Gone are the days when formal fine dining and degustation menus to match. This year, Sydneysiders are craving an honest meal and a bunch of friends to share it with. We’ve seen the rise of communal share plates, bistro dining and dude food, and it’s been a tasty ride. Read on for our picks of 2012’s most memorable dishes.
1. Raw wagyu shoulder, grilled enoki mushrooms with fresh horesradish and soft pickled chilli
The Asian-European menu at The Bridge Room is cushioned somewhere between fine dining and bistro and Ross’ version of a modern interpretation of beef carpaccio is its perfect representative.
2. Wood roasted Moran family lamb
My best food memories involve a simple, laid-back meal with friends. The quality of Matt’s wood roasted lamb speaks for itself and I love the concept that everyone just digs in and helps themselves.
3. Split sashimi scampi with chilli, micro leaves and sea salt flakes
If you’re squeamish about oysters, steer clear of this dish. Generous hunks of scampi arrive swimming in extra virgin olive oil and scattered with slices of hot chilli, micro leaves and sea salt flakes. This dish is a textural treat.
4. Salad of slow roast pork belly, prawns, pomelo and jellyfish with nuoc mam
China Lane is all about sharing dishes that boast an abundance of fresh, Asian flavours. This dish puts all other salads to shame with its perfectly balanced salty, sweet, sour and bitter flavours.
5. Moreton Bay Bug with burnt butter mayo, passion fruit jelly, vegemite croutons
I’m not one to be influenced by the media but there was a reason Chase’s Moreton Bay bug with vegemite croutons made headlines. The texture combinations of this dish – the sweet jelly, fresh Moreton Bay Bug sashimi, crunchy salty croutons and thick mayo – work in absolute harmony.
6. Caramelized banana with banoffee mousse, peanut brittle and vanilla ice cream
This dish embodies what I imagine is the Shangri-La philosophy – luxury and decadence. The crunchy shards of peanut brittle and the texture of the banana work harmoniously with the sweet-as-banoffee-pie mousse and vanilla ice cream. If you’re partial to caramel, then this is a must-order.
7. Tamarind and molasses glazed Blackmore Wagyu beef brisket, beetroot and horseradish
Sydney dining at its best – sit on the edge of the water, looking straight at the iconic Opera House, and tuck into this rich dish of glazed Wagyu beef brisket. Make sure you come with an appetite.
8. Seared scallop and ocean trout tartare with amazu ponzu and white truffle oil
Japanese cuisine is renowned for its subtle flavours and this dish is a stunning representation of what happens when Japanese technique is paired with Australian produce.
9. Grilled Yellow Fin Tuna, Beetroot, Witlof & Radish
A glammed-up version of fish ‘n chips, this grilled yellow fin tuna tastes as though it has jumped straight from the ocean below your feet and onto the plate. Order a bowl of shoestring chips, it is true blue comfort food.
10. Petuna ocean trout with shaved radish, celery, endive and citrus emulsion
Perched 47 floors high, at the top of the Harry Seidler designed Australia Square, take a seat at the rotating restaurant, O Bar and Dining. The menu here is simple and healthy but still tasty. Our pick is this colourful ocean trout sashimi with radish.