But­ter goes bold

In the hands of a new breed of chefs, bread’s faith­ful side­kick is step­ping out of the shad­ows and into the lime­light.

Qantas - - YES, CHEF! - Story by LARISSA DUBECKI

It’s an unas­sail­able truth that but­ter makes ev­ery­thing bet­ter. Just ask any French chef. Or Ju­lia Child. But mod­ern restau­rants are tak­ing an ex­cit­ing leap for­ward by tak­ing but­ter to an­other level. From com­mon­place ta­ble condi­ment, but­ter is turn­ing into a hero in­gre­di­ent. Even when still hang­ing out in the com­pany of bread, it can be used as a flag-wa­ver: look no fur­ther than the sea­weed but­ter at Shan­non Ben­nett’s Iki-Jime (ik­i­jime.com.au), a fish­fo­cused Mel­bourne restau­rant where the con­coc­tion is so ocean-rich, it’s al­most like plankton. Nei­ther does Mo­mo­fuku Seiōbo (seiobo.mo­mo­fuku.com) skimp on the good stuff. At David Chang’s Syd­ney restau­rant, ex­ec­u­tive chef Paul Carmichael uses lo­cal brand Pepe Saya’s creamy, hand-churned cul­tured but­ter to take a hum­ble piece of roti from street to star. And at Ade­laide’s up­mar­ket ocean­front fish and chip shop, SeaSalt (seasalt­by­sea.com.au), an Or­tiz an­chovy draped over a charry toast sol­dier is the must-order item. The el­e­ment that el­e­vates it? Salted egg yolk but­ter that adds rich­ness and a de­li­cious dash of com­plex­ity. Jock Zon­frillo also thinks out­side the square at his Ade­laide restau­rant Orana (restau­ran­torana.com), with a scene-set­ting potato damper served on hot coals with a lus­cious lamb-fat but­ter bear­ing all the ol­fac­tory hall­marks of a good roast. More aro­matic thrills with an Aus­tralian slant are to be found at Mel­bourne’s high-fly­ing At­tica (at­tica.com.au), where pearl meat in lemon-myr­tle but­ter is de­liv­ered to the ta­ble en­cased in a pa­per­bark bun­dle for din­ers to un­wrap like it’s culi­nary Christ­mas. Best thing of all? “Eat it with your fin­gers,” advises chef Ben Shewry. “It’s bet­ter that way.”

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