The Good Food Munchie Awards 2013
Better than expected: Vincent's Baked Comte Custard. Photo: Danielle Smith
The Munchies 2013 - crack open the frobscottle, kids, it's Munchy time again! Like the Logies of the food world (but less of a national joke), The Munchies are a light-hearted look at the year that was. I'm Callan Boys and I'll be your host for the night, with input from the Herald's chief restaurant reviewer, Terry Durack, along the way. So Brylcreem a tux, shuck a cocktail dress or do whatever else it is people do for award ceremonies these days and join us for all the glitz and glamour of this year's Munchies!
The Godfather II Award for a follow-up that's unexpectedly better than the original:
Vincent, Woollahra. James Hird, Traci Trinder and Todd Garratt, the tipple-loving trio behind Buzo and The Wine Library, have gifted Woollahra's Queen Street exactly what it never knew it always wanted - another French bistro. How good is eating house-made cheese on a marble tabletop with a Loire-heavy wine list to prod at? Pretty freakin' good. Speaking of marble tabletops, big ups to the new Bondi branch of A Tavola, too.
Who will win at the annual Munchies Awards? Photo: Edwina Pickles
The Godfather III Award for an idea where the realisation is even worse than the conception:
The Zinger Pie. Taking this malignant whitehead of a pastry over to Harry's and Frankensteining together a Zinger Tiger did make it marginally edible. But in the same way sticking your eyeballs in your ears makes an episode of Today Tonight marginally watchable.
The Saving his Bacon Bravery Medal:
Kevin Bacon the Pig. The poster boy for InSty magazine made headlines in October when swine-swiped from his pen at The Grounds of Alexandria. Thankfully, everybody's favourite porker was located two weeks later in country Victoria and lives to receive this coveted trophy.
The Quinoa Award for ''It's pronounced how, sorry?'':
Coi, San Francisco. When Coi's chef Daniel Patterson visited Australia for Good Food Month and to promote his book, Coi: Stories and Recipes some foodies were shocked to find the restaurant name bore no phonetic relation to mutant Japanese fish. It actually rhymes with ''moi'' (as in ''pardonnez moi, sir - is this an actual recipe book or is it predominantly musings on the artisan pottery of the Bay Area?'').
The Not Having the Required Ingredients in One's Cupboard Unless You're a Nordic Marine Scientist Award:
Rene Redzepi's A Work in Progress. ''Honey, we're out of scurvy grass, hay ash and mahogany clams again. Do you think you can pick some up on your way home from the pub? And maybe see if Aldi has any of that dried woodruff left - I'm thinking it's a moose fillet kinda night.''
The Mix 106.5 Award for the greatest hits from the '80s, '90s and today:
Peter Doyle's ''Best at est.'' tasting menu. November gave restaurant nerds the chance to sample dishes from everyone's favourite surfer-dad-chef dating back to his time at Celsius in 1988. Juniper-crusted venison saddle with black pudding and amaranth, tastes just as bang-on today as it did from a time when someone, somewhere, thought the mono-rail was an excellent idea.
The Creepy-Crawly Award for the most scoffable thing in the cricket world since Warnie claimed he was off the darts:
Billy Kwong, Surry Hills for its brave and delicious insect-infested menus.
The Mark Gasnier Fired-Up Memorial Plate:
Shared between Ester (Chippendale) Nomad (Surry Hills) and pizza-pie powerhouses Mercato e Cucina (Gladesville), Da Mario (Rosebery), and Maurice Terzini's soon-to-open Da Orazio Pizza and Porchetta in Bondi. Forget the Thermomix and Pacojet; wood-fired ovens are where it's at.
The Permanent Pop-Up Award:
Cafe Paci, Darlinghurst. Stellar work from Pasi Petanen for making everyone who eats there wish the lease was for an awful lot more than just 12 months.
The Hump Day Award for a word or phrase in need of assisted suicide:
See above re: ''pop-up''. Whatever happened to good old fashioned ''short to mid-term lease''? Should I start referring to my rented apartment as a ''pop-up bachelor pad''? Jeez.
