Why your next Safari should happen in Sweden (Yes, Sweden)

The remote forests of Sweden’s unsullied Lapland are home to their fair share of year-round adventures. Here’s a peek into some of the best.

By Bruce Wallin 14/01/2019

It’s 10pm by the time we set out in the speedboat, and the sun is still reflecting off the glass-like surface of the Råne River. Jonas Gejke is at the boat’s helm, navigating cautiously through the shallows en route to deeper water. The grizzled safari guide eventually cuts the engine and, surveying the river floor, gives the nod for his first passenger to jump in.
Gejke tosses his passenger a rope that’s dangling from the boat’s stern. Turning back, he grins and hits hard on the engine, its guttural roar leaving a struggling skier in its wake—and prompting a chorus of shrieks, whistles, and laughter from everyone on board.

Such is how you safari in Sweden.

Our group is based at the Aurora Safari Camp, a four-tent-and-one-toilet outpost on the shores of the Råne in Swedish Lapland. Gejke and his business partner, the professional photographer Fredrik Broman, run the camp as part of their Aurora Safaris Sweden, which offers year-round adventures in the wilderness north of Luleå. In summer months their guests hike, fish, kayak, and otherwise enjoy the 20-some hours of daily sunlight. In winter-high season in Swedish Lapland-they brave the bitter cold on snowmobiles, skis, and dogsleds, and spend the long nights angling for views of the aurora borealis.


Dogsledding in Sweden
Frederik Broman/Aurora Safari Camp

In this land of extremes, Gejke is a moderating force. Barrel-chested and grey-bearded, he looks every bit the safari guide: problem solver, survivor, people protector-the kind of person you want around when you’re in the middle of nowhere. His professional pedigree supports such confidence, anchored by his more than two decades running a safari business in Kenya. But it’s here, in his homeland’s far north, where he sees a true frontier.

“It’s gotten to a point where it’s about to explode,” says Gejke, who moved back to Sweden with his Kenyan wife and three children last year to join forces with Broman. “The solitude in the wilderness up here is something that’s completely unique. Fredrik and I, we see opportunities behind every corner. It’s like the Wild West, in a way.”

Gejke and Broman aren’t the only ones who see an up-and-coming safari destination in Sweden. From the northern wilds to the Stockholm Archipelago, modern-day prospectors are mimicking the classic African adventures in an only-in-Sweden style. Unlike in much of sub-Saharan Africa, where the animals are the main attraction on safari, in Sweden it’s the offbeat experiences, seasonal severity, and opportunities for pure, unadulterated fun that draw curious travellers.
Skewing more summer camp than extreme sport, our evening adventure with Aurora Safaris started on the camp’s floating sauna, where Gejke was busy doing everything from baiting our fishing lines to setting out a spread of moose- jerky and reindeer-sausage appetisers. Once we’re on the boat, our outbursts fill the empty river valley, echoing off the dense stands of pines that rise from either shore. Gradually, however, the sun dips below the horizon, our skiing session winds down, and we return to camp in the all-consuming silence of Swedish Lapland.

For all of their adventures in this isolated Arctic region, Aurora’s partners borrow heavily from Gejke’s African playbook. Their remote camp, with its canvas-top accommodations situated around a main dining tent, emulates many of the amenities and activities of its African exemplars—but always with a Swedish slant. Rather than a sundowner on the savanna, for instance, Aurora might stage a Champagne “moonriser” on a bar carved from the ice on a frozen lake. In place of a mokoro trip down a crocodile-infested river, Gejke might take you river rafting on the Råne. Instead of an excursion by elephant back, you might sled across the Arctic Circle behind a team of dogs while wearing a moon suit to keep out the winter cold.


Aurora Safari Camp
Frederik Broman/Aurora Safari Camp

Of course, imitating an African-safari experience in Sweden is not always simple—or possible. The multitasking Gejke is indicative of the challenges outfitters face in a Scandinavian country with high labour costs. “In Africa, running a camp with 10 beds you generally have 25 to 40 people doing it behind you,” he says. “Here, you run a camp with 12 beds, and we have two of us.”

