Biota Dining Chef James Viles Southern Highlands

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In the Southern Highlands of NSW sits the small sophisticated township of Bowral, about one and half hours drive from Sydney CBD – and home to the epitome of excellence in NSW regional dining – Biota Dining.  Two-hatted Biota sits unassumingly on a corner block of land attached to a motel of only 12 small rooms, where you can stay the night – perfect really.  Chef and part owner James Viles’ philosophy for his restaurant is very simple – ‘it’s about telling the stories of our land, the seasons and the produce it provides us with.  Our role as cooks is to tell these stories’.



James Viles – Executive Chef Biota Dining


And they tell those stories at Biota with a religious confidence – in the produce they aim to source from within a 20 km radius of Bowral and  their own produce from the Biota Kitchen Garden.



Kitchen garden – Biota Dining


At Biota, you choose from a 5 or 7 course tasting menu or a choose your own 3 course menu – you can also go for the matching wines.  We chose the 5 course menu – it started with an amuse bouche of trout jerky – a piece of trout, cooked like beef jerky and served on a metal spike impaled in a piece of marble, an assault on the palate, so simple and to the point – brilliant.




biota dining - cool sydney restaurants - bowral

Biota Dining – Image Jason Loucas


Next Smoked roe – storm clam – charcoal – sea lettuce.  This was a visual and taste sensation like no other, smoked roe mousse – topped with fresh roe and surrounded by shards of charcoal created from lavosh.  This was ever so smoky – with a gentle crunch of the edible charcoal followed by the natural sweetness from the smoked roe.  The storm clam, sourced from Narooma on the South Coast, was placed on seaweed, presented on a stone from the beach – when you opened the clam, the taste was a subtle blend of the sea and vinaigrette that had been splashed over the clam meat.  This whole course was a playful narrative and a masterpiece.   Hen yolk – cooked curds – rye – chickpea.  This was a definite contrast from the roe and clam – a rich egg yolk nestled amongst the rye crumbs and rested on curds.  The rye delivered a nutty texture against the smoothness of the egg and curd.   Lamb breast – dried lactose – fresh & cooked oats.  A strip of rich sweet lamb that comes from a nearby Robertson farm, about 30 minutes away – it was sitting on the oats covered in gossamer thin, broken sheaths of dried lactose that disappeared in the mouth like a communion wafer and created a smooth milkiness with the lamb.


biota dining - james viles - cool sydney restaurants

Lamb oats lactose – Image Jason Loucas


Duck – pine – cauliflower – white raisins.   Duck three ways – succulent duck breast, duck heart and confit duck leg.  It was served with cauliflower – raw, finely sliced and puree – plump softened white raisins that exploded with sweetness, deep fried pine needles. This dish was rich dark and so juicy – a tribute to the duck.


The garden at Biota Dining


Chocolate – soft crème – fermented apple juices – pear.  One of the surprises here was the conifer needle, coated chocolate ball that encased the soft creme – placed in fermented apple juice, alongside chocolate ganache, pear sorbet and batons of dried pear skin.  This dish showed the originality of James Viles’ cooking – getting the diner to try components of ingredients that you’d usually discard. To accompany this food adventure, we asked head sommelier Ben Shepherd for a local wine recommendation – we tried the Pulpit Rock 2007 Pinot Noir.

Biota Dining is a restaurant that knows its agenda – the food is innovative, simple and wonderful.  Chef James Viles’ thinking delivers a memorable food experience that is world class and sits next to some of the best.

PS Check out the great food and wine from the Southern Highlands at the Southern Highlands Food and Wine Festival- Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th September 2014.

