eats, Food, restaurant, sydney, travel, Uncategorized

Restaurant Hubert

Restaurant Hubert

Sgt Donny Donowitz says “ You know , Lieutenant, you’re getting pretty good at that.” *

The qualities of dining 1. Great food 2. Quality service 3. Great environment

Merely being in Restaurant Hubert could be like stepping into another time. An environment of Paris pre WW2, romantic, rich drapes, piano stage, wood panels and eons of memories on the walls. After descending underground past a vast collection of miniature alcohol bottles you arrive, big room and bar to the left , booths to the right. Suit attired charming gents welcome you at the bottom of the stairs. Several dining options are available, the bar, booths or tables. I’m yet to experience bar dining at Restaurant Hubert and as the gloriously lit and stocked back bar, crowned by the extensive wine cellar with the charming staff, I cant wait to be alone in the city and pull up a stool. Bar dining is an essential asset for the lone diner.

The room is rich. Sitting here feels luxurious, as if having snuck into a private club from days long gone whose members memories linger in the air, in the walls and in the menu. The menu heralds times past as food trends are ignored, its French, its decadent, yes there are carbs and butter, lots of them. The menu reads simply, similar to chef Danny Pepperell’s last restaurant 10 William street. The food, like 10 William St, is far from simple. Potato gallette, sliced thin and fried crisp, wading in a pool of creamy sauce. I picked up mine with my hands and dunked in sauce repeatedly, mopping as much sauce up as I possibly could.

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Only several ducks are available each day. It takes days for the brining and prepping. Then stuffed with sausage, cooked and served. This duck is amazing, crisp skin, juicy flesh with sausage stuffing, insert Instagram drool here.

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My favourite starter is the Gruyere. A deep fried disk of rich cheese until the crisp outside releases the gooey indulgent centre, tre Frenchy, oui? The Clams Normandy are delightful, slippery seafood morsels in buttery broth that is made for dunking crusty frog bread in to.

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Steak tartar is fatty and hedonistic, served with real french fries. Fat, meat, crisp, fried slivers gangbang each other, do you dare go there? The simple quality many French Restaurants I’ve been too miss, is, the meat here is room temperature which allow for soft fat and tasty meat.

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Blood pudding is served as a slice from a loaf. Suitably rich and as a loaf more surface area allows fore more good crisp shell and crunch . And that is why you eat black pudding, for the crunchy outside! The Instagram superstar egg dish here is good but food for me needs to bring more hearty flavour. In my view hot and tasty go far. The cool seafood jelly with all sorts of seafood eggs is a great old school homage and represent genius and skill but is not a tasty wall banger for me.

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A couple of steak options are available on the concise menu. The Bavette, a tasty cut with fries might be the one dish is this restaurant that has any attachment to todays world. And that is only because hipsters have done some research and now love underprivileged cuts of meat. The T Bone at $130 is supreme, five of us gorged ourselves on this one night, my daughter chewed the bone to the core.

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My night did get weird. I have done business with these boys and as much fun they have, the clarity of their vision and direct negotiating style led to some terse moments. After closing deals through tight moments, drinking at Anton and Jason’s Bars Shady Pines, Baxter Inn and Frankie’s Pizza privileged me to witness wild and rowdy times. To have Anton as my waiter, with boyish polite charm was foreign to me. So polite, so caring, I’d forgotten this cat has serious pedigree in hospitality.

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I know these boys from booze, their drink knowledge is deep . Jason Scott and Anton Forte are industry stalwarts . The wine list here is extensive and I’ve focused on the French region of Jura , with great advice, exceptional wines can be found in the deep catalogue. I know a little about wine and after chatting with the sommelier we’ve enjoyed a Domaine Pigner ‘A la percenette 2013, Jean Bourdy Cotes du Jura Blanc 2010. Both natural, textural, with balanced minerals and dry finish. French mountain wine. An Austrian Trauben, Liebe und Zeit from Strohmeeier, and a Gafin, are in the same vain, big wines with natural qualities and euro refinement. By this time my label photo skill had deteriorated , so Gafin is all you get for the last one. We finished with Georg Breuer Auslese 2013.

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There are three choices for dessert, Crème Caramel, Profiteroles and Melon sorbet. Seems sparse but each are brilliant examples of each dish. The Crème Carmel is firm and soft, decedent but not rich with a light sweet syrup. The profiteroles crisp and chewy with rich chocolate coat and light custard filling. Melon filled with sorbet and little balls that pop is a clean refreshing end to an extravagant experience.

