Google+ Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Clever Polly's, Melbourne

Published 21st June 2016 | News

Clever Polly Melbourne

Changes are afoot at Clever Polly's in North Melbourne and we think they add a new dimension to the offerings here. The food at this wine bar and wine shop has always fallen under the radar even though we have enjoyed many tasty dishes here.

Now the food is taking on a more important role with the introduction of an Omikase menu where the chef chooses the dishes to match the interesting array of wines that are available. You will be able to choose eat either 4 courses or 6 courses and then sit back and let the chef decide. The wines choice might include a Sauvignon Blanc from the Macedon Ranges, a delicious Mauzac from the Gaillac region of France or a Xinomavro rosé from Greece to name but a few. We look forward to trying the new format.

Read more about Clever Polly's

Very Good Falafel, Brunswick Victoria

Published 30th May 2016 | Review

Very Good Falafel in Brunswick

Very Good Falafel is a bright, light space on busy Sydney Road in Brunswick where customers line up for very fresh falafel served in pita bread and plates of hummus made from freshly-ground chick peas and drizzled with olive oil.

The restaurant is quite small (four or five small tables and eight or ten bar stools) but they also do a good takeaway business if our recent visit is anything to go by.

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Shake a Leg Jr in Moonah

Published 21st May 2016 | Review

Shake a Leg Jr in Moonah

Shake a Leg Jr is a very good café serving excellent coffee (try the High Beam blend) and tasty pastries (Pigeon Whole Bakery, of course) in Moonah which is an outer suburb of Hobart where many young hipsters are moving to take advantage of slightly more affordable housing.

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Franklin Restaurant in Hobart

Published 12th May 2016 | News

Franklin Restaurant in Hobart

Franklin has now been widely acknowledged as Tasmania's leading restaurant ever since it opened. The menu features the best of Tasmania's amazing produce with an emphasis on fresh seafood. The wine list features a carefully curated range of natural wines from Australia, France, Georgia and Italy. This is definitely a destination venue for visitors to Hobart!

Our judgement of this restaurant as the best in Tasmania has been further endorsed by the recent Australia-wide poll of Australian chefs who voted Franklin in the top 10 restaurants in Australia among some very strong competition. Well done Franklin!

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Bar Brosé in Sydney

Published 5th April 2016 | Review

Bar Brosé in Sydney

Bar Brosé is a bold new bar and restaurant serving delicious food and a cutting-edge drinks program iin relaxing surroundings. It is a great package! The team they have assembled here is definitely A-league.

We have long been fans of the cooking of head chef and co-owner Analiese Gregory. In fact, once we flew from Provence to Fes in Morocco for 24 hours, just to eat the food she was cooking at a pop-up there! Also on the team is our friend Katrina Birchmeier who we got to know when she created one of the first totally natural wine lists in Australia at the celebrated Garagistes in Hobart. She then went on to help set up The Four Horseman in Brooklyn where the wine list was equally exciting.

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Igni in Geelong

Published 20th March 2016 | Review

Igni in Geelong

Igni in Geelong is one of the most exciting restaurants in Victoria. It is a collaboration between talented chef Aaron Turner along with Jo Smith and Andrew Hamilton who look after the front of house and the clever wine matches. The vibe is relaxed, the music is eclectic (think Dan Auerbach meets Nick Cave) and the cooking reveals rather than masks the quality of the excellent produce on offer. We recently had one of the best meals of the year in this restaurant - and that is during a period of some very good eating in Australia, Japan and France!

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Automata in Sydney

Published 20th February 2016 | Review

Automata in Sydney

Automata is a sleek yet charming restaurant in inner Sydney serving absolutely delicious food overseen by talented chef Clayton Wells. Clayton has assembled talented staff for both the kitchen and the front-of-house. While Clayton and his team turn out the beautiful food, the dining room is supervised by the charming Abby Meinke who most recently served us at one of our favourite Sydney venues, Moon Park. At the third corner of the triangle is the gregarious Tim Watkins who has a freaky talent for unconventional drink and food matches. The wine list he oversees is very strong but he also might conjure up a rare sake or a very rare vermouth for a particular dish.

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An intriguing delicacy from Japan

Published 30th January 2016 | Food article

Shirako at Shimada in Tokyo

This fascinating delicacy in the photo alongside was served to us at a 'standing restaurant' called Shimada in Tokyo where only 12 people can squeeze into the tiny space to sample the delectable food and no seats are provided at the bar. Despite our inability to speak any Japanese, we were warmly welcomed and made to feel at home. The manager selected dishes for us from the Japanese-only menu. When he saw that we were willing to try anything he was serving to the others at the bar he presented a special dish that others were eating. As it turned out, we were served the same delicacy the next day at the emerging SushiYa restaurant.

