Posts Tagged ‘Restaurant Reviews’

Tapas Japonesque

Posted by Martin Field on 9 September 2011 in Restaurant Reviews

Dinner time at another newish place in sleepy old Noosa Junction. This one is Jardin Japonesque, run by chef / proprietor Kisa Juri Kobayashi – ex Noosa’s renowned Wasabi Restaurant.

First impressions were the unobtrusive minimalist white decor and the exquisite, antiquey looking serving bowls.

“Otsumami” appeared at the top of the menu, translated in brackets as “Appetisers / Tapas”.

And so we chose a few tapas-sized serves. First up was Soy-burned Roasted Organic Garlic. Four plump juicy cloves, caramelised to sweetness and with a mild, roast  garlic savour. Read the rest of this entry

Urbane Toolangi 10th Anniversary

Posted by Martin Field on 17 March 2010 in Food and Wine, Restaurant Reviews


two kinds tofu

Two kinds of Tofu

Gary Hounsell, owner of Toolangi Vineyards in the Yarra Valley recently hosted a lunch at Urbane in Brisbane to celebrate Toolangi’s 10th anniversary; your itinerant reporter was there.

Gary showed guests a selection of his estate and reserve chardonnays and pinots dating back to the 2001 vintage. In an unusual approach to winemaking he explained that in its short existence, Toolangi wines were made by different winemakers at a number of wineries, among them Giaconda, Shadowfax and Yering Station.

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A light luncheon in Noosa

Posted by Martin Field on 13 March 2010 in Restaurant Reviews

iS Tapas Bar (249 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville, Queensland, 07 5447 1818). In usually sunny Noosaville it was gusty and alternately raining and shining, looking for a light lunch we stopped at the open-fronted iS Tapas Bar and were given a table with views of the Noosa River.

iS is fully licensed but allows patrons to bring their own wine ($4 corkage fee per bottle) and we took along a 2003 Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling. Despite its rather warm cellaring in our house it was in excellent condition – sprightly and lemony with just an occasional hint of that aged riesling character that we all know and love yet find hard to describe without annoying winemakers.

From the longish menu we chose Chili mushrooms – in a light sauce/marinade of butter, lemon juice, chili, garlic and finely chopped herebs; Parmesan crumbed artichokes – these were served with the stems (quite edible) attached and looked a little like chicken drumsticks – served with a truffle and lime mayonnaise; Manchego cheese croquettes – crumbed, about the size of pool balls – with a quince paste sauce, and Tempura vegetables on skewers -tiny morsels of crisp veg in the lightest of batter.

The food presentaion was attractive, the waiter was hip and we really enjoyed each dish. The bill for two, including corkage, totalled $42.

Highly recommended.

is tapas

Senderens, Paris

Posted by Mike Tommasi on 8 November 2009 in Restaurant Reviews

Senderens (9 Place de la Madeleine, Paris 8e, 0142652290): what hope is there of finding a last-minute table at super-chef Alain Senderens’ fabulously redecorated and voluntarily de-starred restaurant on a Tuesday night during the busy Batimat building material exhibition here in Paris? Crise-oblige, it was not a problem, and so on the spur of the moment we returned to this grand establishment, which I visited over ten years ago, when my friend Harry generously invited us here for his birthday; back then it was called Lucas Carton, the cooking was superb, Alain Senderens was still in the kitchen, and it was incredibly pricy the way only Parisian 3-star restaurants can be.

Senderens, Paris

Senderens, Paris

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Carme Ruscalleda – Sant Pau

Posted by Mike Tommasi on 28 July 2009 in Restaurant Reviews

Getting a reservation at the Sant Pau (c/Nou, 10 – E-08395 Sant Pol de Mar – Catalunya, Spain – T: +34-93-7600662) is not an easy matter, this three-star dining room only has 9 tables. Catherine and I travel frequently to Catalunya, my parents live in the Baix Empordà area; the region is also one of the earth’s true hot spots for star chefs: within 120km of Sant Feliu de Guíxols, that useful tyrant known as the Red Guide has identified 38 one-star eateries, 2 two-stars and 3 three-stars! While I can only describe my experience at super-legendary elBulli as “interesting”, a recent visit to El Celler de Can Roca proved to be one the most memorable and perfect lunches of my life. Sant Pau is very different from Can Roca, and yet both share the same extremely high level of taste, precision, service as well as culinary culture and intelligence.
Sant Pau, Carme Ruscalleda

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Cheap booze for bankrupt millionaires

Posted by Martin Field on 17 July 2009 in Wine

by Martin Field
Yeah I know you high flyers are doing it hard and don’t know where the next magnum of Krug is coming from.
Public sympathy for scammers and skimmers is in even shorter supply than usual but we lower socio-economic dwellers are charitable, so I’ve decided to share a few tips on alcoholic cost cutting to ameliorate your pain. I have assumed none of the following tips will breach your bail conditions.
Make your own wine. Buy some grapes, put them in a large garbage bag and have the home help trample them on the marble kitchen floor. Bung some yeast in the drained off juice and, when fermented, store in a barrel. Bottle and drink when ready. (True, this is how a friend does it every year.)
Brew your own beer. Buy a can of Coopers home brew stout mix (the best of them all) follow the instructions (or ask your PA to do it). Drink.
Drink more cask (bag in box) wines and cleanskins. Dollar for dollar, cask whites always taste better than the reds – don’t know why.

