MissDissent (missdissent) wrote,

This Week's Column - Al Fresco Is Back!

Published in the Inner West Independent and City News.

No, not Tony Fresco’s Dad, outdoor dining! All over Sydney, restaurants are cleaning up their balconies and dusting off their outdoor chairs. Mind you not many look quite as nice as this little Sydney vantage point at Aqua Dining! Architect Sidney Koh enjoyed the opportunity to work with an unrivalled view of the harbour, creating an environment where guests “descend into a space which ignites their senses visually, before they have even had a chance to glance at a menu.” More like this please!

Café Opera’s Coup d'état
Exteriors are not the only bit of spring-cleaning you’ll see – chefs everywhere are also taste-testing seasonal produce and releasing spring menus. After a cracking meal at Café Opera inside the Sydney InterContinental, Executive Sous Chef Julien Pouteau gave me the distinct feeling you might see some Tinder Creek duck pop up on the menu some time soon. While you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for my review of his excellent cooking, let’s just say I’m already craving another mandarin mille-feuille with honeycomb, meringue and sensual saffron sorbet.

Brit Lunch Classics
Adam and Lovaine Humphrey have unlocked the doors to their newest family member, Arras Too. While their lunchtime hole-in-the-wall offerings of house-cured ham and chutney sandwiches, and pork pies with piccalilli, don’t come off sounding ethereally light, they are staying true to their British roots. My surname might give you a hint about why I’m a bit excited that they’ve got Scotch eggs on their new menu too!

Bloody Orange Sauce
Over on the north side, Scott Parsons has stepped in to captain the kitchen of Hawthorn Mosman. For Sydney Spring he’s also got duck on his mind, a roast breast and confit leg in fact, with sweet and sour red cabbage, hazelnuts and 'bloody orange sauce'. I’m told this restaurant has already become a Mosman staple, no small thanks I’m sure to the ‘Two Goblet’ wine list noted at the 2011 Australian Wine List of the Year Awards and the 14/20 they earned in the recent SMH Good Food Guide.

Avalanche of Awards
Of course the 2011 food award season is in full swing. It’s nice to see some of my own favourites attract notice in a variety of places. At the Savour Australia™ Restaurant & Catering Awards earlier this week, Leigh McDivitt took home ‘Best Restaurant in A Pub’ for his stellar work at 3 Weeds Rozelle. Savvy restauranteurs Jessie and Terence Chau were successful in the ‘Best Restaurant’ category at the 2011 City of Sydney Business Awards with their Japanese izakaya Mizuya.

Despite clearly not directing much energy assisting her previous award winners (like the enterprising Nahji Chu, who’s STILL fending off nasty neighbours to run her chain of successful ventures called Misschu), The Lord Mayor Clover Moore congratulated all 21 new winners. Moore said: "82 per cent of businesses within the City of Sydney are small and medium businesses contributing $17 billion to the City's economic growth". In the case of Jessie and Terence Chau she couldn’t have picked better exemplars! I’ll be heading down to check out the Kyoto style décor and road-test the offerings of their latest venture, Umi Sushi + Udon in the new Darling Quarter very soon.

Eat, Drink & Dance to Kylie
Of course nothing’s more Sydney al fresco than dining in Hyde Park! The Sydney Food & Wine Fair have served up over 600,000 portions of food and drink to more than 500,000 patrons over their 21 years of operation. Of course all the monies raised goes to support a cause dear to my own heart, the AIDS Trust of Australia. Their 21st birthday party on Saturday 29th October, is going to be huge! A who’s who of Sydney will come together to eat, drink and (inevitably) dance to Kylie. Whatever your musical taste, it’s also a chance for you to dine on the (donated) products of restaurants including Café Sydney, Jimmy Liks, Guilllaume at Bennelong, Longrain, Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay, and Icebergs Dining Room & Bar. How often can you eat well, get drunk and at the same time also say you’re giving generously?
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