Pre-wedding diet

BullerSunrise

G’day Tony,

Ok, so I had to dust off the cob-webs (pardon the pun) and put some electrons on virtual paper. Humblest apologies for being off-line for so long, that’s if you missed me. If you didn’t miss me, sorry I am back.

Winter left in a hurry, replaced by all that is good about spring…except the snow melting, strong northerly winds, hayfever, the smell of dynamic lifter on the garden, changing clocks forward (daylight savings time) and school holiday madness in the city. Other than that, I love spring and all that it brings!

Our final weekend at Mt Buller brought together a great group of friends for a little bit of skiing and a lot of eating and drinking. A boisterous group at the lodge on the Saturday night partook in an array of goodies lovingly BBQ’d by Jim…chicken pieces marinaded in rosemary, garlic, chilli, olive oil and lots of fresh lemon zest and juice, slow braised pork belly (bbq’d to give a really nice caramelisation) courtesy of Alex and lamb rissoles with cumin, turmeric, smoky paprika, sumac, parsley and feta cheese…yep, fetta crumbled through the mix. Much, much goodness!

Some salads and freshly baked bread to round out the meat feast. Oh, and wine. Lots of wine!

Dessert was a surprise. I whipped up a chocolate self saucing pudding, while someone mixed together the fixings for a sticky date pudding. Confusion, wine, not sure which, but flour was inadvertently left out of the sticky date. Unsurprisingly the mix didn’t set. It was only then that the error was picked up. So, I did what any hungry (I was stuffed the gunnels, but still wanted sticky date pudding) I added a half amount of self raising flour, mixed and popped back in the oven. The comments when served surprised me…best sticky date pudding ever! Score!

The last few weeks have been a blur of pre-wedding diet food. Some stand out meals. Nah, who am I kidding. The stuff is okay, but is never going to substitute for real home cooked food!

Julia and I have an agreement. We must visit one nice restaurant a month. Not a big ask in a city like Melbourne. But being away every weekend and both of us super busy during the week, it simply hasn’t happened for a while. About to make up for it, though.

Was taken to Zia Rina’s Cucina by Phil from Armadale Cellars the other day for lunch. Phil’s been around the block a few times and he rates chef/owner Rina as good as any Michelin stared chef he’s seen on the continent. Must admit, the food is blindingly good. So much so, heading back there this week with a good friend who will be in town from Dubai. If any place can float Nick’s boat, this should do it. Oh, it’s BYO too, so I am going to hit Nick up to dust something off from his Arabian cellar…no doubt I will be doing the same from my cellar.

Honey-moon is fast approaching (next week). A few nights in Bangkok, to get into the groove. So, I booked us into Nahm and Gaggan. Both are listed in the top 50 restaurants in the world, but are they that good?

Sure, you can live it up in Thailand without spending a bomb, but I fail to understand how Nahm (rated #12 in the world) can cost BHT2,000/person (~AUD75.00) for degustation dinner, while the highest rated Australian restaurant, at #32, is giving you their experience at AUD190/person. I know, I know, this opens a Pandora’s box of arguments.

Pretty soon, we in Melbourne will play host to The Fat Duck. Yep, that Brayside stalwart which boasts a number of Michelin stars. For 6 months and 45 seats, that means 16,000 people will be served while they are in Melbourne. Getting a table…forget it. Ballot it will be, but at north of $525/person (ex-booze), it is almost cheaper to fly to England and experience it in its home location!

How much are you willing to spend (not including tip) and a meal to remember? Does it need to be a restaurant that is rated by Michelin, or S. Pellegrino or whichever is your go to restaurant reviewers?

For me, that memorable meal may be as simple as some hawker food on the foreshore of somewhere tropical, but it’s not going to stop me visiting Nahm and Gaggan. In the meantime, it is back to the microwave to “cook” dinner for tonight *sigh*

Catch you soon!

 

Daniel

One thought on “Pre-wedding diet”

  1. Hey Dan,
    Don’t we just love lists. As soon as you say something is the best in the world (or the best in Asia, as the same bunch does as well) then does it mean the others are somewhat lacking?
    I’ve got to say, in terms of value-for-money, Nahm and Gaggan do stand out, particularly on the best of Asia list where you can pay A LOT more for a meal – try Waku Ghin (No 7 on the list, behind the Bangkok pair) at AU$420 a head! No, I haven’t eaten there. That said, you can do Restaurant Andre in Singapore at what appears to be a bargain basement AU$267, and it is good. Better than Namh and Gaggan? Food-wise I think so. But I’d still do Namh and Gaggan – and used to quite frequently until this list came out and a booking became impossible – because they’re such good value for money.
    I fear there’s a lot more marketing in these lists than actual substance. And that’s all part of the whole celebrity chef culture today. Get famous, slap your name on something and charge like crazy. There’s a Joël Robuchon restaurant in Singapore (that doesn’t make the Asia’s top 50 list, though I suspect because another bearing his name in HK scored a gong), where you pay AU$430 per head. I ate at one of his 2-Michelin-star joints in Paris a while back and it was only AU$254! Branding, sweetie, and cultural factors – obscene displays of wealth aren’t frowned upon in Asia quite as much as Europe or Australia.
    I’m in Melbourne this week (for some strange reason)…let’s see whether Andrew McConnell really is a culinary genius, or whether he’s a master of PR.
    Cheers, Tony

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