Have you ever walked into a restaurant and wondered if you would come out alive? I have and let me tell you, it’s a funny kinda feeling. However, as you can see I was unharmed in the quest for authentic Vietnamese and having looked death straight in the eye (OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration) I am here to tell the tale.
Ever experienced true power where you strut effortlessly into a restaurant, lower your sunglasses to the tip of your nose, flick your perfectly quaffed hair off your shoulder, look to the maitre de and say, ”Do you know who I am?”........
Vegetarians look away now. This is a veggie free zone. Unless you count the slither of boiled cabbage that graced one of our four plates of food. But we didn't come for the cabbage, we came for the meat, carbs and paprika.........lots of paprika. Step into the time machine that is Kadar Etz and eat like a true Hungarian.
I'm all for a good fusion. Japanese meets American (Ume Bar), French meets Japanese (Tetsuyas) or in this case South American meets Asian, Luis Tans. I love the idea of fusing together the bold and gutsy flavours of South America with the finesse of Asian food. And on paper it worked like a charm. On the plate........not so much.
When someone says to me cashew cheese or golden lattes or chia “pudding” my initial reaction is to smile politely and run in the other direction. Call me old fashioned but if I’m going to eat cheese I like it to be made out of dairy. If I’m going to drink lattes I like them to look like a latte. If I’m going to eat a pudding I want it to taste like I’m getting my calories worth.
Sometimes the hype is not all it's cracked up to be.
However, all was not lost as like with most trips to New York we spotted a wee celebrity. Sitting just two tables behind us, I'll give you a clue. "Listen to my words, and hear his face."
As you continue on to read this post it’s inevitable that you will come across the word Pho a fair few times, therefore I think we should begin by clearing up the misconception of how Pho is pronounced. To the untrained eye it would make perfect sense to want to pronounce it Foe. However, for reasons that the English language cannot explain, it is in fact pronounced Fur……..don’t ask.
What do you think of when I say Bake? Warm, homemade sourdough with a fluffy centre and crunchy, nut covered coating? Sweet, delicate pastries with the crumbliest of cases and smoothest of fillings? If not it doesn't matter as I can guarantee that's what you'r thinking about now. Sorry, not sorry.
I’m sure you've all heard of Little Italy, China Town, Little Korea, The Arab Quarter......well, I have discovered Mini Japan. Taking a teeny tiny residence on 25th and 9th this 24 seater restaurant is a hidden gem. Irasshaimase!!!! (Welcome in Japanese.....just in case you hadn't walked into enough sushi restaurants in your lifetime).
Give me a bowl of pasta and you will have officially made a best friend. Pasta is my ultimate comfort food. Bad day - Pasta. Good day - Pasta. Any day - Pasta. Once pasta hits the table the flood gates open and there is no stopping the pasta monster within. I think I've made it pretty clear how much I love pasta. So I will leave you with Osteria di Russo and Russo and one of the greatest pasta experiences of my foodie journey.
We all have those places dotted around the world, the country, our neighbourhood that give us a taste of home or take us back to our childhood or remind us of our loved ones. I'm one of the lucky ones as I have two places I get to call home. Give me a fresh out of the oven apple crumble with vanilla ice cream and I am transported to an English country pub on a crisp Autumn day with my family in the UK. Give me manoush from A1 Bakery and I am transported to my mother-in-laws kitchen with Georges' family all sharing and tearing apart freshly made manoush. This is the type of food that creates memories.
OK, so I've just planned your next holiday. You will book a long weekend in Hobart, preferably arriving on Friday morning and departing on Monday. Friday is your prep day. Do not eat much today, walk as much as you can (those extra calories will come in very handy) and mentally prepare yourself for what can only be described as a sensory smack in the face, On Saturday you will wake up hungry and walk down to the Salamanca Market where you will eat your body weight in food. Sunday and Monday will be spent lying in a horizontal position, digesting, sleeping and wondering how on earth you managed to fit in all that food.
As we finish indulging in another long weekend it seems fitting to round it off with the most fattening, sugary, creamy, fried, carb loaded, needless to say just as indulgent, meal that has ever passed my lips. I left feeling emotionally very satisfied but physically? Not so much. When it comes to a meal like this it really is mind over matter and I wish good luck to anyone brave enough to take on this beast.
This post goes out to honour the brave Australian soldiers.
Lest We Forget.
This may have been a soft launch but Chef Sasi went hard on Saturday night at his second pre-opening dinner service. The night went as smooth and as cool as this man looks. With his arms covered in tats, wearing a black Rusty Butcher cap and unshaven facial hair he may not look like no ordinary chef and I can guarantee he don't cook like no ordinary chef either.
Do you remember as a kid when Christmas was still 6 months away and you'd already given Santa, a.k.a your mum, your wish list. You would get so excited at just the thought of ripping open the wrapping paper to reveal Barbie's Dream House all pink and plastic and perfect. You would count down the days. the hours and the minutes until that blissful moment. Then when it finally arrives you race to the tree and begin tearing through presents, paper flying everywhere, your eyes searching, your heart waiting to feel the joy overwhelm you, only to discover that there is no Barbie's Dream House.....just disappointment. On a far less dramatic scale this was my experience at Ester.
Valentines Day, a day of love.
A day to do what you love - eat.
A day to be with who you love - husband and bestie.
A day to be where you love - surrounded by the salivating smell of slow cooking meats and Middle Eastern flavours in one of the worlds best cities at Berber and Q
I hope you all had a very Happy (and filling) Valentines Day.
Taxi drivers - the unspoken authority of the local food scene. My husband gave me the best tip, if you want to find good, local, authentic food then put down your tourist guide and ask your taxi driver to take you to where he eats lunch.
When I moved from the UK to Australia there were 5 things I missed. (1) My family (2) My friends (3) A white Christmas (4) Central heating and...........(5) Indian food. It has been a long and tumultuous journey to find a good Indian restaurant that satisfies my desire for a creamy curry, fluffy naan and crispy bhaji. But low and behold, with the help of Stylrunners Julie Stevnaja and her in-the-know Indian husband Kej, I have been introduced to
The Spice Room.
I love a good pop up. I feel like I'm a member of a secret food society that somehow gets exclusive access to inside information about a one-off food event that will only occur for a short amount of time and during a limited amount of hours. It feels like no-one else knows about it and it's your little secret...but listen in, Ume's next pop up is happening on 13th December and I urge you not to miss it.