Now trending: Goodbye salad cakes, hello sushi cakes

Cakes don't always have to be sweet.
Cakes don't always have to be sweet. Photo: Supplied

We're obsessed with … SUSHI CAKES

Cakes don't always have to be sweet. Check out these especially beautiful versions of chirashi-sushi, from Komeyui in Port Melbourne. Sashimi can be selected and arranged with white sesame, pickled ginger, nori, shiitake mushrooms and chives on seasoned sushi rice. Choose from two sizes, 15cm or 18cm, which will feed four or eight people respectively ($120-$180). komeyui.com.au

Breakfast nest

A breakfast nest from Crux &Co., Melbourne. Photo: Supplied

We're eating … A CRUX & CO. BREAKFAST NEST

Breakfast shouldn't be boring, and we'll be damned if it's something you can make better at home. That's why this potato roesti nest from Crux & Co. in South Melbourne ticks all brunch boxes. The nest will appeal to shoestring fries fanatics, while a falafel, three-cheese arancini and soft-centered scotch quail egg coated in chicken mince roost on top. Served in a spicy mixed bean and chilli concasse, you'll be saying smashed avo-won't-do in no time. 

Vermouth cocktail at The Paddington Inn

Vermouth cocktail at The Paddington Inn, Sydney.  Photo: John Kung + Iku Motonaga

We're drinking … VERMOUTH

Vermouth – an aromatic, fortified wine heavy on botanicals and wormwood – has a long medical history. These days we prefer it at the bar, not to cure jaundice. Start your education in Sydney at vermouth bar and bistro Banksii, Barangaroo, or skip over to the Paddington Inn for an aperitif (try Dolin bianco with grapefruit, rosemary and tonic). In Melbourne, Joe Jones from the ever-cozy Romeo Lane will teach you everything there is to know about vermouth varieties, stirring it into customised cocktail and classics.

Fritto misto at Mantecato

Fritto misto at Mantecato, Sydney. Photo: Supplied

We're loving … FRITTO MISTO

Fritto misto roughly translates from Italian to "mixed fry". Travel through Italy and you'll notice the components change with the region and season. In Piedmont, it's traditionally chunks of offal. But fried lung, liver and testicle isn't for everyone – and seafood versions are much easier to find in Australia. Head to Paper Fish, Melbourne's Stokehouse kiosk in St Kilda, for a cone of crinkle-cut chips, school prawns, whitebait and Peninsula squid, or to Mantecato in Balmain, Sydney, for calamari, prawns and zucchini lightly coated in 00 flour. 

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We're buying … EARTH AND BAKER CROCKERY

Three years ago, Mike and Mandy Barrett started taking ceramic lessons. She wasn't that interested, but figured it would be a good way to spend time with Mike, who's often away for work. After the first class, they were hooked. The pair called themselves Earth and Baker and launched an Instagram account. With fulltime jobs to manage, they sell through Instagram on a first-in-best-dressed basis, crafting whatever they feel like on a particular day. Most pieces and sets are one-offs. instagram.com/earthandbaker 

Katherine Sabbath's cakes

Katherine Sabbath's cakes. Photo: Nikki To

We're backing … KATHERINE SABBATH'S COOKBOOK

Self-taught Sydney-based baking boss Katherine Sabbath is a fount of imagination. Her latest project is somewhere between a three-dimensional art book and recipe bible featuring her most famous cakes. Made in collaboration with a young, creative team, the book will have separate recipe cards to avoid sticky finger marks. It's being funded through Kickstarter with a goal of $227,000 by December 18. Search "Katherine Sabbath" on kickstarter.com.

A michelada cocktail

A michelada cocktail.  Photo: Supplied

We're making … MICHELADAS 

Inspired by the beer cocktails available at Hotel Jesus (Melbourne) and Calaveras Mexican Cantina (Sydney), we're mixing micheladas. Rim your glass with lime and sea salt. Mix the juice of half a lime with a couple of splashes each of worcestershire, original Maggi and your preferred hot sauces, then half fill with tomato juice (or clamato, if available). Serve with a bottle of chilled Mexican beer (try Tecate) and top up as you go. Get creative with garnishes like Hotel Jesus' michelada El Macho. Crispy bacon, prawns, olives, jalapenos, celery and even shucked oysters also work.

We're watching … ANTS ON A SHRIMP

Released earlier this year, Ants on a Shrimp is a documentary that follows the launch of Noma in Tokyo, where it popped up in 2015 before doing something similar in Sydney earlier this year. It's especially relevant with the original Denmark restaurant set to close at the end of the year, alongside the opening of 108, Rene Redzepi's new, more accessible eatery. The documentary is an insight not only into the hurdles and highs of the Tokyo project, but also Redzepi's relentless dedication to produce and the excitement that accompanies discovering new food.