November Dish of the Month (Bistrot Gavroche)

Sautéed veal sweetbreads, with green peas, onions and bacon

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Head Chef Frederic Colin pays homage to his grandfather Henri, who mentored him from the age of ten, with dishes from the heart, just like this one. The simple comforting joy of well cooked sweetbreads unfortunately been lost to a modern generation of diners, but occasionally there is a Chef nostalgic enough to revive them with as much humility  as Bistrot Gavroche did on their menu. This classic dish is all about flavour and texture, and rarely is it as skilfully executed, and with as much love, as was evident here.

Level 1, 2-10 Kensington Street, Chippendale

Monday to Saturday 6pm to late, Sunday 6.30 to 9.30pm, Monday to Friday 11.30am to 2.30pm, Saturday to Sunday 10.30am to 3pm

(02) 8065 7223

Website: http://bistrotgavroche.com.au/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bistrotgavroche/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bistrotgavroche/

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Travel Event (Chile: A destination of contrasts & adventures in the Pacific)

the-esmeraldaIn this age of globalisation, it is hard to find a tourist location that still has any sense of real authenticity left to offer like Chile, with such a vast range of diversity. Part of three continents (South America, Oceania, and the Antarctic), with over 6,000 km’s of coastline, it offers some of the most stunning and picturesque locations on the planet. This event promoted by ProChile, and held at the Ovolo Hotel Woolloomooloo, was coordinated with the arrival of the spectacular Chilean Navy tall training ship, The Esmeralda which was docked nearby. Launched on 12 May 1953, it currently sails as an ambassadorial ship of goodwill, promoting Chile, receiving invitations from countries all over the globe years in advance. On a previous visit in 1961, an estimated 100,000 people bid farewelled ‘The White Lady’ as she departed Sydney Harbour.

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October Dish of the Month (Bishop Sessa)

Coal grilled Burrawong Gaian Pekin duck breast

coal-grilled-burrawong-gaian-pekin-duck-breastThe synergy between the Chef and a Producer, who share the same ethical and sustainable philosophy, is “The Grail” that every true food lover searches for endlessly on every plate. In my opinion, award-winning Burrawong Gaian is the best poultry producer in Australia, and Chef Paul Cooper is one of the best exponents of showcasing their genuinely pasture raised produce in the land. The resonant smokiness from the sublime duck breast being astutely grilled over coals, served with intensely evil duck fat fudge, hay braised carrots, and a memorable coffee and pumpkin puree, ticked all of my boxes. This is what real dining is all about, spectacular produce, respectfully and innovatively prepared by a Chef at the very top of his game!

527 Crown Street, Surry Hills

Monday to Saturday (Lunch & Dinner)

(02) 8065 7223

Website: http://bishopsessa.com.au/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bishopsessa

Instagram: http://instagram.com/bishopsessa

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BishopSessa

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September Dish of the Month (O Bar and Dining)

Hand Picked Crab Salad

hand-picked-crab-saladAs the seasons change, so do the construct of dishes. Spring evokes a lighter and more vibrant touch on the plate, and Head Chef Darren Templeman playfully celebrates the breadth of that spirit, with this beautiful tribute to natures awakening. Stunningly fresh Fraser Island Crab, is delicately paired with smoked almonds, cultured curds and an eye-catching nasturtium dressing. This elegant dish of the month welcomes both the new season in style, underpinned by the culinary Holy Trinity of balance, textures and flavours…

Level 47, Australia Square

264 George Street, Sydney

 7 nights from 5pm to late, Wednesday to Friday from 12 noon

Lounge Bar 7 nights from 5pm to late

(02) 9247 9777

Website: http://www.obardining.com.au

Twitter: @0bardining

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August Dish of the Month (Otto)

Confit Duck Leg, parsnip, cherries, pistachio

ottoLess is more. The beautiful simplicity of a well-executed dish is too often undervalued, but the Chef who understands the beneficial strengths of restraint, is at the very top of their game. Chef Richard Ptacnik  at Otto showcases that philosophy, with dishes that deliver flavour and joy in abundance. His take on this timeless classic is both subtle and respectful, yet is delivered with distinctive texture and clarity. Less is more…

Area 8, 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo

Monday to Sunday 12pm to 10.30pm

(02) 9368 7488

Website: http://ottoristorante.com.au/sydney/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ottoristorante

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ottoristorante/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ottoristorantesydney

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July Dish of the Month (Pilu at Freshwater)

Melanda Park free range oven roasted suckling pig

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Signature dishes are often thrust upon restaurants by the dining public, who simply make it impossible to remove it from the menu, as opposed to being immodestly self-appointed by the Chef. Sometimes, even despite its popularity, familiarity breeds a strange form of contempt through constant repetition, when far more innovative dishes sadly remain unloved on the menu. However, when quality suckling pig is lovingly oven roasted ‘old school’, with this level of intuitive precision, and such heavenly texture and flavour, you simply have to chalk one up for the power of the people, and be entirely thankful for their undying vigilance in ensuring others have the same opportunity to savour it as well!