Biota Dining

18 Kangaloon Rd, Bowral NSW 2576

Open Mon – Sun for dinner

Mon, Fri, Sat and Sun for lunch

Sat and Sun for Brunch


Biota Dining Website






Biota Dining on Urbanspoon



11 Madison Park NYC -chef Daniel Humm

in Cool Restaurants | 1 Comment

Dining at 11 Madison Park in NYC is one of those food experiences that you never forget – perfect dining, where the food reigns supreme and everything else is excellent – this is just as it should be at this level of restaurant. When you dine at 11 Madison Park, you’re aware by everything they do that this is one of the world’s 50 best restaurants.  In 2014 – 11 Madison Park was ranked at no 4.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - interior

Interior at 11 Madison Park


As well,  there are just seven 3 star Michelin restaurants in New York City and 11 Madison Park is one of them. It’s received many other accolades, amongst them – awarded four stars by the New York Times and one of over 167 restaurants in the prestigious Les Grandes Tables du Monde.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - daniel humm

Daniel Humm Chef and co-owner 11 Madison Park


Daniel Humm is the chef and co-owner at 11 Madison Park – training and working in Switzerland and at Campton Place in San Francisco. Chef Daniel Humm has refashioned one of the world’s best restaurants into a showcase for New York’s food artisans.  Set in an wonderful art deco building, the dining space, just across from Madison Park is majestic.

The fifteen plus course tasting menu focuses on the centuries-old culinary traditions that are an inherent part of New York City, overlaid with extraordinary produce of New York state. But this was more than a tasting menu – the whole dining experience was cheeky and fun, like the picnic basket that came to the table towards the end of the meal.

And so our dining adventure started – Morel Custard with Maine Sea Trout Roe


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park -morel custard

Morel custard with Maine Sea Trout Roe


English Peas warmed with Meyer Lemon and Egg Yolk – the simplicity and freshness of young peas with delicate lemon and the dried egg yolk.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - english peas

English Peas warmed with meyer lemon and egg yolk


Pastrami with Ramps, Rye, Mustard and Celery – another toast to the New York food tradition of a pastrami sandwich in a diner. Served with a soda.


Foie Gras cured with Orange-Camomile, White Asparagus and Bitter Almond.


Apple – Waldorf Salad with Celery, Rhubarb and Walnuts – another New York food tradition, complete with its history – and made at the table


Lobster poached with Beets, Ginger and Nasturtium – the luscious, sweet lobster that’s such a feature of New York food tradition, alongside both strips of beetroot together with almost black, roasted beets.  This dish was absolute luxury.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - lobster

Lobster poached with Beets, Ginger and Nasturtium


Asparagus braised with Potato and Black Truffle – using the French cooking technique – ‘en vessie’, the asparagus is braised in a pigs bladder with broth spooned over the bladder to maintain the moisture.


11 madison park - asparagus cooked en vessie - cool new york restaurants

Asparagus cooked en vessie – with potato and black truffle


asparagus cooked en vessie

Asparagus cooked en vessie – with potato and black truffle


Duck, broth with cured duck and watercress, roasted with Rhubarb, Shallots and Scallions. The roasted duck encrusted with sichaun peppercorns and cumin seeds and stuffed with lavender is brought to the table before being taken away to be finished and plated. The duck breast was the meat highlight of this meal – succulent and juicy with spiciness delivered by the peppercorns and cumin.


11 madison park - roast duck - cool new york restaurants

Roast duck with sichaun peppercorns and cumin seeds


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - roast duck

Roast duck rhubarb shallots and scallions


Fresh Cheese Pretzel, Parsley and Strawberries – a basket ready for your picnic in Central Park – another tradition complete with their own Picnic Basket Brown Ale from Ithaca Beer Company.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - picnic basket

Picnic basket – fresh cheese, pretzel, parsley and strawberries


Almond Baked Alaska with Rum, Caramel and Celery – this classic desert perfectly delivered with the addition of caramel.


Pretzel – Chocolate Covered with Sea Salt


The wine list at 11 Madison Park befits a restaurant of this stature – wines of the world as well as a Wines of New York section featuring wines from Long Island and Finger Lakes in upstate New York.  As we frequently do, we asked our sommelier to recommend a wine that matched the food on tonight’s menu and also a representation of the wines of New York. He recommended Keuka Lake Vineyards Riesling 2009, Falling Man Vineyard – similar in style to a cool climate riesling from Australia or New Zealand. It perfectly rounded out the meal with appropriate and subtle dry fruitiness.