The inherent hurdles go beyond just numbers. In a country where most natives are happy taking a tent into the woods, the concept of luxury is relative—and service is far from second nature. Travelers throughout Sweden are often left to haul their own luggage; coffee may or may not be ready when you wake up in the morning; and, except in city hotels, private bathrooms aren’t a priority.

“Most people in Sweden have no concept of what luxury is and what the luxury customer expects,” says Marina Safonova, owner of the Scandinavian tour company Nordic Luxury. “The farther north you go, you can have untouched wilderness all to yourself, but there are no luxury hotels.”
Sweden’s lack of five-star options is not limited to the north—even Stockholm is devoid of marquee international-brand hotels. But the country’s nonconformity is also one of its charms. An adventure through Sweden feels truly Swedish. Rather than standardise your experience, the locals just do what they do normally and hope you like it (even if they sometimes seem like they don’t care if you do).

“I share my lifestyle with people who come here, and I get to live in the middle of all this,” says Gejke. “And that’s really what the destination is about. There’s nothing fake about it.”
Torkild Berglund and Kristina Bonde live in the middle of the Stockholm Archipelago, about an hour’s speedboat ride from the Swedish capital. Across a narrow channel from their home, the husband-and-wife team offer their own take on a Swedish safari lodge—and share their own version of the local lifestyle.

Opened in 2012, their eight-tent Island Lodge occupies one of the nearly 30,000 isles in the sprawling archipelago. In the same spirit as Aurora, the lodge was modelled after safari camps in Southern Africa, where Bonde spent much of her childhood.

“It’s a luxury outdoor experience, inspired by the safari concept developed by the Brits in the old days,” says Berglund of the camp, which is open from late spring to early fall. “Pure outdoor luxury— with a bit of hardship.”

That hardship includes shared bathrooms (one each for two sets of four tents) and a do-it-yourself service mentality. But the magic of the Island Lodge lies in its simplicity. The island is more or less yours. (It’s available as either a buyout or a split, with two groups taking the two sides of the camp privately.) Its geodesic-dome tents, which are outfitted with reindeer-skin rugs and wood-burning stoves, are set just off a boulder-strewn shore, where you can sunbathe, swim, or fish for perch from the rocks. And a floating sauna deck— apparently a prerequisite for Swedish safari lodges—offers grab-and-go kayaks and paddleboards, and a jumping-off point for adventures in the archipelago.

My adventures were mostly confined to the island itself, with Berglund bringing me the occasional beer while I swam, paddleboarded, and fished off the sauna deck. At one point he pulled up in his rigid inflatable boat, offering to take me to the other side of the island. A few minutes into our tour, he convinced me to swim to shore, scale a 30-foot cliff, and leap off.

Back at my tent, I could see and hear Swedish families on an opposite island enjoying their day much as I was enjoying mine—swimming, fishing, jumping off rocks. A speedboat whizzed through the channel, while a sailboat tucked into a nearby cove to drop anchor for the night.
“The wealthiest Swedish people have their own yacht and go out in the archipelago, where they can easily find a small island,” says Berglund. “Experiencing Island Lodge (requires) no skills and no knowledge about the archipelago. Finding an uninhabited island with primeval forest within a one-hour boat ride from the capital—that’s unique.”


The Swedish Lapland
Frederik Broman/Aurora Safari Camp

Coming upon an isolated stretch in Swedish Lapland is not so novel. Outside of Luleå, a city of some 75,000 residents, pine and birch trees blanket the terrain, broken only by the occasional country house or salmon-filled river. For outsiders, it’s a limitless land of all-enveloping wilderness, endless sunlight in summer, and incomprehensible cold in winter.

“Most people haven’t experienced a proper outdoor winter, and they’re stepping out of their comfort zones doing activities when it’s minus 20 Celsius,” Gejke says. “They think that they’ll never, ever swim in that ice hole in the lake, but they end up doing it anyway.”
“You go there to do things you haven’t done before and see things you haven’t seen before,” says Safonova. “The northern lights—it’s not even a guarantee that you’ll see them, maybe a fifty-fifty chance. But they just keep getting more popular.”

