November 28th, 2012

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

This Week's Food News

IWI-291112 Food News
Published in the City Hub, Inner West Independent and City News.


With identification scanning looking likely for neighbouring Kings Cross, it’s little wonder small bar Owl House tried out a prohibition theme last month! I popped in for dinner, and was delighted with my silver teapot bearing an Aviation Cocktail. It’s a devilishly light gin-based concoction that went down a treat against warm salad of quinoa, broad beans, zucchini flowers, Boston Bay mussels surrounded by a foamed mussel sauce. (Just think clam chowder in spring – only Chef Roy Ner could make a staunch carnivore quiver over quinoa!) They’re keeping their dapper threads for the silly season, so if you’re looking for an Xmas party your small business will remember…

After a stellar meal recently under new chef Nathan Brindle, I was almost dismayed to hear that Blancmange was rebadging as a pared back Bouchon. However if you’re a local, you’re going to think it’s a great thing! The new dining style will be more relaxed, the set-price menus shorter (making it easier to choose) and they’ll be even better value! Any weeknight, you can pop in for a $45 two-course menu with shared house-made bread and “tastings”. On the night I dined, I was most taken with perfectly cooked lamb brains on broad beans, followed by spatchcock with boudin noir. Might be time to plan for a mid-week adventure…

Macarons in this town are a dime a dozen these days, what with Zumbo, Ladurée (the French newcomer to town), and my personal favourite Baroque. I recently got the chance to try MakMak’s offerings, and was particularly impressed with the intensity of Toby’s Coffee in the caramel macchiato. The other flavour to float my boat was the more delicate strawberry, vincotto and pink peppercorn, which felt like it sandwiched tiny slices of fresh strawberry between the chewy shells. If you’re keen to sample them yourself, they’re opening a pop-up store on south King Street between the 17th December and the 15th January.

When I was told about a bakery that specialises in gluten-free, I must admit to not being very interested. Not being a coeliac, I mostly associate gluten-free baked products with substandard flavour and texture. This misapprehension was certainly dislodged by Balmain’s specialist bakery Brioche. Their gluten-free orange almond cake is a brightly flavoured, moist knockout; and their spinach lasagne makes healthy food taste well… great (it’s also gluten-free). I was even quite taken with a spicy lentil pie – the only place I missed the elasticity of wheat was in the gluten-free bread.