Or­der up

Pre­sent­ing the fi­nal­ists in the Gourmet Trav­eller Restau­rant Awards. Tune in next month for all the win­ners – in­clud­ing Restau­rant of the Year.

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Contents - WORDS MAX ALLEN, FIONA DON­NELLY, MICHAEL HAR­DEN, PAT NOURSE, DAVID SLY & SA­MAN­THA TEAGUE

Pre­sent­ing the fi­nal­ists in the Gourmet Trav­eller Restau­rant Awards

Cir­rus Dining, Syd­ney

With the open­ings of Bentley, Monopole and Yel­low un­der their belts, Brent Sav­age and Nick Hilde­brandt could be for­given for tak­ing things easy for a while. In­stead they de­cided to dou­ble down and open an am­bi­tious seafood restau­rant in the water­side site va­cated by the Noma Aus­tralia pop-up, pulling out all the stops with de­sign by Pas­cale Gomes-McNabb and a 45-page wine list that’s an eru­dite ode to the charms of white and lighter red va­ri­eties. At the same time, the cook­ing is some of the most re­laxed Sav­age has ever put his name to, and while the ser­vice is as pro­fes­sional and pacy as ever, it’s also pleas­antly low-key. It’s the leader of the pack at Baranga­roo, and a win­ning new player on the na­tional scene.

IN SHORT The catch of the day.

Fred’s, Syd­ney

As restau­rant con­glom­er­ates get big­ger and big­ger, it’s eas­ier than ever to find ex­am­ples of the fact that money can’t buy you taste.

But Fred’s is a great in­stance of the big end of town get­ting it re­ally (re­ally) right. The con­sid­er­able re­sources of the Merivale group (in­ter­na­tional reach for tal­ent, thou­sands of staff on the books, se­ri­ous de­sign chops in and out of house, and im­pres­sive vi­nous re­serves among them) have been brought to bear on a venue where charm is em­pha­sised over daz­zle, prove­nance is priv­i­leged over tech­nique and gifted peo­ple like Danielle Al­varez and Cait­lyn Rees are given a hand­some stage to sim­ply do what they do best.

IN SHORT The hottest plates in town.

Saint Peter, Syd­ney

Shark pe­nis. Sea urchin go­nads on crum­pets. Cod liver on toast. Crumbed tooth­fish cheek. Re­mem­ber the last time you asked a waiter about the spe­cials and they re­torted that ev­ery­thing was spe­cial? At Saint Peter it might ac­tu­ally be true. And there’s more go­ing on here than click­bait. Even the sim­ple-seem­ing likes of fish and chips is ex­e­cuted with rad­i­cal flair and max­i­mum re­spect for in­gre­di­ents. Josh Ni­land is on a mis­sion to change the way you think about Aus­tralian seafood (and na­tive in­gre­di­ents and food waste) and he’s lay­ing out his ar­gu­ment one fish fin­ger at a time to an ador­ing fan base.

And hey, those were sus­tain­able shark penises.

IN SHORT Fish for com­pli­ments.>

BRAE, BIRREGURRA

NEW

R E S TA U R A N T OF THE YEAR

CIR­RUS DINING, SYD­NEY

MOORLANDS LAMB WITH SUM­MER HERBS, CRUMBED EGG­PLANT AND CHARRED CAP­SICUM AT FRED’S

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