This article is part of a regular Broadsheet series where we talk to Sydney chefs about their favourite places to eat and drink.
Autumn is a weird time of year in Sydney. The weather can be erratic: super-warm afternoons followed by a string of crisp mornings and evenings where you need to pack a jumper “just in case”. One day you might feel like a roast or a hearty bowl of pasta, the next you’re lining up for ice-cream. We chat to a handful of Sydney chefs to see what they’re eating this season, and where we might go to emulate them.
For the head chef and owner of Surry Hills’ new-kid-on-the-block, Arthur, autumn cravings present themselves in the form of Don Peppino’s lagane e lenticchie. This ancient pasta dish from the Basilicata region in the south of Italy “has blue lentils, tomato, fennel, sofrito [a sautéed blend of vegetables], roasted tomato sauce and heaps of good olive oil,” says Rosier.
Alternatively, he’ll make his way to Potts Point for a French onion or meatball soup at Jeremy & Sons, which also does delicious New York-style sandwiches.
Sautéed pine mushrooms on toast with garlic, thyme, pine nuts and some grated pecorino is one of Rosier’s favourite home meals. “I’d say most of the top restaurants will be using pine mushrooms this season,” says the ex-Est chef.
1 Oxford Street, Paddington
Jeremy & Sons on MacLeay
127 MacLeay Street, Potts Point
Here’s proof that Rosier was spot-on: Chase Kojima’s favourite ingredient to cook with in autumn is mushroom, particularly the pine and maitake (hen-of-the-wood) varieties.
Gojima superintends one of Sydney’s finest Japanese restaurants, Sokyo, but when he goes home he’ll rustle up a mushroom toban yaki (a dish cooked and served on a ceramic hotplate), which includes a medley of mushrooms, along with daikon and cabbage.
His favourite restaurant for autumnal food is Muse in the Hunter Valley, where he’ll order the slow-cooked lamb breast glazed with black garlic and served with salt-baked beetroot, plum, garlic, chive and flowers. “They use great seasonal and local ingredients, and their head chef Troy Rhoades-Brown is a great cook,” he says.
For a casual meal, you’ll find Gojima lunching at Chippendale’s A1 Canteen.
He’s the man behind a range of Solotel-owned restaurants, including Chiswick, North Bondi Fish, Barangaroo House and Aria, but when having breakfast elsewhere, he heads to Lox Stock & Barrel, a bagelry and cafe in Bondi. “It’s got a great and simple menu, using what’s good, abundant and in season. Exactly what I’m about,” he says.
Like Gojima, Moran heads out of Sydney this time of year – to Tonic in Millthorpe, about three-and-a-half hours west of Sydney. Moran orders the roasted quail with spiced spaghetti squash and sesame leaf, along with the steamed broccolini with fried eschalot and the new potatoes with gremolata. For dessert, he picks the fig, honey and hazelnut mille-feuille, chocolate semifreddo with blood plum, and the big cheese plate.
Corner of Victoria Street and Pym Street, Millthorpe
Lox Stock & Barrel
140 Glenayr Avenue, Bondi Beach
Up until very recently Sarah Knight was executive chef of Automata while Clayton Wells focused on his other venue, A1 Canteen, and she prefers to cook at home on Sundays in autumn. She’ll turn her hand to a whole fish or whole cut of meat with seasonal vegetables. “It usually involves a trip to a farmers market or the fish markets,” says Knight. “If I was to eat this style of cooking out, it would be at Saint Peter or Fred’s.”
Otherwise, you’ll find her kicking back at Italian joint Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point, devouring its signature scampi spaghetti. For a more casual Italian alternative, she heads to Napoli in Bocca (in Haberfield) for pizza.
362 Oxford Street, Paddington
12-16 Challis Avenue, Potts Point
Napoli en Bocca
73 Dalhousie Street, Haberfield
Carol and Sharon Salloum
Chef sisters Carol and Sharon Salloum opened Syrian-inspired restaurant Almond Bar in Darlinghurst in 2007. They’ll spend much of their autumn hosting community barbeques, vegan dinners, Syrian breakfasts and helping Syrian refugees, but when they aren’t in the restaurant there are three places they particularly love.
“Bloodwood in Newtown always has a buzz about it,” says Sharon. “I love it for about a million reasons, but for a guaranteed delicious meal, beautiful wine and cocktails, it’s the place to go. Claire Van Vuuren is a brilliant chef who gets it right with every seasonal change.”
She also recommends Lankan Filling Station in Darlinghurst: “Every dish is loaded with a burst of flavours that you can’t get enough of.” And she loves Golden Gully in Leichhardt for “the open space, fresh vegetarian dishes and brilliant booze list.”
Lankan Filling Station
Ground floor, 58 Riley Street, Darlinghurst
153 Norton Street, Leichhardt
Bloodwood Restaurant & Bar
416 King Street, Newtown
Anna Polyviou is almost as famous for her pink mohawk as she is for her award-winning dessert creations. The executive pastry chef at Sydney’s Shangri-La hotel says she’ll start an autumn day with breakfast at Marrickville’s Cornersmith, where the fruit and veg are seasonal and often house-pickled. She’ll also get pies, quiches and a seasonal, fruit-filled Danish from Sonoma.
For a less casual meal, Polyviou likes Chiswick’s roast lamb shoulder, which is sourced from Matt Moran’s family-owned farm in the Central Tablelands. There’s also Black Bar & Grill and Bondi’s Totti’s.
The home-style cooking and cosy outdoor seating (with blankets) at Kepos & Co keeps her coming back for more. “I love to order za’atar flatbread with warm hummus that’s made in front of me with a mortar and pestle,” she says. Then it’s onto fried cauliflower, baby carrots (and other root vegetables), lamb shoulder and a side of chips, and tea to finish.
In autumn she gets her mum to make her the Greek dish spanakopita (filo pastry filled with spinach and feta), prepared with homegrown silverbeet and Polyviou’s godmother’s homemade haloumi. Polyviou says that while it’s not as good as her mum’s, there’s a similar spanakopita dish served at The Apollo in Potts Point.
314 Illawarra Road, Marrickville
32 Birmingham Street, Alexandria
44 MacLeay Street, Potts Point
Kepos & Co
Shop 5/18 Danks Street, Waterloo
Gelato Messina Rosebery
58 Mentmore Avenue, Rosebery
Black Bar & Grill
G/80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont
283 Bondi Road, Bondi