After five years of plating degustation menus in Beverly Hills, Curtis Stone's restaurant Maude has taken the tastes of Western Australia to Los Angeles.
Following a recent trip to Western Australia, Stone decided to showcase the "wild, rugged, beautiful outback" he experienced. He told Good Food about his expedition which included "spearing fish in rivers with some Aboriginal dudes."
"It's interesting to be able to talk about Australia, it's cuisine and history through a bunch of plates," he proudly states.
An early treat is the Yarrie Station beef tartare, tartar sauce, smoked egg yolk, puffed wild rice and cornichons, followed later in the meal by barbecued marron, nori powder, nori oil and saltbush dukkah.
A Coopers Brewery pale ale accompanies crunchy chips sprinkled with Davidson Plum Powder to start, while Margaret River wines star for the rest of the meal - including Happs Pinot Noir 2016.
"The Americans are amazed. They say they didn't even know Margaret River existed and that the wines are unbelievable", says Stone.
Dinner includes an escape to the Wine Loft which is in a separate location to Maude - a few paces along the street, up a flight of stairs and behind an unassuming door.
There's a turntable playing funky retro tunes, a library wall, a bar, a wall of quirky framed holiday shots and plush, comfy armchairs. Stone asked the designers for a 'wine geek's man cave' but it doubles as a romantic space where diners have been known to push back the furniture and have a dance.
Tea, coffee or port is served with coconut pearls, lime granita, Anzac biscuit, mango-lemon myrtle sorbet (pre-dessert), then chocolate wattleseed ganache, ginger-caramel ice cream, passionfruit froth and macadamia nut (dessert) followed by the finest and tiniest lamington, quandong peach meringue and vanilla slice.
The restaurant seats 24. And yes, there's a waitlist. While adept at fine dining offerings, Stone, as head chef of the G'Day USA gala at the weekend, has also honed his skills for feeding close to 700.
"It's not my usual gig. I don't cope with the pressure really well if I'm being really honest. I get kinda stressed."
For the record, the G'Day USA gala menu at 3Labs Culver City was Glacier 51 toothfish, lamb loin and semi-freddo.
The writer travelled to Los Angeles as a guest of Qantas