Monthly Archives: February 2011

Spice Temple: a waiter, a dish rag, and a mango pudding

Spice Temple

Spice Temple by Earl Carter

I didn’t know whether to thank our waiter or slap him across the face with a fetid dish rag. On our first visit to Spice Temple he charmed and impressed us with detailed answers to our menu interrogation, good humorously hovered and helped us narrow down our choices, and even returned to inform us we had over-ordered when a colleague served us in his absence.

We took his advice and slashed a dish from the order we had painstakingly deliberated over then, amongst ourselves, quietly praised Spice Temple’s honesty policy and level of customer care. By our meal’s finale we had eaten our words. Continue reading


Filed under Restaurant Reviews

Functional foods: good or bad?

Omega-3-rich chicken

FOODplus has produced chicken meat that is rich in omega-3 fats (iStockphoto)

Chicken meat enriched with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Sound fishy to you? Researchers at Adelaide’s FOODplus centre – a joint venture between the University of Adelaide and the Women’s and Children’s Health Research Institute – have developed omega-3 rich chicken meat by changing the type of grain fed to chickens. And because the chickens aren’t fed fish oil, which is the route that other researchers have taken, the flesh doesn’t taste fishy. Continue reading


Filed under Food Issues

Russell Blaikie’s Baharat-spiced lamb meatballs

Baharat Meatballs

Baharat-spiced lamb meatballs. Photograph by Craig Kinder

This recipe is from Russell Blaikie’s recently released cookbook Must Eat (Read The Food Sage’s book review). Blaikie is the chef extraordinaire behind the Must wine bars in Perth and Margaret River.

Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice mix and the perfect partner for lamb. Blaikie recommends using lean lamb, and to moisten the breadcrumbs with wine before combining them into the mix – which ‘lightens’ the meatballs.

To all  meatball lovers out there, this Baharat-inspired recipe creates spice-packed mouth-bombs that are difficult to resist. The recipe makes 30 … what a shame!
Continue reading


Filed under Book Reviews

Greenhouse: a Perth restaurant where good things grow

Greenhouse restaurant

Greenhouse restaurant, Perth

Matt Stone’s reputation precedes him. The star chef at Perth hotspot Greenhouse featured in two Western Australian food and lifestyle magazines that I’d hungrily consumed on route from Sydney. It turned out that his culinary digs – the outside walls of which are an eye-catching vertical garden of small, leafy, terracotta pot plants – was a short walk from my hotel. I skipped the buffet deal included in the price of my room and made a beeline to what sounded like a garden a Eden for breakfast the next morning. Continue reading


Filed under Restaurant Reviews

Quality vs. quantity: Are pint-sized meals worth the price?

It’s hard to pass up a steak at the Riverview Hotel in Sydney’s Balmain. The menu changes daily but I don’t remember an occasion when a steak has not been chalked on the board. They get it spot on just about every time: adequate char, a slightly caramelised crust, and that tantalising medium-rare interior.

And it’s never just your bog-standard steak and chips. The latest rendition we had was a scotch fillet, with hand-cut chips, roasted tomatoes and peppercorn jus. The chips were rustic and thick and softly browned like a mid-summer sun-baker. Twice cooked they were crunch-wrapped cushions of potato – a win-win for the diner.

But here’s the rub: there were only 7 or 8 – albeit fat – chips. At $28 the scotch fillet appeared on the pokey side, too. In short, the meal was pretty much flawless, but small. Ditto the battered fish with tartare, smashed peas and chips. The batter was airily crisp – perhaps the lightest i’ve had slathered on fish. But there were just three small pieces, not 2-3 long strips of fillet that one would expect to grace the plate.

So if the meals were of such high standard, why did i feel ripped off? Continue reading

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Filed under Reflections