THE ULTIMATE WINTER WARMER
ALL THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT SOUP – WITH (ALMOST) NO MENTION OF PEA AND HAM.
As much as we love a liquid diet, when dinner is ladled into a bowl we’re sometimes prone to wondering if main course is on its way. Still, when the chilly months have arrived, ‘no soup for you!’ is the last thing you want to hear. Because soup is better than any of us are willing to let on. “Soup warms the soul. If you’re run-down or having a bad day, have a bowl and the world is a happy place again,” says Darren Robertson of Sydney’s Three Blue Ducks and The Farm, Byron Bay. “A soup can be a quick throw-it-together or a slow intricate thing of beauty. It can be hot, served chilled, light and refreshing, or heavy and hearty, and it can be a reflection of what we have, where we are, and what we need at a point in time,” he continues. Though the more simple a soup seems, the more impressive its flavour. Ask any chef and they’ll say – master a consommé and you’ll be the king of the kitchen. The Rolls Royce of broths once owed to a clever clarifying technique using egg whites to remove fat and sediment, but new-school thinking now relies on freezing the broth and letting it drip and defrost through coffee filters. “Both methods are amazing, and it’s something you just have to learn,” explains Robertson. He also believes that “a good chicken stock is the basis of many soups – old school but it will give you a nutrientrich, flavoursome dish”. Every cuisine has a great soup or broth within its culinary foundations. Think about it – miso, ramen, The luxe Chinese restaurant at the Crown complex offers arguably Australia’s most expensive soup – ringing the bell at $268. So what makes a bowl of lukewarm liquid worth so much? Well, it won’t give too much away, though the secret broth with lobster and asparagus also features real gold leaf. As you do. 8 Whiteman St, Southbank; crownmelbourne.com.au bouillabaisse, chowder, French onion, gazpacho, even pea and ham (sorry). Robertson explains that some ingredients benefit from long periods of cooking – ham hocks, root vegetables and spices, but best to leave out the leafy greens, fresh herbs and citrus zest until the last minute. And, of course, everyone has a different preference. “I have to say from the classics, bouillabaisse is my favourite,” he says. “It was on the menu of the first restaurant I ever worked at, but then I moved overseas, discovered ramen, and everything changed.” Head here for one of the top soups in Sydney, as created by chef Chase Kojima. The Sokyo ‘Spicy Nabe’ is a white miso with tofu and the freshest seafood catch of the day. 80 Pyrmont St; star.com.au This family-run food court hawkerstyle eatery by chef Jerry Mai unites the worlds of ballsy broths and premium Australian produce for a fraction of the price. We’re calling it the best pho in Australia. Try the ‘Pho Bo Saigon’ with sliced rare beef, brisket and meatballs. 567 Collins St; phonom.com.au