the story of boyandspoon + buffalo mozarella // sage flowers // smoked salt // toasted walnuts

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Question: what do you do when winter is looming, you’ve done the same office job or a variation of it for almost a decade, been relatively well-behaved your whole life (hi mum), you’re having a third-life crisis, and always wished you could do something more creative?

Answer: pick the biggest cliche you can think of and make it happen. Continue reading

mixed mushroom sandwich // crispy culatello // two cheeses // rosemary

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Paris can be tough. We know, we know – every one of you is rolling your eyes right now. But seriously, for all its beauty and culture and parisness, it is a bit bizarre sometimes – nothing opens at any logical time that we can discern, everything smells like wizz (what is it with dudes peeing in public here?), queues take forever, the weather is melbournian, the food can be as appalling as it is amazing. In fact, the food scene is a curious mix of horrific tourist traps, japanese-chef-dominated gastronomie, french bistronomie and mcdonalds. It takes a while to work your way through and find the right groove but god knows we’ve been trying. Continue reading

clam broth // samphire // jamon iberico de belotta

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– septime restaurant | chef bertrand grébaut –
80 rue de charonne, 75011

So here’s an interesting ingredient: samphire. Pretty name, pretty looks. If you speak ye olde english, it’s called glasswort. If you speak science nerd, it’s salicornia europaea or marsh samphire. If you speak french, it’s salicorne. For the uninitiated – which was us until about six weeks ago – it’s a salty, edible succulent found mainly in shallow marshes around the sea. It’s pretty much a paleo wet dream, if you’re into that sort of thing, and looks a bit like broccolini would if it were a coral, or maybe like baby asparagus made of jelly. Actually it looks nothing like that. Look – here are a couple photos: Continue reading

blue steak // chimichurri // baby potatoes

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It is probably fair to say that france is king of the severely underdone steak. And if you have access to quality meat, you really should consider cooking it this way. If a steak sees any flame at all, it should be for the minimum time possible for the specific cut of meat.

When perusing the dismembered cow carcasses at market stalls in paris you really get to see every cut in all its glory. None of this pre-portioned, shrink wrapped, bright-red-minute-steak-defrosted-for-your-convenience crap. We are talking whole slabs of meat. Entire rib racks. Hooves and heads. Whole shoulders. Grass-fed veal vs suckling veal. Rump cut to your preferred thickness. There is no mistaking what the message is when you buy from one of these guys: you are eating an animal. A big animal. Properly raised and butchered with care and integrity. To be honest, we didnt recognise most of the cut names here – bavette, chine, faux-filet – so we went with “we want to cook it like this” and we haven’t been let down yet. Continue reading

poached saturn peaches // apricots // white strawberries // cherries // elderflower blossoms

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– hai kai restaurant | chef amélie darvas –
104 quai de jemmapes, 75010

Elderflower does funny things to people. It makes them say things like “summer in a glass” and “lawn party” and “would anybody like a cucumber sandwich?”. Until quite recently – as far as we were aware anyway – it only seemed to be consumed in cordial or jam form. Then we came to paris and ate at amelie darvas’ hai kai. Continue reading

seared scallops // spring peas and broad beans // smoked ham broth

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– bones restaurant | chef james henry –
43 rue godefroy cavaignac, 75011
[update: james has moved on. following a short break and as at august 2015, the restaurant has reopened sundays and mondays to empty its wine cellar]

Man if you thought eating in Paris was good in like 1992 you should get your arse back here. And soon. Granted you still have to wade through a whole lot of tired looking set menus and ‘classics.’ But (and this is for anyone who has slept face down in their chicken consommé for the last decade) Paris has gone through a bit of a culinary shakeup of late. A whole new generation of creative chefs, cooks and baristas have been serving up some really adventurous and interesting stuff, as well as finally starting to remedy the once woeful coffee situation here. No more lobster stuffed with tacos. Or over-extracted espresso doubles. Continue reading

gozleme // mushrooms // mache // feta // green olive tapenade

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So this is what happens when you’re forced to cook in a kitchen the size of a toilet cubicle and it’s the middle of the night and you’ve been singing my heart will go on on endless loop for four hours in the dark and you get up cos you have seriously major munchies and there’s nothing in your tiny fridge but a bag of mushrooms, some cheese and a bowl of olives and you think “when the hell did I start eating like an eighty year old russian man, I must get one of those old white singlets and those hush puppy slippers with the tartan on them and some cabbage.”

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carpaccio // celeriac // tarragon aioli // pink peppercorns

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Celeriac doesn’t get a lot of good press, though it should. We figure that’s because even though it has the most unbelievably subtle nutty-celery flavour and heavy-crisp texture, it’s kinda scary looking. The one we picked up sat on the bench like a mutant dr zoidberg for two days before we decided what to do with it. At one stage, we’re pretty sure we saw its eyes move. When it started to look like that little boy in the potato sack mask from the orphanage, we decided it was time to slice it into pieces and enjoy it. Carpaccio seemed logical. Lesson? Don’t make this in the dark.

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wild asparagus // soft poached egg yolk // truffle salt

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Holy crap so picture this. We’re at the markets the other day shopping for all sorts of responsible things like carrots and celery and quinoa when we come across a huge standload of wild asparagus. Wild fucking asparagus. Out of nowhere. Man, we got super excited.  Apparently we weren’t the only ones. We were getting advice from grandpas, vendors and just people who wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  Continue reading

white asparagus veloute // smoked pancetta // thyme oil

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Damn it’s cold in in Paris atm. Not like white-walker-gonna-fuck-you cold, but it’s the middle of spring and it’s barely above 10 degrees. The thing about cooking seasonally is that the seasons have a tendency to give you a couple of glorious soft days before they suddenly wind up and kick you in the lady parts. Makes it hard to cook all the stuff that feels like summer when all you want to do is curl up under a doona with a whiskey and watch all five seasons of breaking bad marathon-style.  Continue reading