Aurora Safaris is not alone in trying to capitalize on the region’s rising popularity. Last winter, the upstart Arctic Retreat opened outside the village of Gunnarsbyn, about a half hour’s drive from the Aurora Safari Camp. Consisting of a relatively posh pair of cabins and a sauna directly on the Råne River, the exclusive-use property offers a highly civilised base for more vigorous adventures in the surrounding forest.

The Aurora team, too, is adding to the options in Swedish Lapland. Gejke says they plan to launch a mobile safari—involving hut-to-hut skiing, dogsledding, and snowmobiling—next winter. In the meantime, this January, they’re opening the Outpost Lodge, a six-room, all-season hotel set in a con- verted post office and general store in a village with a population of six.
“It’s at a T-junction,” Gejke says. “Once you pass the junction, there’s nothing. For 150 kilometres, it’s complete and utter wilderness out there. It’s the last stop.”

The sense of isolation Aurora Safaris offers can be more than some guests bargain for. Gejke, after all, can’t be in two places at once, as we soon discover back at camp.

After helping us get settled into our tepee-style tents, each with three simple beds surrounding a wood-burning heater, our guide bids us farewell. He promises to return early the next morning to make coffee and breakfast (and says that if this were winter, he would definitely not be leaving us to fend for ourselves). For now, however, he’s jumping in his boat and heading home to his family.

As Gejke disappears around a bend, and the putter of his engine fades away, our seclusion sets in. We are alone in the silence and, if only for a few hours, the darkness of Swedish Lapland.

The Swedish Big Five

Africa has the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo. In Sweden, however, the concept of safari-a term derived from the Arabic and Swahili words for “journey”— is more about the seasons and experiences than the species. Following are the five big-ticket attractions in Swedish Lapland, according to Jonas Gejke, a native Swede and 24-year Kenya resident who’s led countless safaris in both countries.

Aurora Borealis

“This is the place to see it. Swedish Lapland is so scantily populated, and the farther out in the wilderness you are-where you have no light pollution-the better it is. That’s the number one thing people come to see, but even when they don’t see it, they forget that they came for that because they had such an amazing experience anyway.”

Midnight Sun

“Pretty much the opposite of the aurora, but as an ultimate experience it’s very similar. To be able to sit here in the wilderness at 12 o’clock at night and the sun doesn’t set-that’s quite unique.”

Arctic Circle

“Crossing over the Arctic Circle on a snowmobile expedition, it’s like crossing the equator in Africa. There’s one crossing where you’re driving a snowmobile for endless kilometres, and then there’s this big arch made by an artist in the middle of nowhere.”

Moose

“The moose is such a nice animal. You see a lot of it during the summer months, but during winter it’s really the king of the forest,” when heavy snow tends to drive even these hearty mammals down from the mountains and closer to the coast; like humans, they find it easier to walk on roads than in deep snow. “I saw 34 in one day this winter.”

Wilderness

“There are very few places on Earth where you have proper wilderness. People have this dream about African wilderness, but if I break down in a car anywhere in Africa, within five minutes there’s someone there to help. You break down here in the winter-one of these side roads where you have no reception on your phone-you’ll freeze to death. Up here, if there’s no wind, there’s no noise—there’s nothing. You can hear yourself think.”

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The Tod’s SS25 Men’s Collection in Milan Was a Showcase of “Artisanal Intelligence”

It was also the debut men’s collection by creative director Matteo Tamburini.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

Earlier this week, Tod’s presented its SS25 men’s collection at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) for Milan Fashion Week, where all eyes were fixed on Matteo Tamburini and his debut menswear collection as Tod’s newest creative director.

Striking “a balance between tradition and modernity”, was the former Bottega Veneta designer’s intention, and indeed his showcase offerered a spotlight on the quality, materials, and detailing that are central to the Tod’s wardrobe.

“The collection is more about subtraction rather than addition, highlighting the very elevated, timeless and relaxed materials,” says Tamburini via a statement.

Tod’s

In line with Tod’s restrained design codes, the garments presented were characterised by timelessness, unmistakable Italian flair, yet a casualness appropriate for everyday wear. Only the best leathers were used in the collection—thanks to the Pashmy project, which Tod’s unveiled in January to champion high-end Italian materials—used in creating garments like the Tod’s Bomber, the Gio Jacket, the Shirt Jacket, the Di Bag sack, as well as footwear staples, like the Tod’s T-Riviera.

