You’re out and about

January 2009

This is the month of not being here. Sydney shuts up shop because Sydneysiders have gone fishing, flying, surfing or walkabout. Here are a few ideas for the wandering foodlover…

A friend called me from Paris and told me about a hot new bistro there by the name of Jadis. Young chef Guillaume Delage worked for big-timers like Pierre Gagnaire before setting up shop in the 15th Arrondissement (208 Rue de la Croix Nivert 33-01-45-57-73-20). Said friend had the place recommended to him by French food writer Bénédict Beaugé (he has his own website www.miam-miam.com if your French is up to it), who rates it very highly and puts it in the new wave of just under one Michelin star joints run by clever young chefs and offering interesting food at reasonable prices: Jadis offers a prix fixé menu at €32 which, even with the diving dollar, is still good value at around AU$65. But, be warned: he is of the nose-to-tail school of cooking and loves his brains and kidneys, which is what bistros are all about. One critic described his recent menu as an “exercise in bistronomy” a word I wish I’d come up with (and probably will). M. Beaugé is about to publish a book critical of the whole Michelin thang, which will, apparently, shake things up a bit — and about time.

Another in the same vein mentioned by M Beaugé but not tried by my friend is Daniel Rose’s Spring (28 Rue de la Tour d’Auvergne 33-01-45-96-05-72). Mr Rose is an American who has taken Paris by storm with his elegant bistro fare. A recent prix fixé was €42.

And if you find yourself craving a good espresso in China, we have just the places for you. Long-time roaster/blender/barista Andrew Gross has set up shop on Hainan Island, an island as big as Belgium in the South China Sea — and a pretty good place to go by the looks of it, with beautiful beaches and fishing.
 
Andrew is opening a cafe on the island soon — attached to his roasting business — but has helped set up four others selling his coffee in Jantai, Rizhou, Shanghai and Weihai, with another happening soon in Beijing. If you are headed Chinawards, drop Andrew a line for the addresses at andrew@coffemasters.com.cn.

Andrew tells us the Chinese are particularly fond of affogato which, if you want to order one there, is binchiling kafei in Mandarin as opposed to kafei binchiling, which is coffee icecream. And just in case you wanted to say “dancing goat” in mandarin — you might recall the story of the origins of coffee where the goat herds in Yemen noticed the goats dancing after eating the coffee bean — it’s wudao de shanyang. I do hope I’ll have the chance to use that sometime soon.

And before we leave China, many of you will be familiar with the name Hainan attached to the word chicken, a dish that takes boiled chicken to new heights. Andrew tells me the local chickens are scrawny little things but the way they do them and the sauces they use turn them into something else.

And, finally, Andrew and his wife Jenny have closed their Sydney coffee shop, Coffee n’ Things in Randwick after 15 years. China calls.

OK, so you can’t get to Paris and Hainan’s out of the question, so how about waiting a while — until February — and heading west for a Slow Summer in Orange? The best way to get there is Slow Summer’s  Fast Train to Lurve, a “singles” train that leaves Central at 7.10am on February 13 (cute sidelight: when the organisers were working on this CountryLink refused to allow them to call it a Slow Train to Orange — too close to the bone) and arrives in Orange at midday, giving you plenty of time to get ready for your night of Buskers bangers & boxes, which is only the first of a weekend of food and wine frolics that, if you have been to Orange for any similar events.  F.O.O.D Week, for example, you know will be most pleasurable. For more information and accommodation options, go to www.tasteorange.com.au or call 02 6360 1990.

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