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - interior shot

11 Madison Park – Midtown – New York City


cool new york restaurants - 11 madison park - menu May 2104

Menu – 11 Madison Park


Eleven Madison Park is a perfect dining experience – the service was warm and friendly, supremely professional and knowledgeable with appropriate formality. The food was an amazing experience that would be hard to rival. It’s open Monday through Sunday for lunch and dinner. When you’re in New York, enjoy this brilliant restaurant and the wonderful food of chef Daniel Humm.




11 Madison Park

11 Madison Ave, New York, New York 10010




11 Madison Park Website


Eleven Madison Park on Urbanspoon



wd~50 New York City- Wylie Dufresne

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Wd~50 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side is the brainchild of chef Wylie Dufresne. One of the pioneers of modern food in NY – he’s worked in some of NY’s top restaurants like Jean Georges and 71 Clinton Fresh Food.  Occupying what was used to be a bodega, wd~50 has been at the forefront of NY dining for over ten years.

wd~50 at 50 Clinton Street, Lower East Side - New York City

wd~50 at 50 Clinton Street, Lower East Side – New York City


We knew of Wylie’s place in the NY food scene – he was recently accoladedby his peers, like Rene Redzepi (Noma) and David Chang (Momofuku), for his ten years at the helm of wd~50.  wd~50 received one Michelin star in 2006 and has retained it through to 2014.  In 2013, Wylie Dufresne was honoured with the James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef New York City.

For our dinner at wd~50, we sat at the bar – went for the ‘from the vault menu’ – a 7 course degustation menu with wine pairing.  And so our dinner started, directed by our very capable bartender, with an amuse bouche of veal sweetbreads with pickled eggplant.

Next hanger tartare, pickled asian pear, amaro, béarnaise ice cream  - a take on the classic french dish – the meat was perfectly minute, a small rectangle of bearnaise sauce frozen as icecream replaced the traditional mustard against the slight sweetness of the pear.


Hanger tartare, bearnaise icecream, amaro, pickled pear - wd~50

Hanger tartare, bearnaise icecream, amaro, pickled pear – wd~50


Sunflower-miso gazpacho, trout roe, shiitake, daikon – a gazpacho style soup with the earthiness of miso and shiitake and laced with the saltiness of the roe – a winner.

Cod, salsify, coffee-saffron, smoked bulghur – the steamed cod was moist and flaky, roasted salsify with a lightly flavoured coffee saffron sauce.

Lamb loin, hibiscus-date, barley, aged goat cheese – the lamb loin was flavoursome and perfectly cooked, accompanied by the finely grated goats cheese alongside the date paste – almost like a cheese board.


Lamb loin

Lamb loin, barley, hibiscus-date – wd~50 Lower East Side NYC


Toasted coconut cake, smoked cashew, carob, brown butter sorbet – the sorbet brought this dish alive as it really wasn’t a showstopper.

Our pick of the wines – the dry vermentino, grenache blanc ‘Heart of Gold’ Edmunds St. John 2013 from El Dorado County in California. Great to check another American wine – strangely not many American wines generally served in NY restaurants.  And to finish, a 2010 muscat ‘nectar’ from Samos, Greece – drier than a ‘usual’ desert wine usually is.


Wylie Dufresne - wd~50- cool NYC restaurants

Wylie Dufresne – chef wd~50

wd~50 had a reputation for being avant garde – this is good food well cooked but not with the finesse/excitement of other NY restaurants and at times, the presentation was a little heavy handed.  It opens Wednesday to Sunday.  It’s a great location on the Lower East Side and that’s worth a look – it’s where you’ll also find Wylie’s new bar/restaurant ‘Alder‘.  There are new cool NYC restaurants and bars opening and closing all the time here,  much the same as in Sydney’s trend driven market .


50 Clinton Street, Lower East Side, New York City 10002 – take the F or J Train to Delancey/Esset Street stop


wd~50 Website        




WD-50 on Urbanspoon



Artist Tehching Hsieh – Carriageworks Sydney

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Carriageworks Sydney presents the first major solo art project by celebrated New York based Taiwanese born artist Tehching Hsieh to be shown in Australia.


Sydney contemporary art - Tehching Hsieh at Carriageworks

Tehching Hsieh at Carriageworks


One Year Performance 1980–1981 (known as the Time Clock Piece) is on at Carriageworks Sydney until 6 July 2014. In this amazing work, Hsieh punches a time clock in his studio, every hour on the hour, twenty-four hours a day, for an entire year. This is such a body of work to see – the purity of this art work is truly overwhelming.


