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Yamamoto Menzou, Kyoto, Japan

Published 18th August 2017 | Blog

Yamamoto Menzou, noodle house, Kyoto

Yamamoto Menzou in Kyoto is one of the most exciting noodle houses we have eaten at. The style of noodles served here is sanuki udon which are the thick, chewy wheat noodles found in the south of Japan.

The sanuki style of udon noodles which are based on wheat flour degrade very quickly after being made (after about an hour, the Japanese say the noodles are "dead"), so the chef is constantly making new batches of noodles to ensure they are fresh for the customers.

Sanuki noodles are best eaten simply. Here you can have them hot in a beautiful miso-based soup or you can have them served cold and dip them into a broth or a cold dip of yam paste. The noodles should be firm and chewy as they are here, the pleasure is in the texture and the ability of the noodles to absorb the flavours they are dipped into.

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The Chef's Atelier, Beaune, France

Published 8th August 2017 | Blog

The Chef's Atelier, Beaune, France

We have written before about the difficulties of finding good coffee in regional France. Although there has been a vast improvement in the quality of coffee in Paris in the last three or four years this has not translated into the regions.

So it was with great delight that we stumbled across The Chef's Atelier in Beaune and found a wonderful old Italian coffee machine that looked like it could deliver. And deliver it did. We had one of the best coffees that we have had anywhere in France.

The shop also stocks cooking gear, wine, food items and you can book in here for cooking classes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It is well worth a visit.

Read more about The Chef's Atelier in Beaune

Cave Saint Martin, Roquebrun, France

Published 29th July 2017 | Blog

Cave Saint Martin, Roquebrun, France

La Cave Saint Martin in the pretty town of Roquebrun in southern France is a perfect place to sit on the terrace and enjoy a plate of very good organic charcuterie while sipping a natural wine from the impressive selection in their cellar.

Everyone from Herve Villemade to Eric Pfifferling from l'Anglore, to a dazzling array of local producers (particularly from the Saint Chinian appellation where the Carignan grape variety is king) are represented on the shelves just inside the door. Further inside there is an epicerie section where you can buy some of the best charcuterie and anchovies and sardines available. It is a veritable fairyland of possibilities.

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Madame Jeanne, Marseille

Published 19th July 2017 | Blog

Madame Jeanne, Marseille

Madame Jeanne is the restaurant and bar attached to La Cave des Papilles in Marseille that is an offshoot of the venerable wine shop of the same name in Paris. Both the restaurant and wine shop are located within the broader Maison Buon that also includes a gallery and accommodation. The food is light and cheerful and the wine selection exactly what you would expect from one of the icons of the natural wine movement.

We have written before about the type of food we now seek on our travels. We no longer seek glitzy restaurants where style wins out over substance. We instead seek places where they source the best possible ingredients (preferably organic) and cook them with a light hand. We also look for places that have a preference for vegetables rather than lots of animal proteins. In Madame Jeanne we have found another such place.

Read more about Madame Jeanne in Marseille

Bunon, Tokyo

Published 7th July 2017 | Blog

Bunon, Tokyo

It is always exciting to revisit our friends at Bunon in Tokyo. This bustling bar and restaurant acts as a magnet for lovers of real Japanese food and natural wines. Their wine selection is one of the best in a city that is obsessed with natural wines. We come back time and again because they always have difficult-to-find wines on their list whether it be the increasingly rare Overnoy wines from the Jura, those of Alain Castex from Roussillon or those of Jean-Marc Brignot who also makes wines in the Jura and elsewhere. On this latest trip we were also lucky to find that there was some shark heart available again. This delicious morsel is served thinly sliced and raw.

Antiche Carampane, Venice

Published 24th June 2017 | Blog

Antiche Carampane, Venice

Antiche Carampane is a traditional restaurant far removed from the normal tourist haunts in Venice. It serves authentic dishes based on the freshest possible seafood and supports this with a very good wine program and very efficient service. The outside seating is perfect to catch the occasional breeze during Venice's gruelling summer heat.

This is a place we will come back to again because they make an effort to source excellent produce, cook the food with precision and the wine selection is appropriate for the food.

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Chotto - Smith St, Fitzroy

Published 4th June 2017 | Blog

Cinco Passiones

Chotto has become our "go-to" place for weekend breakfast/brunch in Melbourne. The food is nourishing, the aesthetic of the room is calming, the service is attentive, the tea is some of the best of its type in Australia and the coffee is very good.

The menu features both substantial dishes and small dishes that you can order on the side. It is fun to order a range of these to enjoy a range of the textures and flavours.

Read more about Chotto in Fitzroy

Cinco Passiones - Launceston

Published 27th May 2017 | Blog

Cinco Passiones

Cinco Passiones occupies a delightful, airy space on the second floor of the Earls Court 1950s building in Launceston where they serve snacks, cocktails, some wines and some beer.

