Food News, September 15, 2011

September 2011

It’s raining restaurants

It was Stephanie Alexander who, on a visit to Sydney some years back, marvelling at the sheer volume of new restaurants opening, said, “Where will they find all the bums to fill those seats?” And still they come. The Not So Cheap Food Guide crows that they’ve added 78 new ones. On top of that there’s ...

First up, The Star (not Star City any more, for some reason). I was privileged to have a “hard hat” tour of the new Manfredi venture, Balla, which seems to have one of the two best positions on the left at the top of the stairs on the Pirrama Road side (Teage Ezard’s Black by ezard is on the right). Designed by long-time Manfredi architect Luigi Rosselli in collaboration with Frost Design, its major elements are a homage to 1930s industrial Milan and the futurist movement of the same era. It will be an elegant but relaxed space when finished. But there’s more.

Wandering around the bustling construction sight, we saw the beginnings of Teage Ezard’s Black; David Chang’s Momofuku Seiobo; Chase Kojima’s Sokyo, Flying Fish and Chips and another Golden Century from the Wongs. The long cavalcade of eateries and high-end fashion (Ferragamo, Hermes) reminded me of Melbourne’s Crown Casino. All this is supposed to kick off mid-September, with Balla set to fire up September 16. But wait — there’s even more.

Down the road, not to be outshone, is the new Darling Quarter at the embattled Darling Harbour. They’re rolling out some new and some revamped places on September 24. There’ll be the Nok Nok Thai Eating House (knock knock who’s there — not another Thai restaurant); Fat Duck Rôtissoire Kitchen serving superior sambos; the Turkish Son of Tuysuz; Stacks Taverna and Bar; Umi Sushi and many more.

And one important stand-alone opening we had no room for last column. You’ll remember Ross Lusted as the chef who opened the Harbour Kitchen at Park Hyatt in 2000, for the first time offering food in that elegant hotel as good as the view. Since then, he and wife Sunny have been wandering the world, especially America. Late last month they opened The Bridge Room (44 Bridge Street, Sydney, Ph 9247 7000) in what was an Indian restaurant (Karma) in partnership with Leon and John Fink. Leon told me it took some scrubbing and steaming to pacify the curry smell. The Bridge Room is an elegant space, long and lean with Portuguese chairs that took my fancy, serving simple and edible food whose prices, unfortunately, put it into the special treat celebration category. But having eaten Mr Lusted’s food often, I’d suggest you make a note of it for just such an occasion.

Images from top: Stefano Manfredi tests the Balla menu; Vintage Spring Fling Ball; cheese a la Graham Redhead; slow down this spring at A Tavola.

The Vintage Spring Fling Ball

We found this on a site called The Daily Addict ( and it sounds like fun for those who love to dress up and boogie. It’s a ball — remember those? — but not the Black & White or the Deadly & Dull. This is a ball for rockabilly kings and queens and vintage clobber lovers (for over 18s only). Dress up in your finest and fanciest, rock along (see details below) for a glass of bubbly, then be shown to your table by a 1950s hostess. There’s a shared antipasto, an alternate drop main, dessert and four hours of wine, bubbles, beer or soft drinks. Can you dance? But of course, to the Ellipsis Swingers.


WHAT: Vintage Spring Fling Ball

WHEN: Sunday September 10, 2011

WHERE: Marrickville Town Hall, 303 Marrickville Road, Marrickville

COST: $100 a head

BOOKINGS: To book, visit or call Blossom Media on 0419 276 446


Up up and a-whey

Go on, admit it, you’ve always wanted to make cheese. So book now for Graham Redhead’s two-day cheese-making workshop on the 12th and 13th of November. We’ve put it in a little early because this is sure to book out. It’s $440 for one or $836 for two, and over the two days you’ll cover every aspect of the cheesemaking process using equipment you’ve already got in your kitchen. At the end of the two days you’ll go home with 60 pages of technical information and the ability to make not one, but several types of cheese. You get to take home all the cheeses you’ve made. And next time you have people round for dinner, serve your very own cheese plate.


WHAT: Cheese-making workshop

WHEN: 12-13 November, 2011

WHERE: Windsor High School, corner of Windsor Road and Mulgrave Road

COST: $440 for one, $836 for two

CONTACT: Graham Redhead, phone 0408 198 952, email or visit


A Slow start to spring

Declaration of interest: As a member of Slow Food Sydney I’ve helped to organise this event at A Tavola (348 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, Ph 9331 7871). Is that a bad thing? Well, not really, I don’t make a cent out of it (any money Slow makes will go to sending people to Terra Madre). The good thing is I know from the inside how wonderful the food — produce from the Northern Rivers Food Group — is going to be. Indeed, I had no idea how much sensational produce comes out of that region. Well, I knew about Yamba prawns and macadamias and the native produce and Byron Bay Berkshire pork, but I was, to my shame, ignorant of the sensational cheeses from the Bangalow Cheese Company. I’ve seen an early version of the menu, but it keeps evolving — and probably will until the day before — as chef and owner Eugene Maiale finds new produce. It’s over two nights, Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21th September, $150 a head ($120 for Slow Food members), and includes 10 courses. Wine from Thistle Hill at Mudgee and Pacific Ale from Byron Bay brewery Stone & Wood, recently voted Australia’s Best Beer in the publication The Critic’s Choice: Australia’s Best Beers. Suggest you get in quick — it’s selling out fast, which, when you come to think of it, is not that Slow. Thankfully. Stop press — Eugene got his hat back in the Not So Cheap Food Guide. Goodonyer.


WHAT: Slow Food Sydney’s Primavera Dinner

WHEN: Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 September, 2011

WHERE: A Tavola, 348 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst

TIME: 6.30pm for 7pm start

COST: $150 a head (or $120 for Slow Food members)

BOOKINGS: Phone A Tavola on 9331 7871 or email


Article Tags: Darling QuarterThe StarStar CityBlack by EzardSlow Food Sydney

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