Nutritionist and cattle farmer, James Bjorksten, is producing some of the best grass-fed beef I’ve eaten under the name of Hereford Red Beef. The cream coloured fat is simply magnificent, leading to a super-tasty steak that literally melts in your mouth.
You’ve probably noticed kombucha popping up at farmers’ and organic markets across town. It’s a fermented tea beverage, popular among a range of cultures (Chinese, Japanese and Russian to name a few) for thousands of years.
Our understated country waitress is effortlessly beautiful. She gestures casually out one window to show where the 2014 Logan Sauvignon Blanc ($12/glass) comes from, then the other to indicate the origins of the Pressed Duck ($36) with lentils and heirloom carrots.
Diving into an established all-male Italian kitchen as the new head chef could be daunting (especially as a half-English, half-Welsh woman) but Naomi Lowry has taken it in her stride. She’s maintained the menu’s confident Southern Italian focus, notching it up with Sardinian Fregola ($27/$35) resplendent with perfectly cooked cuttlefish, calamari, prawns and mussels, and topped with a generous helping of bottarga.
I spent 24-hours in Orange last weekend taking in some key events at the 2015 Orange Wine Festival. The highlight of my visit was the Barrel to Bottle Chardonnay masterclass at my favourite winery in the region: De Salis Wines. Winemaker Charlie Svenson was incredibly candid and generous with both his winemaking techniques, and with pouring his museum release wines.
Hotel restaurants are curious beasts; and while Abode has been cleverly located as a stylish, stand-alone restaurant, it is still very much part of the Parkroyal Darling Harbour. As you’d expect, the restaurant fulfils a role in providing accessible, comforting and familiar food to overnight stayers.
Last month I revisited Pastoral Smallgoods in Waterloo. Headed up by Jonathan Sankey, they were last year’s winner of the best Traditional Bone-In Leg Ham in the prestigious Australian Ham Awards run by Australian Pork Limited. A tour of their super-clean factory taught me a lot about the journey Aussie pork takes between the farm and our Xmas tables, with this busy little producer selling their award-winning hams to everyone from David Jones Foodhall to ALDI.
From slickly modern private dining rooms, to texture-rich ceramics and stone, highlighted by natural light flooding into what must have been a difficult u-shaped space, DS17 have taken the lessons of Alpha and outdone themselves. Equally so, in Head Chef Chris Yan’s hands, the now-extensive menu builds upon the ideas germinated in Lotus’s initial Walsh Bay outlet, but far surpasses them.
Farmers’ markets are basically some of my favourite things. When weekend availability permits, I’ll click up the kilometres in order to check out locally grown or produced food offerings from areas including the Canberra district, the Southern Highlands and up north as far as Newcastle and Blackhead.
If meals at most fine dining restaurants seem too expensive, I’ve found the fancy, white-tablecloth restaurant for you! William Blue Dining is located in the old Rockpool site, yet despite the fancy, heritage, sandstone location, a three-course meal is yours for fewer than forty bucks.