We never could have imagined that iso eating would get so exciting and delicious. But Sydney’s restaurant scene has risen to the challenge magnificently, creating outstanding takeaway and cook-at-home meals that are almost as good as dining in.
But a meal isn’t truly perfect unless you’ve got a delicious drink to go with it. We asked four local wine merchants from Dan Murphy’s to chip in and recommend an ideal beverage to pair with our favourite takeaway dishes now.
Char kway teow from Ho Jiak
This punchy signature noodle dish is infused with what owner Junda Khoo describes as “wok hei”, or breath of the wok. The flat noodles have a delightful smoky, charred flavour, which is balanced by sweet Chinese sausage and, most importantly, gooey nuggets of crisp pork lard. It’s not glutinous, which is sometimes the case with flat noodles – that’s because it’s made with a deft touch. Khoo suggests something like a glass of riesling works well alongside.
Expert pairing tip: Hugel Gewurztraminer
Walter Henao Gonzalez, wine merchant for Dan Murphy’s Alexandria, says the unique gewurztraminer (geh-vertz-trah-mee-ner) has a complex palate of “lychee, rose water, orange blossom and honeysuckle,” but with “a subtle hint of sweetness that would pair extremely well with the chilli spice in this dish. This is such an underrated wine, a hidden gem.”
How to order it: For Town Hall pick-up order online or call (02) 8065 6954; for Haymarket pick-up call (02) 8040 0252 or order via Uber Eats or Deliveroo; for Strathfield pick-up call (02) 9008 8020 or order on Uber Eats.
Cavolo nero pizza from Bella Brutta
While most people go for the signature clam pizza, this vegetarian option (cavolo nero is Italian for kale) is equally outstanding. It’s topped with confit garlic, which adds pepperiness, and there’s fermented chilli for a little heat. Chef Luke Powell, who slides the pies in and out of the Newtown eatery’s woodfired oven, says that while the Cavolo Nero only has a few ingredients, it’s still a complex pizza. A squeeze of lemon at the end adds a nice tang, and those charred bases are some of the best in town.
*Expert pairing tip: Domäne Wachau Terrassen Federspiel Grüner Veltliner
Henao Gonzalez is also a big fan of this particular pizza. He suggests this gruner veltliner elevates it to a new level. “This wine is light, elegant, crisp and smooth,” he says. “Crunchy green apples, nashi pears, lemon zest and a delicate hint of white pepper that pairs well with the cavolo nero.”
How to order it: Call (02) 9922 5941 for pick-up or delivery, or order online.
Portuguese tarts from Tuga Pastries
You’ll hear an audible crunch when you take a bite of one of these pastel de nata pastries. Owner and tart master Diogo Ferreira says he loves watching people’s faces as they eat his flaky creations – especially when they get to the sweet, cinnamon-dusted custard centre. “The best way is to let the emotion speak for itself. That’s a hard one to describe, the flavour, but you know they like it from that first bite when all the flavours and freshness hit them at once.”
Expert pairing tip: Morris Classic Liqueur Muscat
Michael Park, wine merchant from Dan Murphy’s Kingsford, says a muscat can also match the sweetness of the tart. “The hints of warm spice in this muscat from Rutherglen would work so well with the vanilla and cinnamon custard,” he says. “And the barrel-aged, dried fruit and nutty flavours across the finish would sit beautifully with the buttery pastry.”
How to order it: Pick the tarts up from the store from 7am to 3pm Friday to Sunday. You can call or text your order on 0412 664 165 or DM your order on Instagram.
The “Fat Soy” ramen from Chaco Ramen
This ramen requires a bit of prep, but we’re only talking heating and plating, which in our opinion is the ideal amount of effort to make you also feel like you’ve accomplished something grand. This dish is rich and unctuous, as all ramens should be, but not to the point where you feel like you’ve been conquered after eating it. It’s salty and complex, topped with slices of roasted pork and garnished with shallots for a nice onion-y bite. Keita Abe, the proprietor of this exceptional Darlinghurst ramen joint, likes it with a crisp beer.
Expert pairing tip: Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon
If you prefer a glass of wine to a beer, this has “enough fruit weight and intensity to match the bold flavours in the ramen,” says Zach Nelson, wine merchant from Dan Murphy’s Double Bay. “The crisp acidity plays well against the rich broth while not overpowering the pork. A delight if you like your ramen a little bit spicy, too.”
How to order it: Call (02) 9007 8352 or message them on Instagram for pick-up, or order online for delivery.
Tonnarelli cacio e pepe from Marta
Owner-chef Flavio Carnevale believes tonnarelli is the perfect pasta to use for this classic Roman dish. “When you bite into it you get a thick, slippery sensation,” he says. “We don’t add eggs to the pasta, it’s just 00 flour and water, so it absorbs the sauce. And when we tumble it together it releases the gluten to create a rich, creamy texture.” At this smart Rushcutters Bay Italian eatery the pasta is made in-house by hand, and it holds up against the salty, peppery cheese sauce. To counter that richness and spice you want a mineral-y white vino – Carnevale recommends a minimal-intervention drop.
Expert pairing tip: Rocca di Montemassi Calasole Vermentino
“This bright and juicy Tuscan white is so refreshing with this rich pasta dish, with a sea-saline tang that really complements the parmesan,” says Park. “Fresh and citrusy, it works beautifully with the complex flavours [of the dish].”
How to order it: Call (02) 9361 6641 or email email@example.com to place a takeaway order, or order delivery via Uber Eats, Doordash or Deliveroo.
Lasagne by Bathers’ Pavilion
Lasagne: It’s the culinary equivalent of a hug. Is it any wonder it’s our national crisis dish? This version is layered with fresh tomato, beef and bechamel, and topped with provolone and parmesan for a lovely crunch. Serge Dansereau, who oversees the kitchen at this Balmoral Beach icon, says you should pair it with something like an Australian or Italian sangiovese – not only is this fruity, earthy Tuscan grape a good cultural fit, it offers the right balance of flavours. Add a side salad and you’re good to go.
Expert pairing tip: Santa Margherita Chianti Classico
“The Santa Margherita Chianti Classico wine pairs perfectly with almost any Italian dish,” says George Mammen, wine merchant at Dan Murphy’s Mosman. “It has minerality with great structure and acid balance, which will stand up against the acidity in the tomato-based sauce and the richness of the beef and parmesan.”
How to order it: Call (02) 8350 5873 to order pick-up from the kiosk (or the staff will pack it straight into your boot). Delivery is also available, call for details.
Head to the Dan Murphy’s website to find your local store or shop online now.
This article was produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Dan Murphy’s.