But the real reason to go here is for the welcoming service and the skilfully-made cocktails, many of which use Tasmanian spirits.

The room is nicely proportioned and the metal-framed windows face towards the west to catch the setting sun. The right-angled bar occupies the space just inside the entrance.

Read more about Cinco Passiones in Launceston

Summertown Aristologist - Summertown, SA

Published 10th May 2017 | Blog

Summertown Aristologist

The Summertown Aristologist is a restaurant and bar that acts as a meeting place for winemakers, tradespeople and locals in the Adelaide Hills as well as curious tourists who have heard that this is a good place to eat interesting, ethically-sourced food and the local minimal-intervention wines. We find this place comfortable and comforting!

We can only use words like nourishing and comforting to describe the food here. We were looking forward to our meal very much because we have had so many great recommendations from our friends in the area - and they were all spot on.

Read more about Summertown Aristologist in SA

All About Eggs - Lucky Peach

Published 29th April 2017 | Blog

All about Eggs by Rachel Khong

All About Eggs is a collaboration between Rachel Khong and her fellow editors at the estimable Lucky Peach magazine. Khong writes the linking pieces and then it is over to experts from around the globe to pen short essays on themes ranging from Nina Bai's exploration of the structure of an egg, to Anna Ling Kaye's word pictures of the egg tart from Portugal to Hong Kong to Harold McGee's scientific approach to how to peel an egg. All are well written and informative.

And then we examined the recipes. They are indexed through a collection of photographs in the centre of the book (followed by a more traditional index). They are all couched in stories about their background. They are all able to be implemented in a home kitchen and they all seem to be delicious.

What more could you ask?

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Tom McHugo's

Published 12th April 2017 | Blog

Tom McHugo's Hobart

Tom McHugo's is a traditional pub in the centre of Hobart where the food is classic pub fare - but done very well and represents incredible value for money. And, to make it even more exciting the man at the stoves here is Tom Westcott who we first came across when he cooked at Garagistes with Luke Burgess. He then went on to make the West End Pumphouse a dining destination with his innovative dishes that were always packed with flavour, often using fermented ingredients for added interest.

Read more about Tom McHugo's in Hobart

Achille, Paris

Published 12th February 2017 | Blog

Achille, Paris

Achille is the latest of Pierre Jancou's restaurant adventures. He is well known for his dedication to the promotion of natural wines and the very best produce available. We have been visiting his restaurants for many years now and have never had a disappointing meal.

Jancou's collaboration with talented chef Svante Forstorp has taken the food to new heights. It is bold, innovative and delicious. And, of course, there is an interesting selection of natural wines available.

Read more about Achille in Paris

Sushi Suzuki, Tokyo

Published 12th February 2017 | Blog

Sushi Suzuki, Tokyo

Sushi Suzuki is a very interesting sushi place in Tokyo that was recommended to us for the quality of the rice and vinegar used by Takao Suzuki in preparing his sushi. On our recent visit to this serene establishment we were delighted with all elements of the many dishes we were offered and were very impressed with the balance and harmony that existed between the quality of the rice, the complexity of the vinegar used to flavour the rice, the freshness of the wasabi, the quality of the fish and the restrained use of the excellent soy sauce that was lightly brushed on the fish before being presented to us. No soy sauce or wasabi was provided for our use because it was totally unecessary. We will be providing a more detailed blog of our meal at this interesting establishment as soon as possible.

5F, Nogakudo building, 6-5-15 Ginza, Tokyo

Switch Coffee, Tokyo

Published 25th January 2017 | Review

Switch Coffee, Tokyo

Switch Coffee is a small coffee shop and roastery in the Tokyo district of Meguro where you can drop in to enjoy an espresso, a milk coffee or a pour-over filter coffee all made with beans roasted on the premises.

The proprietor is an engaging host with a good command of English from the time he has spent in Melbourne. You can also enjoy a glass of natural wine - one of the owner's passions.

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Le Cabaret, Tokyo

Published 25th January 2017 | Review

Le Cabaret, Tokyo

Le Cabaret is a pleasant restaurant in the Shibuya district of Tokyo serving very tasty food and a great collection of natural wines overseen by talented sommelier Yasuhiro Tsubota. The food has a French influence (rillettes of pork and duck, marinated sardines teamed with cold potatoes, snappingly-fresh oysters opened to order or steak frites for two) and the sommelier will always choose the right wine to match the food you are eating.

Read more about Le Cabaret

Dier Makr, Hobart

Published 23rd December 2016 | News

Dier Makr Hobart

Dier Makr has burst onto the food scene in Hobart with only social media to promote this relaxing space behind a quiet daytime cafe in Collins Street.

