We have been working on this relentlessly for the last couple of months and we are thrilled to announce that we are now LIVE on the Airbnb Experiences website and App. We currently have four dinners scheduled: 2nd and 16th of December and next year on the 3rd and 17th of February. We will add more dates later. We will surprise you with a staple of the French cuisine repertoire, with a twist, and we will be matching the wines - mostly French - in a cheeky sort of way. We can accomodate up to 6 guests, but we accept individual bookings obviously, which makes it for a much more interesting mix of people and conversations. To give you an example, on our rehearsal dinner, we had two Belgian, one being vegetarian, an Aussie who knows his wine, his American wife who is gluten intolerant, and my Persian neighbour, a political refugee and a happy builder in Australia. It was a great evening! So, come and join me for a great time!
After the success of our first class on August 5th, The Essential Ingredient Cooking School in Rozelle has kindly offered us to run at least two new classes over the next six months. More will be scheduled in 2018.
For the time being, we have one scheduled for the evening of October 12th, 2017, and morning of February 24th, 2018.
Visit sydneyessential.com.au/cooking-school to book
Come and cook a typical French dinner with the help of an experienced native cook as part of The Essential Ingredient Cooking School in Rozelle, actually the first ever French cooking class there, believe it or not!
Whether it is a Roast of Lamb with ratatouille (August 5th, 2017) a Choucroute de la Mer, a cassoulet of lamb, a poulet aux morilles (October 12th) or a bouillabaisse, Jean-Marie will help you cook the staples of the French repertoire, often with a twist...
So be open to be surprised, entertained and deliciously fed by a man who not only can cook, but is inspired by the cuisines of the World and is established in the Sydney food scene for over 7 years via this blog and on Instagram. Jean-Marie is also very knowledgeable about wine, and he will often surprise you with unconventional pairings. Having worked in English for decades, he is fluent in the subtleties of the Australian slang, while retaining a hint of a French accent. So in short, you are in for a treat!
If you follow us on Instagram (and if you don't, you should... link on the sidebar), I know you are salivating each time I post one of the meals I cook at home for me, my family or my friends, and many have asked me if I would consider opening a restaurant... The answer to that question is NO!
But...enter VizEat, a French company which has put together a smart platform to connect people who want to experience home cooking in their own town, or elsewhere when they are travelling. Hosts like me post their menus and a date where they will receive guests at their place to enjoy good company, well prepared and presented dishes and matched wines, all this for a price bien sûr, but usually quite reasonable and not very different from what one would pay in a middle of the range restaurant.
So, we have joined, as the first host in Sydney, the only French host in Australia and part of a small but growing team Australia.
Our first dinner happened just a couple of weeks ago and you can find more about it here
My last supper in Paris last November... Perfect dinner as a farewell to La Ville Lumière. It was simply amazing...Read on!
If you are looking for a great little place for lunch or dinner half way between Pigalle and Montmartre, look no further than this gem of a place. You can thank me later...
The most Alsatian of the Parisian Brasseries, has been serving draught beer and sauerkraut near Bastille since 1864. In 1981, President François Mitterand booked the entire first floor to celebrate his election, and I had not had a full meal here for a good 15 years, hence why i went bak for dinner in November 2016. And I was not disappointed!
Following our review of Cumulus Inc, here is our second instalment of our tour of our favourite top five restaurants in Melbourne. It is also the most recently opened by talented and Bocuse trained Chef, Philippe Mouchel.
His cuisine is firmly routed in French tradition, but includes a few twists and surprises which makes it the newest destination for French flavour in Melbourne. Make sure you book, as it is already very popular.
At the top end of Flinders Lane, also called the Parisian end of the Melbourne CBD, and next to Italian eatery extraordinaire Cecconi's (which we will review later...) sits pretty, sleek, and busy, Cumulus Inc, part of Andrew McConnell's empire and running morning to late, seven days a week.