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Granite Belt wine touring

Posted by Martin Field on 13 April 2009 in Wine Travel

by Martin Field
The kind folk at Granite Belt Wine and Tourism invited us to look around the Granite Belt wine region. ‘Take the scenic route to the Granite Belt,’ they said. We did, it was mid-summer, and on the five-hour drive from Noosa the scenic route was off, it rained all the way. In Stanthorpe, it was about fifteen degrees. Luckily, log fires were commonplace and we were happy to find one in our B&B at Heather’s Cottage.
The coolish weather was due no doubt to the Granite Belt’s elevation, some 1,000 metres above sea level – making it the only Queensland region with four seasons. The altitude has created a grape growing climate similar to that of South Australia’s Clare Valley and has made the area unarguably Queensland’s premium wine region.
We couldn’t visit all of the 60 or so cellar doors but on a madcap two-day trip, we grazed on a fine selection of regional wines and tucker. Here are some of the highlights.
At Summit Estate, Argentinean winemaker Paola Cabezas, poured me a barrel sample of her 2007 petit verdot. An inky dark drop with concentrated fruit and a very firm finish. John Handy, winemaker at Heritage Estate had an impressive 2008 reserve chardonnay: a big, dry, perfumed style showing musk and apricot nectar.

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Kiwi wining and dining

Posted by Martin Field on 13 April 2009 in Restaurant Reviews

by Martin Field
A bunch of New Zealand winemakers were in town recently as part of their Australian roadshow – the occasion was a grand dinner with NZ wines at Berardo’s Restaurant.
I rang the restaurant well in advance to request a no-meat, no-seafood meal. The person who answered asked if I realised that this was a seven course degustation menu with wines carefully matched to courses. I said that I’d be well satisfied with a couple of vego dishes and asked her not to drive the chef mad.
On the night, every guest was presented with a menu describing the wines and food. To my surprise, I was given my own menu, each dish a variation on the seven-course omnivore’s banquet. My meal was cleverly constructed to mirror the main menu and at the same time to harmonise with the wines. This is what I call true professionalism.
The wines were top notch, the list without any undue emphasis on the expected theme of sauvignon blanc. One of the winemakers asked me for my pick of the night and I chose the 2007 Marlborough Staete Landt Chardonnay: elegant and light-bodied, with elements of newly picked nectarine, understated oak and a crisp tangy finish.

La Petite Maison, Cucuron (Eric Sapet, Provence)

Posted by Mike Tommasi on 15 March 2009 in Restaurant Reviews

Eric SapetMy last visit dates back to October 2007, at the time I had sent my friend Eric Sapet to the Istrian Truffle Festival in Croatia, and on his return he had prepared a meal inspired by white truffles in his then new Petite Maison. I have since tried several times to book a table, mission impossible! No wonder, when a restaurant serves such “passionate” cuisine at affordable prices, success is guaranteed.
This Saturday, I was lucky to find a table for 4. We headed for the Luberon with our friends Michael and Marie Rose, about 1.5 hours’ drive, to the village of Cucuron, one of the most beautiful in Provence, with its clock tower, its walls and the immense pond on the main square surrounded by old plane trees. La Petite Maison de Cucuron (Place de l’Etang, Cucuron, 04 90 68 21 99) is right next to the pond. It is Saturday noon and Eric is conducting a cooking class on the ground floor, we happen to arrive during the preparation of a soufflé pancake.
The restaurant is small, the kitchen is only 4m2 … It is well known that to make good wine you need to keep yields low in the vineyard, but in restaurants yields can be very high, this minuscule kitchen is sufficient to treat 40 guests to a cuisine as generous, honest, tasty, creative and cheerful as its author, the dishes are always perfectly cooked and well presented, the service, thanks to Patrick and Camille, is friendly and competent.

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Barcelona: Mon Vínic – restaurant, wine bar and wine library

Posted by Mike Tommasi on 26 February 2009 in Restaurant Reviews

On Wednesday evening February 18 I met Joan Gómez Pallarès to discover this incredible laboratory of wine and taste sensations, certainly unique in this world, called Mon Vínic (c / Diputació 249 Barcelona – Eixample, +34-932726187) – in Catalan, “The World of Wine”. Surprisingly not very well known, despite the level of ambition of the project and the huge investment required, it is a sensational place for wine lovers, made magical by:
• its rich collection of wines, thousands of bottles from all over the world, including some very old Malaga bottles reaching back to 1795, all available for tasting or meals at prices barely above what you pay for them at a wine merchant’s, even those that have rested in the cellar for a few years (aging is free!).
• its incredible architecture all in wood, concrete and stainless steel signed Alfons Tost,
• the documentation center, a library of books and magazines about wine from around the world, with several terminals to connect to the internet or the place’s wine database.
• the extraordinary competence and kindness of its sommeliers under the leadership of César Cánovas and Isabelle Brunet,
• the creativity strongly rooted in terroir and tradition of chef Sergi De Meià, whose dishes may be enjoyed in the “culinary space”, where some forty guests can be seated at two long white tables to enjoy their meal, with wines selected for this incredible cellar by means of touch screens on tablet PCs that provide access to the cellar’s database, including photos of the labels, information on the winery, etc..
• the selection of wines by the glass or half-glass: every day fifty labels are available in the restaurant or at the wine bar for ridiculously low prices.
• the class or conference room, used as a tasting workshop space
• the wine bar, a relaxing place for tasting wine
César Cánovas in the wine library

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