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And Lt Aldo Raine says “You know somethin’, Utivich? I think this just might be my masterpiece”*

* Quotes from Quentin Tarantino’s film Inglorious Basterds

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All photos taken on an Iphone6+

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Uncategorized

Simple Yellow Curry

I think I’ve got this right right. If you try to make this please let me know what you think. This recipe was born out of flavours I put in my dhal, then one day I wanted to make a curry with coconut milk again. I can not make green curries because they will NEVER compare to Sujet Saenkham ‘s  so i no longer try, i just buy them at his restaurants for my fix.

This is really simple and can be done in 30 minutes. Plus the Turmeric is now a superfood so it has to be healthy. Check the VIDEO

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Yellow Curry with pickled cauliflower

Simple YELLOW CURRY

Spices

1 tablespoon turmeric

1teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

2 cinnamon quills

4 star anise

6 cardamom pods

4 whole dried chillies

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Spices needed

Herbs

handful fresh coriander

3 large organic garlic cloves

fat thumb of ginger

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Herbs. I grate my ginger with a cheese grater

1 Lemon

Sesame Oil

Fish sauce

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Add baby corn and use red chilli instead of green

1kg chicken thighs.

300 ml coconut cream

THE PROCESS

Dice chicken thighs. Set aside.

Mince garlic, grate ginger and chop coriander stems. Set aside.

Heat pan to hot, add sesame oil . Brown chicken. Add Herbs, turn over.

Add spices. Mix.

Add coconut cream. Stir through. Several dashes of fish sauce.

Add salt to taste. Cook for 15 minutes. See VIDEO

Squeeze lemon over curry.

Serve with rice and salad of cucumber, coriander leaves and tomato.

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serve with a cucumber and tomato salad

Tip: I soak my cardamom pods in 60ml boiling water and then pestle and mortar, I separate and discard the husks. I add the water and seeds to the curry.

check the video here COOKING YELLOW CURRY VIDEO

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Three Days In Byron

Three Days In Byron

Low tide at Main Beach

low tide on Main beach

For as long as I can remember Byron Bay held a reputation as a mythical destination, a place of beauty and wonder. Then you get there, or try to get there but there is too much traffic, the streets are filled with dirty hippies and people trying to live an alternative lifestyle, man…. They too flock to the mythical beauty. And then it happens, you chill, swim in the warm water, feel the sand between your toes and you realise Byron is a truly beautiful place.

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this guy is amazing, streets of Byron

I first went to Byron as a teenager on a surf safari, I would have resembled one of the hippies with long locks and beaded necklace. We’d smoke weed and get loose. Not much seems to have changed as I ended up in the emergency room, six stitches and a black eye later, I can confirm Byron has the most efficient emergency room I have ever been in. As a guy, you get strange look when you take a bloody and bruised faced girl into the hospital. It was an unfortunate incident of an eyebrow meeting a table introduced by a loose Berkenstock . Babe was not very happy.

Happy to be on tour we were though and this was more a food than surf safari. The Farm At Byron Bay has just opened with the Three Blue Ducks. I’d heard about The Roadhouse and we managed to find some other great food. A couple spots were missed, that happens after a hospital visit, until next time. Doma is at the top of the list when we return, a country café run by Japs doing crazy food, yes please.  And The Italian At The Pacific and Folk are also still on the list. If you’ve tried them please let me know what you think.

Raw salad and snapper

raw salad and snapper, Three Blue Ducks

Half Kg Castanza

500 gm TBONE aka Castanza, Three Blue Ducks

The Three Blue Ducks have taken their mantra seriously, moving personal to Byron, trips back to Bronte on rotation. Ducks staff tending fields farming their ingredients, it’s a fabulous concept. The set up is much bigger than their Bronte sibling. Most of the food comes directly from the farm. I had a half KG T-Bone steak raised a few hundred meters from where I was sitting. It was a glorious piece of meat, my only gripe is I shared it, must be the quality that had me craving more steak as I only eat half that amount of meat. The bone was mine to gnaw on, my precious…

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how chill is this? Three Blue Ducks

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yeah baby, The Ducks

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Grab coffee, treats and go sit in the macadamia orchid

The Ducks kitchen breaks down their own carcasses so the cut of meat and menu will depend on what’s on hand. Luckily my friends allowed me to try their food. The coffee rubbed brisket is tender and tasty, sweeter than I imagined as the coffee rub becomes a sticky glaze keeping the meat tender and juicy. Served with a slaw with nice acidity and bite to balance the sticky brisket. Snapper and lentils was a daily special I also got to try, light pan fried fish and lentils , to my surprise, this combo works well together and the cream sauce is cleverly at the bottom of the plate so you can easily manage how much indulgence you want on one plate, it’s delightful. And as I’m obsessed with cheeseburgers I had to go back just to sample The Ducks burger, it is sensational, house made bun, pickle, relish, cheese and beef. I don’t know of any other resto that can make that claim. However, I could not get a burger takeaway for Babe, probably too much too soon for the kitchen?