Of course, the iconic Gommino driving shoe wasn’t without an update, too: you’ll find a new sabot interpretation, as well as the Bubble Gommino introduced in a new boat model with the T-bar accessory.

“Craftsmanship” was at the forefront of messaging, with chairman and chief executive officer of the Tod’s Group, Diego Della Valle, reiterating the message of honouring artisanal arts in an increasingly digital-first world.”[It’s] important to uphold artisanal intelligence, keeping under control artificial intelligence as it is now developing rapidly and powerfully,” he said via a statement.

“Individuals and artisanal intelligence at the centre, with its traditions and values, will contribute to keep artificial intelligence in check. Our Italian craftsmanship and supply chain can be an example of the combination of tradition and the new speed of artificial intelligence.”

tods.com

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Pitti Uomo’s Best-Dressed Men Cut Through the Noise With Personal Style

From vintage gems to tasteful tailoring, attendees of Florence’s biannual tradeshow brought their best sartorial selves.

By Naomi Rougeau, Lorenzo Sodi 20/06/2024

Whether or not you’re well versed in the ins and outs of Pitti Uomo, the biannual menswear tradeshow in Florence that brings together buyers, press—and, naturally, a vast ostentation of peacocks—the chances are that photos from the gathering are still making their way into your newsfeed. You might even smirk at the mention of it. To be sure, you’ll encounter plenty of “overdressing” strolling through the main venues but by and large, great personal style manages to cut through the noise.

Part of what makes the Pitti scene so exciting is that menswear moves relatively slowly. It’s less about seeing something earth shatteringly new but rather gradual shifts and discovering fresh ways to put things together. Menswear regulars such as Alessandro Squarzi, owner of a considerable vintage archive that influences his Milanese boutique Fortela, can be relied upon to provide inspiration on how to make tried and true staples and silhouettes feel modern.

Speaking of new old things, vintage fashions made their way into the chat in a big way this June, whether in terms of rare finds or sustainable efforts via upcycling, fabric development and natural dyes (Paris-based De Bonne Facture achieved an ideal medium brown using coffee, for instance). At the heart of the conversation was another bona fide vintage guru Maurizio Donadi who made a case for the timelessness and democratic nature of indigo with his centuries-spanning exhibit of antique garments from around the globe.

Below you’ll find a dozen of our favorite looks from Pitti Uomo 106, lensed by our eagle-eyed street-style photographer Lorenzo Sodi. We hope they inspire.

Lorenzo Sodi

A lesson in simplicity and the power of a classic palette—good quality vintage accents such as a turquoise embellished belt buckle add interest to timeless workwear. Ray-Ban’s universally-flattering Wayfarer sunglasses are the perfect finishing touch.

Lorenzo Sodi

Sans suit and shirt, the neckerchief (of which there were many at Pitti), adds a welcome dose of colour to a white tee and relaxed jacket and proves that sometimes one choice detail is all it takes. A well-loved, slightly-too-long belt and canvas Vans contribute to the casual harmony.

Lorenzo Sodi

Whatever the weather, you’ll find Douglas Cordeaux, from Fox Brothers, looking immaculate in shirt and tie… and a suit made of one of Fox’s many fabrics. British elegance, embodied.

Lorenzo Sodi

Relaxed elegance is the foundation of the Brunello Cuccinelli brand. Here, the maestro himself shows us how it’s done in a double-breasted linen ensemble featuring a few personal flourishes.

Lorenzo Sodi

Designer Alessandro Pirounis of Pirounis offers a masterclass on the rule of three with a contemporary twist, subbing the usual jacket with an overshirt of his own design.

Lorenzo Sodi

A renaissance man takes Florence. True to his roots, US Marine veteran, Savile Row-trained tailor and photographer Robert Spangle blazes a sartorial trail that’s all his own.

Lorenzo Sodi

Cream trousers are an essential element of elegant Italian summer style. Designer Nicola Radano of Spacca Neapolis channels one of the greats (Marcello Mastroianni) in a dark polo of his own design, collar spread wide across his jacket’s lapel for a welcome retro lean.