Time Clock - sydney contemporary art - Tehching Hsieh

Time Clock – Tehching Hsieh – Carriageworks


The Time Clock installation includes the documents that Hsieh produced as the year passed: the time clock, 366 time cards, 366 film strips comprised of the 8621 times he photographed himself punching the time clock, and a 16mm film that reduces the year into 6 minutes. He only missed 133 (out of a possible 8760 punch ins) in the entire year.


Tehching Hsieh Sydney contemporary art - Carriageworks

Film strips, time punch cards – Time Clock One Year Performance Tehching Hsieh at Carriageworks


In a cabinet in the centre of the exhibition, you read the artist’s and his witnesses statement, as well as the artist’s uniform. As you enter the exhibition, there is a record of all Hsieh’s six durational works, like his Cage Piece, where he was locked in a cage for a year.


Time Clock -Tehching Hsieh Sydney contemporary art - Carriageworks

Tehching Hsieh One Year Performance 1980 –1981, The First Five Hours of Images and the Last Five Hours of Images in the Year © 1981 Tehching Hsieh Courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly, New York


Hsieh lives in New York, where he arrived in 1974 as an illegal immigrant, is internationally recognised as a leader in the practice of durational performance. His works have been exhibited at the Guggenheim in New York, Hayward Gallery in London and at the Sao Paolo Biennial in Brazil. This work like his others explore questions of time and life and being, and show physical and mental endurance and self discipline. A must see at Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh, Sydney – every day 10am – 6pm.


This is an important exhibition in Sydney’s contemporary arts calendar – check it out at Carriageworks until 6 July.







Kim -Korean Restaurant Modern

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Kim Restaurant in Llankelly Place, Potts Point , Sydney – is a modern Korean restaurant  that mixes it up and delivers a lighter, creative take on dishes like bossam and flavours like kimchi.


Kim restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - potts point

Chefs Tae Kyu Lee and David Ralph


vegetable crisps - kim restaurant - potts point

Jewel coloured sheaths of Vegetable


Chefs Tae Kyu Lee from Quay and Ms. G’s and David Ralph also from Quay, Flying Fish and Kakawa Chocolates – joined forces to give us a exciting Korean eating experience.


Kim Restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - Tae Kyu Lee

Chef Tae Kyu Lee


Starting the night, paper thin, jewel coloured sheaths of deep fried vegetable – stacked delicate and high with a light dusting of sea salt.  Staying with our mindset that was Korean – our waiter recommended Moonbaesool soju imagine Korean wild pear – Moonbae. Dryness on the palate that follows the scent of full ripe sliced Korean wild pear, 40% proof so caution in its beauty.

Dotori mook muchim – acorn jelly, mushrooms, sesame leaf.  A light jelly, like silken tofu effortlessly combined with mushrooms like enoki.


Kim Restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - Dotori Mook

Dotori Mook – Kim Restaurant


Kalbi jjim – pear and soy-braised short ribs, nine grain rice. The meat, falling off the miniature ribs is coated with creamy soy. Alongside, ogok bap (nine grain rice) is a fabulous medley including millet, black rice, black and red beans served with seaweed sheets that you wrap around the beef and rice.


Kim Restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - Korean Restaurant

Kim Restaurant – Potts Point


Bossam – Bangalow pork belly, garlic chive kimchi, ssamjang – the pork belly, half-steamed and half-braised, was moist and the sweetness from the pork fat coating the inside of your mouth. All eaten by encasing with baby cos lettuce as the wrap.


Kim Restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - Bossam

Bossam -the richest velvetty pork belly


Hoddeok – classic Busan style doughnuts – small discs, served with white chocolate icecream and black sesame parfait.


kim restaurant - cool sydney restaurants - potts point

Busan style doughnuts black sesame parfait – Kim Restaurant


Kim Restaurant – It is a small restaurant even by Paris standards so going early is smart thinking,  but the interesting flavours of Korean food and the brilliant cooking by chefs Tae Kyu Lee and David Ralph is what drives this exciting eating experience.



