Winter is made for soups. When the weather turns foul and the beanies, scarves and thick woollen coats come out from the confines of the wardrobe, there is nothing better than sitting in front of a piping hot bowl of soup and feeling smug, like you’ve got everything you’ll ever need.
Here are six of the best, most wholesome and most exciting soups that Sydney has to offer this winter, from slow-braised beef noodles to congee to piping hot, fragrant pho.
Braised beef noodle soup at Din Tai Fung
You might be the odd one out ordering soup and not dumplings from this famous Taiwanese export tucked inside World Square, but you will be well rewarded. The heart-warming beef broth is honest and simple, paired perfectly with a generous helping of silken noodles and topped with beef so tender it falls apart with the gentle prod of a chopstick. This is the real deal: soup that cries out to be slurped from the spoon, quickly and gleefully.
Six-hour organic Inglewood chicken congee at Bread & Circus
Bread & Circus has quickly become one of Sydney’s most loved foodie haunts. Crowds flock to the sprawling Alexandria venue for things like sea salt and chocolate chip cookies, vegetable salads singing with flavour and a little something called organic chicken congee. Brewed over six hours (stirred frequently, with a rhythmic sense of calm), the congee combines the comfort of organic chicken with brown rice, lashings of ginger and a good twist of white pepper. The result is a healthy and invigorating stew that owner Amanda Bechara recommends for students stuck in end-of-semester revision or anyone looking for a spot of wholesome winter rejuvenation.
Clam and potato soup at The Fish Shop
It’s a classic and there’s a reason why. There is just something so brilliant about a buttery-rich potato soup matched with a touch of seafood. Crab, mussels and prawns will do, but it’s clams that work the best. Potts Point’s The Fish Shop gets it right. You get a piping hot mugful (served in Falcon Enamelware, no less) to sip perched on a wooden bench surrounded by waiters in breton stripes and oversized buoys mounted to the wall. Technically it’s an entrée, but our favourite way to enjoy it is with a side ordering of salty chips, perfect for a sneaky dip.
Beef Pho at Bar Pho
If there was such a thing as the perfect winter warmer, it would have to be pho. The combination of a full, clear soup, tender slices of meat and the crisp crunch of bean sprouts never fails to delight. It’s a true soup with soul, and Bar Pho’s offering just might be our favourite. The lightly fragrant broth, with just a hint of spice, is the perfect home for reams of tissue-thin rice noodles and just-cooked beef. Add your own toppings (a squeeze of lime, a spoonful of chilli sauce and a handful of crisp bean sprouts) and then take your steaming bowl to the market lawns, where you can sit in what remains of the sun and enjoy your winter warmer.
Bondi Farmer’s Market, every Saturday, Bondi Beach Public School, Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
Akamaru Shinaji Ramen at Ippudo Sydney
Whoever said you couldn’t get a fulfilling meal from a food court has never been to Ippudo. The insanely popular Japanese restaurant on level five of the Westfield Sydney complex offers two kinds of ramen with subtle variations. We like the Akamaru Shinaji, a delicate, modernised take on the traditional Japanese noodle soup, featuring a smoky broth with a silky-smooth texture and a bowlful of perfectly cooked (not too soggy, not too chewy) thin noodles, garnished with black mushrooms and shallots. More-ish and comforting, it’s definitely worth the wait during the lunchtime rush hour.
Soup of the day at The Foundry
What is the Foundry, you may ask? Formerly known as Youeni Foodstore – of the Youeni empire, which also includes a location in Castle Hill – the small, but perfectly formed cafe has recently been transformed into a canteen-style tuckshop catering to the worker bees of Surry Hills. Their soup of the day is a real grab-and-go winner, served with a thick slice of crusty bread made in-house daily. Sure to be hearty and brave, a favourite is a pearl barley and vegetable mix, packed full of pulses and a colourful heaping of vegetables.
Shop 3, 8 Hill Street, Surry Hills