Farewell 2014 it’s been fun. I’ve pigged out at a pork feast, downed cocktails on the restaurant tram and slapped kimchi on just about everything. There’s been some travelling too – to the UK, Ireland and Italy. Closer to home I’ve made some Sydney trips and headed to the Barossa Valley. I’m currently beach side and looking forward to a cracking 2015. But first a look back at 2014:
Andrew McConnell’s newest restaurant is super kawaii. The warehouse space on Flinders lane even has its own karaoke booths. Right on trend anything that can be, has been pickled, fermented and cured. Like the pickled bonito given a dash of spice with wasabi leaf. Or the fiery white kimchi inside rolls of pork belly. It may be riding the zeitgiest but the food is also so damn good.
When I dream of my holiday to Italy I dream of lunch at Primo in Puglia. It’s an modern but cosy looking restaurant just outside the walls of Otranto’s old town. Primo is part of the region’s emerging “zero miles” movement with organic produce sourced as locally as possible. There’s even vegan, vegetarian and wheat free dishes – things that used to be unheard of in Italy. The dish of the day was the lobster linguine. The al dente pasta was crowned with half a lobster so spankingly fresh that it had been paraded around the restaurant on a platter only moments before. Primo alone is reason enough to permanently relocate to Puglia.
From the people who brought you Monk Bodhi Dharma – Admiral Cheng Ho is a place which sounds better on paper than in practice. The menu is all vegetarian with a lot of vegan dishes thrown in and name checks a lot of unusual and “foraged” ingredients. But unfortunately we had a long wait for our meals and then problems with each of them. The cafe’s namesake dish is “the Admiral” which features zucchini fritters on sauteed kale with tangy beetroot relish and basil cashew cream. It all sounded and looked good but the fritters which were soggy and flaccid.
4. Worst meal travelling in 2014
There were no bad meals. I was in Italy – such a thing does not exist!
This fabulous creation is a double layer banana cake with chocolate frosting. Can you believe there were leftovers? I made it when I had book club at my house as part of my never ending quest to use up the bananas from my fruit and vegie box. Given it was a double decker cake everyone only had a thin slice. So there was plenty left over to take into work the next day. I count that as a win.
I am so predictable to give Yotam Ottolenghi my cookbook of the year. But I just can’t help myself. This book is so good. Check out that drool worthy banana bread I was served up at a brunch featuring recipes from the book. Here are my other favourite cookbooks this year.
7. Total number of posts for 2014
8. Most far flung reader in 2014
Hello Nepal! I loved my time in your country.
9. Weirdest search term used to get to Gourmet-Chick in 2014
“Cafes Nina Proudman goes to in show”. Well I asked for that one.
10. My 2015 wish list.
- Simon Denton’s new Japanese restaurant Kappo. As a lover of Hihou I’m interested to check out Kappo.
- Kong. I still haven’t been and have only heard good things.
- Elyros. I love that this is a Cretan restaurant rather than a Greek restaurant. All about exploring regional differences in food right now.
- Travel. Weighing up Fiji v Bali as a baby friendly holiday. Tips welcome.
Best wishes to all Gourmet-Chick readers for a merry Christmas. I’m taking a weeks break but will be back soon for more travelling, eating and drinking.