already watering at the idea of a take-home pack of grass fed organic wagyu lasagne and your dessert will also be taken care of, as Bécasse Bakery will be right next door. I highly recommend their addictive salted caramel, peanut and banana tart.

STOP PRESS – Head on down to Martin Place for lunch on Friday 11th March, where Caritas Australia will be teaming up with Doyle’s on the Quay to provide you with a simple meal of fish and rice. This is what millions of people all over the world survive on! So eat the fish and throw them your lunch money – with it Caritas Australia will try and make a better world for everyone!