Page 1


Guy Grossi

Family lunch at Florentino

Australian Native Foods Deluxe recipes inside

Caramel Red Wine Pears

WINTER 2017 RRP $8.95



+ Asher Bilu

A living icon, for art’s sake!

Adelaide Dining

9 770220 712007

Australia’s most innovative plates Winter 2017


Essential Bites FOOD & RETAIL NEWS

Gravity Penang Rooftop Sir Isaac Newton never visited Malaysia, but the force he discovered now lends its name to a stylish rooftop bar perched high above Penang’s night-time neon. While sipping a signature pomegranate mojito you might be glad of gravity: the dazzling panorama takes in mountains and sweeps right around to Penang Bridge. A bit of a fantasyland for Penang, the bar takes its cues from similarly vibed establishments in Bangkok and offers delectable bites to accompany your sunset sip of choice.

Chef Charlotte Gonzales

Song Kitchen Sydney

Satisfying Mediterranean-inspired bistro supports a worthy cause. Amid the hustle of inner-city Sydney, just south of Hyde Park, is a stylish, feel-good little haven. Song Kitchen, newly refurbed and rebranded, is happily open from breakfast time until well beyond the nightcap hour. Head chef Charlotte Gonzales – formerly of Fred’s, Felix, and Uccello – is French-trained and ready to feed you from a list of thoughtful and satisfying Mediterranean-inspired classics. Fresh, tender pasta is crafted daily and matched with its perfect sauce – maybe a melting ragu, rich and slippery on golden ribbons of pappardelle, just right for those last icy weeks of winter. You can share small plates, or indulge. Appealing petite selections include crispy polenta fingers with chilli salt and quince purée, rabbit terrine with apricot and pistachio, and an excellent house-smoked duck salad. Substantial offerings take the form of pot-roasted pippis with chilli and fennel, pan-fried snapper resting on caramelised mandarins and celeriac; another variation of duck – can’t go wrong – or that bistro icon, a fine Scotch fillet replete with perfectly salted shoestring fries, a succulent Béarnaise and, just as it should be, a rich red wine jus. Be sure to leave room for the lavender-infused crème brulée which is all you might imagine. Song Kitchen’s wine list is the work of the gifted Sophie Otton. Very pleasingly, fully half of its wine makers or estate owners are women. Song’s signature cocktail list is also inspired; just try the Mariachi Margarita muddled green chilli, lime, and agave with Espolon Blanco tequila. As if Thursday nights don’t lend themselves naturally enough to a pre-weekend tipple, cocktails can be had for a tenner between 5 and 7. If that’s not enough to entice, get this – Song Kitchen is a social endeavour: 100 percent of profits fund domestic violence support through YWCA NSW. Now that’s something to sing about.

Hippy Lane It’s a common-enough tale these days: chronic sweet tooth is diagnosed with food allergies, weeps, then whips out the food processor with a determined air. Raw treat goddess, wholefood-app developer and all-round Instagram darling Taline Gabrielian has just launched Hippie Lane: The Cookbook. Cherry Ripes are swapped for homemade Cherry Bites: raw, vegan, gluten-free and refinedsugar-free. Goddess Bowls loaded with fresh greenery abound and vegetables have never been so glamorous. Savour every dainty, guilt-free bite. Hippie Lane is available from leading bookstores, RRP $39.99


ALOHA! Hana Melbourne Pink neon, a layering of tropical plants and banquette seating covered in palm frond prints dress the set. Towards the rear a wall garden paints a Hawaiian garden maze of greenery. The decor mimics an outdoor dining terrace, bringing the outside in – a neat trick indeed. The Hana concept restaurant was dreamed up by Hawaiianborn head chef Mario Manabe and his close friend and colleague Curtis Stone while celebrating Mario’s recent wedding in Hawaii. While Mario has supported Stone in recipe development, much of it in California, the move to Melbourne has put an energetic smile on the face of the previously back-of-house chef, elevating him to a new position as a major player in Melbourne’s rich tapestry of quality bar/ dining experiences. As you might expect, playful tiki bar ceramics, including hula girl designs, a volcano cup (careful with this one!) and a shark’s head add to the charm. We sample a Koki Beach daiquiri, a wonderful palate teaser. Hana’s three fish croquettes - barramundi, kingfish and snapper feature a perfect mousse interior that sings of a blend of tarragon, parsley and chive. The black squid-ink tapioca crisps topped with fresh tuna, avocado and yuzu citrus are also on point. A hint of sesame oil is a delightful finishing note. There’s also snapper ceviche, cured in leche de tigre (tiger’s milk) that presents perfectly, and Hana’s special fried rice – serious

must-try. Made with a Hawaiian-style sofrito, it is complex and spicy, almost umami-like in its depth of flavour. Lean, fresh, and acidic wines go with Hawaiian food. Case in point the Heathcote Dirty Black Denim unfiltered sangiovese. It has a lean palate of sour cherries with bright acidity, finishing pleasantly rounded. We love the succulent sliced lobster tail that arrives upon a bed of cardamonspiced carrot purée. Under the influence of ultraviolet lighting it beams with an intensity of luminosity that is totally out of this world. Complementing the heavier end of the menu the slow-cooked, crumbed, pork shank is served with heavily chargrilled cabbage and pineapple, chargrilled flat bread, compressed (pickled) apple (ginger spiced), vegetable aioli and a honey-soy jus. It’s inspired by kālua – Hawaii’s traditional cooking method that uses an imu or underground oven. To mimic this experience pull apart the shank, layering it upon the grilled flat bread with all of the toppings. A layer of smoky flavours build the dish - it’s a winner. We wondered though if there was anything else that the team at Hana could add to their list of perfection... Perhaps ukulele music playing at the lua would be nice? Oh... they thought of that too!

