I’ve a lot to write, a lot to tell and not enough time to do it. It’s time to declare the biggest ever bankruptcy on this blog, summarising the past two months when I haven’t been publishing.
It’s probably been one of the one exciting vibrant and scary times in my life as I have given up my journalism to concentrate solely on Tomato Media, my social media and web development business, which you can find more about at the end of this post.
Here are the highlights:
- Gin and tonic at The Greenhouse by Joost. It was made with a locally made tonic syrup, a welcome alternative to the sugary sweet Schweppes. The cinchona bark used to make the tonic makes it pink. I also really enjoyed the ox heart salad,a tasty and textural alternative to run of the mill steak. If you want to try some check out our gin and tonic tasting event here.
- making gin and tonic at home with some cinchona bark I was donated by Mitch. I probably added too much citric acid and created something that was decribed by @secretshq as “delicious but definitely not tonic water”. I’ll public a recipe after another attempt. If you want to make your own you’ll find the powdered cinchona bark difficult to come by as it’s a class four substance apparently. But here’s a recipe. I also have a stack of gentian root from Phil at the Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot so stand by for bitters too.
There’ve been more openings than you can poke a laguiole knife at (and coming to think of it there’s a surfeit of them too). Some just aren’t worth the effort writing about despite the hype. Here are my picks of the best:
- Casa Ciuccio, the Gertrude Street spin-off from Bar Lourhina is utterly gorgeous. The focus is on the coal pit, which is actually a large charcoal fired BBQ. The meat here slow cooked over the coals will turn you away from boring old steak for ever. The wine list is brilliant. But ouch at $150 a hea (although $150 of that was on wine). If you eat in the back room you are very intimate with the kitchen. But equally you could sit at the front and just snack and enjoy a glass or too. Wait for the opening of the cafe/food store next door.
- Albert Street Food & Wine is the latest retreat for Philippa Sibley, dubbed a few years back in a concerted PR campaign as “the queen of desserts”. Anyway, the media took the cake and swallowed it but it doesn’t do Sibley justice. Yes, she has the precision and attention to detail to cook desserts but she’s equally at home on the savouries as her food at Albert St proves. It’s staffed by a team of hospo pros and for me a great cycle ride up the old train tracks from Edinburgh Gardens (with no lights or helmet) to East Brunswick.
- I’m not the only one who keeps calling Mark Best’s new place Pei Modern “Pei Moderne” as if it is something out of a magazine published by Tyler Brulé. I enjoyed breakfast and coffee (good strong coffee) more than dinner on the first night with a view of the car park (which hopefully is now solved). The food is well executed and at a terrific price and I enjoyed it. I wish I’d ordered the Dutch Cream potatoes with bone marrow, potato foam with mojama and coffee ground, which I tasted. My two dining companions are in heated arguement against what Larissa Dubecki said: “Steamed hapuka, sweetcorn and butter sauce with a sea urchin ocean funk is a dish I’m in heated agreement with.” After tweeting the wine we drank it sold out! I will return.
- Geoff Lindsay’s Dandelion is a conundrum. The critics adore it and Geoff’s food. Some 368 votes on Urbanspoon give it a 52% score, which is a fail. I’ve analysed the comments and it seems even for the people of Elwood service is an issue and I suspect some people think the very subtle flavours are a rip-off compared to some neon-lit joint with formica tables on Victoria Street. But we are paying Elwood rent here and proper pay rates. Personally, I like the food which is fresh and zesty. I was cooler on the wagyu Pho, which was too fatty for me. And the service which kept taking my wine glass away before I’d finsihed. I was comped a lot of dishes and when I brought up the Urbanspoon rating Geoff got quite cranky. It’s strange how the people can be so wrong as clearly Elwood loves Dandelion as it is packed every night.
Back to me
Anyway, back to me, I was encouraged to concentrate on my social media business last year by Chin Chin’s owner Chris Lucas after helping him with some simple advice, which included telling him to hire the famous Jess Ho.
Since then I’ve taken a business partner, Eva, on board and have a whole bunch of social media types helping me out, all sourced pretty much from Twitter and blogging. We’re working with Ray Capaldi’s Hare & Grace, a hot new launch next to Cumulus Inc called Virginia Plain, The Windsor Hotel’s Wallis & Ed and a heap more I’ll tell you about another time when they are settled down.
We’re building some very functional, elegant and practical websites and have even diversified into designa and corporate identity and haven’t had the time even to finish our our web page.