Archive for the 'Celebrity Chefs' Category

Chiswick Restaurant, Woollahra w/Matt Moran

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Sometimes I’m a little slow to grab the eating supplement on the Tuesday newspaper, or I forget.  But luckily, this week I remembered, and I read about the opening of Matt Moran’s new restaurant with Peter Sullivan called Chiswick, at Woollahra.  Well I have to try new things ASAP so soon as I read about it (opening two days later), I pounced onto its site and made a booking.  I was so shocked i was able to get a table on Saturday night! Ok, so I had to eat at 6:30, but that was good enough for me.  Daily I would check back on the restaurant’s website to see if there were updated photos, and each day a few more photos were released to tease – needless to say, I could not wait!!  Finally the day arrived and I had ensure I didn’t eat much of a lunch so I could try as much as I could.  I don’t venture much into the east, so I was very happy that parking was easy, and we walked up to this amazing glasshouse pavillion that was the restaurant.  I had already decided what to eat, and I was starving, so soon as we sat down, I ordered the rosemary and garlic flatbread, a steal at $4.  It came quickly – on a wooden board so that the heat wouldn’t condense to make it soggy. A good size, however a bit burnt.

I really had nothing to complain about the restaurant especially since it was only on its third trading day, so I will leave it at that!  We opted to share an entree – my sister was so lovely in that she allowed me to pick what we ate so that I could try everything I wanted to. I love her!  How sweet!!  So I picked the pulled veal ravioli.  It actually came too quickly as I was about to go to the bathroom and had to sit back down.  There were 4 tortellinis, which my sister said tasted like gow gee wrappers. I wasn’t sure but I suspected not.  It came with a vinegary dressing with freshly podded broad beans and egg white and finely diced cornichons.  It was an interesting mouthful and I loved the broad beans. At $17 it wasn’t expensive but I would have liked a bit more meat in my ravioli.

Apart from the fresh produce, some of which is from its 100sqm garden out the back, it offers family style dining with shared mains.  There were 4 choices on offer that day, a snapper, Moran family lamb, chicken baked with hay, and a fish and prawn pie.  After we found out that the fish was trevalla and snapper, we opted for the pie .  We figured at $52 it was meant to be for 2 people – $27 pp right?  When it came out, we thought hmmm maybe 3 people! The pretty scaled pattern on the pastry lid had a little porcelin bird to let out the air, which matched the baking dish.  It was huge!


Jamie’s Italian – Now in Sydney!!!

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

I counted down the days.. eagerly checking back on the Jamie Oliver website… and finally, opening day arrived.  I read the menu thoroughly, pre-selected my meal as soon as it was published (and changed my mind several times of course) – however alas, it wasn’t until the second day of opening that I managed to get a bunch of friends to go out with me on a weeknight!  Well thank you to those friends, I had a terrific evening!  We made a booking (you can only book for 6 or more) at 6pm and I ran ahead of my group until I saw that glass front that declared its presence in gold font. Jamie’s Italian!! Now in Sydney!!!   I was lucky enough to go in London in 2010 and I knew that I could expect a good meal at a very good price.

Right out the front, as per its UK sisters, you pass by the hand made pasta machine and produce – it’s made fresh daily!

Even in Sydney, the decor is like I stepped back to Canary Wharf – the furniture the same, the tea towel napkins the same – the chain completely consistent and like it was plucked straight out of the UK !

I loved this graffiti wall.  In fact, there are a few spray paintings around the place that create a funky urban uber cool environment.

We were seriously lucky to score the table right next to the open kitchen. Shouts of “yes chef!” and high energy cooking happening in there – the head chef keeping a watchful eye and cleaning dishes as they went out.  He was also so kind to respond to my questions of “Whats that?” “what’s that?” – you know, sneaking a look of what food looked like before I had to committ! haha.

We finally ordered after a final check of the menu. And promptly, out came two little pails of complimentary bread.  Who offers free bread these days?? The sourdough, pita, grissini and house baked foccacia was drizzled with pesto and served with balsamic and olive oil.  Definitely could have wolfed more of this down! :) (more…)

Gordon Ramsay – the best meal of my LIFE (so far!)

