Modern Australian restaurant Drift Dining promises a slice of the Sydney food scene in KL. Chef Angus Harrison tells us how he runs his kitchen, about the importance of presentation—and why this definitely isn’t fine dining.
The Sydney food scene is kind of out of control; it’s booming and there’s just so much stuff to do and it gets a little bit fickle, so it’s kind of nice to learn as much as you can, absorb as much as you can and then get out and go and do it somewhere else. And Bali’s like another little Australia so it’s cool to come here and not see as many expats and Sydney chefs doing their thing.
I think there’s a lot of confusion here about what modern Australian is. They go: ‘fusion?’ Unless you’ve really eaten out a lot or you’re from Australia or a chef from Australia, then you don’t get a proper concept of what modern Australian dining is—especially with the whole share concept and stuff like that. I would say it’s kind of a flow of all different flavours happening.
The menu is obviously stuff that everyone likes to eat but it’s stuff that I, as a kid or as a chef, really enjoy doing—like the torched salmon. I used to be obsessed by going on a break as a chef and watching all the Japanese chefs with the blowtorch out. I wanted to not do the tradition one but have an influence of it and do it in a different style.
We don’t want to get put in that ‘fine dining’ category. I want to make the food look sexy and amazing but not with that whole kind of ‘white table cloth’. I’ve worked in fine dining places so I’m bringing that presentation but with a rustic, simple feel and obviously it looks fantastic but then it’s also all about the flavour and the balance to everything.
In Sydney you’re like a spoilt little brat. You can get whatever you want, you can call whoever you want, the produce is amazing; the world’s your oyster. And Bali’s a tiny little island, everything’s imported and it’s like a mafia—they can send anything and you have to take it. So I learnt to adapt to all the food changes so when I came over here I knew a lot of the stuff you couldn’t get and what you couldn’t do.