Lorenzo Sodi

Proof of the power of tonal dressing, that can create an impactful outfit just by sticking to the same colour family. A chic ensemble and in some ways an elevated version of the double-denim look, every element is working hard in service to the whole.

Lorenzo Sodi

UK-based stylist Tom Stubbs has long been a proponent of blousy pleats, lengthy db jackets, and statement-making neck scarves and here, in vintage Armani, he embodies the louche, oversize look that many designers are just now catching up on.

Lorenzo Sodi

A tailor splitting his time between Berlin and Cologne, Maximilian Mogg is known for his strong-shouldered, architectural suiting. Yet in Mogg’s hands, particularly with this non-traditional colour scheme, the effect is always modern and youthful.

Lorenzo Sodi

If Max Poglia’s relaxed Hawaiian shirt and suit combo is any indication, summer has truly arrived. But it’s an excellent example of how to wearing tailoring in more casual fashion. This cream db would look perfect with shirt and tie at a wedding in August and just as chic here with slippers and a laid-back shirt.

Lorenzo Sodi

Another example of how tailoring can be laid-back and breezy for summer, from a dude who looks no stranger to enjoying the best of the warmer months. Jaunty pocket square, sandals, untucked linen shirt…go forth and emulate.

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The 13 Best Watches From Pitti Uomo, From Rolex to Patek Philippe and Piaget

Each year in Florence, Italy, men walk the streets in the finest fashions, and they pair their watches perfectly.

By Allen Farmelo, Lorenzo Sodi 20/06/2024

Pitti Uomo is a major fashion gathering in Florence, Italy where brands bring their best to buyers and fashion editor alike. But, perhaps more interestingly, Pitti Uomo transforms the streets of Florence into an urban runway on which guys from around the world with more than a passing interest in style go about their business—even if in some cases that business seems just to be hanging around waiting to be photographed—in their best threads and, of course, some excellent watches.

We pondered the relationship between men’s fashion and watches in more detail earlier this year, and what’s fascinating about the intersection of fashion and watches is how to situate the timepiece within an ensemble. To give you a sense of how that plays out, this year we saw a tonal pairing of a tasty vintage Rolex GMT Master Pepsi (red and blue) with rose and mid-blue summer plaid, and we saw high-waisted military green Bermuda shorts paired intelligently with a beat up old Elgin field watch with a matching green strap. Both looks were killer, the watches working as perfect accents, and there are many more great pairings to consider below.

As is often the case at fashion shows (including Pitti Uomo in previous years), Rolex dominated. Horological snobs might look down on this choice because the Crown is so often the default choice for so many, be they collectors signalling their access to rare references or those just getting into this obsession. But a more nuanced read on this tendency is that Rollies are fabulously versatile watches that one can rock with each new outfit—which some men will swap throughout the day. Breakfast might call for a casual look, lunch something more daring, and dinner that perfect summer suit. What better than a Rolex for all occasions?

But it wasn’t just Rolex at Pitti Uomo this week. The urban catwalk brought out Paiget, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Cartier, as well. But our favourite watch was a vintage Tudor Sub on a turquoise bracelet.

Below are the 13 best watches from Pitit Uomo 2024.

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The 10 Best Omakase in Sydney

Sydney’s best Japanese chef’s-table dining experiences.

By Belinda Aucott-christie 06/06/2024

In Japan, where food is a cultural art form, omakase stands for traditional Japanese foods made with seasonal ingredients. A good omakase meal, prepared with purity and mindfulness, can make an unforgettable imprint on the culinary memory. Yet in a land defined by seasonal traditions, omakase is a relatively new concept.

Omakase originated in Japan in the 1970s as affluent Japanese began to dine more regularly at first-rate sushi counters. Bowing to the expertise of the sushi master, omakase loosely translates to “I’ll leave it to you.” In a setting where money is no object, letting the chef decide was designed as a chic way to take the awkwardness out of ordering.

In Australia where there’s an abundance of fresh seafood, omakase menus have experienced a recent rise in popularity. Today omakase is any series of small dishes served directly by the chef to the diner. Each part of the meal is presented on beautiful ceramics and lacquer wear, with a great —and somewhat— intimidating reverence for elegant details. It’s a chance to see a chef’s knife skills up close and get a feel for their cooking style.

