A beautiful dish will keep diners coming back again and again, but what if the diner is a top chef with a palate and skill set second to none? They still have a need for comfort dishes over which to wind down from a heavy week on the pans [or in some cases, the cameras]. The results are telling of the way we eat now – casual, thoughtful and relaxed. We spoke to five of Sydney’s top chefs to discover where they turn for food solace.
Brett Savage, Executive Chef, Monopole
One of my most favourite dishes I’ve eaten recently in Sydney is the blood waffle with whipped lardo and lingonberry at Cafe Paci, the year-long pop-up restaurant by Finnish chef Pasi Petanen, ex-Marque head chef. It’s a great savoury play on a classic sweet concept, and it’s surprisingly light. Petanen is an incredibly talented chef and so many of the dishes coming out of that kitchen are clever and special.
95 Riley Street, Darlinghurst
Darren Robertson, Chef, Three Blue Ducks
One of my favorites dishes in Sydney has to be tonkotsu ramen at Ichi Ban Boshi. It doesn't claim to be the best in Sydney, but it's close to home and it's always bloody good. I've been going there since I left Tetsuya's. I always order the same thing, usually with a side of kim chi. Whenever I get stressed about life's questions, paying the mortgage or just what the hell I am going to do next, I ride there on my motor bike, order the same thing, and look down at my bowl for answers. They don’t always come, but I always feel better afterwards.
Shop 1, 171-173 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction [and other locations in Sydney]
Shaun Presland, Executive Chef, Sake Restaurant & Bar (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane)
The ‘@ sushi set’ at @! Restaurant [At. Restaurant] takes me back to the peacefulness of Japan and the clean flavours that only really, really good sushi from a really, really good sushi chef can deliver. The set is made up of 10 exquisitely crafted pieces of nigiri sushi featuring the finest tuna, salmon, salmon belly, kingfish, unagi and salmon roe. Chef Atsushi Saito gives a little piece of himself in every piece of sushi he serves. It's a privilege to be on the receiving end of his craft and eating there is pure pleasure.
@! Restaurant, 417 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest
Ben Greeno, Head Chef, Momofuku Seiobo
Kritharaki pasta braised oxtail tomato and skordalia from The Apollo is the go-to on a Sunday in Sydney. It’s rich braised oxtail with pasta and a crisp top that has been baked so it's caramelised on the edges. It's a very comforting dish and the perfect thing to eat on a day off. I have it with an iceberg salad, some taramasalata and a craft red ale. Delicious.
The Apollo, 44 Macleay Street, Potts Point
Kylie Kwong, Chef and Author, Billy Kwong
I’m currently obsessed with one of Mat Lindsay's snack offerings at his beautiful Ester Restaurant & Bar. The broad bean and lardo toast is generously cut slices of handmade, wood-fired oven baked bread, topped with freshly poached, bright green broad beans, perfectly cooked with a pleasing 'softish-al dente' texture. It’s seasoned well with quality extra virgin olive oil, salt, lemon and thin slices of house made lardo which literally melts in your mouth.
46-52 Meagher Street, Chippendale