April 10th, 2011

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Column - Better Than Chocolate

Published in the City Hub and City News.

This week’s column is supposed to be about chocolate, bunnies and zombie Jesus. I know; I know; it’s sacrilege to suggest something might be better than chocolate (let alone poke fun at an outdated Christian myth) but if anything can be, it’s a seafood buffet! That’s just what you’ll be eating at Café Opera on the 23rd -24th April while they take your kids (only the ones who are 5-12 years I’m afraid) and teach them to be chefs. Expect your little terrors to be returned with new skills including cupcake decorating, cookie making and egg painting. This clever answer to the Easter weekend doldrums will set you back $60/adult, and $30/child. It’s slightly more on Easter Sunday, but you get sparkling wine, and the kids will get an Easter egg hunt through the historical arcades of the hotel's first floor. Whatever keeps them happy, I say, because happy kids means more time at the buffet.

Ladies Who Lunch
Avoid Easter envy whilst boycotting the more obvious child-filled adventures by dressing up and heading to Gazebo Wine Garden’s Autumn Racing carnival with a difference. They’ll be doing a Ladies’ Brunch on Derby Day (9th April), Doncaster Day (16th April) and Easter Saturday aka Sydney Cup Day (23rd April). For $40/head you can expect the usual fare – including champagne, crudités and cute little sandwiches. Strike a pose to win a dinner voucher, and you can bring back your beau another time!

Arriving Choc-Free
Most ladies I know go nuts for chocolate, so it’s always risky to ignore the Easter niceties. If I were going down that path, I’d want a back up plan - enter Baileys Hazelnut. It’s smooth, it has hazelnut overtones, it will hopefully get you both drunk enough to forget your chocolate faux pas. Pick yours up at BWS for $30.99 RRP.

BYO Night
Now on to the rest of the dining news! Darren Simpson has opened up La Scala on Jersey to BYO on Monday nights. You could either bring in something special from your cellar, or pass off something cheap and foreign as special. Either way you’ll have an excuse to come and enjoy Darren’s excellent food. I still have fond memories of butter dribbling down my chin from eating his scampi. Expect corkage to set you back ten bucks a bottle.

Move Arras to Becasse
If you’re a fan of Adam and Lovaine Humphrey’s cooking down at Walsh Bay's Restaurant Arras, you’ll soon have to venture to the old Becasse site to find them. Word is, they’ll also be taking over the old Plan B and running their own bakery too. It’s all slated to happen some time in July, after a belated honeymoon around Europe where they will seek inspiration from their favourite restaurants. “I think making the move might have been the only way I was ever going to get Lovaine to come on a honeymoon with me,” Adam said. You’ve got until the beginning of June to have your last meal at the old Arras before the saws and jackhammers start.

Award Winning Bikkies
Congratulations to the folk at Byron Bay Cookie Company who recently took out the highest accolade within the biscuit category - Champion Biscuit Exhibit - at the 2011 Sydney Royal Fine Food awards. They were particularly excited to see one of their newest products, the Gluten Free Rosemary & Sea Salt Crispbread, pick up a gong. Also picking up the prizes were their Byron Bay Cookies Fig & Pecan; and their Luken & May Passionfruit Butterbursts. Try 'em at Harris Farm.