Dier Makr (ask them about the name when you are dining there) is a restaurant, a bar and a bottleshop all rolled into one appealing package. You can drop in for snacks (try the sweetbread "nuggets") and an amazing cocktail or a glass of wine, for a full meal at a very reasonable price or simply to buy a bottle of wine from their well-stocked cellar to take home.

The venue is the brainchild of Kobi Ruzicka and Sarah Fitzsimmons who moved to Hobart from Melbourne earlier this year. Kobi has cooked at leading restaurants overseas including Relae in Copenhagen (one of our favourite restaurants) and In de Wulf in Belgium (now sadly, closed).

We have eaten Kobi's food on a number of occasions recently and in the restaurant this week. He is a very talented chef who can turn the most humble ingredient into an amazing treat. Go here for the lamb on eucalyptus skewers, the oyster emulsion with lettuce, the fish and pil-pil sauce or any of the other very tasty dishes.

Read more about Dier Makr

The Farm Shed, Bicheno

Published 22nd December 2016 | News

Farm Shed, Bicheno

The Farm Shed is the new venture for Subi Mead and Helen Bain (formerly of The Left Bank in Swansea) who are still on the East Coast but this time in a purpose-built building in Bicheno. The food here is light and packed with flavour and the drinks options pay respect to local suppliers.

Read more about The Farm Shed in Bicheno

Fico, Hobart

Published 20th December 2016 | News

Fico Restaurant Hobart

Fico in Macquarie Street is set to become one of Hobart's most popular restaurants. The transformation of this former newsagency cum cafe has been astounding. The owners and chefs here are Federica Andrisani and Oskar Rossi who are young but with lots of experience in high-end restaurants in Australia and Italy.

The space is light and airy and the tables are set well apart. The open kitchen provides a link between the chefs and the diners and a bar area provides a space to snack and have a drink from the clever wine list.

At a meal on the first night we were delighted with both the price and the quality of the food. We will write more about the food after we have eaten a few more times here, but the chickpea polenta chips, the zucchini flowers with tomato, basil and ricotta, the venison cappelletti (little hats) and the asparagus and taleggio risotto were just a few of the standouts. Expect to see us there often!

151 Macquarie St, Hobart.

Read more about Fico

Ettie's, Hobart

Published 24th November 2016 | News

Ettie's Restaurant Hobart

Ettie's is a new bar and restaurant in the Hobart CBD established by the successful team of Carl Windsor and James Kingston from Willing Bros in North Hobart. They have assembled a vibrant team for this venture including chef Vlad Panevin formerly of Garagistes and Templo, talented sommelier Alice Chugg formerly of Aloft and restaurant manager Nicky Harris who has served us on many occasions at Franklin.

There is a space at the front for sitting and sipping either at the wide bar or on one of the comfortable chairs or couches. This area also contains racks of wines which you can consume on the premises or buy to take home. The restaurant space is very comfortable and the food is very appealing being rooted in French classics.

The photo above is of Ettie Rout who the restaurant is named after. Her fascinating story will be included in our more detailed review of the food when we post it soon.

100 Elizabeth St, Hobart

Butagumi - Tokyo

Published 2nd August 2016 | Blog

Butagumi in Tokyo

Butagumi is an excellent place to try tonkatsu cuisine in Tokyo. The pork here is chosen with care, the coating of the pork products is exceptionally crisp and perfectly cooked and the accompanying rice is the best available from the Niigata prefecture. Each cut of pork is cooked in a different way to ensure that the ratio of protein to fat is handled correctly ensuring that the umami in the fat adds to the dining experience. We were really impressed by the food and service at this enjoyable venue.

Read more about Butagumi

L'Avant Comptoir de la Mer

Published 2nd February 2016 | Review

l'Avant Comptoir de la Mer

L'Avant Comptoir de la Mer is another tiny standing space run by Yves Camdeborde in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.

Here the seafood is excellent with dishes such as shucked oysters served with chipolata sausages or tagliatelle of cuttlefish or scallops roasted and skewered with a sprig of thyme.

All dishes are listed on the cute wooden menu boards hanging from the ceiling. The large fridges behind the bar hold a fairyland of natural wines to wash down the excellent dishes.

Read more about l'Avant Comptoir de la Mer

Sushi Ya - Tokyo

Published 28th January 2016 | Review

Sushi Ya in Tokyo

Sushi ya is one of our favourite sushi restaurants in the city of Tokyo. The chef, Takao Ishiyama, is an expert in choosing the very freshest seafood and his knife skills and hand techniques are exemplary.

With at least 26 individual morsels, each absolutely delicious, it's hard to choose what to write about.

Of course everything was meticulous but it was exciting as well, completely unexpected at times, extremes of textures and a rollercoaster of subtle to intense seasoning. Such respect..

Some of the dishes that we were served are explained in the more detailed review.

Read more about Sushi Ya


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