Omakase menus are based on whatever is freshest at the market and can be influenced by the chef’s mood, expertise, and response to the guest. They can be slowly paced like a ceremony—hushed and reverential—but they can also be rowdy, humorous, and personal.
Here we give you 10 of the best to try in Sydney.

Yoshi’s Omakase at Nobu Crown Sydney

Crown Sydney, Level 2/1 Barangaroo Ave, Barangaroo. Open: 12–3 pm, 5:30–9:30 pm Phone: 02 8871 7188 Reservations: F&B-SYD-Nobu@crownresorts.com.au; $380 per head (including matched wine and sake). Crownsydney.com.au

Sushi Oe

16/450 Miller St, Cammeray; Tue – Sat. SMS only 0451 9709 84 E: jizakana16@gmail.com Phone: 0426 233 984 $230 per head. jizakana.com.au

Kisuke with Yusuke Morita

50 Llankelly Place, Potts Point; Tuesday – Saturday: 17:30 – 10.45 (closed Sunday/ Monday) $185-200 per head Kisukepottspoint.com

Haco 

102/21 Alberta St, Sydney. Lunch, Friday to Saturday 12 -2:00 pm Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday 5:45 pm – 8:1 5pm (closed Sunday & Mondays) P: 0408 866 285                                     E: haco@hacosydney.com.au; $150 – $210 Hacosydney.com.au

Kuon

Shop 04 2/58 Little Hay St, Sydney, Lunch: Fri-Sun 12:30 pm. Dinner  Tue-Sun 5:15 pm or 7:45 pm sittings.  Reservation via SMS at 0488 688 252; $220 per head @kuon.omakase

Sokyo 

The Darling, Level G, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont. Open dinner Monday to Thursday from 5:45 pm P: 1800 700 700 $300 per head Sokyo.com.au

Kuro

368 Kent St, Sydney; Open Tue – Wed – Thur: 6 pm Fri & Sat: 5:30 pm P: 02 9262 1580, reservations@kurosydney.com $220 per head. Kurosydney.com;

Choji Omakase

Level 2, 228 Victoria Ave, Chatswood —upstairs from Choji Yakiniku. Every Monday to Wednesday at 6.30 pm. One seating per day only. $295 per head. Chojiomakase.com.au

Gold Class Daruma

The Grace Hotel, Level 1/77 York St, Sydney; 12–2:30 pm, 5:30–9.00 pm Phone: (02) 9262 1190 M: 0424 553 611 booking@goldclassdaruma.com.au·$120 – $150 per head Goldclassdaruma.com.au

Besuto

Besuto Omakase, Sydney Place precinct, 3 Underwood Street, Circular Quay. Omakase is available to book for dinner – Tuesday to Saturday. 5:30 pm & 8pm sittings. From $250. Besuto.com.au

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is no soy and wasabi offered during my omakase meal?
Even though sushi and sashimi are being served, the chef is serving each piece of sushi so quickly and directly that the chef is applying the wasabi and soy to the sushi themselves. Watch as they brush the top of the fish with soy and dab a tiny amount of wasabi on the rice, under the fish. You should not need to add extra, and in fact, it can be insulting to the chef to add more. Bathing the bottom of the rice of your sushi in soy sauce is considered bad manners, as it is seen as detracting from the flavour of the fish.

Nobu, Sydney

Can an omakase experience accommodate my dietary needs?
Although there is often little variation once the chef has set the daily menu, some customisation is possible. Advise the restaurant when you book and remind them of allergies or aversions again as you sit down. They will let you know when you book if your allergy is possible for the chef. Japanese menus feature a lot of seafood and dashi so accommodating a no seafood request can be genuinely tricky.

What are the golden rules for chopstick etiquette?
Use your chopstick holder in between eating, rather than putting chopsticks on your plate. Don’t use your chopsticks to gesticulate or point; if offering food to someone to try, never pass food directly from your chopsticks to theirs. Rather place the food onto a small plate and let them pick it up.
Never touch communal or shared food with your chopsticks. The longer, slightly larger chopsticks are like sharing cutlery, never put these in your mouth.

