The Hot List: Japanese sando sambos in Sydney, Four Pillars' Christmas pudding gin and cookies with attitude

Devon cafe's fully-loaded sando.
Devon cafe's fully-loaded sando. 


Last month when Devon cafe opened at Barangaroo, executive chef Zach Tan knew that many of his customers would visit from nearby offices. Not the kind of place to have sandwiches sitting for hours in a display, the team landed on the Japanese sando concept: fast, made-to-order sandwiches with fillings such as panko prawns and cabbage, Korean fried chicken, Wagyu steak with onion rings and porcini butter, and a take on the ham and cheese jaffle with salted egg. Add chips or salad for an easy $3.50.

Beerenberg jams

Beerenberg jams Photo: Supplied


Last week it was boozy popsicles. This week it's boozy jams. Think of us as aficionados, not alcoholics; these punchy preserves are simply our latest discovery. Hand-made in small batches on the Beerenberg Adelaide Hills farm, there are three jams inspired by classic cocktails: Blood Orange & Cognac Jelly, Apricot & Amaretto Jam and Strawberry & Champagne Jam. Try them folded into cheesecakes and desserts, in cocktails and on lavosh and pastries.

Four Pilllars Christmas pudding gin.
Four Pilllars Christmas pudding gin.  Photo: Supplied


Inspired by his mother's 1968 Australian Women's Weekly Christmas pudding, Cameron McKenzie distilled whole puddings and a spicy base of juniper, cinnamon, star anise, coriander and angelica in the still named after his mum, Wilma. Blended with gin aged in ex-Grants barrels that stored Rutherglen Muscat for 80 years, the result smells like gin and tastes like the silly season. Released on Derby Day each year – when his mum used to make her puds – you can find NSW and Victorian stockists at

Badass Biscuit Co

Badass Biscuit Co Photo: Supplied

We're craving… BADASS COOKIES

The cookies in Sydney are too perfect. That's what Katrina Higham, formerly of Windsor Deli in Melbourne, thought when she moved to NSW. "I just wanted a badass, cool biscuit that you could smash," she says. And so, The Badass Biscuit Co. was born. Higham supplies her cookies to Sydney cafes such as Ruby Lane and Charlie and Franks, but as of yesterday you can order subscription boxes with the three signature and two monthly rotating flavours (first up, one inspired by fairy bread and another by Christmas). Order from

Biem Butter spray

Biem Butter spray Photo: Picasa

We're cooking with… THE BIEM BUTTER SPRAYER

Butter might not melt in one's mouth, but it does in this nifty gadget that we want but don't necessarily need. Hard-butter haters simply load the biēm butter sprayer, where layers of paper-thin heaters melt butter in a reservoir before it travels up to a spray nozzle. It doesn't clog, has motion-detection technology and costs less per ounce (that's 28 grams) than most non-stick sprays. Use on toast, douse your veggies and popcorn or baste your turkey and seafood with it this Christmas.


According to Anthony Bourdain, his new cookbook, Appetites, is a collection of "the dishes that I like to eat and that I like to feed my family and friends". But when you travel the world for a living, a regular meal becomes a mash up. You won't find flawlessly styled food, but half-eaten family meals, pig trotters and chicken bits – alongside Bourdain's famous quips. Who else can put the sentence, "within an hour of consumption, I'm shitting like a mink" in a cookbook? Available in bookstores or

Sprinkle wallet from Shoe Bakery

Sprinkle wallets from Shoe Bakery Photo: Supplied

We're obsessed with… SPRINKLE WALLETS

It's more than a little cringeworthy when designers use words like "indulgent" and "delicious" to describe fashion, but we're giving a pass to the Shoe Bakery, which makes whimsical heels and flats to order in Orlando, Florida. We're even bigger fans of its sprinkle wallets, totes and bags, which look like they've had icing dripped over them. Indulgent. Delicious.


A degustation at Nora in Carlton, Melbourne, costs $115. But what price creativity? Expect about 12 courses, funky flavours and the only spiralised vegetable noodles in the country worth eating. The cheekily named dish "Too Many Italians, Only One Asian" is a comforting combination of hot, buttery threads of green papaya in an Asian "pesto" of sorts, made from cashew, sator (stink bean), fermented garlic and school prawns.