Poms in Australia, Zürich's Japanese chicken mascot and the UK wine industry.
Monaco-born Riccardo Giraudi is the meat-loving maestro behind the revival of this Parisian-Argentinian institution where you are guaranteed an exquisite Kobe beef taco or Wagyu empanadas. Architecture firm Humbert & Poyet has subtly updated the decor and transformed the back of the dining room into a cocktail bar, which slings the best margaritas in town.
49 Rue Volta
The success of the Dry cocktail bar and pizzeria, which opened in 2013, has been followed up with a second, larger spot that has outdoor seating. Sip a French 75 or Gin-Gin Mule while sampling chef Simone Lombardi’s pizzas such as Ventricina (spicy sausage, shallot and mozzarella) and bite-sized focaccia laced with vitello tonnato (a heady veal and tuna combo).
Residents of north London have been a bit glum of late after what looked a lot like the shutting of this snappily named fishmonger and dining spot. Luckily the measure was temporary while the restaurant found a larger spot just up the road.
The produce is still plucked fresh from Cornish boats so the menu changes depending on what’s netted. The food is unerringly fresh and the service decorous; the delight among residents to have their fishmonger back is also palpable.
The British wine industry is bubbling up nicely but a late-spring frost has damaged up to 80 per cent of yields. The fruit lost will affect bottles hitting shelves in 2019 but this setback may yet be offset by ambitious plans: enough vines are being planted to add two million bottles to stocks, worth an additional €59m.
It was a long-held dream of Robert and Adele Genovese to open a coffee shop in the sleepy town of Montclair, New Jersey. Their shopfront is kitted out with just-so fixtures, including a Russian birch floor with differently shaped pieces that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.
Taking cues from Adele’s native Italy, Local serves a 14-hour steeped cold brew and there are fresh pastries to boot. The whole family is involved; even 10-year-old son Giovanni is a dab hand with a coffee tamper.
Putput is the name of the cartoon chicken that Nao Shirato created with Julian Zigerli when the two were studying graphic design in Zürich. The chick is now the mascot of Shirato’s Japanese takeaway in Aussersihl, where she prepares steamed buns, onigiri and curry. A small concession inside sells Hasami porcelain and take-homes adorned with the chubby Putput mascot.
Drake Properties, established by hotelier Jeff Stober in 2004, has launched its latest venture, Drake Commissary. Set in industrial buildings in the Junction Triangle neighbourhood, the kitchens feed The Drake Hotel, Drake One Fifty and the Drake Devonshire hotel, as well as the newly launched catering arm. A café and shop complete the offering.
“We serve thousands of people but we’re still doing it like at the beginning: by hand,” says Sarah Lyons, director of food and beverage.
After a spike in the popularity of pomegranates and a dearth of Australian producers, computer-science engineer Joshua Reuveni saw growth potential in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley. Having tested the soil for fecundity, Reuveni planted 30,000 trees when he started in 2008 and has more than doubled his crop to 75,000 in the intervening years.
The pomegranates here are mainly of the Wonderful variety (the trees bear fruit after two years and produce large juicy orbs that are bright crimson), which are sold as fresh fruit, arils (seeds) and as a range of packaged products. At the end of each summer the fruit is gently hand-harvested to avoid bruising. Reuveni is already eyeing up new plots, with longer summers and less rain, in which to grow the business.
Palacio moved to Hong Kong from London in 2012 with the Aqua restaurant group. The 31-year-old Spaniard decided to open a restaurant with his Italian boss Christian Talpo in 2014 and the group recently added Pici and TokyoLima to the roster.
Why call your first restaurant and company Pirata?
Pirata means pirate in Spanish and Italian. My previous bosses used to say I was a pirate (in a good way) as I always did things my way. Christian overheard this one day and so we thought, why not? We called our second place The Optimist because we both started out washing dishes.
Was it tough opening your latest restaurants simultaneously?
The toughest moment was between restuarants one and two, not adding numbers three and four. Learning to delegate and trust other people was difficult.
Why have your restaurants clustered around Wan Chai?
I visit each restaurant every day. We want to spend time in them so travelling elsewhere would have distracted from our core business. Wan Chai has a good mix of residential, hospitality and office space so we are consistently busy.
How will you keep things special at Pici and TokyoLima?
Restaurant owners can be guilty of relaxing once a place starts making a little money. For us it’s about maintaining standards: taste your food every day, update your menu and train your staff.
At Out East – a new East Village establishment inspired by the US’s northeastern beaches – the obligatory pink accent comes in the form of cosy rose-coloured banquettes. The spot is heavily influenced by the sea, from the wave-inspired floor tiles to a raw bar brimming with fresh seafood. Chef Tim Meyers knows what he’s doing and dishes are clean-tasting and well presented. We recommend the tuna tartare and the flounder, washed down with a colourful cocktail or an offering from the extensive wine list.