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Has anyone noticed how high the Aussie dollar is at the moment?  Never before has it been so cheap to go to Europe, and actually be able to do things like eat and see things without feeling like you are bleeding money.  On my recent trip to London, I noticed a stark contrast in the price of fine dining compared to home, partly due to the strong Aussie dollar but also due to the still subdued business market making the long client lunches a bit less lavish and showy compared to the investment banking hey-day.  But not one to complain, I set myself the task of eating ten Michelin stars.  My first was at Pied-A-Terre  - a fine two Michelin star establishment where I thoroughly enjoyed my 30 pound 3 course meal.  And now I must gush about Gordon Ramsay.   When I tell people that this was the best dining experience of my life so far and one of the top 3 highlights of my Europe trip (along with Santorini, and the Vienna opera), people react with surprise, thinking the Gordon Ramsay shown on TV is transpired to his restaurants.  Far be it from the truth.  Gordon Ramsay’s flagship restaurant in Chelsea is one of only two restaurants in Central London with three Michelin stars.   To sum it up – I felt like absolute royalty there.  The service could not have been better if I was indeed of royal blood, and it felt like the entire team was there to attend to your every need.

It is a very small restaurant.  So intimate, and formal without pretence.  We were seated at a table for two – each table for two is positioned around the outside of the room, with the chairs turned into the centre, great for people watching, but mostly so that the waiters may attend to you easily.  The Maitre’d made it seem like he remembered my friend whom I went with, and when she remarked that I had come from Australia, this piece of information made its way to ALL the staff (no joke), as even the servers would ask me how my experience was so far and whether it lived up to expectations.  Each PERSON has their own waiter AND their own server.  The server brings the food on a silver platter with your plate under a ciloche for your gloved waiter to serve you your plate.  Then, your waiter with a flourish pours sauce onto your dish – it is all so symphonic in its execution and inside, I was squealing with delight at every little detail.  But – compose yourself FoodieChat, this IS a three star restaurant, so look cool like you always do this ;)

Did I mention the price? A mere 45 pounds (plus tax) gets you THREE courses for lunch.  In aussie dollars, that’s less than $100!!  There is no such thing as a three MICHELIN star restaurant in Australia, but I can tell you that lunch at most three HAT restaurants would set you back more.  What a bargain.  Even without the “name” the value for money is unsurpassable.  To make it more discreet, only the host of the table gets the menu with the prices. Which set me into a moment of panic thinking “What if the lunch special menu is not available!” because the usual degustation is priced more realistically at 120 pounds.

Guess what this is?  Amuse bouche? No.  In fact, it is the whipped salted butter. Sprinkled with gold leaf and piped onto a granic disc on silver.  *die* of pleasure!!

Now here is the amuse bouche.  My companion is pescatarian, and the kitchen ever so kindly even adapted the amuse bouche, using a tiny poached quails egg sitting in the pea broth.

I am not vegetarian, which means I got the unmodified version. Any guesses about what it is?

My first frogs leg!!  The tiny bone (Slightly offputting hehehe), stuck into a lightly crumbed ball of the flesh which sat on top of a cured speck (I think) and in the pea broth.  OK, if I’m ever going to try a frog’s leg, it’s gotta be at Gordon Ramsay.  It was kinda like flaked chickeny-tuna actually.  Quite seafood-y.    For my first course, I ordered the crab and scallop raviolo.  It was served with the bisque poured by my waiter, and only now in reveiwing my photos had I noticed the painstaking detail – the dots of oil on the dish, the perfectly cubed tomato – but look closely – a tiny herb placed on each tomato – spring onion, chive, coriander. WOW.

The filling was so generous and flavoursome.  And served on a piece of trimmed cabbage. (more…)

Jamie’s Italian, Canary Wharf

Monday, July 5th, 2010

The Nked Chef’s empire just keeps on growing.  I don’t know how this guy runs restaurants across the world, trains up new chefs, runs a charity, writes cookbooks, goes on roadtrips for TV documentaries and be a dad to three kids!  You’d think that one of these would have to suffer, but so far I think the man has done some great delegation whilst still retaining the quality of his brand.  My first experience of Jme’s restaurants was Jamie’s Italian, newly opened at the financial hub of London in Canary Wharf.  It has a no bookings policy, but at 7pm on a Sunday night, we had no issues getting a table.

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The room’s focal point is the antipasti bar, where the platters of cured meats are shaved to order and ornately presented on beautiful platters.  The produce is hung from the ceiling, and the platters are served on wooden boards, balanced on cans of chopped tomatoes from Italy – a cute touch.

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Whole legs of proscuitto hang invitingly from the ceiling.

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The fresh made pasta is put out to display, with the pastas occupying one third of the menu.

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The dining room is very Jamie too, an eclectic mix of old style furniure (pardon me but I talk food, not furniture :) ) and more akin to a diner than a fine dining experience. Simple but tasty goes hand in hand with the no-nonsense approach to furnishings.

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The kitchen is also open plan for all to see and to give you a sneak peek of the menu before you committ! And boy are there choices galore. (more…)