April 13th, 2011

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Column - Seasonally Affected Dining

Published in the Bondi View and City News.

Before sunny days become a distant memory, line up a couple of hours for a grand, gourmet adventure, or some wines in the park. Just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, I’ve also included a wet weather plan!

Beaches & Babes

Take a drive up to Whale Beach for lunch at Jonah’s Restaurant. They have just welcomed Spanish born Alfonso Alés as Executive Chef. He’s cooked alongside Ferran Adrià at El Bulli, and with renowned Australian chef Tony Bilson at Bilson’s here in Sydney. Alfonso will be trotting out his first full menu in June 2011, after he takes care of the small matter of the birth of his first child! Even if he’s otherwise engaged, you could be drinking in the last of this season’s sun on their gorgeous Coco Republic styled balcony; with champagne and oysters thrown in! If you’re not short of coin, make an even bigger adventure of it by arriving by seaplane. It’s just a twelve-minute flight from Rose Bay!

If that all sounds like too much effort, pop on down to Darling Harbour and sink a few boutique beers at Helm Bar instead. Their sunny balcony and paved beer garden will definitely suffice to enjoy a sunny Sunday arvo. The month of May sees the opportunity to drink a range of unusual and locally made boutique lagers, ales and ciders for seven bucks apiece. To help you choose between Beez Neez, Little Creatures, Leffe Blonde, Big Helga, Redback and Dogbolter, there will also be matched Beer and Fare specials including Bohemian Pilsner Beer with Mussels, and a hearty Beef Stroganoff with Fat Yak.

Uncork Pyrmont
While your mind’s on the waterfront, Pyrmont will also come alive come with a huge food and wine event on Sunday 15th May. It will be held at Pirrama Park, and even the Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP will be attending. The President of Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce, Lawrence Gibbons had this to say: “Pyrmont is enjoying tremendous growth in tourism and that’s largely thanks to the increasing number of first class restaurants in the area.” So use this festival as an excuse to head on down to area standouts like Signorelli Gastronomia, Blue Eye Dragon and Flying Fish. They’ll all be working with the Mudgee wine region, and trotting out a range of wine lunches and dinners between May 3rd-15th.

Woman to Watch
International Women's Day inspired me do more to celebrate women in my column. This week’s woman to watch is twenty-four year old Sarah Limacher. She’s a sommelier who has previously worked at Berowra Waters Inn, where she won numerous awards for her wine lists. These days you can enjoy her expertise at The Winery, as their group sommelier. She found the time to offer us all a special occasion wine recommendation: “Special occasions always call for a good bottle of bubbly, next time you are celebrating give a bottle of Cava from Spain a whirl. Cava is affordable, dangerously drinkable and some of the better houses make some awesome quality bubbles rivaling that of champagne. I like Augusti Torello ‘Mata’ Cava, Penedes, Spain.

In-Cider Knowledge
After all this activity, you may need a refreshing drink. They don’t come much better than Napoleone & Co Ciders made by the Punt Road winemakers. I’m currently addicted to the Pear variety, though they do Apple as well. I’ve been buying it from Annandale Cellars, though I’ve also noted that they stock it at the Summer Hill Wine Store, in case of emergencies. A little birdie told it’s soon to be on tap in Sydney, so keep your eyes peeled!

Wet Weather Plan
Now on the off chance that it is raining when you read this column, here’s a wet weather alternative! Head on down to New Shanghai restaurant for their half price Dumpling Happy Hour special between 6pm-7pm Monday to Friday. No matter whether you like ‘em pan-fried, steamed, vegetarian or stuffed with juicy pork, you’ll find they cost you half the bucks at their Bondi Junction store. Team it with a bit of a shop - you might need a walk afterwards!