Kingfish capaccio

Kingfish Capacci0, Harvest

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Beet an cheese salad with dehydrated olive, Harvest

Another stand out in the area is Harvest Café in Newybar, about a half hour from Byron. We could not get a table in the restaurant proper, what make a reservation? We could get great bar food including feta and beet salad with dehydrated olive, grains which added a delicious salty textural element. The house cured charcuterie board included bresaola, salumi and house pickles. There was nice heat from one salami and house pickled carrots and cauliflower, it’s a lovely way to eat, meats on bread. Kingfish carpaccio looked sensational served with micro salad and watermelon radish. It is a good dish but needed more contrast, a bit more zing in the dressing or spices would have elevated this number to exceptional. Simply stunning are the sardine and yes, there from a tin. Sitting in the breeze on the deck of an old Queenslander and eating local produce like this pure pleasure.

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I’l Buco, kickass pizza

Pain and the aftermath of the blood incident Babe needed some TLC so we stayed in. I spied a little hole in the wall pizza joint, cross checked Yelp and Google Maps and got some authentic crisp pizzas from Il Buco. It is the only pizza I’ve had in Byron so I can say, hands down, it’s the best pizza I’ve had in Byron. It is excellent.

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Roadhouse Breakfast

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Chooks at The Farm

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Sunset from the hills

The       Roadhouse has quickly become a Byron institution. We went for breakfast and I’d heard the smashed peas is a dish to try and of course I had to get the local honey smoked bacon. It’s a giants feed. Served on Paleo nut bread with turmeric pickled cabbage. The sweet smashed peas work well with the local free range eggs and the thick cut salty sweet bacon and the sharp pickle adds balance and bite . I found the Paleo bread a little heavy and very filling, it probably tasted and felt too healthy for me, just give me some old school white bread or leave it for a separate order.  The Dood had house granola, it was her first food safari and she said she needed something light, what a lightweight. House made granola toasted crisp, the accompanying yoghurt was delicate and light, the berries sweet and tart. The Coffee here is exceptional. Again, no takeaway bacon and egg roll for Babe.

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view from The Farm

The best things to do in Byron would be the beach, the hills, visit friends and cook some meat on fire. The water is clean and warm, the sand is so fine it squeaks when you walk. The mountains behind Byron have many waterholes and its worth a visit to find one, you can visit Doma while your looking. We saw friends, ate meat from the fire and watched the sunset from the hills. It is spectacular.

Byron Bay is popular because it is beautiful. Even with a street scape of Subway’s and commercial juice bars Byron forces you to love her. The buskers encouraged by the council, good and bad, the backpacking hordes, the hippies and wannabe’s, millionaires,

The Farm at Byron Bay

The Farm at Byron Bay

surfers and everyone who just wants to be somewhere beautiful to live, make up this gorgeous ocean town.

Where to Stay

Kiah Bliss apartments $500 an night for a modern luxury three bedroom apartment 100 meters from the beach.

The Atlantic.

Camp in the bush behind the beach

Travel info

Flights about $220 return from Ballina, Flying to the Coolangatta is also an option, then you get to visit Zepickle in Tweed Heads. You will need to rent a car. Ballina is 30 mins and Coolangatta is 1 hour from Byron.

Drive time to Byron from Sydney is about 10 hours.

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THE BURGER GAME HAS CHANGED #sydneyburgerwars

Sydney’s burger scene hits all time highs.

And about time too. No longer is the thin cardboard patty from the milk bar overloaded with flavourless lettuce and tomato acceptable, why do you think beetroot was a hit in Australia? Its pickled and sweet, it has flavour, the humble purple beet saved our taste buds for years , making up for dry compound patties and lacklustre sauce. Who does not love the root?

It is a new burger arena now, too many Aussies have traveled, as we love, and sampled the fast and fantastic world of burgers, we now demand more. In any high end resto in LA , NYC or Paris you could always get a damn fine burger. We ate them, we knew there was more and now we had evidence. Smart players in the food game also knew our hunger.