Kim Restaurant

Llankelly Place, Potts Point Sydney 2011




Kim on Urbanspoon






19th Biennale of Sydney

in Contemporary Art | 1 Comment

“You Imagine What You Desire” – the name itself evokes the 19th Biennale of Sydney  on now at Cockatoo Island, Art Gallery of New South Wales AGNSW,  Museum of Contemporary Art Australia MCA , Carriageworks and Artspace with works from more than 90 artists.   The Biennale of Sydney is the world’s third oldest biennale and today it ranks as one of the leading international festivals of contemporary art and continues to be recognised for presenting the freshest and most provocative art from Australia and around the world.

19th Biennale of Sydney Artistic Director Juliana Engberg says she created a temperament for each location.  In each location, sydneycool has chosen one work that represents the essence of the Biennale of Sydney for us – art that has touched us straight from the heart and the gut and to us when that happens it’s a special feeling – so here are our five.




At the MCA Australia at Circular Quay – Juliana describes as an aqueous and air space.  Our pick here is New York city artist Roni Horn’s work ’Ten Liquid Incidents’ – we’ve previously seen this work  at Punta Della Dogana in Venice – at the MCA Australia this work is of ten glass castings. Like frozen pools, mirrors or bottomless wells, you just want to sink into their eternity.


Roni Horn - sydney contemporary art - Biennale of Sydney

Roni Horn – Ten Liquid Incidents – 2010-12




sydneycool’s pick on Cockatoo Island – in the cavernous Turbine Hall Danish artist Eva Koch presents I Am The River (2012), a massive projection of Gljufrabui, the Icelandic waterfall, accompanied by a roaring soundtrack. This is completely overpowering and so beautiful in its location.





At Carriageworks – a great addition to the Biennale of Sydney locations – a first for the 19th Biennale.   This location looks at new works – Julianna Engberg describes this as ‘distilling film and video’.  We’ve selected a work in acrylic and oil by Finnish artist Anna Tuori – Nobody Knew My Rose.  On a large canvas, the artist presents a scene that’s like an old Christmas card – it’s as if you’ve wiped away steam from your bathroom mirror to reveal what you desire – love the small hand movement on the right.


anna-tuori-sydney-contemporary-art - sydney biennale

Anna Tuori – Nobody Knew My Rose 2013



sydney contemporary art - anna tuori - sydney biennale

Closer view of hand on the right of Anna Tuori's work Nobody Knew My Rose




The Art Gallery of NSW location – Juliana Engberg describes this as ‘the beating heart’ – here are artists interested in commenting on society.  sydneycool’s choice – the video work ‘Two Shoots that Stretch Far Out’ by Sydney born New Zealand video and performance artist Shannon Te Ao.  We love this work, the artist recites to a menagerie of animals including a donkey, a wallaby and chickens.  This intimate experience is intriguing and at the same time deeply poetic.


Shannon Te Ao - sydney contemporary art - Biennale of Sydney

Shannon Te Ao Two Shoots that Stretch Far Out, 2013–14 (video still) single-channel video, colour, sound Courtesy the artist




At Artspace in Wooolloomooloo – not only is the Ugo Rondinone work – Primitives but the video work Moderate Manipulations from Finish artist Henna-Riikka Halonen.  This work is part of a ‘future trilogy’ where the artist has re-imagined a radical future – a naturalistic setting.


Halonen - sydney contemporary art - sydney biennale

Henna-Riikka Halonen Moderate Manipulations, 2012 (video still) HD video, 6 mins Courtesy the artist Photograph: Minttu Mäntynen


We’ve given just a taste of the experiences at the 19th Biennale of Sydney : You Imagine What your Desire  - it’s on at Cockatoo Island, MCA Australia, Art Gallery of NSW, Carriageworks and Artspace until 9th June.  Go now and immerse yourself in the world of contemporary art in five very different locations.






Taste of Sydney 2014 – Centennial Park Sydney

in Cool Bars, Cool Restaurants | Leave a comment

Taste of Sydney is on again for 2014 – from 13th to 16th March.  This year, there’s a line up of Sydney and NSW restaurants and some of sydneycool’s favourite chefs as well the chance to sample some pop-up restaurants. Read on for sydneycool’s guide to Taste of Sydney 2014.