My current first choice when dining on my own in Melbourne, it combines fabulous décor, ambience, gorgeous crowds and delicious food.
I have been commuting to Melbourne for work for almost 20 years, and particularly in my early travels, Melbourne was definitely the food capital of Australia. The weather is more conducive to eating indoors, which calls for a more refined cuisine than just "throwing a shrimp on the barbie"...
The large Greek and Italian community also had a great influence on the European feel of the city and its food - and café - scene. The gold rush has also brought a great Chinese community now very established and one can find some of the best Chinese and now pan Asian cuisine in the world here.
So voilà my current list, some of these joints have been on this list since day one, like Punch Lane Wine Bar, some have made the list more recently like Philippe which I had the pleasure on discovering during their first week.
Most of them are in the Paris end of Melbourne on the edge of Chinatown, as I normally stay in Exhibition Street, a central location for my business dealings. So here it is!
PUNCH LANE WINE BAR - Classic European
A pioneer of laneway dining in Melbourne, Punch Lane has been a favourite amongst theatre-goers, wine-lovers and long-lunchers since 1995 and discovered them as early as late 1997!
A cosy restaurant and wine bar, Punch Lane is one of the original Melbourne Laneway gems, situated in the heart of Melbourne’s entertainment district on the fringes of Bourke street’s Paris end and the hustle of Melbourne’s Chinatown.
ttComfortable, with great service - an important factor when you dine alone - and consistent food even though the Chefs have been changing over the years, it is still my choice by default if I can't find a spot elsewhere.
LONGRAIN Modern Thai
Well, my previous boos made me discover their original Sydney establishment, so I had to try the Melbourne one as well! I went only once for lunch, as it is more of a large group venue for dinner. It is always good and consistent and quite authentic modern Thai food, designed by now organic gardener extraordinaire Martin Boetz.
GINGERBOY Pan Asian
The dining experience at Gingerboy is centred on a modern Australian adaptation of the Asian hawker-style street market food. The restaurant’s hustle and bustle, its fast-paced, youthful and dynamic environment is influenced not only by the dining culture of Southeast Asia but also by buzzing Asian marketplaces and an Asian sense of colour and fun.
In my opinion, a much better place than Longrain and more single diner friendly, as you can eat downstairs at the bar overlooking the kitchen - great entertainment guaranteed!
ROSA'S KITCHEN - Sicilian
I have been several times, but my last visit in March was a disappointment...
The beauty of this place was in the tables close to each other, the noise, the ballet of the waitresses and the occasional appearance of Rosa herself with I had a chat once, a real Italian Mama who knows how to feed a crowd.
Over my last visit, there were only a few sparse tables, the service was done by a nice couple and they had one person cooking. The result was that the buzz was gone but not the stress in the kitchen and the order we placed came to wrong for one of the dishes... Don't get me wrong the food was still delicious and the man serving knows his Italian wine and went along with my choice of Primitivo, the Italian Zinfandel, one of my recent wine discoveries.
BAR LOURINHA - Portuguese tapas and wines
I have not been recently, although I tried, but it is always packed... and this is a very good little place where the boys behind the counter know their Portuguese and Spanish wines and the kitchen produces some of the best tapas in Melbourne, besides Movida, bien sûr. The wine list though seems to have recanted to more Australian and a few Spanish wines...
ENTRECOTE South Yarra and City - French
I have tried both and I love them both... Most famous dish is obviously the steak frites with the special sauce made out of 18 ingredients, secret ingredients that is... I found 7, but I won't tell or I would have to kill you...
The South Yarra venue looks very French inside, very classy and most of the waiters and waitresses are French, so you really feel at home. The steak is not the most tender on the Planet, but is very tasty and cooked to perfection
This concludes the first episode of my Melbourne food and wine journey.
Over the next few weeks I will add my top five restaurants and a proper review for each. Stay tuned!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
A link here for our non-metric readers: