May 1st, 2012

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Column - Martini Memory

Published in the City Hub and City News.

It’s not hard to turn my head with a decent espresso martini, though few live up to the memory of the best one I’ve tried. I was staying in Las Vegas’ The Venetian, and wandering the gorgeous thematically appropriate pools and gardens, when I stumbled upon Thomas Keller’s Bouchon. The Illy martini and dissolving waffle I had there changed me forever…

However since we can’t all be in Vegas every day, I’ve been getting into the Illyquore (RRP $37.99/700ml) at home. It’s a premium, pure Arabica coffee liqueur that’s just landed in Australia. I think it more than gives existing coffee liqueurs like Tia Maria or Kahlúa a run for their money. In case you can’t be bothered shaking together your own breakfast martini, I will tell you now that hospitality star Emmanuel Benardos’ caramel espresso martini over at Concrete Blonde is the closest I’ve been to my espresso martini nirvana on these very shores. Check their new review in this week for more details…

You’d have to be living under a rock to not know that this month we’re going to see a fleet of mobile food trucks roaming the streets. Yes, the City of Sydney has finally seen the light, but while they’re spinning their wheels working out where they’ll actually let this little army of vans stop, I’ll tell you about the truck I’ll be combing the streets for - Stuart McGill’s Eat Art Truck. Of course by combing I mean the modern day interpretation - using my iPhone to check their Twitter account @eatarttruck.

Stuart’s a former Tetsuya's Sous Chef, but in his Electrolux kitted out van, he’ll be doing street-style dude food, from cute pulled pork rolls with pickled cabbage to kingfish ceviche and smoky southern BBQ beef. He’s keeping the street connection real with a canvas on one side of the truck featuring a different artist each month – you like it; you can buy that too.

Next time you plan a trip down south, go check out the new barn-meets-beach-house sensibility of The Old Library. It’s been a church, a library, and now it’s sliding into being Cronulla’s top restaurant, with the possibility of an award in the Hospitality Design category of the Australian Interior Design Awards dangling for designers Hecker Guthrie. It also has one of my favourite modern Italian chefs, Danny Russo, behind the pans. Stop in for a bowl of his buckwheat tagliatelle with fungi and truffle butter, or take advantage of the season and try signature roasted figs, prosciutto, goat’s cheese and truffle honey. Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming review.

While Melbourne is well known for hidden small bars, Sydneysiders are not yet used to following their noses into the darker recesses of the city to find them. So take a mosey along Kent Street with your eyes peeled for a bright yellow sign pointing to George Street and Regent Place and you’ll find the converted industrial space that is Assembly. So called as it’s been ‘assembled’ together from a collection of vintage apple crates, forklift palates, garage doors and a century old bridge. Alongside an array of sharing boards, and dude food like pork belly sliders and chilli pork hot dogs with toffee onions and chimichurri you’ll find an interesting list of classics and specialty cocktails. This includes the Lavender Hill cappuccino, a pop-rocked martini built on cloudy apple juice and La Mauny rum. Might be time to make me a new martini memory…