Monday, July 11, 2016

Scoop Magazine, August 2016

Image: Jennifer Susanto-Lee

Restaurant Review: Little Way, Nedlands

Stepping into Little Way on a blindingly hot summer’s day is not unlike discovering a verdant oasis in the searing desert. Despite being a heritage building, the space is contemporary and a serious breath of fresh air, with lots of indoor and alfresco areas to choose from. Décor is predominantly white, with hits of lush green in the form of cushions, menus and plant-life. On the day we visit, the doors are open but the air-con is cranked, giving this haven a cool, refreshing almost-outside-but-not-quite vibe. As you might expect from a Western suburbs eatery, the clientele is local and gentrified, with all the generations represented during our visit. The 120-seater is still only six weeks young, but is already packing them in.

Service is smooth, professional and friendly, without being overly familiar. Ordering is at the counter.

The breakfast menu is as fresh and uncluttered as the surroundings, with a range of light dishes that steer away from the usual run-of-the-mill greasy spoon offerings. A generous, chunky granola proves to be a dead-set winner. Lightly toasted and made in-house, the dish is a morerish combo of pecans, almond flakes, oats and maple syrup, with the nuts giving it a warm, earthy flavour.  Topped with berries, edible flowers, mint (grown in the restaurant’s burgeoning herb garden) and lashings of Greek yoghurt, it’s served with a side of local honey and milk. Too good  – we decide we could eat this every day.  A zingy freshly-pressed juice of orange, carrot, lemon and ginger balances things out just right.

A peek at the modern Mediterranean lunch and dinner menu has us salivating, with a selection of small share plates, pizza and nicely-priced mains included in the mix. Crispy pork belly with pear ricotta and baby carrots? We’re in.

Little Way is fully-licensed.

Little Way

161 Broadway, Nedlands

Tel 9386 3639

Open seven days, 7.30am-late

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Scoop Magazine - Spring 2015

Image: Jenny Susanto-Lee

Star Quality

Fancy having dinner with one of the most recognised chefs in the world? Or perhaps cruising our fair shores on a luxury boat is more your speed. When it comes to lavish events, the sky’s pretty much the limit at this year’s Margaret River Gourmet Escape.


·      The Godfather Dinner
One of the most anticipated events across the three-day festival. The bad boy himself, Marco Pierre White, will host a Q&A session over dinner at Vasse Felix winery together with his former chef protégés, Jock Zonfrillo, Richard Turner and Spencer Patrick.  Marco’s boys will re-create the signature dishes they once produced under the iconic chef, who apparently demanded nothing less than military precision.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting up with some of my ex boys, who are doing a special dinner for me,” says Marco Pierre White.

“But I’m excited about many things. I’m excited about going to Margaret River and seeing what goes on there. My friend George Calombaris always speaks about Margaret River with such affection, and he tells me it’s the finest and greatest food event on earth. I’ll be very busy, which is good because I like being busy.”

When: Friday, 20 November, 6;30pm 
Where: Vasse Felix, Caves Road (Cnr Tom Cullity Drive), Margaret River  
Cost: $380


·      Dining on the Jetty
Spanking new to this year’s festival program line-up, Dining on the Jetty will have guests feasting on seafood cooked by chef legend Rick Stein. Not only that, they’ll be seated at the end of Busselton Jetty, the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere.  Transport to the dining marquee at the end of the jetty will be courtesy of the Kimberley Quest II. Or, if you’re so inclined, you can wear your flats and leg it.

When: Dinners will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings 
Where: Busselton Jetty, Busselton Beachfront, Busselton 
Cost: $220

·      Stokehouse Aboard The Kimberley Quest II, with Winning Appliances
Join two kitchen kings from foodie institution, Stokehouse, aboard the Kimberley Quest II. Set sail for an afternoon of foodie deliciousness with Oliver Gould (head chef, Stokehouse Melbourne) and Richard Ousby (head chef, Stokehouse Brisbane) as they showcase their signature style using local produce. Guests will feast on canapés and wines from the Margaret River region as the Kimberley Quest II cruises the shores of Cape Naturaliste.

When: Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 November, 12pm 
Where: Meet at Pro-fisherman's Boat Ramp, Quindalup (Opposite McDermott Street), Dunsborough 
Cost: $170

·      An International Cabernet Celebration at Cape Mentelle: Long Lunch with the World’s Best
A celebration of the world’s finest cabernets. The benchmark event begins with a tasting of twenty esteemed cabernets from acclaimed international wine regions, and finishes off with a sumptuous long lunch in the winery’s gardens, ably prepared by David Thompson (ranked number 22 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List).  The 2012 year was a stunning vintage, to be introduced by special guest Lisa Perrotti Brown (wine critic, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate). Showcasing wines from the world’s finest cabernet-producing regions (including Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Cos d’Estournel, Château La Mission Haut Brion, Napa Valley, Tuscany and Margaret River), it’s one not to miss.

When: Friday, 20 November, 10am-4pm
Where: Cape Mentelle Vineyards, 331 Wallcliffe Road, Margaret River
Price: $600

·       Marque and Print Hall at Woodlands Winery
A truly decadent evening. Set in the barrel room of Woodlands Winery, enjoy a menu designed and prepped by one of Australia’s masters of contemporary cuisine, Mark Best (Marque Restaurant, Sydney) alongside Daniel Fisher (Print Hall, Perth). The dinner will focus on the very best local and national produce, with accompanying wines provided by Woodlands.