99th Monkey Magic! These nut butters have great texture and depth of flavour. They’re made using Australian organic nuts and the range includes penut butter, almond butter, hazelnut cacao butter and pistachio almond butter amongst other products.

Widow in Black Veuve Clicquot has launched a new auteur wine, Extra Brut Extra Old; a premium cuvée blended exclusively from Clicquot’s precious reserve wines. Cellar master Dominique Demarville explored six years of finest reserve wines spanning three decades from 1988 to 2010 to blend this new wine. It’s an ultra-premium drop, demurely dressed in black and unparalleled in purity of taste, intensity and silkiness. RRP $129 exclusively from Vintage Cellars, and Clicquot on-premise accounts.

this is


Some of the tastiest, nutrition-packed food on the planet grows across this wide brown land and along the coast of her jewelled sea. For millennia foods such as bush tomatoes, quandongs and sea vegetables fed indigenous Australians. Until recently native foods fell within the purview of chefs. Now native foods are available for you to cook at home. RECIPES MEGAN CHALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT PLATES & CERAMICS RYAN FOOTE & ANDREI DAVIDOFF

Kangaroo Carpaccio with Australian Native Dukka, pickled beetroot, persimmon and macadamia nut, recipe page 52

e k a c e s e Che ms a e r D

Few desserts entertain better than a decadent cheesecake bursting with colour and natural fragrances. They may look tricky but we’ll let you in on a secret... they’re a cinch! Here’s how to whip your own delectable dream cheesecake into shape.


New York

Cheesecake with vanilla-poached rhubarb and lavender honey syrup, recipe page 77

Turkish Delight Cheesecake with rose tea syrup, candied orange, pistachio nuts and Persian floss, recipe page 78

ONLINE More recipes online:

Grand Hotel Europe Essentials checks into Saint Petersburg’s oldest restaurant, L’Europe at the Tsarist-era Grand Hotel Europe, to relive its golden heritage and sample some of the finest vodkas and caviar served today. WORDS SUE WALLACE CITY PHOTOGRAPHY JAMIE DURRANT HOTEL IMAGES COURTESY OF GRAND HOTEL EUROPE


The Grossi family speak Italian around Nonna, even the Aussies who married into this tight-knit restaurant family. Marisa Grossi is la nonna, the grandmother, the matriarch. She is mother to Guy and Liz Grossi and widow to Pietro, a chef who immigrated to Melbourne and helped change the way it ate.


TOP Guy Grossi with his mother Marisa; Chocolate Soufflé OPPOSITE Orecchiette Broccoli

hey are all gathered in the Wynn Room of their flagship restaurant Grossi Florentino. One of the Italian-born chefs, Michelangelo, brings out a tray of the most exquisite tiny button-sized tortellini. ‘Quale bella pasta’ – what nice pasta, says Marisa. ‘Chi lo ha fatto, Michaelangelo Buonarroti?’ Did the great renaissance painter make it, she asks. Ben Lyon, partner of Guy’s daughter Loredana, replies, ‘No, Michelangelo piccole mani’ – Michelangelo of the little hands. Everyone laughs. The Grossi family laugh frequently. They also talk loudly and over each other. They talk business, football and politics. They talk mostly about food. They do this every time they gather as a family to break bread. Once a week, sometimes more. They eat at home, a handful of restaurants around Melbourne and at their own restaurants. With Marisa’s approval the tortellini are returned to the kitchen. A plate of salume arrives. Rosy sheets of Prosciutto di San Daniele draped over each other. Locally made slices of cacciatore and veneto cured sausage from McIvor farm near Heathcote. The family will be getting together in a few week’s time to make salume for home. They

will make recipes from the late patriarch’s home region of Puglia and others familiar to Marisa who was born in Veneto. Pietro and Marisa met in a kitchen in Milan. They were young and both had moved to the big city in the lean years after WWII. There they learned to cook not just Milanese food but the popular dishes from other parts of Italy. ‘I grew up on snails, baccalà and spezzatino,’ says Marisa. ‘In Milan I learned to make osso buco.’ They moved to Melbourne in the 1960s. Pietro got a job with Mario Virgano at Mario’s Restaurant, then Massoni Ristorante at the Tolarno Hotel, St Kilda, before opening his own Caffé Grossi. A plate of orecchiette and wilted greens arrives. The orecchiette are hand rolled, cut and shaped by head chef Chris Rodriguez. His parents are Spanish but he understands Italian food having worked in the Grossi kitchen for 30 years and being married to Liz Grossi, Guy’s sister, for 25. The green is cime di rape, beautifully sharp and bitter, the underlying pancetta, garlic and cheese wonderfully rich and aromatic. ‘They put pecorino in pasta down south,’ says Marisa. ‘And more parmigiano up north.’ Page 29 27

Essentials Magazine Winter 2017 - Look Inside  

On sale August 3 - Essentials Magazine's Australian foods issue, featuring: Australian native foods recipes, Restaurant Orana Adelaide, lunc...

Essentials Magazine Winter 2017 - Look Inside  

On sale August 3 - Essentials Magazine's Australian foods issue, featuring: Australian native foods recipes, Restaurant Orana Adelaide, lunc...