First sydneycool’s restaurant picks – Porteno in Cleveland St Surry Hills,

taste of sydney -ben milgate sydneycool porteno

Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahamowicz – Porteno


4Fourteen and Four in HandBloodwood in Newtown and from the Southern Highlands – Biota Dining.  Also keep an eye out for Longrain (looking forward to the new Asian eatery on the Macleay St restaurant strip due to open in May from Sam Christie – Longrain Partner and chef Jonathan Barthelmess from Apollo).  Our chef choices – Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahamowicz from Porteno and Bodega, Colin Fassnidge and Carla Jones from 4Fourteen and Four in Hand, Louis Tikaram from Longrain.


cool sydney restaurants - four in hand - shaved squid

Shaved squid/ smoked eel – Four in Hand


cool sydney restaurants - colin fassnidge - my kitchen rules 2014

Celebrity chef – Colin Fassnidge


This year, a new addition – you can experience the 6 bar/food concepts, promoted through IconPark (the latest in crowdfunding – the world’s first online platform and real estate fund dedicated to bars and restaurants).  They’re all in one place - you help decide which concept will open its doors for 3 months in the IconPark space in Stanley Street.   Check out the video pitches – like the look of Sedgwick Ave and  Stanley St Merchants.

Taste of Sydney is on from 13th to 16th March – Centennnial Park, Sydney.





Momofuku Sydney – the bar

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Momofuku Seiobo – The bar – walk-ins only.  Smooth and friendly service – effortlessly done – a reinvented menu at the Bar, interesting food like a katsu sandwich – some food traditionalists would be wondering.


Momofuku Sydney bar - cool sydney bars restaurants - menu

Bar menu monday 24 February 2014 – Momofuku Sydney


We started with a couple of glasses of a Mark Angeli ‘La Lune’ chenin blanc from Touraine – love the way you get to taste when doing by the glass.  The bar menu is a compact version of the full degustation menu, sort of – it’s innovative, simple presentation and dynamic flavours. On the night – the pickles are a must – crisp and crunchy, tartness as you would expect but with a gentle sweet finish – beetroot, radish, cucumber.


Momofuku Sydney bar - cool sydney bars restaurants - pickles

Pickles – Momofuku Seiobo


Roasted rice cakes, xo sauce, lamb – crunchy rice batons smoothered in meaty spicy sauce – superb and quite filling.  The classic Momofuku pork buns – always a winner – the best in town are still at Momofuku.


Momofuku Sydney bar - cool sydney bars restaurants - pork bun

Classic Pork Bun still the best at – Momofuku Seiobo


And because this was bar food – the spanner crab roll and potato crisps.  The spanner crab is wonderful to eat straight out of its sweet brioche style of bread – washed down with Sciacarello Domaine Comte Abatucci – a rose from Corsica.


Momofuku Sydney bar - cool sydney bars restaurants - spanner crab roll

Spanner crab celery salt crisp – Momofuku Seiobo


Momofuku Sydney bar - cool sydney bars restaurants - radish

Disc of Radish dusted with fermented beans – Momofuku Seiobo


Chef de cuisine at Momofuku Seiobo is Ben Greeno, originally from the UK,  he’s worked at all the Momofuku New York restaurants before he came to open the Momofuku in Sydney.


Momofuku bar - cool sydney bar restaurant

View across the bar – Momofuku Seiobo


The bar at Momofuku Seiobo in Sydney – David Chang’s three hatted Sydney restaurant owes a lot to the real talent from chef Ben Greeno and his brilliant team.  The bar at Momofuku is a Star in our skies.



Momofuku –  Sydney

The Star

Level G, 80 Pyrmont St

Sydney NSW 2009


Momofuku Website
Momofuku Seiōbo on Urbanspoon





Hong Kong Contemporary Art Best Food

in Contemporary Art | 1 Comment

Hong Kong is one in a handful of global cities that has built a reputation for contemporary art as well as great food. There are a multitude of Michelin starred restaurants, international galleries like White Cube and Gagosian and so many good local ones as well as the Hong Kong art fair,  which sits alongside Basel and Miami.


