Food is all about memories. Memories of your favourite rice pudding your mother made when you were unwell or your Nonna’s lasagne. When we travel so many fond memories come from sharing sensational dinners at a destination restaurant or huddled against the cold for a crepe in wintry Paris. That’s why two of Australia’s most esteemed reviewers have teamed up to present – Around the World in 80 Dinners.
With 14 editions of the Good Food Guide between them Joanna Savill and Janne Apelgren have compiled the bible for the food-obsessed traveller. They are both highly regarded for their knowledgeable, carefully crafted and impartial reviews. Joanna and Janne are well-known dispensers of advice on what to eat and where.
Despite the catch cry of the naysayers, “The restaurant reviewer is dead”, informative and considered restaurant reviewing is here to stay. Traditional media has been dragged into the digital world and is spreading quality writing via new channels.
So why a ‘bucket list’ of sorts?
This is a book for those people who book restaurants before booking the plane tickets.
Strictly speaking, listicles are most of the time a pretty lazy way to convey information and to consume it. Around the World in 80 Dinners is no mere bucket list. It “is not a definitive guide to the world’s greatest dining, it’s a personal list by two seasoned food road warriors who still have plenty more places they want to try”.
In Around the World in 80 dinners they chronicle their travels to more than two dozen countries. They tell tales of magical meals in restaurants from Australia to Zambia, Mexico to Denmark and Japan to Peru. From Noma to Central, El Celler de Can Roca to Bennelong these two have sure done some fine eating. Be assured this book is not merely for food snobs. The writers also include their unabashed love for LA’s Koji Truck Roja $2.29US beef rib tortilla.
Le Jules Verne, Paris
Le Jules Verne is the exception to the long held rule #1: Never eat anywhere that floats, with a view or that revolves.
The breathtaking view over Paris is only missing one thing because you’re sitting in it. Exquisite dining is to be had in the Eiffel Tower on an Alain Ducasse designed menu and cooked 125 metres below in an underground prep kitchen.
“As the lift opens to the chocolate-hued dining rooms, Paris is at your feet, glimpsed through the tower’s lacy steel … the food … manages to compete with the surroundings and the view: a pretty green pea soup with crab and caviar, then lobster, duck foie gras, sea bass with asparagus from Provence…”.
Pujol, Mexico City
Number 25 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Chef Enrique Olvera has given Mexican street food a gastronomic makeover. In this informal space, “… Tiny botanas (street food inspired snacks) set the pace; a tiny stuffed corn meal bocol (doughnut), topped with pico de gallo (tomato and red onion salsa) and stuffed with fresh white cheese. …It’s really hard to forget the dishes here … each one is so original in combination so utterly Mexican in flavour.
The “famous ‘two moles’ dish twin puddles of ground spices, nuts, fruits, herbs and chillies blitzed … one is freshly made, the other has been simmered and aged for 770 days”. The barbacoa lamb taco and the poached egg infladita with chapulin (grasshopper) sauce come highly recommended.
In London’s Borough Market, Kappacasein’s owner Bill Oglethorpe, crafts his now legendary toasted cheese sandwich that is considered by many as the world’s best.
…Starting with Parisian bakery “Poilane’s stone-ground, wood-fired sourdough … Ogleshield – a cheese Oglethorpe developed with a dairy farmer – Montgomery cheddar and Comte. Oglethorpe adds, red, white and spring onions with leek and garlic”. The sandwiches are then roasted until the cheese melts through the bread, spilling out and leaving the lot burnished and crisp”. …We can confirm these sandwiches are the bomb”.
Around the world in 80 Dinners reviews not just the innovators or ‘disruptors’ but the places you go for the full gourmet experience; those restaurants that envelope you in a warm blanket of comfort like perennial favourite NYC’s Balthazar.
The 14 outstanding Aussie restaurants that make the list include Bennelong, Quay, Long Chim, Brae, and Esquire. The book is also filled with tips on how best to get a reservation, how to eat like a local, where to stay and other hotspots not to be missed.
So we come to what must be described as the ultimate First World problem: where to go first?
Around the World in 80 dinners is distributed by Melbourne University Press and would make the perfect stocking filler for the food obsessed traveller in your life: https://www.mup.com.au/items/198593