“On the beach”, Moore Road, Freshwater

Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday from 12noon

(02) 9938 3331

Website: http://www.pilu.com.au/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pilurestaurant

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Piluatfreshwater/

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June Dish of the Month (eightysix)

Pumpkin & mascarpone tortellini

pumpkin-mascarpone-tortelliniThe restaurant scene in Canberra does not get much hipper than eightysix. The next generation front of house and brigade have a distinct swagger about them, but significantly they walk the talk, delivering dishes as accomplished as this one. The textbook house-made tortellini is absolutely flawless, with a silky pumpkin filling that harmoniously sings with the moreish burnt butter sauce, and crispy sage. The mascarpone adds a lush element, that seals the deal.

cnr Elouera & Lonsdale Streets, Braddon (ACT)

Monday to Sunday 6pm to late, Friday 12 to 3pm

(02) 6161 8686

Website: http://eightysix.com.au/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eateightysix/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eightysix/480462502008403

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May Dish of the Month (Aubergine)

Pork belly, cuttlefish, sweet corn, kimchi butter & radish cress

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The recent evolution of the culinary landscape in the ACT, owes much to its passionate local advocate, Chef Ben Willis, and his fine dining restaurant Aubergine. The standards set since 2008, have been of a consistency that very few have been able to maintain, and is one of the significant reasons why the legacy of this restaurant will continue to resonate for a substantial period of time. By way of example, this exceptional dish, epitomises the nuance of balance, sublime texture and innovative flavours, that clearly identified Aubergine as the best restaurant in this region. The techniques and produce that underpin this dish, are precisely why it remains a destination restaurant for lovers of fine food throughout the country.

18 Barker Street, Griffith (ACT)

Monday to Saturday from 6pm

(02) 6260 8666

Website: http://www.aubergine.com.au/

Twitter: @aubergineben

Instagram: @aubergineben

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/auberginerestaurant

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April Dish of the Month (Ume)

Sesame Roasted Broccolini, Fried Summer Squash, Roasted Baby Onion, Dashi Braised Carrot, Buckwheat Custard, Sake Lees Vinegar Dressing

Sesame Roasted Broccolini, Fried Summer Squash, Roasted Baby Onion, Dashi Braised Carrot, Buckwheat Custard, Sake Lees Vinegar DressingChef Kerby Craig, who worked with Tetsuya Wakuda at Rozelle,  showcases his own take on contemporary Japanese cuisine at Ume. This impressive standout from the 7 course tasting menu ($96), is one of the most cohesive and memorable vegetarian dishes that I have had; a veritable master class of technique, texture, flavour, and balance. Apart from each element being executed with precision, the synergy between the elements was absolutely outstanding.

478 Bourke Street, Surry Hills

Tuesday to Thursday 6pm to 10pm, Friday to Saturday 6 to 10.30pm, Saturday 12 to 2.30pm

(02) 9380 7333

Website: http://umerestaurant.com.au/

Twitter: @umerestaurant

Instagram: @umerestaurant

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/umerestaurant/

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December Dish of the Month (Da Vinci’s)

Homemade orecchiette w Italian sausage & broccoli drizzled w EVOO

Homemade orecchiette w Italian sausage & broccoli drizzled w EVOO

The simplicity and sheer joy of a dish made with both love and care is timeless. Da Vinci’s in Summer Hill is the quintessential friendly neighbourhood trattoria we all wished was just around the corner in our suburb to share with friends and family. The fact it may just serve the best gelato and pizza in Sydney and surrounds is something that I will revisit in more detail at another time, as this humble yet divine orecchiette dish deserves a special mention. Not one element needed to be tweaked, as each mouthful delivered the harmony and passion of a kitchen that is immensely proud of both its culture and tradition…

25 Lackey Street, Summer Hill

Monday to Friday 5pm to 9.30pm, Saturday to Sunday 11am to 3pm & 5pm to late

(02) 9716 9000

Website: http://www.davincispizzeria.com.au/pizza/

Instagram: @davincisitalianrestaurant

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Da-Vincis-Ristorante-Pizzeria-Gelateria/307337916059745

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