When: Saturday, 21 November, 6.30pm 
Where: Woodlands, 3948 Caves Road, Wilyabrup  
Cost: $250

The Best of the Best

This year, MRGE are blessed to have the top chefs of no less than six restaurants on this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list gracing the event. Best thing? You’ll be able to see them all in the one spot.

Ashley Palmer-Watts
·      Head chef, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (London)
·      Number seven on World’s 50 Best Restaurants list
He’s Heston Blumenthal’s number two, and is a master at dragging historic British dishes into the 21st century. After dining at The Fat Duck in 1999 left a lasting impression on him, Ashley took up work at a nearby farm picking watercress until a position at the prestigious restaurant became available.  Now that’s dedication.

Gaggan Anand
·      Chef-owner, Gaggan (Bangkok)
·      Number ten on World’s 50 Best Restaurants list
Gaggan’s progressive Indian restaurant clinched the top spot on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants this year. Before hitting his straps as a culinary genius, Gaggan performed as a drummer with local rock bands in India. He went on to become the first Indian intern to work at the legendary Eli Bulli.

Enrique Olvera
·      Chef-owner, Pujol (Mexico City)
·      Number sixteen on World’s 50 Best Restaurants list
Despite his Mexican roots, Enrique did much of his training in New York. He’s a master at reinventing traditional Mexican fare, with menu items including powdered ants and grasshopper salsa. Enrique has just opened a restaurant, Cosme, in Manhattan to rave reviews.

David Thompson
·      Chef-owner, nahm (Bangkok)
·      Number 22 on World’s 50 Best Restaurants list
Aussie-born chef David Thompson has carved a name for himself as one of the best Thai chefs in the world. When not banging the pots and pans, he can be found broadcasting or writing books. David scored the first-ever Michelin star for Thai cuisine at his London branch of nahm.

Vladimir Mukhin
·      Chef, White Rabbit (Moscow)
·      Number  23  on World’s 50 Best Restaurants list
So named for its Alice in Wonderland décor, White Rabbit is best-known for its borsch thanks to Vladimir’s grandma’s secret ingredient of crucian carps.  Meanwhile, the boy wonder has just clinched the gong for highest new entry at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Fun fact – prior to becoming a chef, he dreamed of being an astronaut.

Rodolfo Guzman
·      Chef-owner, Borag, (Santiago)
·       Number 42 on World’s 50 Best Restaurants list
He’s a forager extraordinaire, and draws on eighteen preparations out of a massive 300 on constant rotation at the restaurant. Not only that, but he has a degree in chemical engineering, and works as a consultant for research teams and other food-related projects. When not busy trailblazing, he hosts his own TV show in Chile. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Scoop Magazine, Autumn 2015

Photo of Scott Taylor. Supplied

Penalty Shootout

 When it comes to public holidays, most people are pretty darned happy. A day off work, time to chill or whoop it up – what’s not to like? These days, if you ask a restaurateur what they think of public holidays, you’re more than likely to get a chilly response. That’s due to the fact that thanks to penalty rates on public holidays, they are paying through the nose for staff.

Take Australia Day, for example. .Jacki O’Hara from The Peasant Table in Mt Hawthorn recently went public on exorbitant penalty rates, revealing it would cost her $900 extra in staff wages to open that day, and that she would struggle to break even.

Meanwhile, restaurateur-about-town Scott Taylor says that there is no doubt that the biggest cost in hospitality is labour, and penalty rates play a major role.

I know that in many well-run hospitality businesses, 38 per cent of revenue goes to labour costs, while in some businesses, it’s 50 per cent. So in other words, $5 every out of every $10 goes to labour,” says Scott.

“When a public holiday comes around, if a casual chef wants work, the existing industrial relations laws mean I’d have to pay $54.40 an hour for them – and my answer will be ‘sorry, you’re not working’. The young casual guys who want to work on public holidays can’t, because industrial relations laws have priced them out of the market.”

So what’s it all about then? Currently, there is a massive debate going on around the country regarding industrial relations and workplace laws, including penalty rates. Shortly, it will all go under the microscope in a review held by the Productivity Commission in a quest to reboot the entire industrial relations system. The Restaurant and Catering Association, which has tabled a submission for the review, is pushing for penalty rates to be standardised.  But with some rates being as high as 275 per cent for casual workers on public holidays, it’s no wonder smaller business operators are struggling to open on these days.

 “It’s putting lots of pressure on us. Weekend rates and public holiday rates are a bit out of control, to be honest,” says Justin Bell, owner of Jus Burgers and Pinchos.

“On those days, we staff up with our salary staff and our family on public holidays. You don’t make a lot on those days, but you have to provide a service to the community. Australia Day is a tricky day to be open because most people have already got a barbecue arranged or are watching the fireworks, but people still expect you to be open. 

WA Premier Colin Barnett has recently stated that penalty rates should remain, but admitted they should be made more realistic in order to encourage employment in the hospitality industry. The Australian Hotels Association's Bradley Woods has said he would also fight outdated penalty rates.
“Really, penalties need to looked at, and it would be really good if Mr Barnett could come to the party,” says Justin.

“He said there needs to be an increment, but at this point that increment is out-of-control. Something needs to get done about it and pretty fast, because the penalty rates are really hurting our industry in WA. Not everybody’s on a FIFO wage.”