Hungry Hinch

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    What Price Corkage?

    It was almost enough to drive a man to drink. And to add to the frustration it was all because I wanted to drink some non-alcoholic wine in some unfamiliar American restaurants. On a recent trip to Los Angeles and New York I took along a few bottles of my trusty Edenvale sparkling cuvee and Shiraz.
    Full story …
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    A Whitebait Birthday

    It started with a gloating trans-Tasman phone call from my sister, Barbara, on her birthday earlier in the same week as mine. ‘Guess what I had for my birthday? Whitebait fritters’.
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    Oyster Bar NYC

    Strange place to find your culinary nirvana: In the bowels of Grand Central Station. To be pedantic, it was actually in a curved ceilinged cavern in Grand Central Terminal. Grand Central Station – despite what they say in the movies -- is actually a post office. But nirvana it certainly was.
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    Sardi's NYC

    She ordered scrambled eggs on toast. We were dining at one of New York’s most famous restaurants –with a menu that featured everything from steak tartar, made at the table, to oysters from Prince Edward Island and a roasted prime rib of beef. And she ordered scrambled eggs on toast. At Sardi’s
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    Balencea

    When I was a young BB&B Police reporter in Sydney, brash (I thought brilliant) boozy and broke I shared a huge old house at Fairlight, near Manly, with other BB & B journos.
    Full story …
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    Cafe Vue

    Super chef Shannon Bennett is a bit like some of his signature dishes: exciting, visionary, unpredictable and not easy to slot into a category.
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    Ragazzi

    Time to come the raw prawn because prawns are in the news right now. Or at least one giant one is. The Big Prawn that looms over the Pacific Highway in Ballina, New South Wales. Apparently The Big Prawn is on the nose. The owner wants to get rid of the prawn that spawned all those other kitsch monsters like the Big Banana, and the Big Pineapple and the Big Russ Hinze ( no, I made that one up).
    Full story …
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    Harveys

    It must be tough when you’re the owner or chef at a popular restaurant and you are best known for one thing when you know your establishment is much more than that. In the theatre world it’s called type casting.
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    Hanalei Dolphin

    Eureka! I have found it. The perfect diet. Would you believe, an idyllic diet? In Hawaii? It’s gonna cost ya (as they say in the USA) but it is worth it. The expense is actually not in the food itself. This is a paradise for fresh, cheap, seafood. It’s just getting here that bruises the bank balance.
    Full story …
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    Lord Cardigan

    About 25 years ago, being such an expert at trendspotting and social mores, I decided that Albert Park was going to be the next South Yarra. I bought an Architectural award-winning modern palace in Merton Street – the only three-storeyed building in the area -- and awaited the gentrification.
    Full story …
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    Tutto Bene Ristorante

    On the same day I heard the sad culinary news that a fine, new restaurant called Seagrass had closed for Easter, but had failed to emulate a Christ-like resurrection on Easter Monday, I re-discovered a great restaurant still flourishing in the same Melbourne wining and dining complex.
    Full story …
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    Nobu II

    I last mentioned Nobu, the four-letter word synonymous around the world with exquisite Japanese food, after a dinner prepared there last year by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa himself.
    Full story …
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    Attica

    The last place on earth I would want to have dinner is at Attica. The last time I was there, there were 43 dead bodies around the place which was a smouldering ruin and the joint was crawling with cops.
    Full story …
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    Otto Ristorante

    It’s a nice touch when a menu says: ‘Boat berth available. Booking essential’. But that’s the sort of place Otto is. Sticking out into the harbour on Cowper Wharf. As one observer noted, Otto is the place to see the 'in' people whether it be media moguls, film stars, politicians or the latest bankrupt.
    Full story …
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    York

    It was an innocent question –despite the ever-present but stupid internecine rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne. Which city started pub dining?
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    Mollusc Musings

    I know I have bored table guests witless – especially Mrs. Nosebag – whenever the subject of oysters comes up. She is especially tolerant seeing that she doesn’t eat oysters. She has tried. In fact is fascinated by the raptures of the true oyster lover. Just doesn’t like them. I put her in the same category as the ‘professional virgin’. Tried it once and didn’t like it.
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    Ricardo's

    About 25 years ago I had a Hinch Hunch. Albert Park was about to become the new South Yarra. Real estate prices would zoom, restaurants would blossom and people would flock to the great fruit and vegie shop, the real butcher, and the bread shop.
    Full story …
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    Guiseppe Arnaldo & Sons

    When a place serves you a simple appetiser – a bowl of olives – and you think ‘these are the best olives that I have ever eaten in my life’ then you know you are in for a helluva Italian meal.
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    Nobu

    It was yet another of those pointless ‘Desert Island list’ games. Which five albums would you take with you if you were shipwrecked? Which three books? Who would you like to be cast away with?
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    Seagrass

    With Mrs. Nosebag being a vegequarian and the Hungry Hinch edging into his dotage the quest for good seafood restaurants is endless. For me the days are long gone when I’d order a huge steak –and, when asked how I would like it cooked, would say ‘just walk it through the kitchen.’
    Full story …
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    The Fawkner II

    When it comes to dining out The Fawkner is an open and shut case. Well, actually it’s more of a shut and open case because it has closed it doors and re-opened, and changed menus and management, so many times in recent years you tend to wipe it from your speed dial.
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    Best of the Best

    Sometimes you like the food but you don’t like the seating arrangements or the waiter. Sometimes you like the décor and other times you feel like shouting ‘Send for the ambience immediately’. And sometimes you are put off a place even before you get there because of somebody else’s rating of it on the Internet.
    Full story …
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    Pink Salt

    One of Channel Nine’s big hopes for the new 2008 was a new prime time reality cooking show called The Chopping Block. The ratings were so bad for the first airing that it seemed destined for the chopping block itself before the season was much older.
    Full story …
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    Three of fhe Best

    At the start of a new year it is worth looking back at three of my favourite eateries of 2007. All had superb food. All should go on the list for special occasions. But I found one thing at each of them that niggled me.
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    Manta

    There was a rollicking old party song my parents used to sing when I was a kid and the chorus was ‘Otto drives me crazy, so Otto’s gotto go’ I thought of it when dining at Manta on Finger Wharf at the ‘Loo. Otto’s is next door. Otto’s ( see review) was made famous and (for a while owned by) ‘Golden Tonsils’ himself John Laws.
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    Fog

    You don’t usually associate food with the word ‘fog’. I mean, there was Phineas Fogg in Around the World in Eighty Days and Heathcliff staggering through the mist and fog in Wuthering Heights. It even had a Royal connection. Princess Anne’s first husband, Capt. Mark Phillips, was known as Fog because he was so thick.
    Full story …
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    Lobster Bar & Grill

    Confession time. I am a creature of habit. So is Mrs. Nosebag when it comes to dining out. There’s a standard joke amongst our friends that we apply the ‘One Kilometre Rule’ when deciding where to eat.
    Full story …
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