Extreme Dining at Easey’s, Melbourne
Jimmy Hurlston opened Easey’s this year. The name comes from the location (Easey Street in Collingwood), not the approach: it’s an ambitious five-storey venue that makes burgers the star and has a dine-in train carriage. On the roof. It’s proved an irresistible combination for calorie-hunting thrill-seekers so far.
So, what’s next? Aside from their continuing development of Easey’s, Hurlston says he and his business partners are a little bored with seeing “white-tiled, plain cafes” and have plans to do a few things to change up dining in Melbourne.
“Maybe something a little more fun, a little different,” he says. Any hints? “Well, there’s obviously a little bit of a transport theme in what I do, so we’re going to try to keep things moving … ”
Molecular Cocktails at Geisha Haus, Sydney
2015 was the year Heston Blumenthal came and conquered. He flew his entire Fat Duck restaurant from the UK to Melbourne for a six-month residency and raised the profile of science-based cuisine to heights not seen in Australia since George Colambaris was creating foams back in the early 2000s.
Qualified scientist Darius Rountree-Harrison is the brains behind the molecular cocktail menu at Geisha Haus, a slick sushi lounge and bar that opened with a bang in Sydney this year. He’s always been inspired by Blumenthal and, with drinks such as the Smoking Geisha (which includes mezcal tequila and cinnamon smoke), likes to “recreate some of his magic in liquid form”.
As for next year, “I’ve always got something on the boil, I like a challenge and to push the boundaries, so there will be lots of new developments at Geisha Haus,” he says. “All I’ll say at this point is we’ve been working with fire and carbonated sake.”
Andy Bowdy’s Soft Serve, Sydney
Pastry-and-cake guru Andy Bowdy left Sydney restaurant Hartsyard in July this year to set up his own online cake business and embark on other creative projects. For two months this included making soft serve at Gelato Messina Dessert Bar, with such intense concoctions as apple pie crème brûlée tart with doughnut soft serve, apple-pie filling, caramelised pecans and salted-caramel bourbon.
“At the moment I'm enjoying being a rogue pastry chef, being able to show up in different places with basically whatever I feel like making,” he tells us.
“As far as what’s in store for the future, I don't want to give too much away, but I’m working hard at getting my own place. I hope to re-imagine a place that is probably responsible for a lot of my childhood "puppy" fat and that also developed my love for cakes and pastries.” Watch this space.
Freakshakes at Patissez, Canberra
The 2015 viral food trend to rule them all. Mother-and-daughter team Anna and Gina Petridis’ tiny Canberra patisserie had barely been open two months when their “Freakshakes” went off the charts in July: attracting worldwide media attention, emulations and even parodies.
“What we’re doing is a dessert creation,” Anna Petridis says of the inspiration behind these elaborate shakes. “It’s not a competition of how much shit we can shove into a jar, it’s creating something that really works together.”
As for what’s next, apart from much-needed expansion, she wants to take it next level: reinventing classics; creating themed milkshakes around popular culture (think Golden Gaytime) and times of the year. And she’s a huge fan of Gelato Messina and Adriano Zumbo. “They’re innovators in what they do, and I want our Freakshakes to be on that level of creativity and originality.
“We’ve got a few pretty exciting plans for Sydney, which will come to fruition at the beginning of next year. I can’t say anything else, it’s going to be a surprise.”