The Smallest Bathroom in the Universe Award:
Farmhouse, Kings Cross. 10 points for design smarts and the use of limited space, but the broom-cupboard-sized WC makes the loo in an airplane look like the Taj Mahal.
The ''Kangaroo is So 2003'' Award:
Wallabies everywhere (but particularly those from Flinders Island). They're springing up all over town from Billy Kwong's caramelised wallaby tail with black bean and chilli, to a raw battuta of the marsupial with watermelon rind and chorizo powder from Ormeggio at The Spit, Mosman. There are more wallabies listed on Sydney menus than in the World Rugby First XV (ie more than zero).
Most Unnecessary Serving Suggestion:
Oysters at Riley Street Garage, Woolloomooloo. A half-dozen of these bivalve beauties come to a table in a wooden crate teeming with ice and bigger than a basketball player's shoebox. Good luck finding a space for your pint.
The Slow Food Award:
China Republic, City. China Republic in the New World City Centre sets a new record for the slowest opening, having been first slated to open in June 2012, then finally opening its doors some 15 months later.
The DIY Award for getting into a pickle:
The Italian Football Award for questionable scoring:
The Sydney edition of a French food guide that debuted here in November. In an effort to avoid libel action, it shall not be named, although suffice to say it does rhyme with Malt and Gillau.
The Chef with the Lot Award:
To Hamburger converts Justin North (The Burger Shed, Mosman), Warren Turnbull (Churburger, Surry Hills) and Sean Connolly (The Parlour Burger, City). Looks like burgers are going to be around for a long time yet and Churburger, especially, seems poised for world domination. After phoenixing from the ashes of a ''not so Chur'' fire in March, there's now a second location with a pop-up (there's that term again …) at Paddington's London Hotel, and Turnbull's received a barrage of offers to expand the Chur name even further.
The Have a Good Time All the Time Award:
Bodega/Porteno's Elvis and Ben. The rockabilly chums' Recipes for a Good Time is surely the first cookbook with a chapter entitled The Outfits (in honour of spiffingly vintage-coutured hostess Sarah Doyle).
Sarah on picnic threads: ''You'd probably wear capris to be practical. You can sit down without worrying about flashing anyone your knickers.'' Indeed, ma'am.
Oh, the recipes in the book aren't half bad either.
The City Is Where It's At Award:
And the most fashionable new food burb - isn't a burb! Clustering around George Street are some of Sydney's most fashionable diners including the new Rockpool, the new Bentley and the new Buzo.
The Young Einstein Award for entrepreneurship in Newcastle:
The Hangover Brothers. The People's Republic of Novocastria went a bit nutty in November when these go-getter grommets started delivering your choice of fast-food for a fee of 10 bucks on top of whatever your Whooper of choice is worth.
The legalities of delivering cigarettes, alcohol and pharmaceuticals are also being investigated in a move that can only fill health experts with delight.
Not to be outdone, McDonald's has lately started delivering in Parramatta - although brand extension into door-to-door-durries seems unlikely.
The Dr Moreau Research Grant for crimes against nature and humanity:
The Hangover Brothers Award for Great Moments in Audacity:
Antony Leenders from Cammeray restaurant Wilcox and Co. ''Appropriating'' the logo of Melbourne institution Cutler & Co for your own joint is going to garner attention from both design geeks and food nerds pretty quickly. As well as anyone not down with the idea of nicking intellectual property.
The TARDIS Award for Doctor-Who-like powers of travel in time and space:
Neil Perry. How this bloke can manage to be in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney all at once while also never leaving the Qantas lounge is beyond the comprehension of us mortals. Note that he was also hands-on each day of the Rockpool on George relocation to Bridge Street, and in a world where chefs will put their name to any old place and rarely/never do a service (*cough*Jamie Oliver*cough*) it's something to be admired. The true time-management test will come when Perry takes on his birthright of playing Steven Seagal's character in Under Siege 3: Hands Off the Ponytail.