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This Week's Column - My Spring Manifesto


Published in the Bondi View and City News.

It’s not just the weather that’s hotting up; foodie events are emerging left, right and centre! This week I’m ignoring the new season cookbooks currently piling skyward on my desk in favour of getting out to eat, and (more importantly) drink, and be merry.



Turkish Temptation
Tip your hat toward all things Turkish this October with one of my favourite restaurateurs, Somer Sivrioglu from Efendy. He’s organised a week of events around Turkish National Day (October 29th) which includes an Eggplant Dinner with Fouad Kassab (The Food Blog) on Tuesday 25th & Wednesday 26th October. Is there any vegetable better than the eggplant? If you’re inclined to disagree, I suspect you haven’t eaten Somer’s eggplant puree! Anyway, I digress: Somer’s lined up a bunch of chefs and foodie personalities to showcase Turkey’s incredible cultural diversity. All of the dinners are just $65/head, so get on the phone fast: (02) 9810 5466.
www.efendy.com.au

Fill Up On Fish
If you’re as passionate as I am about line-caught, local seafood, book in a lunch at Aria before the end of September. For $35 you get a wild, line caught fish dish teamed with a glass of chardonnay (which is still my favourite Aussie white). Matt Moran has laid down the stipulation that all the fishes you eat will be “line caught from within a 50km radius of Sydney”. He’s serving them up in innovative ways like Warm Smoked Blue Mackerel with Spiced Cauliflower, Beetroot and Pine Nuts. Fans of frozen fish need not apply.
www.ariarestaurant.com



Down A Dozen
While we’re on stellar seafood, one of my favourite annual events is coming ‘round. Sunday 16th October, 2011 is Manta Restaurant & Bar’s Oyster & Seafood Festival! This year they’re going South American, and frankly I can’t think of anything better after a big Saturday night than a Pisco Sour in one hand and an oyster fork in the other, with a dozen of Tim Dumbrell's Moreton Bay oysters gleaming nearby. Head Chef Daniel Hughes also promises Spiced Chilean Prawns, which I suspect will go down nicely with a Cilantro Collins. By cilantro they mean coriander (they’re really working that theme). I recall road-testing one of these babies built on Belvedere Citrus Vodka with Canton Ginger Liqueur, pineapple puree and a hint of lemon juice last year, before it got saddled with the fancy name.
www.mantarestaurant.com.au



Smokin’ Hot Cocktails
Since I’m musing about mixology, there are still a few Fridays left in September for you to head on down to Zeta Bar for their Extreme Cabaret night. Against an array of acts that sound more at home at The Sydney Hellfire Club than Hilton Sydney, you’ll knock back smoking teapots, absinthe fixes and have a (legal) smoking imbibe. The crazy cocktails come courtesy of international expert bar consultant, Grant Collins, and after enough of them, you’ll think the extreme burlesque and juggling dwarf is just in your mind.
www.zetabar.com.au

Cork Popping Fun
If cocktails are a bit crass in your book, head along to Quarter Twenty One to celebrate Champagne on Monday 26th September 2011. For $190/head you’ll learn about the diversity of Champagne styles and see how well they can be paired with food with the assistance of The Champagne Bureau and Vogue Living. The pretty copper filled space is also now the proud recipient of it's first SMH Good Food Guide toque, so it's sure to fill up fast on (02) 8064 7900.
www.quartertwentyone.com.au



Yum Cha For The Lazy
Being extra busy midweek what with writing and reviewing, at my place we relish a bit of a sleep in on the weekend. So yum cha has always been a bit of a sticking point… but not anymore! Chefs Gallery has launched a new night yum cha menu, which I am itching to try. Recall their wonderful open kitchen... you’ll be able to see them hand make and cook to order your dim sim. The new menu includes everything from steamed Chicken and Shitake Mushroom Shiu Mai topped with seared scallop and vibrant red fish roe, to cute Marshmallow Rabbits coated in coconut. I am already licking my lips in anticipation, so expect a review soon!
www.chefsgallery.com.au



Sake Success
I’ll leave you with one you’ll have to leap on quickly - it’s Sake Masterclass time again at Ocean Room. Not only is this restaurant one of my favourites for modern Japanese food, they also think it’s important to educate us all about sipping sake successfully! After my class with Toshi Maeda last year, I now order sake much more often, chanting “junmai low number” under my breath. Get up to speed yourself on the 13-14th September for $120/head, which includes interactive sake and food matching experiences, and five fabulous courses from Raita Noda.
www.oceanroomsydney.com