View of Kowloon Hong Kong - ICC Tower Kowloon

View of Kowloon Hong Kong – ICC Tower Kowloon



Man Mo Temple Hollywood Road Hong Kong Central

White Cube Gallery Hong Kong


The main art exhibition we were in Hong Kong for was The Chapman Brothers –  Jake and Dinos Chapman’s ‘The Sum of All Evil” at White Cube in Connaught Road Central.


Jake and Dinos Chapman -contemporary art at White cube Gallery Hong Kong

White Cube Gallery – Hong Kong


The Chapman Bros are part of the Young British Artists movement, along with Marc Quinn, Michael Landy, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.

In Australia, the Chapman Brothers exhibited as part of the 17th Biennale of Sydney in 2010.


Jake and Dinos Chapman - global contemporary art

Jake and Dinos Chapman

You enter the ground floor of the gallery – ‘The Sum of all Evil’ is the most densely detailed diorama installation that Jake and Dinos have yet created. In this ‘Hell’ landscape, you are overwhelmed by intricately detailed and realistic Nazi soldiers, along other characters like Ronald McDonald, committing violent, savage acts set in this cataclysmic world. Presented in four voluminous glass cases, this work is conglomeration of the worst possible ‘evils’, with violence and cruelty running amok across time.  Jake Chapman explains ‘We’re making work that contradicts the idea that art is inherently good and based on idealism.”


Upstairs on the first floor, you experience a set of four new diorama sculptures amplifying the same themes, one with Ronald McDonald as a sad fisherman on a broken jetty, his legs swinging over a lake full of dead bodies.

There’s also a series of found paintings that Jake and Dinos Chapman have as they say ‘reworked and improved’. These paintings by unknown artists, often portraits, which are defaced – again often grotesque, playing with their theme of art not always being good and positive.


Jake and Dinos Chapman - One Day you will No Longer

Jake and Dinos Chapman – One Day you will No Longer No 5


Gagossian Gallery Hong Kong


The other exhibition we were in Hong Kong for was Jean-Michel Basquiat at Gagosian Gallery in Pedder St.   A wide ranging retrospective – that gives a deep insight into Basquiat and his work, particularly true of his Self Portrait from 1984 and also the large scale works. Basquiat, like his contemporary – NYC artist Keith Haring, really combined materials and techniques that were more of the street than more traditional art practice.


Jean Michel Basquiat - Self Portrait 1984

Jean Michel Basquiat – Self Portrait 1984 Image: Gagiosian Gallery


Of course, we couldn’t be in Hong Kong without sampling some of the city’s renown cuisine.


Tim Ho Wan Restaurant


Two very different food experiences – the assistant at White Cube Gallery said we had to try Michelin starred Tim Ho Wan not far away in the Kong Kong MTR station. Tim Ho Wan, with branches across Hong Kong, delivers the freshest dim sum – like you’ve never tasted before. Put your name on the list and wait and wait and wait until your number is yelled into the air and run for your table.  The 45 + mins was worth it, it’s food you think of days later and the service is so Hong Kong, super efficient and to the point.


Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong restaurants - Central

The long wait at Tim Ho Wan – MTR Hong Kong


Tim Ho Wan - MTR Hong Kong Dim Sum restaurant

Best Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan – MTR Hong Kong


Tim Ho Wan - MTR Hong Kong Dim Sum restaurant Central

Dim Sum at Tim Ho Wan – MTR Hong Kong


Heichinrou Restaurant


Heichinrou Restaurant – classic Cantonese food and a formal restaurant – one of the dishes we tried was chicken with plum sauce. The chicken was steamed, so moist and tender and the plum sauce was nothing short of outstanding – the taste was layered dark and natural, with a musky smokiness.  The perfect tartness delivered by whole plums with stones still intact – this was a brilliant chicken dish.  We are off to Hong Kong again in a couple of weeks and this dish is high on our agenda – can’t wait.


