OUT & ABOUT
Dining and drinking this December
WORDS ROBERTA MUIR
A SLICE OF HEAVEN
Have your cake and eat it too with this new breed of outstanding dessert shops
Adriano Zumbo, Australia’s own Willy Wonka, has developed a strong following for his wacky flavoured macarons. His latest outpost is a fitting home for creations such as Whizz Fizz (raspberry meringue sherbet, raspberry compote, and liquorice crème) and the soon-to-be-legendary dessert train. Shop 1, Café Court, The Star, 80 Pyrmont Rd, Pyrmont, tel: +61 (2) 9810 7318.
Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio is the creation of British pastry chefs Ian Burch and Darren Purchese, who’ve worked in some of Europe’s finest kitchens along with local hotspots like Vue de Monde and The Press Club. They’ve fused science and sweetness to create edible art such as a chocolate flower garden, alongside a magnificent selection of seasonal desserts and cakes. 647 Chapel St, South Yarra, tel: +61 (3) 9827 7060.
Cocolat Dessert Café was opened by Terena Blanton-Downs because she “felt the world needed a place where dessert was the purpose”. Signature desserts, including The Wild Thing (chocolate sponge, milk chocolate mousse, dark chocolate ganache and shards, with a tower of toffee) have made her cafés Adelaide icons. 283 Rundle St, Adelaide, tel: +61 (8) 8232 6133 and the airport.
Choux Café brings a little bit of Paris to Perth. As well as the de rigueur macarons, chef Emmanuel Mollois makes beautiful cakes and desserts including Gianduja Gateau (caramelised biscuit layers with chocolate and hazelnut mousse) and Paris Brest (choux pastry filled with hazelnut butter cream). 93 Shenton Rd, Swanbourne, tel: +61 (8) 9385 4227.
Belle Époque Pâtisserie matches a French-inspired interior with French pâtisserie. Pastry chef Nick Tierney uses only the finest ingredients like French Isigny butter and Valrhona couverture, to create classic desserts such as lemon meringue pie and fruit tarts. 1000 Ann St, Fortitude Valley, tel: +61 (7) 3253 6999.
Singapore’s sweet tooth will be swooning with the new Pique Nique. Celebrating the taste of America in a cosy New York- style space, tuck into a red velvet cake and a caramel chocolate brownie. B1-1/2 Ngee Ann City Twr A, 391A Orchard Rd, tel: +65 6238 6705.
Australia’s ‘cake queen’ Paris Cutler is lighting up the LifeStyle FOOD channel with the delectable Planet Cake. We ask her what’s cooking
HOW HAS PLANET CAKE EVOLVED?
When I bought the business in 2003, it was a tiny shop with just one decorator. Now we’re regarded as the best cake decorators in Australia with the largest decorating school in the southern hemisphere, three books and the new television series.
WHO ARE SOME OF THE CELEBRITIES YOU’VE MADE CAKES FOR?
Wedding cakes for Nicole Kidman, Lleyton Hewitt and Guy Sebastian; Celine Dion’s 40th birthday cake.
WHAT’S THE MOST BIZARRE CAKE YOU’VE MADE?
A life-sized leg for a man celebrating the 1st anniversary of losing his leg in a car accident; he wanted everyone to have a laugh. I thought he was so courageous and what better way to deal with a situation like that than with humour!
SNAP, CRACKLE AND POP
Indulge in some local bubbles this festive season — there’s something for everyone from the serious to the fun
1 Yellowglen — a name synonymous with fun fizz — has expanded its range of bubbles. From the classic Vintage Pinot Noir Chardonnay to the new Bella Bianco and pale pink Bella (all RRP AU$19.95), there’s something for every taste. The 2006 Vintage Perle is the top of the range, a traditional blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. RRP AU$29.99.
2 Check out Tamburlaine 2010 Blanc de Blanc, a certified biodynamic wine from Orange, New South Wales. It’s made with biodynamic chardonnay grapes picked early to retain natural acidity. RRP AU$25.
3 Blue Pyrenees Midnight Cuvee 2008 is also made from 100% chardonnay. The fruit is picked at night, to keep it as cool as possible, and the wine is bottle- fermented in the traditional method of Champagne. It has a refreshing dry finish. RRP AU$30.
4 Logan 2009 ‘M’ Cuvee is a classic blend of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier from one of the coolest vineyards in NSW. The pinot noir and pinot meunier give a strawberry aroma while the chardonnay provides almond, pear and oatmeal notes. It’s crisp and dry with hints of lemon rind and nectarine. RRP AU$35.
5 Bay of Fires Tasmanian Cuvee Rosé is a non-vintage blend of pinot noir and chardonnay with a lovely salmon-pink hue, aromas of strawberries and musk, and hints of berries and mushrooms on the palate. RRP AU$31.50.
