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Michael Symons

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  1. Found myself taking Julot's advice on the Guy Savoy internet lunch special, and he is again right (as he proved elsewhere, notably Christians aka Gasthaus Grainer, outside Munich). As everyone notes, excellent value for money (and wines are available for 10 euros a glass, by the way). The next day we recalled 18 desserts on the table, and yet that hadn't seemed too many. The unanticipated excitement came from Hubert, who not only chose the menu highlights for us but was profoundly funny - the truths of dining delivered joyfully.
  2. We managed to return for a lunch, but Daniel said he's only been doing them once a month, on a Thursday, as I understand.
  3. Second the comments about looking about, which happens when a person shifts locations anywhere. Coming from Australia (to Wellington, so not Auckland), I took surprisingly long to discover Moore Wilson's (can't have been listening). But I quickly discovered the coffee (flat whites) - seriously good coffee. Funny little things, such as the blackberries have virtually no taste, nor the pumpkins. Yet I found wonderful turnips. Lots of game. Fish not always fresh enough, and butter surprisingly poor in the supermarkets given the dairying (so we get it posted from Christchurch!). Yet I wasn't used to cream being widely available in two litres. Margaret Brooker has done useful buying guides. Cuisine magazine is worth keeping an eye on, at least until you find your own way around.
  4. Came across these grumps when booking, and vowed to report on latest experience - again excellent, deserves both hats. Been going to Cafe di Stasio since it opened, in recent years for lunch special (whose price used to track the years e.g. $19.97 in 1997 - now $30), usually with a couple of additions for the table of old favourites. Perhaps it's become a habit - we're not visiting Melbourne if it's not Marios, di Stasio and one or two other places. True, the restaurant is not at its best when noisy and crowded. However, the Age guide is right to stress lack of complication in food, and I can't recall a dud. The service has to be among the best in Melbourne. Where the place gets the extra points is some category we might call 'statement', which extends to the food, which seem to tend towards the bitter. The di Stasio 'statement' is also probably why people either love it or not.
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