For years, Broadsheet has published a regular series called I Can’t Stop Thinking About, heroing the dishes – great or small – that live in our editors’ heads rent-free. But now we’re flipping the script. For this spin-off, we’ve asked 10 local chefs and restaurateurs which Sydney dish they can’t stop thinking about.

Flour and Stone’s rhubarb and apple pie
Kylie Kwong (Lucky Kwong): “I can always taste and feel Nadine Ingram’s warm-heartedness in her baking [at Flour and Stone]. Nadine’s rhubarb and apple pie, with its delicious, perfectly balanced filling of old-fashioned, tart stewed rhubarb, sweet wholesome apples and caramelised buttery pastry sprinkled with the perfect amount of demerara sugar, displays equal amounts of comfort, soulfulness, technical knowhow and confidence, with a sophisticated palate and raw honesty just like the baker herself.”
The pies are seasonal, so not always available.

Gildas’ alubias, jamon broth, clams and manzanilla dish
Peter Gilmore (Quay and Bennelong): “I can’t stop thinking about the alubias [beans], jamon broth, clams and manzanilla dish from Gildas. Gildas is a beautiful, brand new Basque-inspired wine bar by my friend Lennox Hastie. This dish is sensational due to the brilliant textural and flavour balance; that broth is perfect for mopping up with pan de pimenton [bread] with smoked butter.”

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Sang By Mabasa’s dolsot bibimbap
O Tama Carey (Lankan Filling Station): “I love, crave and always want to eat the dolsot bibimbap at Sang By Mabasa in Surry Hills. It is the perfect one-person dish. It has complexity with its array of ingredients and flavours and textures. I love that you can add a little – or a lot – of gochujang. It’s all sizzly and it has crispy rice bits, which are the best. Whenever I eat it, I feel satisfied, healthful and happy.”

Bar Vincent’s fish soup
Lennox Hastie (Firedoor and Gildas): “I can’t stop thinking about the fish soup with red mullet at Bar Vincent. For me, it’s a homey classic that envelops you like a hug, and transports me back to the Basque country and the local women who used to make a fish soup from whatever was caught on the day.”
The soup is seasonal, so not always available.

Lankan Filling Station’s cashew curry
Jemma Whiteman (Ante): “The cashew curry from Lankan Filling Station is a beautifully decadent turmeric-hued curry. It has a really balanced depth from the spices, richness from coconut cream and a moreish texture of braised nuts. They finish it with a sprinkle of cumin on top to bring it all together. It is most delicious when it’s eaten with an egg hopper and a spicy sambol on the side.”

Bennelong’s yabbies with lemon jam, cultured cream and buckwheat pikelets
Phil Wood (Ursula’s): “Before seeing a show at the Sydney Opera House, my wife and I would religiously sit at the Cured & Cultured bar in Bennelong, and have a glass of champagne and order the amazing yabbies with lemon jam, cultured cream and buckwheat pikelets. While the dish is no longer on the regular menu, despite my intense lobbying of [Bennelong head chef] Rob Cockerill, it is available for events and is officially the best canapé in the city. I was reminded of exactly how good it is when my senior sous chef John [Laureti] married his wonderful partner Isabella at Bennelong recently. Now, who else wants to throw a party under the sails?”
The menu is seasonal, so dishes are not always available.

Bella Brutta’s clam pizza
Jacqui Challinor (Nomad): “The guys at Bella Brutta without a doubt make the best pizza in Sydney, and the clam pizza is particularly drool-worthy. The base is blistered to perfection, it’s got the perfect hum of fermented chilli, a good amount of garlic to keep the Mediterranean in me happy, and you just can’t go wrong with pecorino. It’s just so good. I need to say this in case they read it, but besides my family, it’s the thing I miss most from Sydney.” [Challinor has moved to Melbourne to run recently opened Nomad Melbourne.]

Margaret’s coral trout wings
Alan Stuart (Oncore by Clare Smyth): “A dish I had recently that I can’t stop thinking about is from Margaret in Double Bay. I was dining with Clare Smyth and [chef] Mark Best, and the fried coral trout wings with lime and chilli dressing was incredible. It was the perfect mix of sweet, spicy and citrus. As the saying goes, they were finger-licking good. Often the part of the fish that’s discarded, the wings on a fish are something people should go out of their way to order more often, and the simple way that Neil Perry managed to serve the coral trout wings was outstanding.”

Ante’s tagliatelle with fermented shiitake and katsuobushi
Danielle Alvarez (ex-Fred’s chef and author of Always Add Lemon): “I can’t stop thinking about Jemma Whiteman’s tagliatelle with fermented shiitake and katsuobushi at Ante in Newtown. A very clever and delicious combination of Jemma’s Italian cooking ways combined with Japanese ingredients. It’s so moreish and savoury, and as much as I love everything on Jemma’s menu, I pray that she never takes that dish off the menu. As I was having lunch, two separate people came in just for a plate of that pasta. It’s very popular!”

Mapo’s caramello al sale gelato and Lucky Kwong’s spanner crab and prawn dumplings
Anna Polyviou (pastry chef and author): “For something sweet, I just love going to Mapo for their sweet, salty and creamy caramello al sale (sea salt caramel with Pepe Saya butter) after dinner (or, in some cases, before) at their Newtown store or running after Mapo’s gelato van.

“For something savoury, I head to Kylie Kwong’s Lucky Kwong in Eveleigh for some steamed spanner crab and prawn dumplings with Sichuan chilli dressing and South Eveleigh native bush mint. I always smash down the dumplings and drink the dressing. Every time I’m there, I always overstay my welcome. Not only is Kylie one of my favourite people due to how kind and talented she is, but her cooking is just honest and delicious.”