Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Contents 174 SCOOP AUTUMN 2010
"I really want people,
when they think of
fine dining, to think
of Friends in the
way they think of
and Star Anise."
the amuse bouche that comes prior to the entree
you ve ordered.
On this occasion I didn t think anything
could trump the velvety perfection of a tiny field
mushroom soup, but another tiny unexpected
treat pre-dessert -- a delicate mango panna cotta --
was a dish so note-perfect, it rivals his souffle as a
Given the level of skill with which he cooks
rabbit, it s perhaps not surprising that his favourite
autumn ingredient is game of all types.
He particularly likes kangaroo, for its flavour.
"It s also a very healthy food, low in fat, but
because of this, requires a fair bit of skill to get
right," he says.
One of his favourite ways of cooking a
kangaroo saddle is to use the sous-vide method
(cooking in vacuum-sealed plastic pouches at low
temperatures for a long time) and then seal it in a
pan, wrapped in prosciutto, before serving with a
macadamia and potato puree.
But for all the effort and skill that goes into his
dishes, he is not averse to serving up a steak well
done to clients who request it, and says he s not on
a mission to educate local palates.
"I don t think you can push that on to people.
Some people even want their game well done, even
though it s chewy and dry. You can t force people
to have something. You ve got to do the best of
what people want.
"Here, it s not just about eating; it s about
entertaining somebody. It s about giving them not
just the satisfaction that they had a really good
meal, but that they ve also had a great time."
Andrew also loves to cook on his days off at
home with his wife Carole, and their three
children -- a fourth is still in England studying.
He finds cooking simple dishes, like lasagne,
or his five-year-old s favourite "cheesy beany bake"
He also loves to eat out and is very excited by
the prospect of dining his way through more of
Perth s restaurants. So far he s been very impressed.
Andrew cites Restaurant Amuse as a favourite.
"Just for the presentation, the flavours, every-
thing. He s using ingredients that are Australian
and Asian and it all works. I also like Jackson s. It
is very different, and on every single dish all his
flavours are really strong."
In Melbourne he finds Vue du Monde
"I like the presentation there. Some of the
techniques are really good, but I think some
of them he needs to polish off just a bit to get the
In England he swears by Gordon Ramsay s
Royal Hospital Road restaurant: "It s everything.
It s the meet and greet, is when you sit down, the
little nuances, the amuse bouche -- everything is
polished, but there s nothing ostentatious about it.
You re made to feel right at home."
His old stamping ground, Le Manoir aux Quat
Saisons, still has he says, "the wow factor -- it s the
food, the flavours, everything".
Andrew also admires Le Gavroche for its
consistency. "They know what they re doing and
they get every single thing right."
He says in many ways, coming to Perth has
rekindled his passion for food.
"It s totally different from what I m used to, and
I just get excited about learning all over again what
food is all about."
Andrew is more than happy with his role at
Friends for the foreseeable future, and says: "I
really want people, when they think of fine dining,
to think of Friends in the way they think of
Jackson s, Amuse and Star Anise.
"I want people to put Friends in that circle and
to get foodies to come here and try us."
What he loves most about Friends is his
"It s brought back the passion in me. I love
cooking and I need to be in there, doing it. I don t
think I ll ever get bored in the kitchen." sm
Friends is open for dinner Tuesday - Saturday, and lunch
on Friday, and is in the Hyatt Centre, 20 Terrace Road,
Perth. (08) 9221 0885, friendsrestaurant.com.au.
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