Without a menu, how can I know what I am eating during omakase?
Omakase is often a no-menu situation, and you are expected to try new things. Attending an omakase experience with an open, trusting mind yields the best results.
There are Wagyu and tempura omakase that reflect the chef’s personal predilections and training, but in a standard luxury omakase, the format will include a lot of freshly caught seafood and will usually kick off with a delicate appetiser. This will be followed by a sashimi and sushi course, a savoury egg custard (chawanmushi) with meat and seafood, a cooked or blow-torched market fish, a soup course, and dessert.

Can I talk to the chef during omakase? What is the protocol?
Guests at an omakase experience are welcome to ask questions of the chef; in fact, interacting with the chef is part of the experience. It is considered polite to ask questions or inquire about the food so they can explain.

What is best to pair with omakase  in terms of drinks?
In general, wine and sake are a perfect match for omakase. Aged fish and vinegar have strong umami flavours so depending on which course you enjoy, different wine and sake will pair well. Dry chilled sake is a great choice. Amazing sakes are imported into Australia, so trust the restaurant to advise you and take you on a sake journey at the same time.  If you don’t like sake, drinking chardonnay, a crisp young riesling, or even a dry complex Riesling is also totally acceptable. All three styles help bring out the flavour of the fish. Champagne can also be good. Try a blanc de blancs— 100% chardonnay —for a great way to start the meal. As you progress, remember that sake is good for dishes with a strong taste, such as uni and eel.

Nobu, Sydney

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The Sonos Ace Headphones Are Music to the Ears

The audio giant has (finally) revealed its foray in the personal listening category.

By Josh Bozin 20/06/2024

In the ever competitive market for premium headphones, few brands have captured the hearts (and ears) of audiophiles, professionals and enthusiasts alike. Bowers & Wilkins, Bose, Sony, and even Apple come to mind when debating great audio brands in 2024. Then there’s Sonos.

For over 20 years, the American audio manufacturer has been lauded for its high-end capabilities, particularly in a home setting; Sonos changed the game for the integration of home entertainment. But it had yet to venture into the realm of headphones.

Until now. Earlier this month, the company marked its long-awaited entry into the personal-listening category, with the launch of its highly anticipated Sonos Ace over-ear headphones.

“Fans have asked us for years to bring the Sonos experience to headphones,”says Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos, “and we knew our first foray into the category needed to champion the type of innovation and sound experience Sonos has become synonymous with.”

Sonos

On paper, the Sonos Ace is an enticing proposition: a premium over-ear headphone featuring lossless and spatial audio, intuitive Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), and Aware Mode. Most appealing, however, might be its new immersive home theatre offering; the Sonos Ace can pair to compatible Sonos soundbars with just a tap of a button. The new TrueCinema technology, which arrives later this year, will precisely map your entertainment space and then render a complete surround sound system for an unparalleled listening experience.

Sonos

Retailing at $699, they aren’t exactly cheap, and there more affordable headphones that compete with Sonos in terms of audio output and high-fidelity sound. But where Sonos thrives is in the details. Available in  stealthy black and pure white, the Sonos Ace are sleek and stylish right out of the box. Sure, there is some resemblance to the Apple Air Max Pro—arguably its greatest rival in the over-ear headphone segment—but Sonos has also added its own design touches, and it’s clear the Ace was made to look and feel as good as it sounds.

Its distinctive, slim profile elegantly blends metal accents with a sleek matte finish, and thanks to the use of lightweight, premium materials like memory foam and vegan leather, you get an airy fit that isn’t overbearing, even after extensive use. The design of the Sonos Ace is also intuitive; tactile buttons make controlling the headset a cinch, and pairing with Apple or Android devices is also straightforward. The dedicated Sonos App is also helpful for customising (somewhat) your listening experience, from altering EQ to turning on certain capabilities, like Head Tracking.

Sonos

It does fall short on a couple of key fronts.  I was expecting more from the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) for over-ear headphones of this price point; there’s no way the ANC as it stands will filter out the sounds of a plane engine, for example. I also found the Sonos Ace has an issue, albeit subtle, with the mid-bass, which can sound muddy and lack punch at times.

But these are small nits. The Sonos Ace only adds to the company’s impressive standing as an unimpeachable innovator in the audio industry.

For more information, visit Sonos.

 

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