6 Sparkling red wines are distinctively Australian, particularly fun for Christmas. Grant Burge Sparkling Shiraz Cabernet, a non-vintage bottle- fermented blend, has rich Christmas cake flavours, vibrant colour and a creamy mousse. RRP AU$25.95.
7 Prosecco is a northern Italian grape variety usually made into a lightly sparkling wine. In 2000, Otto Dal Zotto, who grew up in northern Italy, planted the first prosecco vines in Australia’s King Valley. Dal Zotto L’Immigrante Prosecco 2010 is his winery’s premium bubbly offering. Pale straw in colour, the aroma has a touch of toasty complexity, while the palate has mouth-filling bubbles, zesty citrus and almonds with a dry, chalky finish. RRP AU$36.
8 The Brown Brothers 2011 Limited Release Prosecco — their fourth, also from King Valley — has a bright pale green hue to match the Granny Smith apple and pear notes on the nose along with some citrus undertones. Great as an aperitif or with raw seafood. Perfect to drink when young. RRP AU$19.90.
9 Fans of Italian prosecco, Adelaide winemakers Joe and Dina Grilli have produced a delicate and aromatic sparkling wine with the same crisp savoury finish. Dubbed Primo Secco, this non-vintage fizz has a delicate stone-fruit aroma with a hint of lemon blossom and crisp acidity and a savoury finish. RRP AU$20.
10 The Crittenden Pinocchio 2011 Moscato made from muscat and gewürztraminer grapes has a tantalising subtle spritz, lychee and ginger aromas, and refreshing acidity balanced by a hint of sweetness. It’s a perfect brunch wine as well as great with Asian food, soft cheeses and fresh fruit. RRP AU$25.
MORE FUN, BAR NONE
Check out the best new Sydney bars for summer fun
The Island Bar isn’t just “on the harbour” — its setting on Sydney’s Cockatoo Island places it well and truly IN the harbour. A 12-minute ferry ride from the city, with great views of the Harbour Bridge and a comfortable, custom-designed bar space, the Island Bar will run until mid-April. Cocktails are served by the glass or in jugs and with delicious wood-fired pizze and a “spuntini” (Italian snacks) menu of bruschetta and salads, you have the perfect place to while away a lazy, warm day with friends. Grab a deck chair by the water’s edge or relax under a beach umbrella or in shady undercover seating and, every Sunday, chill out to the tunes from guest DJs. Call Sydney Ferries Transport Info line on 131 500 for ferry details.
HOUSE OF COOL
One of Sydney’s hottest nightspots, Beach Haus, is making waves this summer with its “cocktail couture”, including Little Lady (Belle De Brillet pear, fresh raspberries, passionfruit, lime and ginger beer), Spiced Apple & Lychee Mojito (a fruity take on the classic mojito, with Havana Club blanco rum, lychee liqueur, pomme verte, mint, lychees, apple juice and soda) and, for something more savoury, Grapefuit & Sweet Thai Basil Collins (grapefruit-infused vodka, house-made sweet Thai basil syrup, clear and cloudy apple juice, lemon and sauvignon blanc). Meanwhile, shared cocktails for six people such as High Beached Tea (Belvedere pink grapefruit vodka, Hendrick’s gin, elderflower cordial, dry ginger ale, cloudy apple juice and mint), are served in giant chrome shells. 5 Roslyn St, Potts Point, tel: +61 (0)416 304 059.
COMING OF AGE
Also opened recently in cosmopolitan Kings Cross is 21, named for the infamous Kellett Club, a reknowned blackjack venue which occupied the space in the 1920s.
The interior design combines the feel of a New York loft apartment with the building’s industrial heritage, including original brick walls, exposed concrete, reclaimed timber, graphic laser-cut motifs and copper features, completed with Chesterfield furniture and black mirrors. The lower level houses a small lounge bar and balcony, while the main bar with five private dining booths, a dance floor with oversized bronze mirror ball, and two additional raised seating areas is on the first floor. 12 Kellett Street, Potts Point, tel: +61 (2) 9380 6060.
Kinselas has run the gamut from 1930s funeral parlour, to the halcyon days of the ’80s when it was the undisputed home of Sydney’s creative set playing host to legendary performances from the likes of Beastie Boys and The Lemonheads. Now its third level is set to once again redefine Sydney’s cultural landscape, transformed into The Standard, an all-purpose performance art space. The level 3, New York-style warehouse space has been transformed to answer Sydney’s call for a live performance venue with a twist, hosting an eclectic mix of live music, theatre in the round, aerial performances, comedy, burlesque and art exhibitions. 383 Bourke St, Surry Hills, tel: +61 (2) 9262 4500.
LOVE & WAR
Chill out this summer with a Cold War Sgroppino from Marco Faraone of The Island Bar: Shake 30ml vodka, 30ml Aperol, 20ml lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of lemon sorbet together. Strain over ice in a wine glass, top with a splash of prosecco and garnish with a mint leaf and grapefruit wedge.