Read more to find out what we were served

Embla, Melbourne

Published 16th January 2016 | Review

A menu snippet from Embla, Melbourne

Embla is both a bar and a dining space where the food is based around expertly prepared small plates and the wine is a roadmap to the natural wines of the world with many of the emerging Australian superstars being featured alongside the more familiar European gems.

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Cubed Espresso Bar, Eaglehawk Neck

Published 3rd January 2016 | Review

Cubed Espresso Bar, Eaglehawk Neck

Cubed Espresso Bar is a delightful place to enjoy a very good coffee while taking in the spectacular views over Eaglehawk Neck at the entrance to the Tasman Peninsula. The venue is essentially a lovingly restored and carefully re-designed caravan parked on the side of the road next to the lookout on Pirates Bay Drive. They make their own baked goods and roast their own beans which are sourced from small producers.

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Robbie Brown's, Kingston

Published 19th December 2015 | Review

Robbie Browns Kingston Bar

Robbie Brown's is a delightful bar in the Hobart seaside suburb of Kingston. Here you can sit at an outside table overlooking the beach and enjoy a craft beer, a whisky of good provenance, a local artisan gin or ask the enthusiastic bar staff to make a Negroni from ingredients of your choosing.

Read more about Robbie Brown's, Tasmania

Huon Valley Meat Co., West Hobart

Published 22nd November | Review

Huon Vallet Meat Co. West Hobart

A bright new shop with clean lines and enticing food offerings has opened in West Hobart right next to Pigeon Hole café. Young entrepreneur James Lord has expanded his empire, which includes the Cradoc Hill Abattoir, to this charming shop which sends out signals of yesteryear.

As you approach the Huon Valley Meat Co you will see the carcasses of freshly slaughtered lambs hanging in the window. Walk through the door and your eyes will fix on the beautifully restored patterned floor. Then, behind the meat display and counter you will enjoy the sight of two traditional wooden butcher blocks which harken back to a time when all meat was cut to order. And make sure you ask for some of the excellent salami so that you can admire the restored red, hand-cranked Berkel slicer in action. What an amazing piece of equipment this is! This place is well worth a visit!

Read more about the Huon Valley Meat Co., Hobart, Tasmania

Bistronomy by Jane Sigal

Published 12th November | Review

Bistronomy by Jane Sigal

Jane Sigal has reminded us all of just what a great place Paris is now for informal dining. But it is not just informal dining, it is also stunning food and great wine that underpins this valuable publication.

She provides some fascinating background to the many new restaurant whose recipes she features. In this book you can learn about the trajectory of superstars of the bistro scene such as Yves Camdeborde, James Henry, Bertrand Grébaut and Tatiana Levha among many others. An added bonus is that the recipes are like the food you eat in the restaurants - not tricked up, full of flavour and visually appealing!

Read a detailed review of Bistronomy

The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher

Published 3rd October 2015 | Review

The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher

This book might just qualify for the longest title for a food book. The full title is "The Art of Natural Cheesemaking: Using Traditional, Non-Industrial Methods and Raw Ingredients to Make the World's Best Cheeses".

However, despite this the book is an absolute treasure for setting a path to the future of cheesemaking by returning to the past. Asher describes his ideas in the opening "Manifesto" and then goes on to describe the main components of cheesemaking and then the detailed techniques for making a range of cheeses using traditional techniques.

This is a book that should be on the shelf of every serious food lover.

Read a detailed review of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking

Sono Vino, Pupillin, France

Published 17th September 2015 | Review

Sono Vino, Pupillin, France

Sono Vino is a small bar hidden away in a back street of Pupillin, the world capital of Ploussard - well that's what the locals call the village as it is right in the appellation area where the best of the red Ploussard wines are made. If you blink you will miss this tiny establishment which only has a couple of tables outside and a few more inside. But it is worth stopping as they have a fine selection of wines including those from local celebrity Philippe Bornard.

6 Rue des Chenevières, Pupillin. Tel. +33 9 52 97 35 68

Percherons, Céret, France

Published 9th September 2015 | Review

Percherons, Céret, France

Percherons is a pleasant restaurant in the equally pleasant town of Céret which is run by talented chef Mathieu Perez who we first met when he was the master of the tiny kitchen at Aux Deux Amis in rue Oberkampf in Paris. The meal that we had here recently was very exciting.

Read more about Percherons, Céret, France


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