|Sunset cocktails at Udaipur in India.|
1. Best meal in London in 2011
Heston Blumenthal arrived in London with a bang thanks to the opening of Dinner at the Mandarin Oriental this year. The food is intriguing but also damn delicious and more approachable than Blumenthal’s fare at The Fat Duck. The do not miss dishes were clearly the meat fruit and tipsy cake but it was all outstanding.
2. Best meal travelling in 2011
I can’t stop thinking about my meal at Inaki Aizpitarte’s amazing Le Dauphin in Paris, just a few doors down from his first restaurant, the acclaimed Chateaubriand. It’s a “small plates” style restaurant set in a buzzy, modern place with the room decked out from head to toe in white marble and dominated by a central bar which walk in diners can perch at to eat. Everything we tried was brilliant. Highlights included the sweet, sharp heritage tomato salad, smoky slices of almost rare wagyu beef, creamy squid ink risotto and piping hot matcha flavoured madeleines.
|Heritage tomato salad at Le Dauphin in Paris|
3. Worst meal in London in 2011
It wasn’t the worst meal I had but it was the most disappointing given the price paid. I was left very underwhelmed by my meal at Nuno Mendes’ Viajante thanks to some interesting ideas which just did not deliver in terms of taste. At just under £200 for our meal for two I expected more consistency.
4. Worst meal travelling in 2011
I had some great food in Dubrovnik, Croatia but my meal at Storia failed to deliver. Despite Storia’s beautiful setting overlooking the harbour and friendly service, I had to leave most of my seafood risotto uneaten as it had a claggy texture and was over salted. So disappointing in a country with such amazing seafood.
|Mmmm spaghetti carbonara|
5. Recipe of the year
A weekend in Rome left me with a serious carbonara addiction and so I had to concoct the perfect spaghetti carbonara recipe. I had eaten carbonara before but nothing that tasted like the carbonara in Rome. It was silky smooth, rich and utterly satisfying. At home, attempting to replicate the classic dish I discovered the key was to cut out any extra ingredients, cream being the most obvious omission. The beauty of a good carbonara is its simplicity.
6. Cookbook of the year
I have total Momofku mania and cannot wait to get myself up to Sydney to check out David Chang’s new restaurant there (or a visit to one of the originals in NYC would be nice). In the meantime I am making do with the brilliant, sweary and utterly compelling Momfuku cook book.
|The easiest and most delicious noodle recipe from the Momofuku cookbook|
7. Total number of posts for 2011
145. Not bad going given my nomadic existence and at times non existent internet.
8. Most far flung reader in 2011
Hello to Georgia! I have heard a lot about your country and would love to make it there one day.
9. Weirdest search term used to get to Gourmet Chick in 2011
Elegant Hat Chef. I do love a good hat come Spring Racing carnival but am a bit bewildered by that one.
2012 Wish List
As the time of year for New Year’s resolutions here are a few food and travel related ones for me – a virtual wish list of places to eat.
I’m excited to be back in my home town and there are so many places I want to visit. Melburnians let me know what you think of this list and if there is anywhere else I should be heading to…
- Chin Chin, according to Sharking For Chips and Drinks, and any friends I have who have been, it is one of Melbourne’s “hot new openings”;
- Vue de Monde, as I went a few years ago but have not been since the restaurant moved to its new digs at the Rialto;
- Wombat Cafe in Daylesford, I love the Lake House so am excited about checking out its new cheaper sibling;
- Albert Street Food and Wine, Phillipa Sibley’s new restaurant (currently loving her cook book);
- Cutler and Co, which Joyce at Mel: Hot or Not, raves about and which I still have not been to; and
- Golden Dragon Palace, out in Templestowe for my yum cha fix after developing a serious dim sum addiction in Hong Kong.
|Ah Brazil – how I loved you. And how I love finishing this post with another cocktail picture.|
After a crazy year of travel in 2011 which included holidays to Brazil, France, the USA, Spain, Mallorca, Madeira, Canada, Switzerland, Italy, India, Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, Ireland, Nepal and Hong Kong, I am planning some jaunts closer to my (new) home in 2012. Here’s hoping for…
- A traditional Australian holiday of time down by the beach at Lorne;
- A trip to Sydney is certainly in order and long overdue; and
- More time in Asia with both Japan and Bali on my wish list.