The News Feed: The Fat Duck in Melbourne, meat on sticks in Sydney, whiskey in Perth

By
Claire Davie
Added
17 September, 2014

The Fat Duck in Melbourne: scoring a table to be a game of chance


Photo by: Alisa Connan

It’s no secret that Heston Blumenthal is relocating his three Michelin-starred The Fat Duck in Melbourne for six months from next year. But now the details we’ve all been waiting for have been revealed: when does it open and how, exactly, do we snare a table?

Crown has named February 3 as day one for Heston’s first international restaurant. As to the booking system, it says anyone who would like a reservation will need to register for an online ballot. All available reservations for the restaurant’s entire six-month visit will be allocated through the ballot process. No further reservations will be added once successful applicants have been randomly selected and the ballot process complete.

The ballot website is www.thefatduckmelbourne.com and entries open on Monday October 8 at 9am (and close midnight Sunday October 26). Crown says that at the end of the registration period, an impartial third party will “indiscriminately select” successful applicants. And a note: whether you are first or last to register has no influence on the outcome.

New for The Fat Duck in Melbourne is the Chef’s Table, which will give four guests per service a seat in front of the pass, where they can interact with chefs throughout service (bookings for this will work in the same way).

Other key facts: Set menu cost is $525 per person (not including drinks); the restaurant will accommodate 50 guests a service; tables will be for either two, four or (limited numbers of) six; and about four hours will be the duration of this “multisensory gastronomic journey of history, nostalgia, emotion and memory”.

Once The Fat Duck returns to Bray, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will take its place permanently.

Doughnuts go posh, crowds go wild


In terms of poshed-up baked treats, cupcakes and macarons are getting a bit long in the sweet tooth (and the sooner we forget about last year’s frankenfood cronut, the better). But it looks like the latest global baking trend – doughnuts made from premium ingredients in sophisticated flavour combinations – has started to take hold in Australia. Hobart cafe Small-fry, which makes 12 flavours of ‘boutique’ doughnuts with fillings and toppings handmade from scratch, is selling out of the 72 doughnuts made each morning in their tiny kitchen within an hour or two of them going on sale. And the social media frenzy which accompanied the opening last week of Melbourne’s Shortstop Coffee & Donuts was such that by the fifth day of operation, the cafe had received so many pre-orders through their online shop that they had sold out of that day’s capacity of 600+ doughnuts before the doors had even swung open. Melbourne is spoiled for choice when it comes to posh doughnuts, with Doughboys Doughnuts and Raph Rashid’s All Day Donuts also serving up the goods.


Yakitori time for Sydney

In izakaya news, the talk of the town in Sydney is Chaco Bar, which opened last month in Darlinghurst. Former Toko and Mamasan head chef Keita Abe’s cosy bar offers a impressive range of yakitori skewers from the binchotan grill (including chicken livers, gizzards and heart pipes for the more adventurous diners) as well as notable non-skewer dishes such as spicy John Dory dumplings and six-month aged banana brandy coconut granita. The sake and housemade liquors will start flowing once they get their liquor licence.

Bourbon-style whiskey in Perth

Located in an East Perth warehouse, Whipper Snapper Distillery is Australia’s first dedicated bourbon-style whiskey distillery. That’s whiskey with an ‘e’, as their products are a salute to American bourbon, based on a moonshine recipe passed down from a US WWII pilot. Their launch product Crazy Uncle Moonshine is now available, but their whiskey needs another two years in American barrels before seeing the light of day.

Melbourne gets a taste of East Africa and Crete


Standing tall amidst the usual burger/barbecue joints and Southeast Asian street food openings come two interesting new venues, charting roads less travelled in the Melbourne dining scene. Guy Holder and Angie Giannakodakis, co-owners of excellent Carlton bistro Epocha, have just opened a restaurant in Camberwell in partnership with their floor manager Disa Dimitrakakis. It’s called Elyros and it’s a Cretan-inspired wine bar and dining room, dishing up meze to accompany wines from small producers around the world. And in the city, newcomer bar Polépolé (Swahili for “take it easy” and pictured above) is serving cocktails, ten different African beers and ciders (proceeds from which go to not-for-profits Women for Women in Africa and YGAP) and East African-inspired bar snacks.

Claire Davie writes the blog Melbourne Gastronome. She tweets @melbgastronome and her favourite thing to cook right now is Chui Lee Luk’s Oyster omelette.

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