A case of good timing has allowed one of Sydney’s favourite chefs, Chui Lee Luk, to spend a short stint cooking at Berta. O Tama Carey has held the reigns for the past four years, finishing at the end of 2014 to focus on other projects.
It was owner Andrew Cibej who came up with the idea. “We’ve been mates for a while. I heard she was overseas and ostensibly free and we started discussing a potential collaboration.” Lee Luk worked most recently at the now-closed Chinese restaurant, Chow Bar and Eating House on Crown Street. Before that, she was at Claude’s. We think it will be intriguing to see if those influences creep into the dishes she makes at Berta.
That’s not to say she’s not sticking with Italian. “Italian is one of my favourite cuisines to eat during my down time and it's a great chance to explore as many aspects of the great food culture as I can while I'm at Berta,” says Lee Luk. Expect dishes such as spaghetti with clams, eggplant and sorrel; fiore di burrata with mushroom and ketchup; and leek with schiacciata and pickled mussels.
It’s not Lee Luk’s first time cooking Italian either; in fact it all started with spaghetti. “I started out in the Italian place that used to be in the Armani store and really enjoyed the improvisational nature and ingredient-centred way Italian cuisine can be,” say Lee Luk.
Tuesday night Sagra dinners will continue, with Lee Luk, “Looking at how ingredients became so important to a particular place [in Italy],” says Cibej.
“It’s a very personal exploration of the country, cuisine and techniques,” says Cibej. Don’t put off a visit, Lee Luk will only be there until April 4.
Sagra dinner run on Tuesdays, for $55 per person for four courses:
24 February - Beans and other legumes
3 March - Rice
10 March - Potatoes
17 March - Edible weeds
24 March - Rabbit
31 March - Lamb