Heichinrou Restaurant Hong Kong restaurants - table

Heichinrou Restaurant Hong Kong


Heichinrou Restaurant Hong Kong restaurants - chicken with plum sauce

Chicken with plum sauce – Heichinrou Restaurant Hong Kong


Heichinrou Restaurant Hong Kong restaurants - cool sydney restaurants

Dim Sum – Heichinrou Restaurant Hong Kong



We love shopping in Hong Kong and looking around some of the best food markets – from butchers to flowers and everything inbetween, That makes Hong Kong one of the best global cities for eating.



Hong Kong market shopping

If you’re after brilliant contemporary art and great food, Hong Kong delivers this and so much more.  It’s one of our favourite cities, along with Paris, NYC, London, Berlin and Sydney.


White Cube

50 Connaught Rd Central, Central, Hong Kong


White Cube Website


Gagosian Gallery

7/F Pedder Building, 12 Pedder St, Central, Hong Kong


Gagosian Gallery Website


Tim Ho Wan 

Concession Hok 12A, Level 1 MTR Hong Kong Station, Central, Hong Kong



41 Connaught Rd Central, Central, Hong Kong


Heichinrou Website





Cranky Fins Holidae Inn at Palm Beach

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After the Palm Beach crawl, which is pretty much bumper to bumper from the city, it’s time for some sustenance.  And what better way than taking the opportunity to try out the latest beachside place and have lunch at Cranky Fins Holidae Inn.

cranky fins palm beach - beachside sydney cafe bar

Inside Cranky Fins at Palm Beach

Cranky Fins has just opened in Beach Road at Palm Beach north opposite the Golf Club. It’s a beachside /island life themed diner/bar – the design, like the non Cape Cod version of The Fish Shop in Potts Point Sydney. There’s signs and artwork crammed around the walls – created by surfer/artist Ozzie Wright, Mambo designer Gerry Wedd and artist James Brown.  Cranky Fins Holidae Inn Palm Beach is the offspring of The Bucket List at Bondi Beach in Sydney – from Bucket List owner Andy Ruwald and head chef Tom Walton.

cranky fins palm beach - beachside sydney cafe & bar

Cranky Fins – Palm Beach

Lunch time on a Sunday in high summer at Palm Beach, one of Sydney’s million $$$$$ spot for holiday homes of the rich and famous.  Cranky Fins is packed with the Palm Beach crowd – lots of families with kids, people who have just come from the beach etc.  I bet they are more Rolexes and Black Amex in this beachside diner than anywhere in Sydney – have you got the drift yet?  Easy and relaxed menu – lots of seafood and all very casual – ceviche, cemitas, whole fish, tacos, prawns in a bucket – almost the same as Bucket List’s menu as you’d expect – the head chef of both is Tom Walton. Drinks (because there’s a substantial bar inside) – a tight wine list, beers on tap including James Squires Cider (refreshing on a hot day) and some homegrown cocktails like a bellini with elderflower and grapefruit.

Cranky fins at palm beach - beachside sydney cafe & bar

Tacos – Cranky Fins

We tried the crisp crab cakes w ranch sauce ($19), house cured tuna pastrami w pickles and tomato Catalan bread ($18) and iceberg wedge salad w. radish and raunch sauce ($7). The crab cakes had a good crunch on the outside and hot on the inside but not particularly exciting with flavour, the tuna – the encrusted chillii on the tuna added spice as well as the jalapenos.  The food was fresh, tasty and easy to eat.

Cranky Fins Palm Beach Beachside sydney cafe diner

Crab cakes – Cranky Fins

Cranky Fins Palm Beach Beachside sydney cafe /bar

House cured tuna pastrami – Cranky Fins

Cranky Fins Palm Beach Beachside sydney cafe and bar

Iceberg wedge salad – Cranky Fins

This is a DIY diner at the beach – you place your own order at the bar – both food and drinks, came quickly and it was very, very busy.

Cranky Fins Palm Beach Beachside sydney cafe bar

Bucket of prawns – Cranky Fins

Cranky Fins will be a welcome addition to the Palm Beach cafe/bar choice – it delivers very casual, lots of fun beachside dining.  It is what it is.

Cranky Fins Holidae Inn

1 Beach Road, Palm Beach NSW       Crank Fins Holidae Inn Website Cranky Fins on Urbanspoon    

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