GQ (Australia) - - TASTE & TRAVEL -

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; crown­mel­ 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; 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;


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