Harissa marinated chicken thighs. From Ottolenghi the cookbook. The ingredients are listed here. I deboned 8 thighs, leaving the skin on, but removing the most fat riddled portions. The harissa has a beautiful depth and less heat than my previous pastes (1, 2). It's mostly because of the roasted capsicum. .  . For my own reference - pierce a large red capsicum and place on the BBQ (no cleaning) turning every few minutes, so there is an even char. Cover and cool and then peel and deseed and set aside. Warm the spices (1/4 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander and caraway) and the crush with mortar and pestle. Add 3/4 of a large red onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 fresh red chillies (deseeded) and 3 smaller dried chillies (also deseeded) to a thermomix. Process at speed  6 for 2 seconds.

Hard boiled perhaps, but at least complete. . . my daughter had some ideas for the face, it reminds me of a sleepy young Lenin.

14%, Yarra Valley. It's difficult to love, a little too fat and textured, too bitter and unctuous, too rich and  burnished. Peach and marzipan, flint and barrel. It's very full and formidable, grippy and true.

Day 2. Honey suckle and a fog of sulphur and a wool. It's unchanged, but I've softened in my resistance.

The Syrah.

A baby back of ribs ($28), just one of the many pricey guilty pleasure to be found at Papa Jacks. I thought the buttermilk fried chicken (3 pieces for $20) was over cooked, though of course these things are less noticeable when you have beer as a lubricant. . .  

I enjoyed my meal, it's hard not to be pleased with a plate of sticky ribs, but I kept thinking of the observation attributed to Shane Mitchell of Saveur that I read a month or two ago in one of the weekend papers.

We arrived in number and without a booking, tired and hungry, and so perhaps our expectations were easily met. We just wanted comfort and food, quickly. The eating strip between Grey and Stanley is planned and competitive, tables spill onto the pavement and there's a wide choice of cuisines, the only thing missing is quirkiness and risk. Across the road beyond the grass and behind the bougainvilleas a sea of fast food for the even more impatient.

13%, augmented, plump and creamy. $A55 with grilled peach, match stick and butterscotch. There's a clear lactone edge to the nose, but even so I was a little surprised that this was so round and full and puffed up in the mouth; any spine is hard to discern. It strikes me as being unnecessarily inflated and and oak flavoured.

My oven, electric, only reaches 240 degrees, and so try as I might my bases are always more bread than  pizza, lacking that charred chewiness. The recipe for this wonderful pizza is from Roberta's cookbook, a copy of the ingredients can be found here. The book and recipes are brilliant and curiously precise - they suggest 43 grams of sauce for this pizza.

Modernity and stuffiness on the river. . . Like all venues that are a destination in and of themselves, there are some issues. For a room so light and breezy, the staff are remarkably serious and detached. There are of course no missed steps and all wants are anticipated, it just feels mechanical and scripted.

Image: the city eye fillet, a roast rump of pork and a deconstructed Banoffee pie.

Beautiful food, but on the day we visited an incredibly slow kitchen. At least a sixty minute wait. . .

The prettiest plate was clearly the fruit platter, though when it finally arrived, I enjoyed the jamon and feta croquettes with truffle aioli the most.

Perth has a large number of Morton bay fig trees, and for a long time I've associated the smell of Perth with the tree.

They are Queensland natives and off the coast of Brisbane is Morton Bay and Morton Island, and so somewhat childishly I had expected to see Morton Bay figs everywhere I went in Brisbane.

2009 Rockford Basket Press Shiraz. A transient whiff of blackcurrant, though mostly and more consistently it's leather and prune. Spiced, bold and ripe in the mouth, slightly sweet and verging on Port. It's true to the house and very appealing. Cuddly and warm.

2005 Domaine A Cabernet. Black currant, and DMS. I like this more than before, but still not enough to re purchase. I was hoping for more shadow and edge and less sweetness.

2010 Dead Arm Shiraz.
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