Sunday, 30 March 2008

Opening Date May 11 and Vale the Plongeur


The date has been set.
Sunnybrae Restaurant and Cooking School will re-open on Sunday May 11 for lunch after nearly eight years. It will be Sundays only and classes on Saturdays and Mondays.
The dining room will seat 40 and a small private room will seat 10.
I have not finalised the menu format but it will again be a multi course long slow lunch a little different in structure from last time. We have been working towards this for the last 6 months on many essential details and small renovations. The essence of what we will do has not changed. That is simply to make you comfortable, relaxed, with as close to a balanced seasonal, local, country dining experience as we can provide. When we closed in 2000 there were only a handful of local wines but now we are spoiled for choice and the list will concentrate on wines of this extended district. We will again also be BYO and there will be a small list of special reserve wines.
I do not like to bang on about a culinary philosophy but I was given an opportunity to express these ideas a couple of years ago in the form of a detailed report for Geelong Otway Tourism as part of a strategy which I called A Sense of Place which says it all.
We are very proud of this district and try to create an experience that echoes the seasonal flavour of this small piece of Victoria. If you wish to read the whole here. Especially the final conclusion, this years prediction is less difficult. Back to Back in 2008.
Part 2 of the report is the Regional Produce Guide on the right of the page under Sunnybrae Rescouces I am updating it soon.
If you are thinking of coming to the restaurant please book on the phone rather than email as its easier to discuss any special needs that you may require . 03 52362276.

It has been a tough week with news that Michael Thwaites our first plongeur at Sunnybrae had died.
Reflecting on our dear mate [he was a friend way before he hit the sinks] I realised that Mick has been on the plonge at some time at nearly every kitchen that I had run.
My mate David [17 summers with me on the floor] reminded me how neglected this spot is in the libraries that have been written about food.
Michael was a deep, complex, well read individual with immaculate taste in music and was always in charge of the kitchen sounds. Each season can be fondly recalled by the popular anthems of the time from Mick's legendary kitchen tapes. We first heard Ian Dury from Mick plus many others, Neil Young took us back at the funeral to time of innocence and play, King Crimson sent us off to the pub to celebrate the man.
He held the kitchen together without you even knowing he was there with perfect timing both on the sink and on the speakers.
If a kitchen brigade can be compared to a group then the plonge is the Bass, Michael was the best bass player I ever knew.
Cool moods for early morning prep building up to blinding crescendos at the dinner rush.
The pan you needed always there, the pass clean and fresh, sink water really hot.
He could turnout over 400 hand-made dim sims an hour and keep the fridges and cool room spotless all the while smoking and cruising with the usual suspects at the kitchen door where Malcolm his beloved dog waited patiently..

We will miss you dearly Mick.

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