Chur Burger Double Patty

Chur Burger Double Patty

Chur burger from chef legend Warren Turnbull ,who transformed his high end eatery Ansiette , in to the first Chur Burger , launched the quality burger trend into the mainstream. Big beefy juicy patty, brioche bun, cooked to order in a fast food service set up exploded onto the scene. A great burger, by far better than what was around but other less know burgers held my respect more.

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Dan’s Cheeseburger, The Fish Shop

Dan’s cheeseburger from Lotus      ( now The fish shop ) was my number one. A humble looking specimen, slight doubt at first sight if this burger is capable of merely quashing a mans appetite? The weight and density of the patty, encased in a pillow soft bun, with bacon, American cheese and onions in… got to read his book for that secret, is a master in deception. I think 11 was the record at the burger eating comp in in 2012. That does not sound like much in the Man V food arena but that is a testament to magnitude of this burger.

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The Burger Project, American Cheese, double patty

Rockpool Bar and Grill’s Bar Burger is a sensational burger, house made everything. I love the pickled zucchini . The Steven Segal of Sydney food game, Neil Perry, kicks ass with everything he touches and especially his new flame, The Burger Project. The most legit beef patty between buns since Rocco Siffredi.

Image a UFC bout between Steven Segal and Roy Nelson this is where Mary’s enters the ring, with more tattoos . Another game changer , a blatant USA style burger, meaty, cheesy in a hyper soft steamed bun. They also have a pressure deep fryer, ill go into fried chicken later.

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Mary’s Cheeseburger

                                                                        Before the  burger hype The Stuffed Beaver and Jazz City Diner ( now Jazz city Milk Bar ) were flipping great burgers. The beaver had squirrels and the diner had short order cook owner Dan McGuirt. I love the square patties from the milk bar and the option of chilli smothered on anything you want. Brody Peterson’s The Stuffed Beaver sports bar entranced Bondi, beards and sleeves crew for years feeding locals with great burgers and Poutine . The Anchor and Neighbourhood have entered the beach side hood also offering great burgers with special mention going to the Royal With Cheese at Neighbourhood. New kid on this block Mancellerria also does a great burger and you can also get a takeaway steak to cook at home. If you’re not after takeaway and want more than a soda or milkshake you may want a beer with your burger.

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Jazz City Milk Bar, Square patty with chilli

And pubs have the best beer, like The Grand National , high end house burger ingredients here that my simple pallet loved , the Nash does a $10 special on Mondays. The 4 In Hand , Collin Fasange’s , pub grub burger also wins. These Paddo pubs now have some very stiff competition in the newly opened Cheeky burger. An American style burger with soft bun, plenty of pickle and zesty relish at an everyday $10, plus this joint also sells beer! As does The Henson in Marrickville with plenty of craft beers and good array of interesting burgers too.

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Mister Gees foodtruck, The Truffe, double patty

Excelsior Jones was my best pic in the burbs. Then along came Mister Gees Burger Truck, smashing out one type of burger three nights a week. These guys are getting so much attention you’ll need to get in quick before they sell out, which normally takes about three hours from opening. Mister Gee’s went viral and now masses flock to eat in the carwash carpark when they pop up, last night the crowd was stopping traffic, drivers winding windows asking what was happening.

Excelsior Jones

Excelsior Jones

Another well known spot is Paul’s Famous Burgers in Sylvania. These are a classic Aussie burger done very well, they are good but I think a better grade of ingredients is required if they want to be serious contenders in the Sydney Burger Game.

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Royal With Cheese, Neighbourhood

As the shine of fine dining lost its gloss a new sparkle appeared , approachable food. Foam went flat as wallets became slim, flavour and value suddenly sexy. Our brothers and sisters in the U.S. took an economic beating and their food became more appealing. And the humble hamburger is the epitome of everyday eats, no matter how cashed up you are.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and I apologize if you have a burger I need to try, send me a note and I’ll endeavour to have a sample. New burger joints are popping up weekly and more restos are adding burgers to their menu’s. To try all burgers is a huge task.

Also , to all the serious foodies out there like me, let me know your favourites, I’ll be surprised if we all agree on a top five, I know from my Instagram account the best burger in Sydney is a contentious issue.

Top Five 1. Dan’s Cheeseburger, The Fish Shop 2. The Burger Project 3. Neighbourhood 4. Mister Gee’s 5. Mary’s

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The Stuffed Beaver, Cheeseburger

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